The journey...

Life is in the journey, not the destination, so do what you can and take it one day at a time. Go slow, do it right, and make your changes permanent — then help out others who are where you were.

~Jillian Michaels

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Monday, December 27, 2010

I can READ!

Yep, that's right!  I.CAN.READ.

Let's backtrack though...

I have been a bit M.I.A. here on my blogspot lately as it's hard to blog about "weight loss" and healthy living when you're, well, not losing weight or living healthy!  I know, I know, "The road isn't always easy and we learn so much through the struggles and successes and a 'setback' isn't failure." I've preached it with the best of them, but I was set in such a whirlwind that finding that wholeness my blog encourages (body, mind & spirit) - it's been TOUGH!

A few months ago I began attending a new Church and I was quite apprehensive at first.  My apprehensions are partially self-induced by my own poor decisions in life as of recent and some of the apprehensions come from undeniable wounds that were caused by others, but needless to say - they are there.  SO, stability in a Church home seemed lacking, stability in my living situation was turned upside down and stability in my physical home, this body, FLEW out the window with the rest of it.  It's safe for you to make the obvious assumption that spiritual stability in my walk with Christ has absolutely been tested and tried as well.  WOW, can I say it's been a year and I'm shouting BRING IT ON 2011, I don't hesitate in bidding farewell to 2010.

Now, onto the "I.CAN.READ" portion of this post...

My lack of blogging isn't an indication that I've given up completely on healthy living or rejected what I've spent so much time sharing and encouraging others about.  Instead of so much writing though, I've been READING.  For me, this is HUGE.  My entire life I've despised reading of all kinds but have absolutely LOVED writing.  For someone who writes as much as I do, you'd think that reading would go hand-in-hand, but nope, I've always felt like I have ADHD when it comes to required reading.  My mind wanders off in a thousand different directions OTHER than processing the words on the page.

Not so much the case anymore.  I'm so thankful that some friends have given and/or encouraged some very meaningful books and resources into my hands that are helping me tremendously through some emotional, mental, physical and social issues.  I'm thankful for HIGHLIGHTERS too. :)

First off, the Pastor of the new Church I've been attending has been presenting the word in a way that without even consciously thinking about it, causes me to hunger and crave more of the word and God's truth once I've left the building.  I find myself throughout the week, just jumping in and READing more and digging deeper.  He's been on a series called "I Love Fruit" coming out of John 15 on abiding in Christ.  These messages are absolutely transforming my thought process and although I can't say I've mastered the "art of abiding," my walk with God is changing from one of performance and standards to one of joyful, expectant relationship and communion with Him.  I'm incredibly thankful for this new Church body that I keep jokingly saying that I'm "97% sure I will start calling home."  Again, I'm still working on laying down apprehensions, but that's another story.

A LOT of my Bible READing lately has come from a translation that I used to have a closed heart towards: The Message.  I still love my NKJV, ESV and AMP, but I've been gleaning from the way The Message delivers the word of God.  It is challenging me.  Encouraging me.  Correcting me and instructing me.  I find the first thing I do most mornings now is pick-up my cell phone and open my Bible app rather than facebook, text messages or emails.  I want the first thing I READ and set my thoughts on in the morning to be the WORD.

The second book I'm READing was given to me as a gift by a dear friend is called A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever by Marianne Williamson. This book is not a "Christian" book per se as it moreso touches spirituality in general regardless of your religious background, but the Biblical principals that are presented in this book become obvious as a Christian reader.  I've found myself highlighting, underlining and writing scripture references in the margins of this book as well as relating it directly to my temptations and struggles with sin as well as weight loss.  So far, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK.  I've found it touching areas of my thoughts and emotions that have brought tears streaming down my face, but a release in my heart that I didn't even know I needed.  A couple exerpts from the book:

"Awareness is the first step in healing. Part of the benefit of pain is to get our attention, to help us make the connection between when we suffer and why, so we can make choices that are a lot more fun and healthful."

"...I may be able to pressure you into changing your diet, but sooner or later (usually sooner), some part of you will rebel. (Remember, "Don't eat the apple" didn't work, and that was God talking....)

And willpower is just another way of saying you're forcing yourself to do something, and pressuring yourself to do something is not sustainable. Again, what's sustainable are love, joy, pleasure, and freedom."

