Archive | June, 2013

My Steps to Strong

30 Jun

Step 1: Keep the Faith

The one thing that has always been consistent in my life is my faith. I know with all my heart that it is God who has gone before me, and led me into circumstances that have made me who I am today…and the person I hope to become.I love this quote

“God loves me just the way I am, But He also loves me too much to leave me that way.”

Each day that I am given is a gift. Jesus said that the greatest gifts on this earth is to… “abide in faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13  God is love. I want to reflect that to everyone…even the people I DON’T always get along with….Jesus was loving to those who slandered Him, spit on Him, and eventually Crucified Him. My patience pales in comparison. Jesus is strong. And if God is for me, who can be against me? Also, Jesus wasn’t just mentally and spiritually strong, He was also physically strong. He was a carpenter, He engaged in manual labor most of His life. For decades people have shaped the image of Christ into what they want Him to be, but Jesus does not fit into a box. Read HERE for a great article on the true image of Christ.

 

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Step 2: Strengthen Your Relationships

You will fall in life. But who is there for you when you do? Are you there for them? Refocusing on who is a priority in your life is important. Some people may just be unhealthy to be around, and that’s O.K. You can love them from a far {or tolerate them from afar} but you don’t have to be best friends with everyone. Look around you, who do you love? Don’t let a day slip by without letting them know. and also…If you want a good friend, you have to be one first. Sometimes that’s hard to recognize when we get caught up in the busyness of life.

friendship

Step 3: Find What Moves You…Literally

For me, I LOVE CrossFit. It’s such an amazing sport. You challenge yourself daily.

stronger

I love setting goals. My CrossFit goals are:

1. Figure out Double Unders

2. Kipling Pullups

3. Muscle ups

4. Work on Olympic Lifting

5. Focus on Form.

One thing I’ve really noticed about CrossFit, is that you shouldn’t try to figure it out on your own.

Crossfit is not dangerous

One of the first steps to joining a CrossFit gym is taking a Fundamentals Course. You need it. Don’t skimp. CrossFit is NOT throwing weights around. It’s physics, it’s form, it’s challenging. I personally know I won’t challenge myself like this on my own.

It’s quality coaching and the atmosphere of other CrossFitters who make CrossFit amazing.

crossfit pic

Step 4: Nutrition

If you feed your body with junk, it will perform like junk.

Eat Real Food. Eat Protein, Veggies, and Fruit. Avoid processed foods.

Nutrition Goal: Embrace my inner chief.

I love quest bars, but I wanted to see if I could make my own Protein Bites. Here are my results:

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Paleo Baked Protein Bites

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Paleo No-Bake Protein Bites

Baked Paleo Protein Bites

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Dry Ingredients:

3 Scoops Iso Define Chocolate Protein Powder {any whey protein powder will work}

1/4 Cup Coconut Flour

1/4 Cup Powdered Peanut Butter {PB2}

1/4 Cup Flax Seeds

1/4 Cup Raw Shredded Almonds

4 packets of Organic Stevia

Wet Ingredients:

2 Eggs

2 Mashed Bananas

2tbs Organic Honey

Instructions: Mix all together in a bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook for 18-20 minutes.

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Result: 2013-06-30 13.36.57 Yum! Tastes amazing fresh out of the oven, or after refrigerating.

NutritionLabel-1 copy

{Nutrition facts added up by me and entered HERE }

NO-BAKE Protein Bites {Paleo}

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup Steal Cut Oats

1/2 C PB2 {mixed with 1/4 c water}

1/2 C Chocolate Powdered Peanut butter {mixed with 1/4 c water}

1/4 C coconut flour

1/4 C Sliced raw almonds

1 tbs Honey

8 packs Stevia

4 Scoops of Whey Protein {chocolate}

Directions: Mix it all together. {I use a spoon. yea, I know, so cultured in the arts of culinary…} Roll into balls. Put in fridge for at least 3-4 hours.

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{Nutrition Facts to come. }

So here are my “baby steps” to fitness. What about you? Do you keep track of your goals?

What are your top fitness goals?

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Modestly Speaking

28 Jun

I have a bad case of Verbal Vomit …

Have you ever found yourself in mid conversation and you have that voice in the back of your mind that says,”Don’t say it, don’t you dare!” and before you know it, it has rolled off your tongue like turpentine. Not necessarily like Miranda Lambert’s White Liar, but you just can’t keep your thoughts to yourself! Sometimes this is a good thing…sometimes, not.so.much.

