Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Please talk me out of this!!!

There are times when I am committed beyond words to what God has called me to health-wise. I have studied what His Word says about taking care of the temple and giving Him glory through our physical bodies. I have been convicted, confessed and repented. Forgiveness has been good. Very Good.

And yet, there are times when DOUBT, like a roaring waterfall, comes flooding over me. Temptation haunts me on every side. It comes most often when I am alone. And away from home. And it comes HARD and FAST.

Today, I took Kaitlyn to a class near our church (that's 30 minutes away from home). I drop her off and have only two errands to run. Yay for me! To the bank and post office I go, and those jobs seem to go quicker than normal (not having to wrangle little people helps sometimes).

The WHOLE time I am driving, this little conversation rolls through my head:

I am by myself. Thank You Lord for a few minutes to breathe.

I am SO hungry right now.

You brought healthy food and water.

Yay (with severe sarcasm)

Who would know if I went by Krispy Kreme or Dairy Queen?

I would.

Lord, I am SO hungry. I just want a little bit. How bad would it be? (To one would know - SERIOUSLY, I said this to myself as if the Lord wouldn't know what I was thinking. Uuggh. The flesh is an ugly and deceitful thing. I HATE the flesh. I cannot stand the sinful nature in me that looks like this).


Lord, maybe I can just post this to Facebook or send a text to friends. I need someone to talk me out of this!!! I need help.

I know. I am enough.

I would like to tell you that I submitted willingly but I pouted. I sat in the parking lot of our church and ate my broccoli salad, which was very tasty by the way. And ate my orange and drank my water.

AND had NO regrets. No guilt. No shame. He WAS and He IS enough. I need nothing more. May I crave Him more and think of my cravings for things of this world less.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pretend It's KFC...

If you read that title, you might be confused. But, to those who know me WELL, you absolutely get it. I don't care for, dislike, abhor, cannot stand KFC. I even have trouble typing those initials, and I officially gag when I see the sign for the restaurant. At our annual homeschool cover school meeting, the leadership always sees fit to pass around buckets from THAT place, and I sit next to my friend Traci, who willingly passes it right over me. She can confirm that I have gagged in the bucket before.

Many years ago, while we were serving for a couple of months in China, I was given the task of holding KFC chicken for a class fellowship we were hosting at our apartment. The drive was an hour...the longest hour of my life...longer than adoption or birth...I promise. I chose to roll down the window and inhale body odors, diesel fuels, and smoke over smelling the KFC. It was horrific. I am still traumatized.

It's a LONG story. And, I am not sharing it here. Just know that I will gladly go with you to that place, but I will NOT be eating. And, if I get up to go to the bathroom, I may not return. I greatly despise the place and the food. And, NO you cannot fool me by putting it in a different container. I know my chicken, people.

Fast forward to this past Saturday which was Zeke and Elly's second Gotcha Day...and included a family trip to the circus. Granted it's been four years since I've attended the Big Top but wow, the temptations were amazing. The food even comes to you if you don't want to be bothered to go to the concession stand. Popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, s'mores puffs (those looked delightful), nachos...every single unhealthy food you can was there. Now granted the guy in front of us bought a water for $5 (probably because he spent the other $95 on his two daughters and wife eating every single one of those foods...did they just go say, "I'll have one of everything?"). But, I feel fairly certain that no healthy foods were to be found in the BJCC this weekend.

I was tempted, my friends. On EVERY SIDE! I felt like I couldn't breathe for a few minutes as I wanted to devour the cotton candy... So I did what came to mind first. Reach out to people who can help. I posted my thoughts and my friend, James, came to the rescue. He said, "Imagine all of the vendors as a KFC." It might not have worked for everyone, but it did the trick for me. Hallelujah! I would hear the vendors shout out their goods and all I could hear was "KFC! KFC!" Yuck! The thought repulsed me, and I gagged just thinking about it.

Sometimes all I need is a push in the right direction...a few words of encouragement...a challenging text. I am so grateful that I have that support system that helps me to stay focused on the goal at hand. Praise God for community that doesn't say, "A little won't hurt you" or "You deserve it." I need people who can hold my feet to the fire and remind me that He is conforming me to His image.

How about you? Have you fallen off the health wagon since the beginning of 2013? If so, admit it. Say it your close friends, your family, and EVERYONE. Ask for accountability and ACCEPT it. God desires ALL of get moving people and do NOT bring me KFC...I am strong enough now to hurt you.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Call Me An Alien

On Saturday morning I did something I have NEVER done...I registered for a race on the spot. JT and Kaitlyn were already signed up to run a local 5K but we all decided that we needed to run longer.