"On your own you might have changed your conscious thinking, but you alone cannot change your subconscious. And unless your subconsious mind is enrolled in your weight-loss efforts, it will find a way to reconstitute the excess weight regardless of what you do."

"When we forgive others, it doesn't excuse their actions; it frees us from our own stress and suffering."

The books that find themselves making friends with my hands don't end there though, I happen to be multi-tasking in my READing adventures and I recently picked up a book that I could not ignore any longer called Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend.  Everywhere I turn nowadays, I hear someone speaking about the importance of boundaries in our lives and relationships.  One of my best friends has been encouraging me to download some podcasts by Joyce Meyer's on boundaries as well as reading various resources that teach on how to establish those boundaries.  A support group I've been attending frequently stresses the importance of setting boundaries in friendships and a coffee date a couple weeks ago was the icing on the cake that made me surrender to this obvious coaxing that I believe to be Gods inspiring.  In the midst of a deep conversation, my friend said to me, "I feel like I need to tell you something about Boundaries...." then he proceeded to talk about the importance of setting and knowing my personal boundaries in life.  That sealed it, I went onto and bought the boundaries book and received it today.  Just in the first couple chapters of READing, I already see the necessity to learn these lessons and apply them to my life.  An exerpt from the inside cover of the Boundaries book:

"Are you in control of your life? Do people take advantage of you? Do you have trouble saying no? Christians often focus so much on being loving and giving that they forget their own limits and limitations....Boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and influence all areas of your life.
Believe it or not, the books I "coincidentally" happen to be READing all at the same time have been a recipe for releasing some deeply rooted issues in my life.  Going from not reading much at all to READing these particular books in conjunction is serving a purpose in my life for this particular season I'm in.  I'd think it'd be confusing keeping up with them all, but they are all fitting together beautifully.  I'm thankful to have these books fall in my hands and I'm excited to stay in the word to align these new thoughts an ideas with God's truth (and/or dismiss it if it doesn't align) and apply it to my life for effective and lasting CHANGE.

Since we are talking about READING, I'm excited for the book that is next on my list, Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore.  This is a book that has caught my eye but not much of my attention numerous times over the years.  I remember purchasing this book for a friend through a incredibly rough time in both of our lives and hearing about how it really helped her through it.  I have another friend who was recently given this book and read its pages and has began applying even it's painful truths to her life and is seeing gradual change.  I went ahead and took the step of purchasing the book last week, I'm excited to READ through it as I continue to allow God to free me from some deep, dark pits I've dug in my life.

Well, I'm sure I just gave YOU a fair share of READING with this blog, but if you've made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read and I'm going to ask that you PRAY for me.  I've been dealing with some struggles that have proved much more difficult that "working out" or "eating right" for me.  I've been acknowledging them for what they are am actively dealing with them.  Some days are easier to surrender all over to God and others I find myself picking it all back up in an attempt to manage it in my own hands.  I appreciate your love, support and prayers!

Thank you!

Verse(s) of the Day:

Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message)
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.


Anonymous said...

You already know how I feel about The Message. : ) Everyone has been telling me to read Boundries too and several women at my church have discussed the Joyce Meyer series on boundries. Hmmm... it's almost as if we have something in common LOL! I am glad that you are digging in the Word and books. I am also sooo happy that you are 97% sure that you ahve found a church home <3 I know that is a hard process and usually a very long one. But apparently the Lord led you right where you needed to be. = ) Mesha take care girl XO

Jessica and Matthew Lee said...

Hey girl totally can relate to the hesitancy in committing to a church. Matt and I struggled for years in KC, but when we moved to Colorado it was definitely where God wanted us. It is so refreshing to listen to a sermon without having to sifter through manipulative tendencies just to hear the message. Gearing up for the new year, getting healthier. There is a huge run/walk all down hill through a canyon here near the Springs, thinking about embarking on that later in the year. Maybe you could run it with me, although I will probably have a jogging stroller in hand lol. But hey I'm with ya good bye 2010 welcome 2011. So happy for you and what God has for us in the new year. (BTW Boundaries is an awesome book and Townsend is a phenomenal author- very healthy, one of my faves.)

Ashley and Taylor Hankins said...

Yay! Jessie approves of the Boundaries book too. :)