Weigh In Wednesday: The Reality of Accountability

A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step according to a Chinese proverb, and while I certainly agree with this, all of those steps can turn pretty lonely when we find ourselves walking up-hill through mud in a rain storm.

I’m discovering people, like me, who come again and again to a cycle of frustration and failure when it comes to a healthier lifestyle do so because it is their struggle. Some people struggle with lying. Some struggle with anger. Some struggle with pornography. I struggle with a lack of discipline to limit my over-indulgent desires on sugary/cheesy/unhealthy foods and developing a stop-being-lazy-and-get-up-and-exercise attitude.

I know God has the power and ability to “flip a switch” and instantly set me free from any struggle. He is the Almighty and All-Powerful God, so of COURSE He CAN do this.

He is just choosing not to.

2 Corinthians 12 9

I’m beginning to see beauty in a struggle.
The beauty is I keep coming back to Him. I am depending on Him, trusting Him to help me through it, and turning to Him multiple times through-out the day as I find myself battling between an old me and a new me. As I learn to be thankful for this process, realizing without I would lose my need to fall before Him again and again, I’m also acutely aware of a need to share some of these difficult steps with others. On a deep down gut wrenching brutally honest level.

So I reached out to two people this week. To one I said “Hey, I need encouragement. Encouragement to not fall into the same self-defeating patterns of self-condemnation and self-ridicule on my less-than-stellar days because they WILL come.” To another I said, “I need accountability to DO what I say I am going to DO. To develop the self-discipline I’ve been struggling with as of late and do the things that I know are going to be beneficial for me.

The one is my mom. We send each other a daily email and/or text. I ask her if she met her goals and she asks me if I met mine. When we don’t meet a goal, we share why we didn’t meet it, and what we LEARNED from not meeting it. Then we focus on MOVING forward.

The other is my husband. He got the down-and-dirty job of being an accountability partner with exercise. Some may think this a dangerous move for a happy marriage. So I share with you a little story.

Yesterday I had a great day with my son and his school mates on a class trip. I was gone from home all day, and so by the time we got back, I went straight to the couch. I love my couch. The right side of the couch, next to the window, is MY side. The pillow knows my shape and curves around me in a wonderful way as I sink down into the depths of the couch. Legs tucked up underneath, leaned onto the big side arm supporting my laptop, THIS is my picture perfect lazy space.

Cue ringing phone.

It’s the hubs calling to ask about my day and share about his on his way home from work. After a few minutes of light happy conversation comes the dreaded question… “Did you exercise yet today honey?”
For the next five minutes my husband with all gentleness (and firmness of not backing down) encourages me to exercise. For all five minutes I respond with turning him down. Every. Single. Time.

“I’m really tired right now.”
“I’m just not feeling it.”
“I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Those are just a few examples of the many responses I came up with in five minutes. So, my darling hubs pulled out the big guns.

“Sweetheart, you told me to help keep you accountable, what can I do to help you do your exercise today?”

Drat. He threw in the term of endearment and reminded me that this was all my idea to begin with. So I relent ever so slightly with a “OK, I’ll do a LIGHT workout on the elliptical. Just enough to maybe count as cardio”. He cheers me on, and I get off the phone.
And before I know it, I’m sucked right back into my comfy spot, laptop screen burning into my eyes with the sound of a TV in the background. Did I mention the discipline struggle I’m having lately?
Cue phone ringing.
It’s hubs.

“You’re still on the couch aren’t you? Did you change? Got your workout shoes on yet?”

My response. I laughed. I mean LAUGHED. I laughed so hard I couldn’t speak, tears nearly rolling down my face. The big deep belly laughter that comes from within and just keeps pouring out. I laughed at my own ridiculous self. I laughed at the sweetness of a hubs who knows me better than I know myself at the moment. When I was done laughing, I got up, changed into my workout clothes, laced up my workout shoes (all on the phone mind you, because hubs was NOT letting me off a second time until I was actually ON the elliptical) and did my exercise for the day.

It was beneficial. For my heart. For my mind. For my body. Not only did it give me some time to think about myself, praying to the Lord again for my weaknesses and thanking Him for His strength, it also allowed me some time to reflect on the blessing of my mother and husband. The blessing of the online friends I’ve made as we share our journeys. The blessings the Lord is pouring around me so that these steps I’m taking, I’m taking with Him, and with others.

