Healthy Holidays: Always and never enough.

November 1st. Wow yall seriously 2017 is almost over but honestly I don’t want to *cause* myself to walk into a fit of “oh no what are we gonna do” so I’m giving myself permission to pause.

I want to let this month be more about less doing and INTENTIONALLY (more than normal) be focused on ALWAYS BEING. (Philippians 1:1-4)

Lately I’ve felt an overwhelming unsettling happening in my spirit, soul and body and today I listened to a podcast that suggested perhaps the unsettling is a hint at a case of the “never enough”…

Cue the ugly cry.

Right?

Because how often are we feeling never enough.

Pardon me for including you in that but I think I’m safe. But, Forgive me if you’re not feeling that squeeze.

This month, we’re starting there. In the ‘always and never’.

If you’re not there, can I still invite you to come sit at the table and maybe, you’ll find something that feeds whatever you’ve been hungry for.

Always and never.

These two words I heard in my spirit a few months ago when I sat down to read through Proverbs 31. I honestly let out a rebellious sigh thinking to myself that I can never measure up to her and almost before I could finish the thought, the Holy Spirit poured out this truth “you are not allowed to ever consider yourself in the context of your identity as always or never, to do so would cause you to miss the opportunities of growth, transformation and whatever I am currently doing through you.”

When He gave me this to consider, He followed up with the fact that when He designed us, it was with the truth that we are created in His Image; Imago Dei; and whenever we consider the gifts, talents, mind, ability and opportunities in this life; we are walking in authority with the ability that He gave us in order to be the hands and feet of Christ. We are here to finish the work that He started in us. Therefore, knowing this truth, we are and have never arrived completely at always or never.

Have I confused you?

Perfect. Because this is the very thing that the deception of the lie of comparison does. It convinces us that we are always something or the other or it cleverly describes one mistake as an absolute spiraling us down a slope of defeat called never. And His word promises that we are all being transformed everyday with renewed minds.

Friends, breathe.

Let’s do this one day at a time. Could you use that pause. I didn’t say you have to quit doing anything, I am merely suggesting a more specific intention regarding being.

So here’s what we’re doing in this season of life. We’ll be digging into the words of Paul that remind us how to adjust our focus toward lasting joy.

Our anchor verse is Philippians 4:8; but we are going to dig into the entire book using the She Reads Truth study guide also found here with devotionals ( http://shereadstruth.com/plan/philippians/ )

Whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just
whatsoever things are pure
whatsoever things are lovely
whatsoever things are of good report
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

 

Here is our Digging Deeper Reading Plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND don’t forget about the upcoming Get Unstuck class… and of course there’s a song for it…

 

Training a healthy heart: learning to run again

 

no playing small

 

 

Ok friends, this post is really just gonna be me dumping my brain & heart of some of the stuff that God has been sharing with me.

Sometimes I want to separate all the things into neatly organized categories with catchy labels so everyone will understand exactly what they’re getting.

Sometimes I think I should sort my thoughts the way the old HGTV shows would declutter houses: keep, toss, give away.

I want to make it receivable, bite sized, palatable and digestible. But what’s really happening is I’m trying to please people. I’m not being me.

Alright, Solidarity Confession: the real me doesn’t know organized. I didn’t grow up seeing the example. But she don’t like chaos either. I had more than my fair share thank you. She don’t appreciate clutter and confusion. But neither do I want something that’s so neatly set in place that without it we assume that life is disordered. Dear Jesus could you help me find something in the middle?

I’ve been coming into this space that maybe God wants to clutter and scatter some of the things I’ve tried to compartmentalize and at the same time He wants to untangle and separate the stuff we’ve assumed goes together. He is a God of order, not confusion. (1 Corinthians 14:33) So at the risk of seeming scattered, here’s my brain dump.

I’ve watched God in the past year somehow, at the same time; wreck & unravel me and just when I thought I was coming completely undone, He was already putting me back together.