Ensue the morning...wake up at 6:00 (okay, I might want to tell you that a full 8 hours of sleep was simply glorious. We have to get up earlier to go to Crossfit or to run, so 6:00 sounded absolutely amazing!)...get dressed and eat some oatmeal, drink a little water...head to the race site. I changed JT and Kaitlyn's registration to the 10K and signed up myself. What was I thinking?

A year ago, I would have been petrified by a 10K..that's 6.2 miles...and I would have barely been able to breathe even thinking about it. But, today I had a false confidence apparently based on the fact that I have run more at some point. Nonetheless, I was going to run.

As I passed mile marker one, God reminded me of a conversation with a friend recently. She said, "This whole exercising thing is foreign to me." I was struck by her use of the word foreign and it rang true for me too. Then, God showed me how it SHOULD be foreign to me because I am a FOREIGNER or ALIEN here. Look at these verses:

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

We LONG for the day when we will be in eternity with our Savior. We are just foreigners here. We are not of this world. So, OF COURSE, the things we do are foreign to us. They should feel that way. Perhaps we even enjoy those things sometimes...or not.

I had a hard time running for some reason (I'm guessing that resorting to using the treadmill over the past few weeks because of weather conditions has not helped), but God's strength sustained me. As I hit the 3.1 mark, there was an opportunity to cross the finish line for the 5K. But to the right was a sign labeled "10K turnaround" - I wish I had snapped a photo and put it here. It was such a raw, beautiful thing to me. As I circled around the cones I prayed that God would give me the endurance to keep going. And, He did.

He will be faithful to us aliens here. He will show His power and glory through the lives that we submit to Him. When we say no to unhealthy foods or say yes to the right foods...when we give up our personal preferences to push our bodies to the limit or when we just get moving....He is honored. Daily discipline glorifies Him.

So, come on fellow foreigners...we are three weeks into the new year...keep going for His glory!

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Biggest Mistake

A plan for food...a plan for exercise... it was all set. And, I was ready to go. Or so I thought.

While talking to a friend who struggles in similar ways this week, God reminded me of the biggest mistake I made in those first few months. I underestimated the amount of calories I took in daily and overestimated the amount of calories I was expending through exercise. For example, I would estimate that I had eaten 2000 calories when it was more like 3500. And, surely that walk for thirty minutes at a slow pace burned up 1000 calories...right?

When I learned that for every 3500 calorie deficit I incurred, I would lose a pound, I became keenly aware of my NEED to see the truth. I desperately needed to watch the amount of food I ate and what I ate. I wanted to know exactly how many calories I was using up in exercise.

Don’t you just know it...there’s an app for that! I’m sure there are hundreds of apps as well as websites that will do just that for you. I personally use Livestrong’s My Plate and the Nike+ app. But, a good old fashioned journal works just as well...JT and I are logging all of our food for the next week for our Crossfit group, and it has made us very mindful again of exactly what we are eating.

The basic idea is this...SEEING THE TRUTH. It is NOT easy at really look at how many calories you are taking in and to see how many calories are going out. But, facing the truth is the first step in the process!

I challenge you to fully look at what you are eating and what you are doing exercise-wise. Is what you are doing helping you to reach your goal of honoring Christ with your body? Are you drawing close to Him? Would you choose Him over chocolate cake today? If what you are doing is not working, why not? Have you started with the truth FIRST?

Lay this challenge at His feet and see what He wants you to do with it. I hope you will join me in facing the TRUTH!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Crossfit - is it for us regular folks?

As most people do, I made a few resolutions for the New of those was NOT to lose weight...ha! Do you know how funny that is after making the SAME resolution for 25 years in a row? It is still astounding and hilarious even as I type it. Still...I did resolve to continue to live a healthy lifestyle and to become even more fit this year. So, I did what any Bible-believing Christian woman would do...I made a list. It's what I do well...and I would label it too if it sat still long enough (don't get me started on how my heart goes pitter-patter when I use a label maker or walk into an organization store).

Here's what I resolved to do:

1. Drink more water (I still struggle with this and often just forget to drink for hours at a time).
2. Drink one more cup of hot green tea a day. I actually enjoy this and it gives me time to sit and think for all of three minutes.
3. Get involved in a cross-training program to improve overall conditioning.
4. Run at least 45 minutes twice a week and continue a longer run (5 miles or more) on Saturdays.
5. Regularly check in with friends who are healthy to stay accountable. Encourage others and share my weaknesses in order to receive Biblical counsel and wisdom!