I’m an open book, and you never have to guess what’s on my mind. I have a bad case of verbal vomit…often known as “foot-in-the-mouthtitis”. This has gotten me into trouble more times than I can count.

example:

Me: Oh, you are just all baby!

Client: Yea, I know. I’m trying to lose it.

Situation: I thought she was pregnant still…she delivered 3 weeks prior. All of you mothers out there want to kill me now, I know. I meant for it to be a compliment. She was a really adorable pregnant girl…the kind where it looks like they just smuggled a beach ball under their shirt. Needless to say, the next 2 hours of her hair appointment was really awkward. {she did forgive me…eventually….}

Proverbs 13:3 says “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin”.

My other favorite is: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

This is a lesson I keep struggling with. I have this poster up in my classroom as soon as kids enter. I think it’s a good reminder, daily.

THINK

Holding your tongue takes a lot of self control. I realized this when I was in CrossFit class the other day…I talk too much. I like to justify “why” I can’t do something, when I need to just drop the ego, listen, and DO IT. I came across this  poster on Pinterest and wanted to share it. After my foundations course at CrossFit Lake Effect, I definitely agree with this poster!

big ego crossfit

These are my goals:

  • Think MORE, Speak LESS
  • Let my Actions SHOW…{our actions already speak louder than words, I know I need to SHOW love, not impatience, frustration, and selfishness…oh man, easier said than done!!!!}

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Food for Thought

We also need to be deliberate about what we EAT. I really like the Paleo diet. Or I like to think of it as “The Maker’s Diet”. I think that God created food, and it’s best to eat it in the ways in which He intended it to be eaten. I love fresh fruits and veggies, and I’m realizing that all my years as a reluctant cook was quite silly, because if you focus on eating food closest to its  purest form, cooking is super easy!

I made Paleo Banana Pancakes for Breakfast this Morning {flour free}

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THREE INGREDIENTS {can’t get easier than that}

1 Ripe Banana

2 Eggs

2 tbs Pure Maple Syrup (or Raw Honey)

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Mush it all up!

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Fry it up like a pancake.

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So YUM, and very filling. only about 200 cal. Great way to start the morning.

I’ll leave you with this to “Chew” on… I’ve been thinking about modesty lately too: What it means to have Humility, and high standards…to be set a apart.

humility

Be Extraordinary

25 Jun

Oxymoron

The word itself implies that one who is extraordinary would be….extra ordinary, or extremely ordinary. It’s a contradiction based on the true meaning of the word; something that is exquisite or unique.

I like to think of it this way….I’m an ordinary person, but I have a little something extra. I’m extraordinary {meanwhile you’re thinking, “You’re conceited!”}

We are all extraordinary in some way or another. You have a talent, a gift, something no one else has. You are ordinary in the fact that you are human, you will fail at things, but how you choose to respond to that failure is what makes you extraordinary. Do you get back up and keep at it, or do you fold like a deck of cards? I think this quote embodies the human condition perfectly: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure- Marianne Williamson. (Read the full POEM)

our-deepest-fear

*Photo Credit HERE 

I’m trying CrossFit at CrossFit Lake Effect  and I can’t say that I do the sport any justice at this point. It’s hard. I get nervous before each training just wondering if I can keep up or not. And you know what, sometimes I can’t. And sometimes I can’t do things (like a double under) because I psych myself out. And somethings I’m just not strong enough to do (proper push ups, pull ups, rings) But here’s the true test of my character…do I give up and say “my body just can’t do that” (like I did with the French language “my tongue just doesn’t work like that!”) or do I give it my all and get back up and try again {option B is the correct choice!} It’s all about your priorities. At this point in my life my priority is being true to myself. What’s that mean? NOT GETTING COMFORTABLE.

Don’t Get Comfortable {Devotion}

Just like in working out, our faith life needs to be uncomfortable too. Whenever we feel comfortable with something, it means we’ve gone stagnant. For example, if I can lift  35 lbs on a barbel at first, I might be sore. But the more I do it, the more use to it I become. If I don’t increase my weight, I won’t build any new muscle. I’ll be comfortable, but ineffective. My mom always said, “You gotta grow, or you gotta go.” She is so inspirational. She is 50 years and just embarking on a new career as a Real Estate Agent, she has been super successful too. She is also a Spin and Pilates instructor, as well as a successful owner of a hair salon(35 years).

