God’s Not Dead!

Great movie! Really enjoyed seeing it with my family and felt that it was very powerful. Of course, it was a Hollywood production, but it was based on many real life scenarios of liberal agendas trying to discount the Christian faith. In many higher level education programs, it is common and very much accepted that believers are weak and lack intellect to actually NEED a Savior. In many ways, I believe (and pray) this movie will prompt the young people of today to really think about their faith. How real and deep is their relationship with Christ? Especially when challenged?

I’ve recently heard this thought provoking term several times: Christian Atheist. Initially, it seems like an oxymoron. How can you be a Christian and an atheist at the same time? But as I listened to my pastor explain it, I felt huge conviction. He described a Christian Atheist as someone who claims to believe in God, but lives like He doesn’t exist. We say that we put our whole faith in God but still live as if everything is up to us. I am guilty of this in my life. I claim to rely on God, yet I try to make decisions every day on my own. In my relationships, my job, my health…I put a lot of effort into trying to do it all by myself. If that is my approach, then what separates me from a non believer?

My heart’s desire is to live an authentic God-honoring life. In every area, I pray that people will see Christ and His Spirit within me.

No, God’s Not Dead. He is Surely Alive!

Who does she think she is?

It was 7:58 this morning when the phone rang. I was still in bed (hey, it’s summertime!). I tried to ignore the phone but a few seconds later, there was that high pitched ring letting me know there was a voicemail. This is what I heard:

“Hey, I know you’re probably not out of bed yet, but I just called to tell you that I am on my way to work and that I got up early and I have already done 45 minutes on the treadmill. Hope you can get in your workout today!”

Excuse me? Who does she think she is… calling me first thing in the morning like that?!?! Telling me that she has already gotten in her workout and is on her way to work before I am even out of bed?!?!
Well, let me tell you who she is….
SHE is one of my very best friends who encourages me beyond belief. SHE is my accountability partner who cares about me and how I am doing. SHE has been my friend since kindergarten, and as we are approaching our 20th High School Reunion next month, SHE is my friendly reminder of the goals we
have set together. SHE is that friend that calls and makes you roll your
eyes when you first hear her chipper, energetic message in the morning, but that you are thankful for later when you are out running your two miles and doing your strength training workout for the day. (Yes, I got in my workout!)
So…I don’t know who SHE thinks she is, but I know who I think she is! She is my priceless encourager and accountability partner that I love dearly and appreciate so very much! Thank you, my friend!

His Strength is Perfect

Hope you are having an awesome week!!! I read something today that was a huge blessing to me and I want to share it with you.
“We don’t have to have all the answers. We just have to stay connected to the One who does. Where our strength ends is the exact point where His will begin.” How cool is that?!?! I could let go of so much unnecessary stress if I could get that through my head. I don’t have to have all the answers. I don’t have to live in fear and worry so much about the things that God already has figured out. My strength and energy just needs to stay plugged in to God. He knows I can’t do this alone. His strength is perfect when my strength is gone. I love that!!!

Have a blessed day!!!

The Hereafter Plan

As I shared with you last week, I have been praying about a realistic health plan that I could follow long term. I am the Queen of short term extremes that usually lead to me gaining the weight back. Maybe you can relate? Anyway, I was praying and asking God to give me a clear vision of what particular food plan I should choose. I do not want to do something radical and then fall off because I can’t keep up. So I prayed. And I waited. And I waited some more before I decided. Not because God wasn’t showing me what to do, but because I wasn’t truly ready to be open to it. You see, God gifted us with common sense and the ability to know what is good for us and what is not. I just wanted an exception to all of those rules! LOL

Having a plan is good. In fact, having a plan is biblical. Check this out!

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. Proverbs 21:5

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

The plans of the Godly are just. Proverbs 12:5

Refuse good advise and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed. Proverbs 15:22

Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice. Proverbs 20:18

So, I’m thinking a plan is a good thing, right?

After several days of finally being open to listen to the answers of my prayers, I feel that I have a realistic eating plan that I can follow. Not just for the six weeks of the class, but for the hereafter.