Since number 3 required some research and counsel, I tackled that one first. MANY of my friends have drunk the Crossfit kool-aid and love it, so I was looking for something similar in our area (but honestly, it had to fit our family budget which was NOT much at all). Running requires little money and no facility, so this would be a challenge to land a place that fit the bill. Enter my friend Sandy who mentions that she goes to a Crossfit in Alabaster (literally 10 minutes from our house), and it is within our budget (actually less than we thought). The guy who runs it, Wes, is a Christ-follower who felt led by God to start this training program here and to make it affordable. Yay for all the way around!

I bit the bullet and woefully crawled out of bed at 4:30 on Wednesday morning to drag myself to the first workout. I was early (as usual) and considered leaving before anyone saw me. Turns out Wes was already there so that was a no-go. (Seriously, I considered leaving. The gym is in a strip center with a hair salon, tool shop, bakery and a dance studio. Don't you just know that NONE of those places are open that early, so it would have been obvious that I left. Note how calculating I am about quitting....) Sandy pulled up within minutes and saw me too. I was busted. Had to go in and check it out. I am literally walking in the door when I recall how several of these Crossfit junkies have relayed their first experiences and they all involved some sort of vomiting or passing out or wanting to do one of the two. So far, I'm not delighted to be here.

Wes is writing on the board, and I shiver down to my shoes. Better go to the bathroom first as I see jump rope on the list...once you've given birth to children, jumping is not really ideal. There's also a little smirk on Wes's face which scares me. He says that this will be fun and easy...I don't think he knows me well. Yes, I am now a runner. But, I am also a weakling and a quitter. I quit so easily and so well (I do consider all the options first and decide to quit in a way that at least makes me look like I tried or made my best effort...sad, but true). I wanted to scream, "I am a quitter dude!" But, it was too cold to utter much and my brain was trying to convince my body to stay put. Did I mention I am weak...and a quitter? 'Cause I am, and I don't like it...but at least I'm honest about the shortcomings. And the enemy was reminding me every 10 seconds which was not at all helpful.

The warm up is simple, the guys say....jump rope, sit ups (some backwards contraption that looks like a torture device if you ask me), push ups and squats. The squats I could handle (well, temporarily). Note to self for next time...the squats will not hurt while performing them. They will, however, pay you back ten-fold within an hour. You will try and go to the bathroom and discover that you can now hold your urge for approximately 24 hours or longer due to the pain involved in sitting. And, if our bathroom came equipped with those bars on the wall, it would make my life a little easier. The end, thank you.

The jump rope and I have never gotten along, but Wes and Sandy helped me through it (remarkably, I made improvement which I saw in class on Friday). I jumped way too high and have a little fear of busting my face on the floor. Wes tells me to pay attention to my wrists (who knew your wrists could hurt after a workout? Apparently, I haven't used those suckers in a while). I had to go the bathroom halfway least I didn't wet myself..yet.

Then, there were the push-ups. Did I tell you that my arms are weak? I can hold my 67 pound six year old throughout an entire worship service at Brook Hills (which is longer than the average church by the way), but I can barely do a real push up. I struggled through while others cheered me on. It was ugly...and pitiful, but I did it. I am religated to girl push-ups, and I do not like that one bit, so I'm aiming to do better.

And, then came the sit-ups on this device which looked like it was ready to eat me alive. Simply lock your feet and lean backwards and touch the floor and then lock your legs as you come up and touch your feet. Oh, and the device seems to be six feet off the ground though I'm fairly certain it only came up to my waist. Simple. For EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD, maybe. But, my abs were not happy, at all. The first sign of fainting occurred right after I actually looked backwards at the floor....apparently Wes thought every decent person would already have this knowledge...which I should have thought of had I not already lost my mind trying to jump rope. I did not faint, but I certainly got woozy. I learned my lesson quickly and didn't make that mistake again. With every sit up, I thought I might puke or faint or just wet my pants...the thought of any of those was enough to put me on embarrassment alert. I stayed there the remainder of my time in the gym. Lord, please come back right now or put me in a nursing home or just let me faint...then I can quit....I am a quitter!!!

Okay, I finished. What? That was ONLY the warm-up. Haven't we been here for an hour yet? The others were already finished and kept encouraging me that things would get better. I actually believed them. Momentarily.

The workout only had a few items for today - 100 military presses (okay that wasn't the name but what I have heard it called before), 100 squats with weights, and 125 sit-ups. I truly THOUGHT I was in good shape...clearly, I was WRONG!!! I have not used my abs or arms in about 25 years apparently! I was dying by the 50th press....but the rule is that you have to finish one item at a time before moving on. And, I had the easy bar to use for presses and squats. With every breath, I wanted to quit. But, God used Wes, Arwin, Justin and Sandy to cheer me on and to encourage me by the way they pressed forward. Like my sweet friend Susan B. said, I would've quit if it had just been me or just me and a personal trainer. Having several others doing the exact same exercises spurred me on, and I did it. I finished. I wanted to die, but I finished. And, it felt good. A great sense of accomplishment. More than that, I knew that God was stretching what I thought and expanding my view on health/exercise.