She has been a spiritual leader in my life too, a living example of Proverbs 31. Whenever I would complain or call her crying, she would always say…”What did Jesus tell you about this situation?” It was not the answer I wanted. I wanted her to validate my emotional state of mind, but she was always right. If I stopped and prayed about it, I wouldn’t be nearly as upset. I find myself thinking about these sayings now when I’m upset:

Pray About It

Free Download of Saying HERE

the woes we bear

Our human nature wants us to stay “comfortable”, it wants us to be ordinary. But God tells us we are His handiwork (Ephesians 2:10) and that he created us to SHINE. Each and everyone of us has a different purpose; we have different talents, abilities, and perspectives. When we realize that, we can break the cycle of comparing ourselves to others and STOP being so hard on ourselves when we don’t feel that we “measure up”. We can also recognize that having differing opinions is a good thing (except for on this). I see things completely different than Ryan sees things, but if we saw things the same, I don’t think we’d be together.

For example: When I was in my Psych class in college, we looked at these pictures…

duck-rabbit-illusion young3

What do you see in the first one? In the second?

With this prompt (we only did one at a time) students engaged in a heated  debate when asked what this picture was….

For #1: Some said, “Duck” and some said, “Rabbit”.

#2: Some said, “The profile of a young woman.” and others said, “An old woman”.

Who was right? {someone must always be right!} The answer: BOTH

These are perspective drawings, designed to portray more than one image. Look again, tilt your head if you need to. Can you see both in each drawing?

Sometimes we are right, and so are others. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that. Especially when you’re a 3/4th grade(s) teacher and your students are right…when you tell them their wrong…then they correct you…Again, you have the choice to be prideful in this moment and make some outlandish remark/excuse, or you can get uncomfortable. I just smile and say “Silly teacher! You are so smart (billy, or suzy…)”. Give others the credit they deserve too…even if you aren’t sure, or you disagree. When you stop looking at your own knowledge for the answers, open your mind, and learn from others….that is growth.

God designed us to live in a community with one another. I am amazed everyday at the people I get to met, and the wisdom I glean from them. You truly can learn something new everyday if you simply pay attention.

you learn something

This post was a bit of a stream of consciousness, but it was from the heart. I hope you liked it and gleaned some insights yourself. I know I put the link to the Poem by Marianne Williamson above, but this poem is so beautiful, that I want to put the whole thing on here…Pay Attention, I’m trying to entice you to read it.

Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Keep Shining. And when you feel your light is dim, pray, and know that God will shine through you, even at your weakest.

-Ashley

Read. Run. Eat

23 Jun

Have you heard of Rich Froning?

Rich-Froning-Jr-12

 

photo credit: http://malecelebbio.com/gallery/2013/03/Rich-Froning-Jr-12.jpg

I have been on a reading kick lately, but I’ve found that my passion for literary works is waning, and I’m more interested in biographies and memoirs. It was serendipitous that I am getting into CrossFit and the male face of CrossFit comes out with a memoir…and then, it just so happens that I felt God put it on my heart to only read about things that are honoring to God….and guess what?! Froning’s book has a Christian focus. Double Score! I snagged an ebook copy HERE. I have the NOOK app on my iPad, but I found that I can download the FREE CBDreader app from christianbook.com. I really liked that I was supporting a Christian bookstore too. Bn.com does not have the ebook yet. So If you are impatient like me, get the ebook at christianbook.com and download the free CBDreader app and you’ll be in like flynn.

I thought this was really cool too, watch a typical workout for Rich Froning HERE.

I love working out and challenging myself. It gives me an incredible boost of self esteem to know that I gave something my all. Right now I know I have a long road ahead of myself to get fit enough to fully complete CrossFit WODs the way they are meant to be done. But I am really excited to see where my journey will take me.

At times I feel guilty for being so dedicated to working out. So I hope this memoir gives me a good perspective on Faith and Fitness. I’ll keep ya updated 😉

Run

Today I went on a 4 mile run. It was way too hot. I ran by the lake and it literally looked the like beach was one giant ant hill.

GHCityBeach2

 

But I was still glad that I did it. I was putting it off for TOO long.

