07 7 / 2014
Photo credit: crazy-frankentstein.com
In my last entry, we talked about the Proverbs 31 woman and how it is that she encapsulates true beauty. I promised a list of some practical ways that we can incorporate this into our lives so here it goes my dears! Let’s break it down…what does TRUE BEAUTY look like? It’s that Proverbs 31 woman who has peace and love just glowing out of her. Here are some practical ways that we can begin to develop this true beauty that God so desires for us to embrace:
- BE TRUSTWORTHY: I believe that to be a truly trustworthy person, you have to be consistent in what you SAY and in what you DO. Do you gossip and judge others? Or are you a safe refuge that friends flock to when they need encouragement? Are you one way in front of people and then completely different “behind the scenes”? Or are you authentic no matter what? In order for your husband or “someday husband” to say that “his heart safely trust in you”, you must be a woman who strives to be dedicated to her word. And in order for your Father God to trust you with His calling for your life, you must be a woman who is not double-minded, but who is stable and consistent in everything she does.
- DO GOOD: This is fairly simple and straightforward my friends. The Bible says to “Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed”. (Amos 5:14) Defend the rights of those who can’t speak for themselves…do good to your family, do good to your friends, do good to your Father God. “Doing good” is basically our call to stop being selfish and think about the good of others before our own!
- WORK HARD: Though it seems the Proverb 31 woman did most of her work at and around her home, this does not mean that she was sitting on her couch flipping through the latest issue of People magazine. She was up before anyone else working hard for the good of her household. No matter what your work is…whether you absolutely love it every day or absolutely hate it every day, I believe the secret to finding joy in working hard is BEING THANKFUL for where you are at! When you change your attitude in work to being thankful, you are a better worker, a better coworker, a better employee, nicer to customers, etc. If you truly want to represent God in your workplace (whether that is at home or in an office, restaurant, movie theater, or anywhere else), show that you are grateful and that you want to work hard to see your workplace succeed!
- RISE WHILE IT IS “YET NIGHT”: The Proverbs 31 woman rises so early in the morning to provide food for her household, that it’s still technically night time to most people. I’m no Bible scholar and I definitely won’t claim to be, but the revelation that I have received from this verse is that it is so important to focus on “nourishment for your household” at the start of your day. I translate that as spiritual nourishment. This means that first thing in the morning, before anything else distracts you, before the business of the day ensues, you spend time with the Lord. You dig into His Word and discover His promises. You stop and LISTEN to the mission He has for you that day. This doesn’t necessarily have to be “while it is yet night”, but for some of you it may be. Ask God what time of the day He wants you to stop and just focus on Him and then stop what you’re doing and spend that time with your loving Father God!
- THINK IT THROUGH: Don’t react with feelings…easier said than done right? The Proverbs 31 woman “considers a field and buys it”. Notice it doesn’t say that she “considers a field, buys it, returns it…buys a different one…changes her mind again…spends years in agony trying to make up her mind!” When I say think it through, I mean to make intelligent decisions that are prayerful and that are God-inspired and then trust that the decision you made is the best one you could at the time. Don’t spend days and days (or years and years) having “buyer’s remorse” on your decision. I believe that one of the secrets to being a Proverbs 31 woman is to be stable in your thinking by being decisive in your actions and in your decisions. The woman who constantly second-guesses herself is not at peace, is not believing God fully in faith, and will always be unsatisfied with her life. Trust God in your decision making and then just leave it be!
- DEVELOP STRENGTH: Recently my mentor asked me if I had the opportunity to go back in time and change all of the hard things that I went through in my life, specifically involving my eating disorder, so that I wouldn’t have gone through them, would I do it. But, the only catch is that I would lose all of the strength, compassion for other people, understanding for life, and my close relationship with my Father God that I have developed over the years as a result of everything that I have gone through. Talk about a perspective-changing question! As much as none of us like or enjoy the trials of life, that is where we develop our strength and our character. And I believe that is where God reveals to us our calling for our lives. So in the middle of the storm, instead of immediately and desperately searching for a way out, develop strength by asking the Father God to develop strength and character in your life through life’s challenges. And always remember, that no matter what you are going through, God is there with you carrying you through it!
- BE AVAILABLE: In other words, be there for people! That is basically what this means. No matter how dire your situation seems, there is always someone that is going through something more difficult around you! I know in my life, I can become so involved in my own situation that I can even get lost in it. That is when God reminds me to look around and find someone who needs me to be available for them. It takes me out of myself and allows me to be there for a friend or even a stranger who needs someone either to help them with something in their life or even just to talk to. Showing that you care enough about them to stop your own life to help them is a powerful way to represent Jesus in this crazy world!
- BE GENEROUS: A Proverbs 31 woman is not a hoarder. Not with her time, her valuables, or with her money. She freely gives whatever the Lord calls her to give because she realizes that all of that stuff is not even hers to begin with! So ask your Father God what He would have you be generous with out of all the many blessings that He has given you.
