Thursday, January 22

Is My Weight Really a Big Deal to God?

I always considered my food struggle to be a small thing in light of the bigger challenges of life. I mean, it’s not as big of a deal to God as attitudes of selfishness,
worldliness, or pride — or is it?

I can remember saying, “God, you can mess with my pride, you can mess with my anger, you can mess with my money, you can mess with my selfishness, you can mess with my frustration with my children, you can mess with the times I disrespect my husband . . . you can mess with all that, but don’t mess with my eating.”

However, small things can easily become big things.

Through the years, I began to acknowledge the “big” emotions that often accompanied my “little” food struggle. I realized that I constantly bounced between feeling deprived and guilty; deprived, then guilty. My frustration with myself stripped me of the peace and joy that I wanted to be the hallmark of my life. Us having peace is a big deal to God. Scripture tells us to let the peace of God rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15).

I think peace is what we want in every area of our life — even our health.

Is your heart dominated by feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, or defeat about your food struggles? Those are big emotions.

And whenever we feel defeated by an issue, it can prevent us from following God completely.

Consider these questions to gauge where your heart is:

1) Do you measure your worth as a woman by the numbers you see on the scale?

2) How many times have you rationalized “Oh, I deserve this sugary delish. I’ll just start my diet again Monday” but later felt like a failure?

3) How often do you compare your body to your sister’s, a friend’s, or a stranger’s?

4) Do you ever make mental comments about yourself and your weight that you’d never let another person say about you?

If you can identify with even just one of these, let me take you by the hand and whisper to you today… You. Are. Not. Alone. I knew to ask you all of those questions because I’ve said yes to each and every one. It’s good to do a heart-check every once in a while.

To help us, I’ve put together a free 21-Day Challenge based off of my book Made to Crave so we can start satisfying our deepest desires with God, not food. Each day for 3 weeks you’ll receive Biblical encouragement in your email inbox to help you find God’s peace on this journey to get healthy.

Click here to sign up.

And if you just need some Jesus girls to surround you in prayer, leave a comment below. My team and I will be praying over your needs as we head into the weekend.

Tuesday, January 13

A Sneak Peek of My Next Book

Starting to write a new book can be an intimidating process. After all, I’m not an experienced author of this new book. It’s my first dance with these words… these thoughts… these lessons.

With each new message, I’m a first-time author all over again.

And in this next book, I’m tackling rejection and loneliness. Not in a sad, let’s-get-down-in-the-dumps-together way.

Nope. More like a girlfriend chat where we all find ourselves saying, “Yep… I’ve felt that. I’ve thought that. Now, what do we do about it?”

So, I thought I would give my blog friends a sneak peek… a little slice of one of my chapters.

After you read this, {insert me blushing and sweating and eating a stale Christmas cookie} would you leave me a comment below with what you’d like to see addressed in a book about rejection and loneliness?

Your input is a pure treasure to me.
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There’s a lady at my gym who hates me. No, I’m serious. She sees me coming and I can feel little poofs of disdain chugging out of her ears as her feet are churning 87 miles per hour on the elliptical machine. I honestly don’t know how she goes so fast. I once tried to keep up with her.

It was awful.

And I think this was the day her infuriation with me started.

Let me back up and confess my sins that started this whole thing.

The elliptical machines are set up very close together and are completely awkward with their angular moving parts. Think if a New York high rise and an elephant had a baby. That’s an elliptical machine.

Now, conjure up a picture in your mind of the most athletic person you know. The one who doesn’t have a drop of fat on their entire body, not even at their belly button, which should be illegal in my cellulite-ridden opinion. Okay, do you have your person?

That’s her. She’s honestly stunningly beautiful.

Then picture a marshmallow dressed in a t-shirt and spandex pants. Her ponytail is rather tight but not much else is. That’s me. Hello world.

So, I have to sort of get in her space just a tad to mount my machine and I think I threw off her rhythm. That was sin number one.

And then I decided to try to stay in sync with her because I wanted to teach all the folks at the gym that day that,though my legs and derrière might not look like it, I’m in shape. My heart can pump with the best of them. And by golly I was tired of being out-ellipticalled by her. That was sin number two.

And then there may have been a little issue with me taking a phone call while working out. In my defense this is not at all my common practice. But a friend called who really needed me.

I realize now I should have stepped off my machine and taken the call elsewhere. But I was sort of in a competition at this point and needed to win this thing on behalf of every other marshmallow-feeling woman.

I tried to chat quietly but when you feel like a lung might very well pop out of your mouth at any minute, it’s difficult to whisper-talk. That was sin number three.

Three strikes and she deemed me out. Out of my mind. Out of line. Out of control.

She abandoned her elliptical and huffed over to the treadmill. And she’s hated me ever since.

But then the other day, something occurred. Something odd that stunned me.

She smiled at me.

It wasn’t an evil, I’m-about-to whip-your-tail-on-the-gym-floor kind of smile. It was more like a “oh hey, I’ve seen you here before, right?” kind of smile.

I thought about her expression the entire time on the elliptical that morning. I mean I analyzed it up one side and down the other. Was it just a stunned reaction kind of thing where she felt forced to smile because she couldn’t quite figure out what else to do?

Or was it “I think we could be friends?”

Or was it a truce of some sorts?

I’ve decided it wasn’t any of those. I truly believe it was a simple smile acknowledging that she’s seen me but has none of this crazy hate toward me at all.

It’s all been a perception thing on my part.

So let me rewrite the story as I now believe it actually is.

There’s a lady at the gym who really enjoys her workouts. One day the gal next to her talked on the phone so instead of making a deal out of it she just transitioned over to the treadmill.