As many of my faithful readers know, I did the Daniel Fast for 30 days a few months ago. I absolutely never felt better in my life. I felt stronger, way more energized, and free from the chemical bondage to certain foods. I love the Daniel Fast, but if I am going to think realistic and long term, I do not feel that I can commit to something so strict. I have also studied the Blood Type Diet over the past few months. If you have never read about the specific blood types and their link to dietary needs, I encourage you to do so. It is a fascinating study. My Blood Type correlates with a vegetarian diet. I find this incredibly ironic, because essentially the Daniel Fast is basically Vegan and I felt amazing eating that way. So, when I combine the ideas of both of these eating plans, I feel that I have a realistic plan that I can stick to. For my body, natural eating is what makes me feel good. I am amazed at the difference in my energy and outlook when I am choosing Natural. Now, does this mean I will never eat meat again? I do not think that is realistic to say, but I am comfortable with meat being an occasional condiment to compliment a meal rather than being a main course. Also, I know for sure that chemicals and additives do a number on my system. When I am eating fast foods and processed foods, my physical cravings and my emotions are extremely unbalanced and I do not want to continue that struggle.

So, that’s my plan! I am following a natural eating plan, sticking close to what comes from a seed.

(Obviously, a health plan is not complete without an exercise regimen. I have a plan for that too and I will share it in a future post.)

Have a blessed and empowered day!

Looking for Love in all the wrong places!

In today’s Made to Crave Bible study, I was struck by the question: “Is it possible we love and rely on food more than we love and rely on God?”

At first glance, I gasp at the thought! By no means do I “love” food more than God!

Or do I? Where do I turn when I need comfort? When I want a reward? When I feel joy? When I experience stress? When I feel sadness? When I feel happiness? When I experience boredom?

Ouch! I continually turn to food before God for all of these emotions and situations. I am reminded of the “romance” conversation. When we love someone/something, we give of our time, energy, thoughts, and desires. Oh how I want to love God that way! I want to crave Him! I want to desire Him above all! I love the thought that we are literally made to crave! It truly is in our DNA to desire and long for….not some thing… but some ONE!

Thank you for making me in this way, God! Please help me as I direct my cravings and desires to You and away from food!

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I loved how one of our participants in class described her relationship with food as a Romance. I really hadn’t ever thought about it that way, but as she spoke, I could see the correlation. 

Wikipedia defines romance as the pleasurable feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. In the context of romantic love relationships, romance usually implies an expression of one’s love, or one’s deep emotional desires to connect.

Wow! That could totally define my relationship with food at times: Excitement…mystery…deep emotional desire….love. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

As I continue my study and as I see how my desires are misplaced, I see how dysfunctional this “romance” has become. I realize there is something I must do.

I have to “break up” with Food.

Now, I know it won’t be easy and I cannot completely break up with food, but I will have to be selective about what I allow to be a part of my life. I must create healthy boundaries. Junk food has to go. Overindulgence cannot be my friend any longer.
Unhealthy choices… We can’t have our ongoing rendezvous. Although I have found solace within your familiar embrace, I must sever ties and move on….into a positive, healthy, and uplifting relationship.

So even though breaking up is hard to do, in this case, it’s a matter of victory or defeat. So long, dysfunctional romance! I choose victory. I choose Jesus!

Pain Management

I had a heartbreaking conversation this morning with a friend in Arkansas who is an alcoholic. I wish I could say recovering alcoholic, but that is not the case. I talked to her yesterday and she sounded great. She was upbeat and positive. We were cut off yesterday so I called her back today to check on her and she is really struggling. Through her tears she described how she was feeling and how incredibly painful it is to be going through these rough times. Her cries resonated with me and my heart breaks for her. I have shared before that I believe so much can be explained if we understand what’s behind the tragedies and triumphs of our lives. It sounds very simple, but it really helps me make sense of this thing called life.

One of the most powerful verses in the Bible explains it this way:
John 10:10 says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

God tells us that He wants us to have an abundant life.

The enemy wants to destroy us.

That puts things in such perspective for me! When our lives are truly blessed, it comes from God above! If something is tearing us down or causing us pain and defeat, the enemy is at work! His tricks are so clever. My friend is seeking love and comfort in a bottle. I have family and friends who have searched for escape in pills or needles. I, myself, have tried to find numbness in food. I don’t intend to trivialize the addiction of drugs and alcohol by comparing it to food, but isn’t the struggles the same? Isn’t it an attempt to avoid our painful reality? And ultimately, don’t we
usually reach the same end result of more pain and defeat?