- DO NOT FEAR: When we are constantly overcome with fear about everything in life, we are not living the free life that God has called us to live! I have lived a lot of my life with that “deer in the headlights” look on my face. Fear has held me back from a lot. But, I have recently started living out a revelation that God has been trying to get into my heart for years and years: “Do it afraid!” This means that fear is not going to just magically disappear, but some things in life are going to have to be done even when we still feel the fear. So “do not fear”, will most likely mean “even if you still feel fear, laugh in its face and do it anyway!” That is the only way fear will not have that overwhelming power in your life. So no matter how debilitated it makes you feel, DO IT AFRAID in spite of the fear that you may feel!
- BE PREPARED: God wants us to be able to drop everything at a moment’s notice and obey Him in what He call us to do, but this spontaneity requires preparation as well. It is safe to say that the Proverbs 31 woman was well prepared for whatever life threw at her or her family! So instead of sitting there, desperately waiting for God’s plan for your life to finally start, start preparing your heart! Make sure you are where you are supposed to be. A lot of missed opportunities happen when we are distracted by being too busy with the “good” things in life. Make sure that your heart is prepared, that your mind is prepared, that your soul and your spirit are prepared for what God wants you to do. And it is no secret how to do this my friends, spend a lot of time in prayer and in the Word of God! Ask God to take everything that distracts you out of your life and to purify your heart. When you ask for this, it won’t necessarily be the most comfortable thing, but it will definitely be worth it! Then watch how that preparation leads you to fulfilling God’s calling for you!
- LAUGH: Verse 25 says, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” How many of us (especially us women) worry about the time to come. We spend countless amounts of time stressing over things that never even happen and too many sleepless nights worrying about how our lives will turn out. You know what the Proverbs 31 woman did? She LAUGHED at the time to come! Notice it doesn’t say that she worried about it. So when thoughts of worry or stress try to take over your mind, just laugh at them and give that burden to the Lord. God really does want us to enjoy our lives, so incorporate laughter into your daily routine as much as possible. And make sure to surround yourself with people who love to laugh! Be careful about surrounding yourself with people who are negative, who gossip, and who never see the silver lining in life because misery loves company. Make sure your friends lift you up!
- OPEN YOUR MOUTH WITH WISDOM: I am sure that most of us can say that there have been times in life where we have said things that we didn’t really mean to say…things that were maybe hurtful, meaningless, unwise. A Proverbs 31 woman considers what she is about to say before she says it. To “open your mouth with wisdom” is to begin every day with saying, “Lord, help me with my words today. Let everything that comes out of my mouth be edifying and be glorifying to you.” When I don’t know what to say, I literally just say to God, “All of you, and none of me Lord.” He is ALWAYS faithful to say what we don’t know how to say!
- DON’T BE IDLE: The Proverbs 31 woman is quite the busy-bee!! It’s safe to say that she pretty much has zero idle time. Now, I’m not going to say that I think all of us are called to be this busy at all hours of the day. Personal time and rest is definitely needed for the average human! And I believe God wants us to find joy in rest when we can. But, there is a difference between those sweet times of rest and too much idle time. Idle time can become very dangerous because Satan can creep into our minds and make us think of all of the reasons why our lives aren’t as good as they could be. So ask your Father God to show you how to have balanced times of rest and to show you what He would have you do with your life when you feel you have too much idle time.
- FEAR THE LORD: Lastly and most importantly my dears, have REVERENCE FOR THE LORD. Respectfully fear Him. Recognize His all-knowing and awesome power. Remember the importance of worshipping Him in everything that you do. Realize that you are literally nothing without Him and that your life is not your own, but that it came at a great cost by a Father God who truly loves you more than you will ever EVER be able to comprehend! Only then will you truly become that Proverbs 31 woman who encapsulates, radiates, and demonstrates that TRUE BEAUTY that can only be given to her by her loving FATHER GOD!
I hope that these truths speak to your life as they have mine. We are all on this journey together and I know that it is not always an easy one. But, I also know that finding true beauty is God’s will for us and He will never ever let us walk on this journey alone. He is always there with us, whispering His promises and smiling on us as we strive to be our best for Him. ;-)
Wishing you blessings, health, and lots of love!!
If you have any questions, comments, prayer requests, praises, or if you just need someone to talk to on this journey of loving yourself healthy, please feel free to leave a comment and/or email me at email@example.com! Thank you for reading this and have a blessed day!
04 6 / 2014
Photo credit: www.mrwallpaper.com
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
Oh the Proverbs 31 woman… So admirable, so hardworking… So good at making me feel less than adequate about my life. ;-) I think we can all agree that at some point we have all read Proverbs 31 and said “Ya right, like it’s even possible to be that kind of woman and/or that kind of wife!”
