Thursday, May 30, 2013

Finding Motivation in Self-Acceptance

Okay, okay; I know that blogs on self image and self worth have been done so many times, but I thought up a side to it that I hadn't thought of to write down before.

Just recently, I've been undertaking the process of losing weight. I'm very proud to say that I've lost over 50 lbs. I'm eating better in terms of the types of foods I eat and the portions I am eating.

I've never lost this much before. Normally, I'll make it to about 30, and then I'm unable to lose anymore. Then, I get discouraged, eat more, and gain the weight back. Meh.

I kind of realize now what the main problem was.

Back then at the previous times I tried losing weight, my self esteem was terrible. I really had almost no confidence in myself. I looked in the mirror and hated myself inside and out for the person I'd become.

Over the years, I had been told in so many ways (subtly and unsubtly) that the only way for you to get the motivation to lose weight was to hate and despise the way you looked.

I knew it was probably silly to think that way. Yet, because I didn't have any other reason to take care of myself, I kind of thought at the time that it was the only way.

My journey has been a long one. First, was realizing that I have a God who created and loves me. Second, fully realizing deep down to your heart, (not just knowing it-but understanding it) that you are beautiful on the inside. Third, my self-worth needs to come from the Lord. All of these things I have written about before.

You see, at this point I've realized something: when you love something, really love something, you're more likely to go out of your way to take care of it. We go out of our way to help loved ones; our siblings, husbands, boyfriends, mothers, fathers, grandparents, our relationship with God, etc.

Why? Because we love them. What about ourselves?

We MUST stop hating on our bodies. When we learn to love and accept them, only then do I believe we can really get the desire to take better care of it and maintain a lifetime of health. Because, seriously-why would we take care of something we don't really love and care about that much anyway?

Also, when you don't have a healthy dose of self-love, other areas of your life suffer. Your relationships suffer. You cause your loved ones to worry about you and your health. You begin comparing yourself and hating other women because they have something you don't. Your relationship with God suffers because you're focused too much on self to worry about it.

My weight loss is now mostly because I want to be a healthier me-not necessarily because I want to look better. I want to treat myself well so God can use me better for His purposes, and so I can do more for my loved ones. It'll be nice to fit into some smaller sizes (I'm not going to lie about that) but my mindset has changed dramatically in what my priorities are health wise.

So, what I am basically saying is that we must learn to love ourselves and when we do, you find that it's easier to find the motivation to take better care of yourself.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Are Your Words EVERYONE?

I think you can probably guess why I put a picture of Thumper here... :)

It's amazing the petty little things people will decide to complain about in terms of things politicians or celebrities do.

Especially politicians. Honestly, it drives me crazy to see so many people choose ridiculous, unimportant things to nit pick them about. It also drives me crazy to see the Christian people sit around and insult our President. No, not simply say they disagree with his policies, and why-but literally result to insulting him.

Let me state this, I do not agree with mostly everything he stands for. I honestly don't. But, the truth is, it sickens me to see the way even Christians are acting towards him.

Insulting, making fun of, and gossiping about our president or the opposing side will not make things better. That NEVER makes anything better in any situation we find ourselves in life. It makes things worse. In terms of politics, it makes people on the more conservative side look mean and hateful. Do you honestly think God is happy with us when we choose to act in such a way toward anyone?

Instead of using our mouths to cut others down, we should be using them down on our knees in prayer for him, for others. When we are about in the world, or on Facebook, sharing our beliefs with others, we should do so in a way that doesn't involve trying to cut others down.

Consider what the bible says:

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”-Ephesians 4:29

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”-Colossians 3:8

“Words of the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”-Ecclesiastes 10:12

Also, please consider if there is even an inkling of hate in your heart. Hate towards others is a sin, and it can make people do and say horrible things to others (Matthew 5:43-48). Before you say something, or post something, consider in your heart WHY you are about to say what you are. Are you doing it to be uplifting, to build up, to teach? Or, are you doing it simply to insult or get one over on some person, or party?

I think we often forget that people are souls. I think we often forget that we have sin in our lives just like everyone else. We need to make sure that our hearts aren't transforming into those like the pharisees who thanked God that they weren't like “that tax collector”. (Luke 18:9-14)

God and His love is what should drive us. Not the desire to be right all the time.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Seeing the World Clearly through Jesus

There is a saying that goes, "She sees the world through rose-colored glasses."