I’ve discovered that the truest me isn’t shy. In fact the shyness was the result of a defense. I’m not well kept in tiny pink boxes with bows and flowers. (sidebar: I watch my daughter’s fashion sense of fancy dresses with converse and it’s like watching my personality playout in front of me.) I’m like a mad rush of Lenny Kravitz’s guitar riffs and banging drums with a few symbols and a Billy Joel style piano all played in tune.

Back to the loud music… Slightly crazy, I know, because each of the instruments are having their own rhythm session but somehow they’re giving permission to both the person who connects with one sound OR the one who’s vibin’ on all of them in a syncopated style. That’s the real me. I’m Dave Mathews Band and old school hip hop. I’m Doobie Brothers and Side Walk Prophets. I’m Cindy Lauper and David Crowder. I’m cheesy musical soundtracks and Beethovan.  Dare I say it, I’m Tupac AND MercyMe. And honestly that confuses people because they can’t peg me or label me and you know what; I kinda don’t care now because I spent most of my life trying to make sure I fit neatly into a category. I wanted them to knew who I was but I didn’t even know. But what I know now is that I’m over it. I don’t want to be labeled. If they decide to label me, let it be “LIKE JESUS”.

Instead I would rather be known
By the kindness and love that I show
To be known for patience and long suffering
A giver of life by the words that I speak

So with every breath You give to breathe
I pray it’s Your glory that they see
And of all the words this world could say
May they say I was full of grace

-Morgan Harper Nichols “A Prayer for Grace”

View More: http://riantphotography.pass.us/revretreatmay2016warpaint

#Wrecked & #Redeemed “War Paint” Photo credit: Riant Photography for Revelation Wellness

Knowing that I am created in the image of the Creator who is beyond limits and labels, maybe; just maybe He has decided that I don’t have a label nor do I need one.

Friends the only way we will ever live beyond the labels is to get after the roots of fear and recognize who we are IN Christ. The greatest opportunity we have to break through the tough, stony places of our hearts and experience God’s unchanging unconditional love is in the simple, yet somewhat difficult invitation to remain/ abide / stay connected in/to Him.

ABIDE– (verb) to wait for, be prepared for, to endure or sustain

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:2-5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

This is where redemption happens and can I tell you something?

You are more beautiful than you give yourself credit for.

This is the year that He will restore your beautiful, your joy, your praise and your righteousness. God’s methods of restoration and redemption are almost always nothing like ours and the process might seem pretty ridiculous. But one thing is always true, HE KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING and He WILL finish what He began!

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬ • Let God restore ALL that He has done in you!!!

more beautiful

 

 

Our desire to be more, do more and even search for more out of this life, was placed in our hearts by God.

He didn’t design us for less; He designed us to be great, to love big and to be more. But again, without Him we can’t do any of this and the only way to find peace or have the ability to live in more is b faith, IN HIM.

Friends, our ONLY option of being our best self is to let go of the hustle & grind; trying so hard to prove them wrong, the desperate things we do trying to seek approval, the obligatory shifts of character trying to gain acceptance.

All of these nagging, tormenting, never-seeming-to-get-ahead mirages are satan’s plan of attack on our identity. If He can get us to think that we aren’t enough then He will cause us to rise up with ill intentions and hurt hearts and he is quick to stand there at our side to tell us that we’ve done; still isn’t it. And yet on the flip side of that coin he has a slick way of telling us to back down and shrink because we’re too loud, too much, too something. Both of these are his kill, steal, destroy plan.

Check your heart. If your heart has any place in it that leans on the side of anxiousness; every action that comes from it will breed temporary results.

Psalm 139: 23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

So much of my identity has been trapped deep in the seat of my heart, covered by scar tissue and God has been redeeming all of it. The healing is a process but He promises that He will give us a new heart if we’ll let Him. He’s calling us back to our original design.

Listen friends, He calls us up; there’s no need to be afraid of that. He never calls us out to shame us. He calls us by name and invites us to come out of hiding and He gently takes those things in our hearts that have bruised us and replaces them with His tender mercy, restoring us back to truth.