The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step. The journey is precious because it is a journey that leads to dependence on God, and is shared in life with others.

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My focus this week is exercise! I’m accomplishing this focus with accountability and prayer. I also am continuing my other goals (fiber intake, water, and fish!). The fish part is the most difficult for me as it’s not an item I’m overly familiar with. I actually know maybe one or two recipes with fish total, and that will get old fast. So that class trip I told you about? Well it was to the Maine State Library, where I got a card and checked out this gem.
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I’ll be going through this bad boy this week and writing down some of the most delicious sounding recipes to try with upcoming fish meals.

How are you doing on your health journey? Do you have some goals this week? If so, how do you plan to keep yourself accountable to those goals? Let’s share with one another so we can encourage one another on this journey together.

In Love & Faith,
RaZella

Made To Crave Action Plan participants, join me on the Facebook page for weekly quotes and FB cover photos you can use as you go through the plan. Remember once the study is over, it doesn’t mean our journey ends. Let’s continue to check in with one another every Wednesday so we don’t lose the valuable information we’ve learned these last 9 weeks together! You can also join me at Kim’s every Wednesday for WIW! 

Ready to Write Chapter 20 and Beyond

P31 OBS Blog HopI would love to tell you this study was “the answer” for me. I’ve reached my goal weight, I’ve left behind bad habits, and I’m totally soaking in the full and abundant life of Christ.

I haven’t and I’m not.

This week, this final week in a study that has been so encouraging and fantastic, has also been the hardest. This weekend I fell flat on my face. I won’t go into the details of how many calories I consumed (think LOTS). Instead of falling into a cycle of prolonged bad choices, last night I called it out for what it was.

Father,
Forgive me for turning to food to satisfy my emotions instead of turning to you. It was wrong. There are no other gods before You Lord, and I was wrong to try and place food on your throne for even a second. Teach me Lord how to be an overcomer with this struggle. Show me where I still need to change, and make it hurt Father so I will fall before you and seek you to change it in me. I ask for your Holy Spirit to convict and to heal. To reveal and to lift up. To admonish and encourage. I thank you for your words of Truth. Help me to focus on them and write them on my heart. To run to you and not away from you. All glory to you Father, for You are my God, my Savior, and Hope. Amen.

Chapter 17b

I admitted to God my need for lasting, sustainable discipline. My need to make one wise choice after another. I do believe this is possible because my Father tells me it’s possible. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me“. (Philippians 4:13) That’s the key to sustainable discipline – it’s not my strength, it’s His. I can’t do it alone. I need Him.

What does this look like for me?

First – I am going to continue with the Made To Crave Action Plan with Proverbs31. I want to take advantage of finding additional tools for the “how to” part of my journey.

Second – I am going to continue with my Forgiveness journey. This study, which I thought would be just about food, opened up a calloused part of my heart I didn’t realize existed. It’s time to deal with that.

Thirdly – Going back to tracking my meals on MyFitnessPal for the month of March beginning today. The thought of giving up some foods forever made me indignant. I had absorbed the “everything in moderation” message. The realty is, not everything will I have in moderation because this has been an area of struggle for me for a very long time. To think it will only take a short time to truly deal with is something else I’ve bought into – and it isn’t true.
I tried to quit smoking cigarettes for years. A decade of quitting and starting back, quitting and starting back. The starting back always started with just one. One little occasion. One little reason. It always ended with being a full time smoker again. It wasn’t until I realized I could not quit with a bunch of little “occasions” waiting around the corner that I was able to really seek His strength and quit.
And guess what – it’s still a struggle. I have had one break down since my “true” quit date. My attitude about it is different however, so even in the face of a break down, it was quickly realized “no, I can’t do that again”.
The truth of “this is not OK for me to do” is hard and heavy and also freeing. It, in and of itself, is a victory that has lead to more victories with not giving in and not asking for a cigarette – even when I felt parts of my insides screaming “just one!!!!!”.
Once those little parts fade away, the victory afterwards is worth so much more than what I would have gained from any cigarette.