The past few months, my conversations with the Lord have really revolved around and about becoming a Proverbs 31 woman. Some days my conversation goes, “Okay Lord, help me and challenge me to be that kind of woman and to be that kind of wife someday!” And then some days (when I’m exhausted), the conversation goes, “This feels impossible God… How can I ever become this perfect woman?! I’m just not even going to try…” But ya know, we serve such a cool Father God who, even on those days I’ve felt like giving up on this new challenge, He speaks so gently to my heart and says, “I’ve got you… Rely on me my child. Don’t give up.”
He then revealed that becoming a Proverbs 31 woman isn’t this ultimate destiny that we all must strain ourselves to become. But, rather, it’s a challenge. It’s a daily challenge. There are so many different aspects to this woman…she has so many different amazing qualities it seems that no one woman could ever encapsulate every single one…well maybe that’s the point. What if God is challenging each of us in a different way to reach to become the different qualities of this woman? We are the body of Christ after all! Each of us has a different purpose and function. And each of us struggles in different ways. Maybe you are already good at “opening your hand to the poor…” (v. 20), but you are being challenged to become better at “dressing yourself with strength…” (v.17). Or perhaps maybe the whole purpose of Proverbs 31 is to show us that being a godly wife (either currently or in the future) means that our focus is to be on others’ needs and not our own. (Yikes…sometimes that’s tough to hear…especially in our “self-focused society”.)
An area of my life that God has really been challenging me in lately is the area of “vain beauty”. He has led me particularly to the verse in Proverbs 31 that says “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (v. 30) I’m not going to lie to you…it has been so very difficult for me to admit that this is an area of struggle in my life, but this blog is a place where I have promised myself I would be open and vulnerable with all of you. So if writing this means that I help even just one of you in this area, well then that makes my uncomfortable feelings absolutely worth it! ;-)
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always felt the need to look absolutely perfect at all times. We’re talking, I used to try to get away with wearing red lipstick to kindergarten people. ;-) (I did not get away with that by the way.) As soon as I could start wearing makeup in private school, I did. My nails would always have to be perfect. I think I even started getting my eyebrows waxed at the age of 12. I have always been concerned with getting the approval of others on how I look, even more so than the approval of God on the condition of my heart. Admitting that makes me physically hurt inside, but it’s true and I pray that you don’t judge me for it. I could use the excuse that I grew up with an emotionally absent dad who never told me I was beautiful but that I was “unique or exotic looking” and maybe I would just get away with saying that. But, living in a “victim mentality” doesn’t encourage you to grow, but yet it stunts you right where you are. Caring about looking beautiful on the outside isn’t a sin in itself, but the truth is that when you make your outer appearance more important than any other aspect of your life, you are making it your god and living in disobedience to the way that God designed us to live.
To those of us 20 somethings (30 somethings, 40 somethings… any age really ;-) ) women, we all want men to think that we are beautiful. Let’s be totally honest…since we were little girls twirling and dancing in front of our fathers, we have all had the desire for a man to say, “Wow, that girl is gorgeous and perfect just the way she is! In my eyes, she is the most beautiful woman in the whole world!” I have always lived in this belief that if a guy doesn’t like me, then it must mean that I wasn’t skinny enough or beautiful enough for him. I would always judge myself for my outward appearance first and begin to hate myself for not appearing to be good enough for him. Then I would go on crazy extreme diets or spend a ton of money on beauty regimens or fry my skin at the tanning studio to prove to myself that one day, I would be beautiful enough for somebody. The reality of all of this is that when you focus on your outward beauty being the most important thing to you, you will most definitely draw a man who values a woman’s outward appearance above all else. And that man will always be looking for the most beautiful woman in the world and will jump from woman to woman to woman until he finds her. (He never will by the way because there is no such thing as perfection! That’s just the truth.)
Did you notice that the first thing that Proverbs 31 says about this woman’s husband is that “his heart trusts in her” (v. 11)? He is concerned first and foremost with the condition of his heart and the condition of her heart. Not the condition of her manicure, highlights, jean size, etc. A really good man of God will see you for more than how you appear on the outside… He will see you for the beauty of your heart first and then see how that beauty radiates from the inside out of you. If my desire is to draw a man like this, then my first concern should be with the condition of my heart and not the condition of my outward appearance. How awesome would it be for your husband (or future husband) to look at you every day and say, “Wow… ya, my heart trusts in that woman 100%! She encapsulates what true beauty really is!” I don’t know about you, but that is so the desire of my heart. It is not only my desire for my “someday husband” to say that about me, but also and firstly for my Father God to say that about me.
I can really only imagine the pain that I have caused the Lord over the years basing my life on “vain beauty” and not completely focusing on the true beauty that He so desires for me to turn all of my attention to. The greatest news though my friends, is that it is never too late to have a change of heart. God is so gracious and patient. As soon as we ask for forgiveness, He forgives us and remembers our disobedience no more!
So who’s with me? Who is ready to go on this journey of seeking true beauty? I’m down for the challenge! If you are too…then stay tuned, my friend. In my next blog entry, we will be discussing a practical application of this in our lives.