I used a new playlist that I wanted to share with you. I thought it was a good one:

“Run it” Playlist

Song:                    Artist:

Radioactive          Imagine Dragons

Light Em Up        Fall Out Boy

Sail                         AWOLNATION

Blurred Lines       feat. T.I. & Pharrell

I’m Down               The Almost

Raise The Banner      Audio Adrenaline

More of You             Goo Goo Dolls

Slow it Down          Goo Goo Dolls

What a Mystery      Josh Wilson

 

I know it’s a bit of a mix up between secular and Christian music, but It’s upbeat and really gets you motivated. I ran super fast up hills to the first four songs, and then at a moderate, contemplative pace for the rest. I think it’s a keeper for a fast run.

Food

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Tonight’s dinner was gluten free breaded chicken and veggies in parmesan cheese! So YUM

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Here’s what I did:

I took 1 gallon sized zip lock bag and put in the following-

1/2 cup Glutino bread crumbs

1/2 tbs Slap Ya Mamma

1/4 tbs Morton’s MSG Free Garlic Salt

1/2 tbs Cilantro

Put it in the bag and shake. It can’t get easier than that!

This mix was enough for 4 chicken breasts (2 for us for tonight, and 2 for leftovers tomorrow).

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Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.

Then I simply steamed the veggies in the microwave in a bowl with a little water and a paper towel over it. DON’T buy steamer bags, WASTE of money. This works even better.

Then I sprinkled some low fat parmesan cheese and sea salt on the veggies. So easy. Took 45 minutes to make if you include prep time. But I actually got my ab workout in while it was baking, so totally hands off, easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

I’m thinking Glutino Breadcrumbs will become a staple in my kitchen

For desert we had FROZEN GRAPES!! {Caution…once you pop, you can’t stop!}

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If you try this – just know that they don’t 100% fully freeze. They take a couple hours too. But It’s my new summer treat! I shared it with my nieces {4 and 6 years old} over the week and convinced them it was their “treat” for the day! I love that they totally bought it and LOVED it! They were really excited about it too. So fun to pass on a passion for healthy eating! ❤

Shop the Perimeter

23 Jun

Getting Restocked.

If you don’t make a plan, you plan to fail {I am so turning into my mother…}

Last week I practically survived on baby carrots, Spinach Protein shakes, grapefruit, and quest bars.

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Although, it’s healthier than other “on the go” food choices, I really missed cooking in the kitchen. So it was time to get stocked up.

Grocery List

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I love to grocery shop. I consider it prosaic..I love reading food labels, and seeing what’s in season, or if there are any new products out. I spend more money on food than anything else. I buy my clothes at Goodwill, and my food at top quality. It’s worth the trade off. I’m sure you’ve heard of this, but I usually focus on shopping the perimeter of the store when looking for healthy choices. I could never understand why people buy “flavored” items…when you could just eat the real thing (ex: strawberry fruit snacks….Just eat Strawberries people!)

I had to go to a couple stores today to find my beloved Ezekiel Bread…But it’s the only bread I’ll eat. It’s made from sprouts and seeds.

2013-06-23 12.40.04 AND it’s the only “bread” that won’t upset my IBS.

I think you should always try something new too, so tonight I’m going to make “Chicken Sausage”

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I will eat it sans bread of course, But Ryan will eat em’ just like they are hot dogs.

Then I got into the great protein debate…..I LOVE GNC, and I’ve been using their protein powder for a long time. But it does get pricey.

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The ISO-DEFINE tastes amazing, is 150 cal, 4.5g fat, 2g sugar, 9g carbs and 20g protein. It’s also $50 and have 20 serving sizes. Making it $2.50/ shake.

The Designer Whey has 100 cal, 2g fat, 2g sugar, 6g carbs, and 18g protein. It was $21 and 28 servings….making it .75 cents per protein shake….

and the winner was….

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What Protein Powder do you use? I use it everyday, so it really matters to me that I’m putting the best into my body. But at the same time…money matters too. I am joining Lake Effect Crossfit soon, so I need to watch my pennies! With every decision we make, saying YES to one thing, means saying NO to another. So I’am going to be a “frugal foodie” from now on. My main mantra is that you need to eat food. Real food. In the form that GOD made it. So, lets just pray that fruits and veggies remain affordable!

Because this is my attempt to grow my own food:

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Let’s just say that if I had to grow my own food…I’d be dead by now! I seriously eat at least a 1lb bag of veggies/ day….three jalapeños and a few green tomatoes would not even last me past breakfast! God Bless Farmers!!!