This simply means that someone sees the world in a positive and optimistic way.

Our mindset, experience, and influences around us determine how we are going to view certain things and situations. As Christians, have we allowed God to put his "glasses" on us to view things more like the way He does?

Through study, prayer, and implementing His teaching in our lives, our take on things and actions should change to that of God's.

I believe that many of us as Christians are allowing the influence of the world to affect our thinking. Are we as Christian women allowing the mentality of "I am woman, hear me roar" affect the way we view people and situations? Or, are we allowing the mindset of Christ to bestow love, humbleness, kindness, self-control and gentleness to take over our hearts? (Galatians 5:22-23, James 4:10, 1st Peter 5:6)

When you enter a situation of someone angrily lashing out at you, what is your first thought of what to do? It's usually to lash back. However, for someone with the love of Christ in their hearts, we train ourselves to make the decision that we aren't going to do that. We will give a gentle answer, an honest answer, and a loving answer (Proverbs 15:1, Ephesians 4:15, Ephesians 4:25). Our eyes should see that person as a soul who needs the love of God in them.

When something bad happens in our world, such as a war, natural disaster, or mass murder, we shouldn't have to question God why it happens. It happens because of sin and/or because of Satan trying to destroy people's faith and lives (1st Peter 5:8). We should just see it as an opportunity to do even more good for the cause of Christ or to grow. Bad things are going to happen in this life and there's really not a whole lot we can do about it.

 1st Peter 4:12 says, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you."

Our eyes and our hearts will only open to Jesus' sight if we allow them to be opened. With Him and His words in our hearts we can see the world differently. To fully allow God to change us, we must let go of a worldly mindset and let God's word change us from the inside out. (James 4:8, Hebrews 4:12)

Pride too often shadows our judgment when we choose to hold onto something so tightly that we know we shouldn't be hanging onto. Until we can overcome that pride, and learn what it really means to love God, only then can we see how God wants us to be and how we must view this world. We can begin to see this world for what it is, see it for what it could be, and we can see the joy that will come after our work on this earth is done.

(P.S.: I highly encourage you to look up the verses referenced here on your own. Don't take my word for it!)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Pray for Everyone...Not just the people we like.

Today while browsing on Pinterest, I came across something that took me by surprise. It shouldn't have, but I guess gruesome things just have a way of doing that.

One board that I follow posts things about God, and Christianity. Well, someone pinned a picture of a person's hand that looked as if someone took a knife and put multiple, deep cuts up each finger. Why was this done? Because this person was punished for reading the bible in a Muslim country.

I have seen multiple images of the bodily damage done by some those people in the middle east. It's really disturbing and heartbreaking to see how Christians can be treated over there.

The pin was saying to be sure we pray for the Christians being persecuted over there. We should pray for them; we should be praying that they can stay strong and not back down, even to the point of giving their lives for God.

Yet, there's some other people that need prayer: the persecutors themselves. It's hard sometimes to find it in ourselves to pray for these people-but the truth is, no matter how vile, evil, or horrible a person may seem, they absolutely NEED our prayers. God came to die for everyone-never, ever, should we let our human ideas and feelings get in the way of God's longing for everyone to come to  him (2nd Peter 3:9).

Some of what we would consider some of the worst of people have come to God. Paul, is a prime example. He originally caused Christians to be put to death and thrown into prisons. Yet, God still saw fit to use Him. When we read the bible, we see some horrible things that some of them have done, yet God loved them and saw so much potential in them.

Now, as I type this, or as you're reading this, efforts are being made to take prayer and God out of certain parts of our country (such as our military). We're being called hateful, foolish, and stupid for our stances on certain issues. And, honestly, it will probably only get worse from here (unless something is done, that is).

Jesus told us what to do about those people. He tells us to pray for these people, and to treat them kindly (6:27-28). He also tells us to give respect and pray for our government officials (Romans 13:4-7, Matthew 22:16-21, 1st Peter 2:17). No matter how much we may dislike someone, or some government, God still commands us to treat them with love and respect.

Remember that Jesus says, "If the world hates you, know that they hated me before they hated you." (John 15:18)

We must still keep working, no matter the circumstance. Be kind to everyone, respect everyone, and obey God. This world needs your love, and your prayers. Don't let pride fill you up so much to the point that it fills your heart with hatred for those that don't believe.