I encourage you to meditate on Proverbs 31 this week and ask God to reveal the areas in your life and in your heart that need to be surrendered over to Him!
Wishing you blessings, health and lots of love!!
If you have any questions, comments, prayer requests, praises, or if you just need someone to talk to on this journey of loving yourself healthy, please feel free to leave a comment here and/or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thank you for reading this and have a blessed day!
07 5 / 2014
Photo Credit: www.webmd.com
“In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.” Psalms 31:1
You went too far with that guy…you told that lie to your parents…you have no idea how you could have got yourself that far into debt…you feel that you’ve disappointed your Father God…you feel disgusting, unworthy, and maybe even like you hate yourself… You feel ashamed. Shame can come as a result of countless circumstances and decisions that we make in our lives. Shame can come on fast and strong, almost like it hits you out of nowhere and can linger for years and years without us even realizing it. As far as I’m concerned all shame is meaningless and toxic. It literally does nothing for you, but creates a destructive pattern that the enemy uses to make us feel worthless and never ever good enough.
Today I specifically want to talk about something that I call “body shame”. Of all the things in life to feel ashamed of, this is one of the most widely accepted and also one of the most difficult to be set free from. Just take a look at any checkout counter at any grocery store, airport, or gas station and you’ll find hundreds of phrases and images on the covers of magazines urging you to feel ashamed of your body. “Get your best body now!” “Tired of those flabby abs? Get that 6 pack in just 2 weeks!” “Lose 10 pounds by Memorial Day!” “Hate your tired, wrinkly skin? Look years younger in just 5 easy steps!” Or say you’re out to lunch with friends…don’t we all feel the need to say something negative about ourselves as some source of false humility…”Oh I really shouldn’t eat that, my love handles are just hanging over these pants” “Thanks for liking my outfit, but I really don’t look that good in it…maybe I will after I’ve lost like 10 more pounds” Why do we that?!! Maybe these phrases don’t seem that damaging or alarming to you…in fact, hey, maybe they even sound just normal to you. But, these messages are causing us more pain than you think.
When we just settle for being unsatisfied…when we just settle for never feeling good enough, beautiful enough, skinny enough, we are letting shame win. And for that matter, we are letting the enemy win. We have a real enemy who wants nothing more than for us to be robbed of our joy, our self-worth, and our confidence. And he does that by getting us into endless cycles of shame and self-hatred.
Unlike other things we can be ashamed of, your body is right there in front of you, every day, staring back at you in the mirror. When I was deep in bondage in my eating disorder, I would have days where if I didn’t exercise that day, I wouldn’t allow myself to eat anything that day…days where if I felt that I looked “too big” that day, again, I wouldn’t allow myself to eat anything that day. I was stuck in such a toxic cycle of body shame and dissatisfaction that I was literally allowing myself to waste away. Now that’s a scary cycle to be stuck in!!
Sadly though, there are so many of us who continue to punish ourselves, hate ourselves for these bodies that never ever look the way that we want them to. But, did you know that theses bodies aren’t even really ours to begin with? God created our bodies to be celebrated, cherished, and used to further His glory here on earth. Not to be picked apart and ashamed of.
I want to tell you that no matter where you are at in your journey of health…the only way to make sure that shame does not hold you in bondage is to accept yourself for where you are RIGHT NOW. “But, Christa”…you say…”Have you seen my thighs? My stomach sure isn’t as flat as it could be…And don’t even get me started on my arms…” I know that you’re mind is going there because guess what…mine does too! Accepting your body for how it is right now is the only way to ever truly be healthy, even if you do lose weight or get in shape or whatever it is that your “ultimate goal” in life is…that is the only way to be free from those unhealthy patterns of shame… I know that sounds challenging and maybe even impossible, but we can do it!!
So today, invite God into those places in your heart where you are in bondage with your body and help release you from that shame. And just watch Him bring peace to those even most intense places of shame! We serve a most gracious and merciful Father God who wants you to celebrate the body that He blessed you with.
Rejoice in freedom from the bondage of shame today!!!
Wishing you blessings, health, and lots of love!!
10 4 / 2014
Photo credit: haithemhammad.com
“But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come’, he said.” - Matthew 14:27-29
If you are unfamiliar with the story of Jesus walking on the water or if you simply forgot the details, let’s do a quick recap of this powerful story… The disciples are in a boat being tossed to and fro from a storm…they are without Jesus, since he was away praying… Jesus sees them and decides to walk out on the water to them…immediately they think he’s a ghost and are afraid (interesting that they’ve spent all this time in close companionship with him, but even they don’t recognize him when he’s standing right in front of them…more on this later ;-) )…then Peter decides to call out to him, asking Jesus to invite him on the water….of course Jesus does…initially Peter steps out and starts walking on the water (yes, he actually STARTS WALKING ON THE WATER) and then he is afraid of the wind and starts to sink (when Peter starts to flail, we can only assume he must have skipped those swimming lessons when he was a kid ;-) )…Jesus, of course, saves him but you can tell he’s just a little disappointed in Peter when He says “You of little faith…why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
It’s easy to read this story as just a story…it’s easy to sit back and be like “What were Peter and the disciples thinking?! They literally had Jesus standing right in front of them but they were still afraid?? They still had DOUBTS?! They must have crazy right??” Hmmm…I guess that makes us crazy too. If we are believers, we have the same Jesus standing in front of us every single day…assuring us that, yes he’s right there with us…most of us even claim to be in close companionship with him, like the disciples did, yet we don’t recognize him when he’s walking right toward us.
