Friday, January 18, 2013

Don't forget His promises!

"When Lamech lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called he name Noah, saying, "Out of the ground that The Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands." Genesis 5:29

"Noah found favor in God's eyes" -Genesis 6:8. God made Noah a promise to preserve him and his family because His favor of Noah. Noah was obedient to God and built this ridiculously large boat. Have you ever done anything because God told you to and people thought you were crazy? Yeah, imagine how Noah and his family felt. "Hey Noah, what's with the boat? We're in the desert." Noah replies, "Oh, you know, just building it because God told me too." Talk about being the talk of the town! "Have you seen that Noah guy building that big boat? Maybe we should suggest therapy."

Sometimes doing things God asks us to do might seem a little crazy or extreme, but my goodness I want God to show me favor- just like He did with Noah.

Then it was time to haul the animals and family into the ark. I bet that was a sight. I don't even want to imagine all of the name calling.

Then the rain came...and it poured...and poured.

Imagine Noah and his family on the ark hearing the screams and cries for help. People asking Noah for forgiveness, begging him to hear them out and let them on the boat. I can only imagine how he must have felt. I'm sure it felt like his heart was ripping out, but he stayed obedient to The Lord.

I'm sure he spent many dark nights on the ark. It was dirty, smelly and crowded. There was probably a lot of, "God, where are You? You promised me!" conversations. Sound familiar? I've had more than a few conversations like that.

But then, "God remembered Noah..." (Genesis 8:1a)

If you know the story, you'll remember that God used Noah and his family to re-populate the earth. Humankind got a second chance because Noah found favor with God. God made a promise and He came through in a bigger way than Noah could have ever imagined.

Maybe you're in a season of life where you're desperately crying out, "God, where are You? You promised me! Don't you remember?"

Friend, God has not forgotten about you. Just like He remembered Noah, He remembers you. It took Noah a lot of time and a lot of faith to be obedient to The Lord, which prepared him to receive a blessing when the time came.

When the time came...

If you are seeking The Lord with your whole heart and are being obedient to all He's telling you, then you're preparing for a blessing...when the time comes.

I don't know what it is you're believing God for. Maybe it's a job, finances, healing, provision, relationships or children, just to name a few. I'm here to tell you that God has not forgotten about you. He ALWAYS keeps His promises. Sometimes, okay most of the time, it looks a lot differently than we think.

God has not given up on you and He most certainly has not forgotten. It's okay to remind Him of His promises. He loves talking with you.

Today I pray that you will be reminded of His promises and know that He has not's simply not time.

"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." -Genesis 28:15

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Dangers of Comparing

This is the time of year where gyms are at full capacity, junk food is left on the shelves at grocery stores and NIKE sales are through the roof. January 1 is national "clean slate day." Many will begin their journey of living a healthier life, but many will fail. I'm not trying to be a downer, but it's the truth.

I'm not a man, so I can't speak for them, but I know as a woman...walking into a gym can be one of the scariest scenarios imaginable. I, personally, feel like the gym can be one of two things: 1. The building blocks of a healthier and more confident self or 2. The breeding grounds of insecurity.

 Not everyone in a weight room looks like they have a perfect body, but the average can easily be overlooked. It's usually the very few (and I mean VERY few) that look like they stepped foot out of a swimsuit magazine, that we immediately take notice of. 9 times out of 10 the first thought that comes to mind is not, "oh wow, look at her! I'm so happy she has the discipline and drive to put in the work to look like that." You and I both know what comes to mind, "Shoot, I don't belong here. I'll NEVER look like her." I've said that to myself quite a few times. Okay, more than quite a few. Being in the line of work I am in can be extremely rewarding and exciting, but it can also be one of the hardest. I see a lot of in shape, healthy people on a daily basis, but I also speak to many people who have lived a life of never being able to stick with something. They can never quite pinpoint why, but I've come to discover that it has nothing to do with not being able to stick with something. It has everything to do with them not knowing who they are. Why? Because people are so busy comparing themselves to others. Women, don't even act like you don't know what I'm talking about.

Society has brainwashed us to think we are supposed to look a certain way. A look that is absolutely impossible to achieve. Yes, even models in magazines don't really look like that. Why do you think eating disorders (eating disorders can be considered not eating enough or eating too much) are at an all time high? Because we are operating off of comparing ourselves to others.