I also heard the other day, “Fruit is God’s desert”. I LOVE FRUIT. I do eat it like desert, because it is full of carbs and sugar. I know a lot of people like to go “bananas” with fruit, and claim that it’s a “free food”, but I actually gained MORE weight juicing fruits and eating them in large quantities. So like anything, balance is key. My new favorite is putting grapes in the freezer! They’re like popsicle bites! So good!

I also LOVE 80 cal vanilla greek yogurt with PB2 and fresh fruit. {it’s a taste of heaven on earth!}

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And I will leave you with this little tid-bit for inspiration. I had a friend once tell me that “eating it the most intimate thing we do.” This is so true {think about it for a sec…it effects every cell in our bodies, and it can control how we feel} This being said, you can’t have a good workout without proper fuel. Eat to live. Not Live to eat. Food is power, use it wisely!

health

Love at First WOD

19 Jun

Love at First WOD

Here I go…blogging too much again! But this couldn’t wait until tomorrow.

crossfitpic

 

Pin It!

I took a HUGE step for me and went out of my comfort zone. I finally went to a CrossFit gym! (applause on putting my grown up pants on would be nice!) I have talked a lot about CrossFit inspired workouts, and about my goals of actually doing REAL CrossFit. Well, it TOTALLY lived up to the hype! I was happy to have my friend Angela there too. She was great, cheering me on. That’s one thing that really stood out to me…it was so encouraging. When I usually go to a typical gym, people don’t talk to each other. I mean, when was the last time you went to a spin class and the chick next to you said, “Wow, you really worked that hill. Good job!”  Um, never. Even my  own mother is a spin instructor, and you know what she says to me?!?! “You’re goin’ down!”. Ok, my family’s a bit competitive…I’ll save that for another time.

So here’s a quick look at my first impression of Lake Effect CrossFit

  • It was welcoming. When you’re new to an intimidating sport like CrossFit, this is key!
  • It was professional. The trainer knows his stuff! With every move he explained what we were doing, how, and why.
  • It was encouraging. Not only was the trainer encouraging, but so were the other athletes! (ok- they were athletes…not me…)
  • It was challenging. Oh man. That’s an understatement.
  • It was flexible- there were a variety of  class times I could choose from .
  • The trainer was able to adjust the workout to my fitness level.
  • It was clean.
  • They have top quality equipment.
  • Friendly. Any gym that has a dog hanging around is a great gym. Dogs can inherently tell if you’re a good person or not…if everyone was like a dog, the world would be a much better place…but again, I digress…

My Personal fitness goals with CrossFit:

  • Gain strength
  • Improve Everyday
  • Be able to do more than hang on the bar…actually be able to do pull ups
  • Understand my body better
  • Push myself further than I ever imagined I could!
  • Grow my baby muscles!

Nutrition is important to fulfill my goals. So tonight when I got home I made myself a Chocolate Spinach Protein Shake. Yum. (Also ate the “ugly loaf” from last nights dinner)

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Like my old school ice cube tray? Yup, pretty sweet…

Simple Ingredients:

1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder

2 fist fulls of spinach

1 cup ice cubes

1 pack stevia

Result: HAPPY. HAPPY. HAPPY. A great treat to feed my muscles at the end of a hard day’s work.

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BEST way to end the day…Puppy love.

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Love that they think carrots are a treat!

Your turn! Have you tried a CrossFit gym? 

Every Day is a New Beginning

19 Jun

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Random pic….but I’m loving summer and what the sun/pool is doing to my hair. I’m an accidental blonde, but I’ll take it. Thank you Mr. Sunshine. 🙂

I notice that I have been blogging way too much lately. But what else am I supposed to do while the Irrigation Guy fixes my sprinklers?

Tonight is a big event at the YMCA promoting the new CrossFit gym. I asked the hubs if I could join and got a big fat “NO”….So, I researched to see if there were any other gyms that would let you pay as you go instead of signing a contract. I found  one that is a stone’s throw from my house. I can’t believe I am  JUST finding out about it. Anyways, unlike the Y, they have the first class FREE! So, um, yes, sign me up! I can’t wait to learn proper form from a professional. I have tried to youtube things like “clean and press”, “turkish getups”, and more…but since this type of workout is totally new to me, I need someone telling me if I’m doing it right.