Maybe we let the elements of the world distract us and instill fear in our hearts…our judgment gets clouded. Then we get stuck in this never-ending pattern of fear, never even stepping out to “test the waters”, but staying in our little boat.
Or maybe some of us are even “brave” like Peter and ask Jesus to invite us out on the water…and we actually start walking on the water, but the fears of the world and distractions from the enemy cause us to start to doubt, sink and flail about like Peter did.
Whichever camp you fall into…whether you’re stuck in the boat or whether you’re flailing in the water…I have a simple message for you today: you don’t have to stay where you are. Our Savior Jesus sacrificed too stinkin’ much for us to just sit around or flail about, letting fear hold us back.
I am in a transitional phase in my life. Trusting in the Lord every day for every step I take is literally the only option I have right now and I’m so completely thrilled about it! But I remember a time in my life when I wasn’t so trusting….a time when I just held onto all my pain and almost let it destroy me…
When I was at my sickest with an eating disorder, I remember feeling that I would never ever get out of it… I remember thinking “I would sooner die than ever let myself eat like a normal person or gain a pound of weight ever again”… I was crippled by the fear of not ever being good enough, skinny enough, and of always feeling like I would be way too much. For me, my road to healthy was not something that just came naturally or easily… no sir-ee, not at all. But, my turning point came the day I cried out to the Lord and said, “I can’t do this in my own strength anymore…I surrender to You”. That day was literally my decision between life and death and the real me was still deep down inside saying “I want to live! Choose life!” And I did… That choice also meant that I had to choose to step out on the water and trust God with my eating habits, my body image issues, and really just my very life too. That’s when I needed Jesus to reach out his hand to me and say, “Come”. And that’s exactly what he did!
Recovery has been a process. I have had times of doubt where I have started to sink and flail, just like Peter did. Even when I outwardly appear to be healthy, that eating disorder storm could still be raging inside me, but I’m happy to say that the more I step out and trust Jesus with my life, the easier and easier it is to find that strength in faith to do it. Building your faith muscles is similar to building your physical muscles. It takes time, repetition, and perseverance! But, you and I can do it!
So no matter what storm you are in right now, what decisions you need to make for your life, or even whether you are needing to make a choice between life and death, you need to hear me when I tell you this: Jesus is standing RIGHT THERE in front of you! He’s standing there with eyes of compassion, reaching out his big strong hands saying ‘Come’. If you accept that simple, powerful invitation and keep your eyes focused on him rather than on the wind and the storm raging all around you, honey, your life is going to change and change for the better!!
So step out today, flex those faith muscles, don’t let fear distract you, trust that the Lord’s got you and experience what life walking on the water can be like! God has a powerful plan for YOU!!!
Wishing you blessings, health, and lots of love!
24 3 / 2014
Photo Credit: www.thespottedblonde.com
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk with them.” - Ephesians 2:10
I have had many times in my life where I wished I was anyone else other than who I was. I dreamed of being someone who was more beautiful… skinnier… more courageous… more decisive… less difficult… less complex…less afraid all the time… Honestly I grew up really hating who I was. And I’m going to be super honest with you, self-hatred is something I struggle with even to this day… and you probably are struggling with it too without even really recognizing it… It can come in the form of comparing yourself with someone else…staring at every inch of fat in the mirror and judging yourself for it…or it can even come in the form of saying something negative about yourself out loud or in your head…”I really need to lose weight before I can do this or that…” “Man I wish I was smarter than I am…” “So and so is so perfect, I was I was more like her…” Self-hatred is sneaky… And Satan uses it to keep us stuck in our current situation and to keep us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives.
A couple of years ago, God really laid this concept of “loving yourself” on my heart, thus the title of my blog “Loving Yourself Healthy”. Sometimes I have to remind myself what it means and I want to share my own little “self-reminder” with all of you today. First, I want to start with some questions that I ask myself often and I want to ask you too today… Are you aware of how much your Father God loves you?? Like really… Have you ever just really really let that sink in?? Do you know how much He hurts when He sees that you are hurting?? Do you know how much it pains Him when He sees that you mistreat yourself or even hate yourself??