Fast forward an hour...I immediately began to feel the pain, and it did not stop. Wes told me to stretch and drink lots of water. How exactly can I stretch when I cannot lift my hands above my head or sit up or sit down or walk without being in pain? I also did not want to sneeze or cough for fear of pain. And washing my hair requires my hands to be above my head, and sitting seems to demand that I bend my knees. Do you know that you can lock your legs and stand 2 feet away from the chair and just lean back without bending your knees? It may be a little humorous to your children but it alleviates pain. Just so you know and want to try that sometime. I do believe (with a huge dose of skepticism) that the pain will subside eventually - right?

JT and I returned on Friday for more punishment, and we were a team. My warm-up had already improved and Wes showed us each and every element. He was so patient and kind to us newbies. I highly recommend him. We learned to do pull-ups, medicine ball sit-ups, planks (okay, I already knew how to do those but was hoping that he couldn't possibly want us to do planks for that long), curls, box jumps (Jesus, please return immediately so I don't have to do that again), ring dips, oh lunges, release push-ups and double unders. I seriously prayed...that either Jesus would come back within that time or that Wes would somehow become impaired and we would have to jump to his aid.... I can call 911 like nobody else, so wouldn't that be kind of me? I am such a helper like that, and plus, it would enable me to QUIT! Neither happened, and the workout continued, much to my chagrin.

But, we did it and we finished. I thought I would die again, but that feeling didn't last as long. The pain, however, is still very present. And, it's a "good pain" as other Crossfit junkies tell me. I have to remember that I could only run one minute when I started, and now I can run a half marathon. Trying something over and over again will lead to improvement, so I feel fairly certain that this WILL get easier...I hope! And, I will be stronger and more fit. I will NOT quit. I will continue. And, God will use this to stretch me more than I ever thought possible.

In summary, I am eager to continue with conditioning and Crossfit. I appreciate the Christian approach of Wes and the GTG (Glory to God) Crossfit group (located on Highway 31 in Alabaster). A different workout each day helps to keep me interested, and the total body emphasis is exactly what I need. I can be a better runner with the strength and stamina I will gain. And the Lord is already showing me that He will sustain me and teach me...I am a slow learner so this could take a while.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Get Set!!!

1 Timothy 4:8 says, "For while physical training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." Have you already started your physical reformation of 2013? How long will it last? How long did you make it last year?

We have ALL given up at some point in our lives, and each of us has felt like a failure..time and time again. How do we move beyond that...starting and failing...more promises and prayers...starting and failing...rinse and repeat?

The answer lies in 1 Timothy 4:8. Physical training is of SOME value, but there is something far more important and of eternal significance....spiritual training in godliness. Spending time in God's Word daily, seeking Him in prayer and being part of a biblical community of growing believers will make an impact in THE Kingdom. Eternal promises versus temporary pleasures...I'll take eternity, please.

For me, the pounds were beginning to come off and I was seeing some improvement in the area of exercise in the form of being able to run longer. God was using that time with Him before running to speak to me during the run (I think it was like witnessing to someone on an know you have the time and want to make the most of the fasten your seatbelt moments). I was out running in my neighborhood at o'dark-thirty and God was reminding me of the Scriptures I had just read that morning.

With every beat of my heart and pounding of my feet on the pavement, He was shaking me to my core. The issue was getting around it and calling it "my bad" or "so sorry" was MY SIN. He was showing me my sin face to face, and it was ugly and disgusting. I had allowed the enemy to take a huge foothold in my life that was diminishing my witness, causing physical harm to my family and promoting the opposite of God's Word when it comes to health. I lost it. I threw my arms out to the side and continued to run (advantage of running one sees you). Tears poured out and I wept. I cried out to the Lord for forgiveness and begged Him to forget my pride, gluttony and rebellion. I asked Him to show me His ways and to help me walk in them. He lifted my shame and guilt and set me on a new path.

Twenty-five years worth of guilt, shame, rebellion and sin had led me to that point. While physical exercise would offer some value, it was the discipline of the Heavenly Father that changed me forever. His love and mercy and grace were shown to me in direct opposition to my sin and waywardness. He has given me a new insight into His Word and how He intends for me to live.

Do not put a band-aid on the problem today by dieting and exercising. It will not last. You will fail eventually. Find the root of the issue and seek God's forgiveness and grace. He will show you what He wants you to do. Following any diet plan or exercise regiment can be good, but let's do what will make an eternal difference.

On your mark...GET SET....