As hard as it is to think this way, I believe that we can live more powerful if we could recognize the battle that is going on for our hearts. God loves us and wants us to have a victorious life. He will not leave us to drown in our sorrows. He is always there waiting for us to call upon Him. The enemy wants nothing more than to keep us down and he uses “tools” of many shapes and sizes to do it. That upsetting phone call you
just received…he’s behind it. That financial stress you’re under… he orchestrated that. That attack on your family… your marriage… your church… he’s just warming up. Oh, and that late night binge he helped you pull off…he revels in your defeat.

God, help us look to You, our Heavenly Father and find that abundant life You have for us! Not abundance in wealth and prosperity, but spiritual abundance by being empowered by the indwelling of Jesus Christ!

But Go-od!

As I shared with you earlier, I will be starting the Made to Crave class this Sunday. I am so excited about doing the study and about spending the next six weeks with women who share the desire to seek God in this area. I do not know who will be in this class but I am praying for each one daily as we prepare to start this journey together.

I am also praying about something that I feel is big and a very important part of my personal experience over the next few weeks. I am asking God to show me specifically what health plan I should follow. Not only do I want a plan for the six weeks of the study, but I am asking God to help me discover a plan after the plan. So many times I have concentrated on a short term plan only to return to my former habits and diminish all of my success. I am earnestly seeking God’s guidance in determining what I can realistically do as my lifestyle, not just for six weeks.

I find it so interesting that when we truly seek God’s face and are open to actually listening, He answers us gently and often times, very simply. I feel like I am asking Him the same questions that I have asked so many times before and yet, he lovingly responds with…. “Haven’t we talked about this before?” My response is so childlike as I whine “But, Go-od!” as if I am going to convince Him to make an exception for only me. LOL It’s almost like I want the rules to apply to the rest of the world, but for me, I want it to be OK to have sodas, chocolate and chips and never gain weight. On top of that, I usually ask Him to bless me for it! God’s answers have not changed, it depends on my willingness to hear what He has to say. If you have read my blog at all, you have seen me in times of listening to God and also in times of leaning on my own understanding. As I prepare for this upcoming class, once again, I am asking God for the brutal truth, for guidance, for understanding, for strength and for wisdom. Please pray with me that I will be open to what God is teaching me.

Still wondering…

Well, I guess I will have to keep wondering. My not-so-wonderful, uninvited friend, PMS, has made this a challenging week. Why am I surprised?

1 Peter 5:8 says “Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

I used to think of this as a scary and creepy verse. I guess it is …..if you picture this prowling beast seeking it’s helpless prey, it could be very creepy…very scary. But am I helpless? By no means! I have learned that I have the greatest source of power to tap into at the tip of my tongue. So if the help is there and I am not helpless, then I guess the first part of this verse is what really applies here. I have not been clear-minded and alert. If I know challenging moments will arise, as they always do, then shouldn’t I be prepared…alert…clear-minded?

In this crazy busy world and in my crazy busy life, that is hard to do. But I know it is not impossible! I also know that when I am alert and calling upon the Lord as my strength, I am quite the opposite of helpless…. I am strong, I become a beast of a different kind! LOL

Thank you, God, for making your strength and power available to us! Please help me to “stay alert” and use it!

I wonder…

Sunday morning weigh-in! Down 4.4 pounds this week! Woo Hoo! I had a pretty good week and I feel it was a good restart. I got in several good work outs, both cardio and strength training. I downloaded a free pedometer app for my phone and was able to track my time and distance while I walked the track at my daughters softball practice. That coupled with some strength training and I could really see a spark in my energy level. As far as food, I made healthy choices for the most part. I did have several not-so-healthy meals (pizza, hot dogs at a cook out, and Mexican food for a special lunch celebration), but I was very careful to choose smaller portions. I made a conscious effort to have “just one” instead of the usual. I mean, seriously, how many pieces of pizza do we usually eat? And hot dogs? Just one? Forget about it. Especially roasted over the fire pit in the back yard…lol Fun and yummy, but I just had one =).

So I was thinking… If I lost 4.4 pounds just doing “OK,” I wonder what kind of week I could have if I did it right. What would happen if I did not make excuses to skip work outs? What would happen if I did not partake in any of those not-so-healthy foods? I would love to see some of those “Biggest Loser” style results. Hmmm?!?

I am still loving my Made to Crave book. I love recognizing the connection to food as a spiritual issue. I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and I am looking forward to a week of reliance on God to help me reach a healthier me. Have a blessed week, my friends!

“I can do all things through Christ who Strengthens me.” Phil.4:13

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