Let's get real:

I grew up as a bigger kid. I didn't wear the cool clothes, not because I couldn't afford them, but because I couldn't fit them. I wasn't really exposed to fitness until my dad got into it about 12 years ago. I still didn't pay much attention, but I was aware.
I started talking about dieting when I was in middle school. I didn't necessarily need to lose weight, but that's what all of the other girls were doing at school and in my family. I thought I should too. I started weight watchers in high school and failed...again, again and again.
The summer before college I was so worried about going to college and gaining all of this weight. Weight has been a generational issue in my family. I didn't want to fall into that. I began seeking The Lord on this issue. Why couldn't I stick to anything? Why was I so hard on myself? Why was I so insecure and fearful about what kind of shape I'd be in someday?
I played sports, attempted cardio activity (attempted being the key word... I think I'd still rather eat dirt than run to this day) and weight lifted my junior and senior year of high school, but I still didn't shed pounds or gain confidence. Why?

One day it hit me like a ton of bricks. I can't tell you exactly when this hit me, but I knew it was God. "My daughter, I created you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. The world tells you that you are one thing, but it is I who created you. I say who you are. You are my beautiful daughter. Your security is found in me and me alone."

Understand, I consider myself an extremely secure girl. I have a wonderful daddy. I've never had to question my worth or value, but I'd be lying if I said I haven't struggled with physical insecurities throughout my life. But I finally broke through a barrier that day.

I began to see myself through God's eyes and declaring who He said I am in His word.

"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full and well." -Psalm 139:14

His works are wonderful. I am wonderful. You are wonderful.

I went to college knowing Whose I was. I'm not kidding, I lost 30 pounds my freshman year. It took a lot of hard work. But instead of seeing my body as a project that had to be perfect, I saw it as God's creation and His temple since He dwells inside of me. Something that was a constant process, not something to be fixed overnight.  I wanted to take care of it and honor it. I also wanted to be an example to other girls I knew were watching me. I wanted to prove that it wasn't impossible.

Well, after all that hard work, I felt too skinny. And I probably was. Isn't it funny how the thing we strive for so badly isn't all it's cut out to be once we get it sometimes? I was skinny, yes. I looked much better in a bathing suit, but good gosh I couldn't lift up anything without straining it seemed like. That's not good.

So I started this whole CrossFit thing that I annoy people with because I talk about it so much. With some good coaching and forced accountability *cough cough Garrett cough cough* (I know you're reading this) I went through years of college education and it finally clicked with a free CrossFit class...oh well. I got a great foundation for what it meant to be strong. As I transitioned out of college and into the work force, I ran into a lot of challenges. Scheduling being the biggest one. I decided that fitness was my priority and I would have to sacrifice the time and money, but my goodness it's worth it! I found a great box and a great coach who is now helping me become stronger. Mostly by assigning me the weight ill be lifting that day because he knows I can do more than I think I can do.

CrossFit is the sport of some of the most beautiful women on earth. Look at their website for 2 seconds and tell me I'm wrong. If I'm not careful, the insecurity will come back and weigh so heavy on me that I'll be operating out of the worldly fear again. Why? Because I begin to play the comparison game. "Gosh, I'm getting better, but I'll never be like her." "She's been doing this for a lot less time than me and she's better." "If I only had legs like that." It can go on and on if I let it.

The more I let those thoughts go through my mind, the less sensitive I become to the Holy Spirit who
is continually telling me who I am and Whose I am. Which is more important than anything. Ladies, look around you. It's the women with confidence, who know who they are that you want to be like, right? I've never wanted to be like a gorgeous girl who is insecure. Ever.

So, as you continue to strive to be healthy, strong and the best you can be, remember who God says you are. He says you are fearfully and wonderfully made! Also, remember this isn't a one time plan. Being healthy, taking care of your's a lifelong process. No, you probably won't look like a sports illustrated model. I know I won't and I'm okay with that now. You will look like you because that's who you are. Striving to take care of yourself and be strong is beautiful. Walk with your head up, no matter what you may look like. Jesus takes delight in you. He calls you beautiful.

I pray for all of the ladies who struggle with insecurity that is so strong they don't feel worthy of getting out of bed in the morning. I pray that you will encounter God in a way like never before and begin to declare His Word over your life. I pray for the ladies who have never faced their insecurities because of the fear of losing to them. Jesus has already won the battle. Look to Him for strength. I also pray for the ladies who have faced their insecurities and who are learning to overcome them each day. Continue to walk strong and confident, knowing Who you belong too.