Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Give up a little.....Gain a lot

In a world of give me, give me, give me, sometimes if we choose give up a little, we can gain much!

Life has been pretty crazy over the last few months.  I've faced health issues, relationship changes, and made amends with people in my life. During this craziness, I've found that I need to put my full dependence upon The Lord as it has been crucial in these challenges and changes I've encountered.

As this blog does focus on the physical aspect of staying "fit", my own personal focus is on the spiritual fitness and disciplines I must maintain.  In doing so, it enables me to be physically fit.  In keeping a healthy mind through continuous God centered thinking, the goodness of God flows into every other aspect of my life. This can only be achieved through prayer, getting into the word daily, staying connected with Godly women, attending church service each week, reading great books that educate me in the life of Christ, listening to worship music, sermons online, but most importantly, applying everything I learn directly to my life. 

Part of staying spiritually clean, I find it necessary to remove major distractions from my life. Currently I find these distractions to be particular social media platforms and the content of some television programs I view (even as little as that may be.) The removal of these items are the first steps I've taken to begin spending more "quality" time with God.

Disconnecting myself from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google + for the last two weeks has been an eye opening experience.  It's made me realize how much time I had invested in grabbing my Iphone, clicking those little icons of these social media portals checking who or how many people liked my status updates, photos, along with the time I would spent carefully thinking of what opinion I wanted to share on various topics or on friends status updates. I recall how excited I would get when I would see the notification number show up on the Facebook or Instagram status bar. The excitement grew even larger if I saw a friend request on Facebook or that someone new began following me on Instagram. Reflecting on that excitement, I think about how much power I gave those things in my life.  I allowed the affirmations and praises of others to fill my life rather than God. This has been a humbling realization.

My time away from these areas have brought out to the open parts of my life which needed addressing; my pride, the intentions of my heart, reconciliation in matters that I have chosen not to deal with and my need to focus my free time on things of importance.  This quality time to spent between God and I, distraction free has been life changing and also life challenging.  Life changing because in the last couple weeks I've addressed issues that have been keeping me stuck in certain relationships which were not permitting myself to grow in Christ.  The ability to become intimate with God, has allowed me to hear His voice and act upon what He has revealed to me.  It has created an inner peace in my soul.  Life challenging because in this quiet time I've had with my Savior, those revelations have forced me out of my comfort zone as I have built up the courage to take bold steps of faith. I've also have found that the things I've feared about myself have shifted.  This has come from clearer thinking.  I have more confidence in my decisions as I learn to view God for who he really is and how he views me.  This confidence comes from the promises of what my capabilities are through Him.  I need not fear the unknown for He is all knowing and all powerful.  I find there to be so much truth and assurance in believing that with my entire being.  

In addition, to my spiritual cleansing, I've recently completed a 7-Day diet cleanse. This lifestyle change was a jump start to getting back on track to healthier eating patterns.  For the last few months I've allowed myself to indulge in whatever brought me pleasure. Today, I am trying to view food as fuel and not something to bring me comfort, pleasure, or with an attitude of I "deserve" it.  These past 7 days helped kick start a return to my healthy eating lifestyle.

One of the biggest challenges I faced during this change was going from a sugar and cream filled coffee cup to one filled with just black coffee! I'm happy to report that for the last two days I've continued to drink my coffee black. It's a daily choice to maintain a healthy pattern of eating.  During the 7 days of cleansing my body, when I felt hungry, instead of reaching for a quick fix or giving up and saying, "I'll start again tomorrow," I reached out in prayer and for the strength I get through Christ.  This is a practice I must implement into my life daily to deter from any type of cravings, whether it be a craving of food, breaking my fast from social media or any other unhealthy habits that pull me away from God.

As a result of my diet cleanse, I lost 6.5 pounds and 1.5% of body fat.  As exciting as it was to shed a few pounds in the last week, the best part of this 7 day cleanse is how in times of struggle, I found that I kept being pointed in one direction......To God.  I vividly notice how much I have gained in this last week and look forward to how much more I will attain as I continue my spiritual cleanse.

Don't get me wrong, I see benefits of social media.  But when our lives are defined, consumed and dictated by it, it causes us to lose a part of who we are.  When we have to pick up our phones first thing in the morning or they become the last thing we look at it before we go to bed, it apparent at how habitual and programmed our lives have become. Honestly, I don't think we realize how many times we pick up our phone to log on because it has become second nature to us. Some time ago I heard a sermon that said something along the lines of, "What if we prayed every time we picked up our phone?  What if we opened our bible every time we picked up our phone?"  When I ponder those questions, my own conclusion is how different the world would be, how different the would could be if we choose differently.

Time away from my phone, computer and television programs has given me extra time for living life; experiencing joy with my loved ones through quality and non distracting time. We sit and have eye to eye conversations with one another.  I actually hear what they are saying to me as I give them my full attention.  It is cleansing the junk out of my head and giving me clearer and cleaner thinking and a more intimate relationship with God.

My the relationships with my friends, family and Savior have become more enriched as they are filled with quality attention, quality focus and quality time.  In giving up a little, I've gained a lot. Thank you Jesus

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