Friends my prayer for us today is to let the walls down. To stop playing small when He has called us to greater. To see ourselves in the next mirror we walk by and recognize true beauty and be proud of that reflection rather than see it and begin listing the things we wished were different. Or worse, see the reflection and begin flaunting something we’ve fabricated behind a mask of acceptance.

We’ve put up some heavy defenses because we’ve been hurt. I get it. So have I. Although, the level of protection we’ve justified isn’t for anyone to deem unnecessary and I’m not suggesting that we throw our cares to the wind and act like we don’t need to set boundaries; I am saying that we’ve never felt what real protection from the love of God feels like so we’ve fabricated it and tried to manufacture something.  What happens in turn is that this temporary support system is not strong enough to keep us from the attacks of a very real enemy that wants to destroy us.  Little things come across our path that trigger memories of those issues we’ve pressed down and decided we just weren’t going to ever bring them up again; and one day they resurface and it burns worse than the initial sting. Roots have a way of coming up.

In Matthew 17:21 Jesus told them  “You don’t have enough faith, I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible for you.”

What mountain do you need to move today? Every mountain has a root. Every mountain. That thing that you seem to keep going around and it never seems to go away? Yup. Roots.

Yesterday was a soaking, detoxing and mountain moving day for me. I had to let the Holy Spirit make my head listen to my heart and my heart listen to His love. It’s so easy for me to get trapped in only listening to one or the other and if it hasn’t been guarded by His grace it can be quite deceptive which is which!

I know that I CAN run. I just choose not to and He’s been calling me to run.

I’ve been ignoring it. In fact, I’ve been opting for other forms of movement as an alternative. But yall let’s just call that what it is, that’s disobedience. God don’t bless that. I was reading through the book Restless by Jennie Allen; she says “we were designed to run and He will keep calling us until we get up and move and it’ll be wonky and creaky at first – but in our weakness He is made strong. BUT WE MUST BE WILLING TO MOVE”.  1 Samuel 15:22 reminds us that obedience is greater than sacrifice and friends, if we could just follow the obedience we’d see that God has a perfect plan attached to it. And no He’s not going to reveal the plan because most of us would probably opt for our way because we think it’s going to be easier.  When I read that segment of the book I was both convicted and relieved because all of this restlessness I’d been feeling in my mind and body was found in  the fact that His love is a fierce pursuit of our identity.

Heart Health Resources:

  • Take a moment to listen this message I recorded on learning to run again.
  • Listen to the song Out of Hiding by Steffany Gretzinger
  • And then, take a few minutes to settle your heart with the “Healing The Roots” Holy Yoga stretching sequence.

 

MOVE IN FREEDOM – Healing the root places

How to unlearn old habits

Speak

We are afraid of big dreams because we are afraid of ourselves.

We are afraid of greatness because we are afraid of our arrogance.

And yet Jesus said of us, “Whoever believes in me… they will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12)

We need to quit apologizing for using our gifts and start apologizing for NOT using them. – Jennie Allen #Restless

 

So much of our internal battles to care for ourselves; spirit, soul and body; is less about learning new things and so much more about unlearning old habits.

 

Find an opportunity of unlearning

Can we talk about this  sneaky form of competition that’s been lurking around and we seem to just keep living with it?  
It’s called pride.
It’s called I want what she’s got.
It’s called there’s no way I could possibly qualify or be good enough.
It’s called I can’t receive (don’t want to hear) anything from her because she has what I should have and that’s not fair for me to have to humble myself and listen to her.
It’s called satan couldn’t and wasn’t so he wants to see to it that you don’t and aren’t.
It’s called a giant, and it must fall.
Oh friends, we have two options; either agree with the Truth that God; in all of His enoughness; has created us in His image with gifts that are too many to name and therefore it’s not possible for the abundance to run out. OR we fold our arms, stump our feet and throw a pride/pity party in the name of satan’s anthem – aka defeat.
 