The song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” comes to mind when I think of this…”His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me…” Have you ever seen a sparrow? I’m no bird expert, but I can guess that a sparrow has to be one of the teeniest birds on the planet… They are so very small, but even they are God’s workmanship, like it says in our verse in Ephesians today… Some may pass them off as insignificant, but God cares so deeply about them…His eye is constantly on them, watching them, loving them, feeling their pain, and wanting the best for them. God has so much care and concern for the tiny sparrow… Can you even comprehend how much care and love He has for you?!
Our Father God wants to see us flourish and abound in His love…He wants to see us loving ourselves so we can live a life that gives love to others. In fact, God puts such an emphasis on loving yourself that He even commands us to do so in His Word. “And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) To love your neighbor as yourself means that you have to actually know how to love yourself in order to love your neighbor. If you have no capacity of love for yourself, how would you even have a margin for truly loving someone else?
Someone who “loves themselves healthy” does not deprive their bodies of good nutrition, but gives their body what it needs… they don’t overindulge, but know how to live life in moderation… they don’t criticize the beautiful body that God gave them, but they celebrate their own uniqueness and embrace every glorious part of their body that they were given, even what some might call the “imperfections”.
So if you have ever hated yourself or wished you were someone else or wished that you were somehow different…I’m here to empathize with you because, trust me, I’ve been there more times than I’m willing to admit. But, I’m also here to tell you that it’s not okay. It’s not okay that we settle for living a life where we are constantly unsatisfied with ourselves. It hurts our Father God so so SO much to see us living that way because He is our Creator. It’s kind of like looking at a magnificent piece of art then walking up to the artist and telling them that their creation is hideous, disgusting, and that they should change it. We are all God’s workmanship…His special pieces of art…and we are all beautifully created for a unique and specific purpose.
So celebrate your uniqueness today…celebrate that YOU ARE NOT like someone else but that God created you for your own specific calling…if we all strive to do this every single day, then we are on the right track to “loving ourselves healthy.
Wishing you blessings, good health, and lots of love!
19 2 / 2014
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” – Matthew 18:10
To say it’s been a long time since I’ve written in this blog would be a serious understatement! Why haven’t I you ask? It’s difficult to say just one reason…I could say just the typical, “Oh I’ve been busy” which I have been (I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Food and Nutrition in Business, I basically lived in Texas for a period of time to help my sister with my new baby niece-what a cutie!, and I have started my career by now teaching kid’s cooking classes!), but maybe the real reason is because sometimes it’s difficult to be vulnerable…writing in this blog is the first time I revealed my story and my battle with an eating disorder in a place where literally anyone could read it…and that’s scary! No it’s actually terrifying! But, I’m so happy to say that I’ve made a lot of growth as a person in the last couple years and I have a lot to share with all of you!
The biggest thing that has spurred this sudden re-entering the world of Loving Yourself Healthy is a book that I have been reading called “Table in the Darkness” by Lee Wolfe Blum. It is the story of a woman who grew up in a very dysfunctional family and battled an eating disorder, depression, and struggled in her relationship with God. It’s difficult to explain just how good this book is so I highly recommend it to anyone looking for something truly inspirational to read right now!
As I’m sure is pretty obvious, this book reminded me of my own battle with an eating disorder. It took me back to those places of pain and it made me confront a lot of things I was still holding on to. One thing it made me think of is the innocence of a child and what happens to that innocence when a child grows up. I think of my niece Briley. She is quite literally brand new to this world (just turned 6 months old). Although she is very aware and an extremely smart baby, there is not a whole lot that she understands quite yet. I believe she knows that she has parents who love her and take care of her, but she doesn’t understand every single word that they say to her yet. Yes, she is learning, but within this next year or two of life a big change will happen. Words will impact her in a new way. Things that we all say to her will shape her world and will start making changes to her heart. Because she has godly parents, she will understand the love that God has for her. But, she will also understand pain and what “mean words” are. But, for right now, Briley is the perfect image of innocence. Her view of the world and of herself hasn’t been at all changed or tainted by what others say to her. Then, I think of the kids in my cooking class (their ages range from 6 to about 11). Though they have a significant difference in their ages, they all now at this point in their lives have somewhat of an understanding of how the world works. They understand most vocabulary. Words like “ugly”, “fat”, “stupid”, and “skinny” impact their lives because they have knowledge of what those words mean. They are still the pictures of innocence but their worlds have been slightly tainted because they have an understanding of words, whether they are negative or positive. Sadly, I’m sure a lot of them have experienced what real pain is because of the people who shape their self-images…their parents.