Devotions

*Reading from Romans 7

“The Bible is meant to be our Daily Bread, not our Desert…”  I can’t recall where I read this, but it stuck out to me. If we’re being honest, how many times do we only acknowledge God on Sundays and Holidays? Or when our lives are good?

Or what about when we hear about a tragedy and thank God that it’s not us? Didn’t that last one sound awful?! I’m looking at my own heart today and realizing how greedy and self focused I am. Apostle Paul recognized it in his heart too when he wrote,

We know that (God’s law) is spiritual; but I am unspiritual… I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do….I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry  it out…(Romans 7:15-19)

Can you relate? You want to start each day by setting yourself apart. You might say, “Today I’m going to _________.” But you you don’t.  You miss your goal. Maybe you want to show love to an “enemy”, for God tells us to love our enemies (a lot easier said than done at times). Maybe you want to be more patient? kind hearted? Bold? Everyone has something they want to do to better themselves. It’s in our nature. It’s also in our nature to self sabotage.

For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing….So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s laws; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. what a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ out Lord! (Romans 7:19-25)

What is sin? What is evil? Well, I’m no theologian, but I’ll tell you what I think it is – Anything that separates us from God. That might look different to a lot of people. What blesses one may hinder another. This reminds me of a conversation I had with a girlfriend of mine yesterday. She said “Hey a friend of mine loves this site called bodyrocktv.com, you should check it out.” Now, I know a lot of people who like that site, and I think it’s awesome that they share free workouts and advice. HOWEVER, for me, it is a stumbling block. I start to compare myself to their images, and then it creates poor body image for me. I am not saying it’s “bad” or “evil”, but in my own walk with God, I feel that it is not helpful for me and my relationship with Christ. It makes me compare myself, and fills me with self doubt…God wants me to look to Him to find my identity, not others. I do follow a lot of great bloggers who I feel are modest and encourage healthy body image. But sometimes I’ll come across stuff and I feel that God tells me “not for you”.

I need to listen to that “gut feeling”; that’s how I follow God. He is not an auditory voice in my ear, but a feeling in my heart and my gut. I need to listen to that in order to do what is “good” and to keep myself from doing what  my self seeking human nature wants to do (For example, I WANT to sleep in, eat Oreos, and read all day….but that would do no one any good- especially myself). Paul got it. He knew that he didn’t have the strength or the wisdom by himself to what is good. Our nature will always be self seeking.

Think of a time when you’ve helped someone….Is it really what you wanted to do? Do you ever really want to workout? It’s painful! I’ve had people say to me, “Why are you doing that (helping, serving, etc), what do they do for you?” Or “You’re crazy, why do you give your time, you don’t get anything in return…” But the truth is that I get far more in return than I give.

My heart is so full, and I feel an unnatural sense of joy when I serve others. It is inconvenient…I would rather sleep in on a Sunday than help out at church. If you say you wouldn’t, I would think you were a lair. Deep down I know that I have these selfish desires. But giving and serving is the same as working out. It’s a muscle you build, and over time it gets easier. You think of yourself less, and others more.

But it’s not something I can do on my own. I need to pray that God will give me His eyes to see His people. Because sometimes people just down right make me MAD, and I want to be rude back, and I want to say that last word, and I want to give dirty looks….but I know that since Christ lives in me, that I need to let that selfish side my my heart die. And when someone cuts me off, or says something hurtful….I need to be Jesus to them. I need to have grace, and mercy, and forgiveness. A man once asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his neighbor…the man asked if 7 times was enough….Jesus responded “7 times 77.” which doesn’t literally mean 539 times, but continually, unconditionally. God doesn’t tell us that he will only forgive us “x” amount of times. Thank God! (Now there is something to be said for letting people use you, which is different, you can forgive someone and still decide that they do not need to be a part of your life. Some people are just toxic for us to be around).

I think my point is this: Each day is a new beginning. Each day is a gift, and each day we have the choice to either rely on God and do good, or rely on our selves and give in to our natural self seeking desires. I share this with you NOT because I’m “GOOD”, but because I struggle too. Daily, I struggle, and daily it reminds me that I need to rely on Jesus for my self esteem, and how I treat people…even what I blog about.

Here’s a great video from the Skit Guys that I think relates to this post:

God’s Chisel Remastered Video

Here’s another video….This is why I blog about God and am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in:

God’s Not Dead

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