FIRST – His perfect love removes all fear. Jealousy, doubt, envy, pride, and rejection are all fear based reactions.  They cause us to either rise up in our own pride and ability and begin to strut our peacock tails or on the reverse we shut down, draw back and turtle.
SECOND – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13
For the word of the God is living and effective and sharper than any double edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Find a rhythm to move to
Be available to the community God has placed you in. Be your truest self (flaws and all) and this will allow the light of Christ that is in to shine. Even when you think it’s not very bright, the tiniest light breaks darkness; and those who feel like they’re wandering and grasping for hope will find your light; the Light He placed in you. When they find it, be ready with an answer of the hope that keeps you anchored.

 

Find a tribe to help you establish commitments

I teamed up with some of my faith and fitness sisters for a month long challenge called Resolution Recommit. Each week there’s a new theme and throughout the week we’re encouraged with devotionals, workouts, nutrition and meal advise and a sweet little community.

This past week, one of the devotionals included the message of beauty. It struck a chord, well more like a nerve.

Oh yall. It was loaded with permission.

Permission to be you and enjoy the you that God created. She spoke about how much she whole-heartedly just loves fashion and make up and expressing herself through art and music and she’s learned to not apologize for any of that.

Friends, I think sometimes we get tripped up and lost in translation and assume that God says we aren’t to be concerned with the outward appearance but ONLY our inner selves.

But NO. He doesn’t say that.

Jesus DOES remind us that yes we shouldn’t be so impressed with the outside of the cup if/when the inside is filthy but we are also reminded that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, where He lives and I’m not sure He would want to live in a beat up dilapidated shack.

We GET TO take care of these bodies. We are HIS BODY, HIS HANDS, HIS FEET, His representation on this earth. I would think it’s worth us considering it a high priority to take care of the body He let us borrow to do His work.

I don’t know about you, but on both sides of the self-care coin was a battle of competition. The one that said I was too much and the other one that says I wasn’t enough.

I’m still allowing God to work out this thing in me as I gut my closets of failed attempts to be someone I’m actually not.

Trends, idols, icons, inspirations, fears, pressures, you name it and they had won over both my heart and my budget and I tried for years to figure out what I was suppose to look like and not draw attention to. I fought the battle of the skinny jeans and the flat abs and the J-Lo booty and well, good genes won and reminded me that some things are suppose to be there and others; well Jesus.

Psalm 19:7-9New Living Translation (NLT)

 The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.

Be you tea bag

 

 

The best way to battle the lies of competition – which robs you of pretty much everything in your original design; is to sit with yourself and God and find a community of friends who will speak the truth in love over you. Be available to the community God has placed you in. 1 Peter 5:6 reminds us to be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

Be your truest self (flaws and all) and this will allow the light of Christ that is in to shine. Even when you think it’s not very bright, the tiniest light breaks darkness; and those who feel like they’re wandering and grasping for hope will find your light; the Light He placed in you. When they find it, be ready with an answer of the hope that keeps you anchored.

Find the best of you

I hope you’ll consider being a part of our FEBRUARY challenge as we take an active approach toward “lovin’ the best of me and losin’ the rest of me.”

Our anchor ⚓️ verse is Isaiah 61:3 to restore beauty, joy, praise & righteousness!! 💪🏾 

Above all else, guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life (it IS the wellspring of life). (Prov 4:23)

As a woman thinks in her heart so is she (Prov 23:7)

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Prov 17:23)

Coming Soon!!! NEW Classes – including an online training FITCAMP community, Our next Weigh Less to Feed More group REGISTER HERE FOR the February Challenge

ANNOUNCEMENT >>>

ccoming soon

Oh friends, this is something God has really been speaking to me and I can’t wait to dive into these truths and restore us back to the place where He designed us! I hope to see you in the February FOCUS!

Speak – Even if your voice is trembling
Please – You’ve been quiet for so long
Believe – It’ll be worth the risk you’re taking

SOURCE: Amanda Cook – The Voyage Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage Psalm 27:14