Let’s face it… a lot of us have experienced pain, suffering, and heartbreak because of the people in our lives who are supposed to love us the most. As you’ll see in the book, that is where a lot of Lee’s problems started. She was raised by imperfect people who dumped all of their crap (sorry to use this term, but let’s just be real) onto her and then she had to deal with all the pain and suffering of their decisions. Unfortunately, since there is no such thing as a perfect person, we are all raised by imperfect people! Big shocker huh? Our parents had parents who caused them pain, which caused them to parent us imperfectly. Somewhere along the way, we lost our childlike innocence because that pain impacted our lives. It made us feel that we were less than, unworthy, and maybe even not good enough. But, want to know something really awesome? We have a Father God who IS PERFECT!!! He sees us as we are AND sees what we can be. He has full knowledge that you are beautiful, that you are smart, that you are wanted, and that you have amazing potential! He cherishes you!!!
Regardless of the kind of parents you grew up with, whether they were crazy dysfunctional or whether they did their very best despite their imperfections or whether maybe you did not even have any parents at all, we all need to hear that we are valued. So I am here today to tell you that you are! My prayer for you and for me is that we can go back to that place of innocence and believe all of the truths that God is speaking to our hearts. Quiet the noise around you and listen….your Father God wants to tell you how awesome and amazing you are!!
Much love and blessings!!
12 8 / 2012
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
What image does the word bondage evoke in your mind? …shackles around someone’s hands…chains around their ankles…locks…prison bars holding someone in a cell for an extended period of time… These are images of physical bonds that keep a person captive. But did you know that we can experience spiritual bondage as well?…inner bondage…a bondage that only we ourselves can feel and experience within…one that others can’t see on us…
This bondage comes in many forms but I think the most common form is addiction…The dictionary defines addiction as “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma”. Interesting that even the dictionary uses the word enslaved to define it.
Can we become addicted to the idea of being skinny just as much as we can get addicted to food, drugs, alcohol, or (you fill in the blank)?…Can we become so obsessed with the idea of “being skinny” or “being in good shape” that we lose sight of our purpose?
In my own journey of health, I know how much bondage I have felt from food, eating healthy, not eating healthy, never being satisfied with who I am…the list goes on and on…this bondage has been so frustrating and has caused me anger and sadness for much of my life.
Does anyone get what I’m talking about? That this state of dissatisfaction with the person God created us to be can become a form of bondage and can steer you off course from your ultimate purpose: to praise and worship the Lord, and glorify Him through your body.
Are you praising the Lord when you go on restrictive diets to improve your vanity? Are you worshiping him when exercise is the only thing on your mind every minute of every day? Are you glorifying him when you binge on all the “bad” foods you haven’t let yourself eat?? In all of those cases, we allow food, exercise, or “healthy eating” rule and reign in our lives rather than acknowledging the power of the One who loves us so much and would rather us live in freedom.
Doesn’t freedom sound so much better?
Now what kind of images come to mind when you think of freedom? Personally, I think of running through a gorgeous sprawling meadow with the sun beaming down, kissing my cheeks with its rays… I think of wide-open spaces without a cloud in sight….but, most of all, I think of peace…
When we feel free, we feel peace…we can break off those chains of bondage and finally come to a place of being satisfied with who we are!!
That’s the place we want to be right? That’s where true freedom lies…
So allow the Lord to help you get there! Ask Him to speak to your heart. Allow Him to show you how worthy you are of that freedom. After all, it is for FREEDOM that He has set us FREE!
Here’s my prayer for us today:
Thank you for these wonderful bodies you have given us. Help us break the bondage that vanity and poor self-image have over our lives. And help us come to a place of inner-peace and satisfaction so that we can carry out Your work, Lord. Love you!
In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Much love and blessings!!
24 7 / 2012
“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” – James 3: 10-11
In the past few weeks, I have noticed an uprising in the spirit of the importance of taming the tongue. There are 3 pastors I can think of specifically that have addressed this issue in their sermons. Over and over, I keep hearing the same thing, “Watch your words…they will guide the course of your life…they will bless your life or curse it…”
I think we all know this as truth, but do we really think about the impact that words have on our lives? James is saying that we have the ability to bless or curse our lives simply by what we say.
Now what impact do you think our words have on our health?? If you think they don’t have any impact on your health every single day…I’m sorry to burst your bubble but, that ain’t right! Our words can literally make or break our health…our words set the course of positivity or negativity in our bodies.
I remember when my sister was in high school, she had to do a science project that involved feeding negative words and positive words to plants. To one plant, she would say positive affirmations every day…”You’re beautiful”…”You’re perfect”…”I love you”…to the other plant, negative words…”You’re ugly”….”I hate you”…”No one likes you”…watching her do this project seemed a bit pointless to me at the time… I honestly didn’t think that the words would make much difference…
But, you want to know what happened? The plants felt the effects of the words spoken to them and were physically changed by the words. The plant that received the positive affirmations looked beautiful and strong…it stood tall and was the most beautiful shade of green…the other plant looked so very sad compared…it drooped and just kind of hung there…it was not as beautiful and vibrant as the other plant…
Do you see where I’m going with this? If words can do that to a plant…a living thing with no soul or spirit…what do you think they do to us?