She really hadn’t thought of it much since. And then one day she saw this same woman in the bathroom and smiled and thought, “Good for you for getting up this morning and working out.”

End of story.

Obviously, I don’t know what went through her head as she smiled. But I think my second version is closer to reality than my first.

Which has really gotten me thinking about all the many times I assign thoughts to others that they never really think. I hold them accountable to harsh judgments they never make. And I own a rejection from them they never gave me.

I know not every rejection is like this.

Some are completely certified and undeniable. As clear as a just-cleaned window. And the feelings so intense they can make you as horrifically stunned as a bird soaring eastward toward the morning sun only to slam headfirst into that clean window. The thud feels like it might just kill you.

That’s true rejection.

But then there’s this perceived rejection like I had with my fellow gym-goer.

I don’t even think I was really on her radar.

But in my mind I was absolutely in her crosshairs.

And so goes the crazy inside our heads sometimes.

It makes me remember something I saw an author friend of mine do several years ago that I filed away in my “Words I Love” notebook. She was signing a book. I peaked over to see what she was writing.

Her approach was simple. Before signing her name she wrote, “Live loved.”

Instead of an instruction, it was a proclamation. One that now arrests my soul and is so applicable to our discussion at hand.

Live from the abundant place that you are loved and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.

It’s not deciding in your mind, I deserve to be loved.

Or manipulating your heart to feel loved.

It’s settling in your soul, I was created by a God who formed me because He so very much loved the very thought of me. When I was nothing, He saw something and declared it good. Very good. And very loved.

This should be the genesis thought of every new day. Not because of how terrific I am. God doesn’t base His affection on my wilted efforts.

No, God’s love isn’t based on me.

It’s simply placed on me.

And is the place from which I should live.

Friday, January 9

5 Things to Consider Before Posting Online

Has your mouth ever gotten you in a tangled-up mess?

Or have you ever been deeply wounded because of the words of others?

I’d have to say yes to both of these.

But thank goodness I’m not alone – my friend, Karen Ehman, just wrote a fantastic book that tackles the hard subjects of gossip, speaking the truth in love, and the power of our words from a biblical standpoint. She’s guest posting today to give us some tips on how to control our tongue (and fingertips) online and through social media. Take it away, Karen…

I still remember the day I got a Facebook page back in 2007. I am pretty much a foreigner in the land of all things techie, but my kids insisted one day that I just could not be a cool mom unless I had a Facebook page.

At first, Facebook was fun. But then one day as I walked past the den, I heard my daughter hollering at the computer screen. “What? Are you kidding me right now? That’s a lie!”

I popped my head into the room to inquire about what had upset my daughter so much. She invited me to look at her friend’s Facebook page. They were both members of a sports team, and a third girl, also a member, was on her friend’s page complaining about the team’s coach. The comments back and forth became sharper and more concerning. Pretty soon they were in an all-out Facebook fight. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

It just strikes me as strange that friends can argue online or complete strangers can engage in a hearty debate right there on my blinking screen for all the world to see.

Although the Bible was written long before the computer age, I am convinced the truths of Scripture that address how we use our words in speech applies equally to how we use our words online and on social media. In fact, sometimes it’s the online words that give us the most trouble. Unsolicited opinion-slinging. Snark. Or even worse.

There is just something empowering about saying what you really think while hiding behind a computer screen.

Maybe we feel courageous because the person we’re addressing isn’t physically present. Or perhaps going along with the crowd makes it easy to speak harshly. Whatever it is, I have witnessed many people say things in cyberspace I doubt they would ever say in person. Sometimes the keyboard really does bring out the horrible in us.

So, if we want to honor God with what we say in cyberspace, what are the guidelines we should follow? Here are 5 things to consider before posting online:

1. Pray Before You Post
If we spend time ingesting God’s Truth each day before we switch on the computer, we might not write things that are unkind or hurtful. At the very least, we should whisper a prayer before we post, asking the Holy Spirit to tap on our hearts if we are tempted to post anything online that would not glorify Him.

2. Imagine the Recipient Sitting Next to You
The Internet is so impersonal. But if a flesh-and-blood person were sitting next to us with eyes we could look into, perhaps we would be more careful. Before you post, ask yourself if you would say things differently if the person to whom you’re writing were actually sitting next to you.

3. Remember: When You’re Online, You’re Also on Stage
Unless we send a private message, our online words are available for others to see. If I say something in person to a friend and am later convicted I was wrong, I can go back to my friend and apologize. However, if I post something on social media or comment on a blog and later want to retract it, I have no way to chase down all of the people who might have seen the original comment. Just this fact alone should cause us to really weigh our words before we type them out.

4. Ask Yourself If You’ve Earned the Right to Address the Subject at Hand
If friends on Facebook are hashing through a hot-button issue of the day, do you have any expertise in the area, or are you only slinging an underinformed opinion? We can’t always be an expert on every topic at hand, so when we aren’t, we might do well to refrain from commenting at all.

5. When You Speak, Let Your Speech Be Laced with Grace
Our words must glorify God and not just exalt our own opinions. Here is a great guideline from Scripture: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5–6).

Jot down these questions on a sticky note and post it near the computer as a reminder to ask:

• Is this comment wise?
• Will writing this comment help me display God’s love to outsiders?
• Is this comment full of grace?
• Have I asked God if this is the best response?

If you’ve ever said, typed, texted, or posted words that were permanently painful because you were temporarily ticked off, I understand. That’s why I wrote my new book, Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing At All. Click here to purchase your copy and get a 10-day devotional as a FREE gift!

Today I’m giving away 5 signed copies of Keep It Shut! To be entered to win, leave a comment below with one of the 5 rules that you’re going to implement this week as you post online.