Realizing this leads to the reality there may be something I’m holding onto food wise I must let go. Completely. I’m not sure what it is yet, because with a binge eater like me, I feel like it could be everything except vegetables. Which brings me to my fourth step – praying about what I may need to walk away from. This means tracking my food, continuing to write in my study journal, praying over it, asking (and therefore expecting) the Lord to reveal to me what I need to give up entirely, and then giving it up. (This is also a part of the journey I am praying the Lord gives me excitement about, because right now I can already feel the tug of war between the part of me ready to make intentional sacrifices pulling against the part that wants what I want when I want it.)

Lastly, I plan on sharing this continued journey, my chapter 20 and beyond, on Wednesdays as I pick back up my Weigh-In Wednesday posts.

How is this intentional sacrifice on my part?  It’s going to mean going from I want what I want when I want it to “I want to please God, and I want what He wants, even when it comes to what I’m about to eat for lunch.”

chapter19

I remember the pastor who counseled my husband and I once talking about 1 Corinthians 10:31 – So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the Glory of God – and I internally rolled my eyes because I couldn’t make the connection between my morning coffee and God’s glory.

Blog Versus-0032That has changed. That’s what this is really about. It’s not the number on the scale. It’s not the number of push-ups I can do. It’s about living life to the Glory of God, overcoming struggles with victory in Christ, pointing to His Glory in every aspect of our lives. 

For me – my health has been a struggle in my life. It’s about overcoming this struggle through victory in Christ Jesus, pointing back to His Glory.

I’m ready to take the pen. I’m ready to start writing Chapter 20 and beyond of My Made to Crave, with the Holy Spirit providing the pen, Jesus providing the ink, and God providing the paper. 

In Love and Faith,
RaZella

Better Is One Day in Weakness For Him

It’s time to join Proverbs 31 Ministries for today’s Blog Hop in the Made To Crave online bible study!

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P31 OBS Blog Hop

For this week’s topic, I decided to really focus on our memory verse for the week.
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Memorizing scripture for some reason is difficult for me. I can remember absurd details about conversations, and my husband and son both know that I’m the go-to person in the house to ask “where is __________”, (unless of course, it’s something of mine, and then I’ve misplaced it in some obscure location that it takes us forever to find). When it comes to memorizing scripture however, I seem to go blank.

So, I started with saving it as a screen saver on my phone. Every time I look at my phone, the above graphic is what I see. I found myself stopping and just reading it over and over. Then I wrote it down on an index card, and as I took time to look at it and think about, I started jotting down my thoughts.
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Of all the different things I wrote down, the one thought that has seemed to etch itself into my mind more than the others is this;

When my soul yearns for the Lord, for His presence, with an intense longing, it makes me weak. I lose my own strength because my desire for Him is so overpowering. It is at this point, when I am faint and weak, that His power is made perfect in me. His Holy Spirit dwells within me so I can be in His presence. I can worship Him and cry out to Him with my whole being. His Holy Spirit also cries out on my behalf and groans for me. He is the Living God. Ever Faithful. Ever True. It is the Living God that I long for, that I cry out for, with all that I am, and it is all that I am which He wants. Total surrender to Him. He wants me. He wants you. 

The more I read over this verse, the more I find myself in the middle of my day, in my mundane moments, wanting to pause for a moment and just cry out to Him. It might be just to praise Him. It might be just to ask Him for more patience or wisdom or strength.

In the middle of one of these moments I even wrote a little song based on this verse! I found myself singing it to Him all day, until my voice turned scratchy. ( I would share with you, however, it’s still a work in progress, like me. Maybe someday 😉 ) And guess what, it stuck. I actually memorized the verse.

What I learned this week with this verse, is that it’s OK to long for Him. It’s OK to long for Him so much, I’m weak. Ready to faint. Unable to take another step before stopping and crying out to Him with all I am. In that moment, in His presence, He gives me His strength, and His power. It is truly drinking from a spiritual fountain that I sometimes fly by in my “busyness”. The longing for Him, He has placed within me, so I can be weak and turn to Him again and again. To be filled and renewed by Him.

Oh what a spectacular God we serve.

Lastly, I also realized there was another song this verse kept trying to prick out of my mind. It took me a few days, however, it finally burst forth. It is Matt Redman’s “Better is One Day“. So of course, I found myself singing this one at the top of my lungs as well!

Might I invite you to take a moment out of your busy and hectic schedule, hit play, and just let your soul yearn and faint for Him?

In Love & Faith,
RaZella