If you are constantly saying to yourself…whether out loud or in your mind…”You’re too over-weight” “You’re not good enough” “You’re ugly” “You aren’t as skinny as so and so” or other negative thoughts or feelings…those words are affecting you…whether you like it or not, they are…do you ever feel good after saying something like that to yourself? I’m going to guess that you’re shaking you’re head “no” right now…You’re body doesn’t feel good either and I promise you that your words absolutely change your physical body because they have a huge impact on your heart and your spirit.
I wonder what would happen if we started just saying positive things about ourselves and our bodies…don’t you think that would make us actually feel good about ourselves?? I bet you it would!!
So today…together…let’s choose to speak about ourselves in the way that God sees us…”You’re beautiful” “You ARE good enough” “You’re perfect in your individuality” “You deserve to be celebrated”…Maybe even look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself these things!! It might feel odd at first, but it’s worth it! Then just wait and see the impact it has on your heart and on your body. I promise you this…you will see the beauty that comes with speaking God’s truth (which is the only truth) over yourself….You won’t be disappointed in the results. ;-)
Much love and blessings to you all!!
06 7 / 2012
“Learn to do right! Seek justice; encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15
Have you ever seen those people who are just completely at peace with themselves? Those that aren’t phased by criticism or gossip and who literally radiate humility, love, and confidence? Those people who are just plain healthy…in there body, in their mind, and in their heart…I have had the honor of coming across a few of these people in my life and their lives have had a lasting impact on mine….I would call these kind of people truly beautiful because beauty radiates from the inside out of them. I would call them truly healthy because they have realized that inner health must be resolved before outer health can come to fruition.
But above all and most importantly, I would call them compassionate. When they communicate with others…when they listen to others…how they help others and even just how they exist day to day all just overflow with compassion.
It might sound a little off-base to this blog’s purpose, but I believe that the most important ingredient to a healthy life is compassion…as love is the resounding theme in this healthy-living blog, compassion is just love in action…it is love that actually makes a difference…love in the process of being selfless, courageous, and effective. This is love that brings healing to others but also to you.
Something my mom always says is, “When you’re feeling depressed, stressed, or just plain down, get out of yourself and go help somebody else!” And she’s absolutely right! Compassion and selflessness are the cures for whatever ails you…when you’re focusing on someone else’s wellbeing instead of just your own, do you really think you’re going to be solely focused on your negative body image, those last 5 pounds you can’t lose, or the sugar addiction you are trying to get rid of? I guarantee that you won’t!
Think about it this way…a person full of angst, bitterness, hatred, selfishness, stress, etc., is literally creating a toxic environment in their body and in the bodies of those around them…that’s not only spiritually true but it’s physically true as well…staying focused on just yourself and your own problems will only create bigger health problems for your body and your mind…
So make the decision today…no matter what is going on in your life…no matter what stressful or depressing situation that you are facing…to be compassionate…call a friend and pray for them…open the door for a stranger…apologize even when you really don’t want to…lay down your pride and tell that family member that you love them…then just wait and see how much better you feel! Your health will be blessed as you reach out to bless others!! ;-)
Much love and blessings to you all!
13 6 / 2012
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Every time I see this Scripture verse, I can’t help but burst out in that joyous hymn: “This is the day. This is the day. That the Lord has made. That the Lord has made. I will rejoice. I will rejoice. And be glad in it. And be glad in it.”
It’s so easy and fun to sing…but when you really think about what it’s saying, it’s not always easy to actually do. Rejoice in today…be glad in it…I believe this verse is telling us to live in the moment right now…to today decide to be happy and decide to rejoice.
Easier said than done right?
Well it doesn’t have to be. I am discovering that one of the most important parts of living in the moment, of being happy every day is simply this: don’t wait until tomorrow to do what will make you happy today.
I believe this especially (ESPECIALLY) applies to health. It’s so easy to put your health off…”Oh tomorrow I’ll start exercising…I’m too tired today”…”Tomorrow I’ll stop bingeing and purging…I need to look really skinny in that dress tonight”…”Tomorrow I’ll stop burying my emotions in too much food…I had a really rough day”…”Tomorrow I’ll eat more vegetables” “Tomorrow I’ll stop smoking” “Tomorrow I’ll stop speaking so badly about myself and my body…I really looked bad in those jeans so I deserved it…” Tomorrow…Tomorrow…TOMORROW…
The thing I’ve noticed about tomorrow is that most of the time it never comes. If you put off goals or changes until tomorrow, it’s really another way of saying that you are putting it off indefinitely. Because if you can’t make that change today…why would it be any easier to make it tomorrow?
The best way to make a change is to start today…start small, don’t overwhelm yourself…every small change that you make will have a definite impact and is a step in the right direction. ;-)
Here’s my prayer for us today:
Thank you for these beautiful bodies that you have given us. Please help us accomplish our goals and make healthy choices for them every single day. Forgive us for being afraid of change. Thank you for being with us every step of our journey to health! Love you Lord!
In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Much love and blessings to you all!!