But Victory Seems So Far Away

I started out this year with great determination to be victorious in my healthy eating resolutions. But then life happened.

Like when the upstairs toilet clogged and flooded my kitchen ceiling. Or when I got stuck in traffic, yelled at my kids, and missed an important meeting.

Those are the moments when my long-term goals to get healthy don’t feel as important as my need for immediate comfort.

I just want to blow my healthy eating plan out of frustration with something gooey, sweet, and cream laden.

I bet you’ve had something occur this week that doesn’t make you feel very victorious either. A sick child, a missed deadline, tension in a friendship, or a number on the scale that almost made you cry. I understand. But may I encourage you? Even in the midst of trying circumstances and bad days, you can be victorious.

You can be victorious even when the distance between your present reality and your desired goal seems so far apart.


Set mini-goals.

Losing twenty, fifty, one hundred pounds, or more can seem so far away. And faraway goals are hard to hang onto when life drains us and it feels like those French fries sure could fill us.

Set mini-goals physically by getting a strategy for making healthy choices. How can you prepare now to drink eight glasses of water today? What is a healthy snack option you’ll turn to when those afternoon salty and sugary cravings start calling? Are you going out to eat at a restaurant? Use the Internet to look up the nutritional information for their menu so you can make informed healthy choices. If hit with an unexpected temptation today, what healthy go-to script or Bible verse can you arm yourself with in advance to combat justifications and compromises?

Each mini-goal you accomplish today is a moment of victory.

We can also set mini-goals spiritually. We will always be most victorious when we are in the center of God’s will. When we are in God’s will, we are able to see our trials from God’s perspective — through the lens of His grace and truth.

But what is God’s will? The apostle Paul wrote, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks . . . for this is God’s will” (1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18). This is an explicit description of what God’s will is. To be in the center of God’s will is to be a woman who is joyful, prayerful, and thankful.

Be joyful: Intentionally look around for measures of joy each day. There is joy in simply being alive and in being redeemed by God. Remember, joy is a choice we make, not a feeling we hope to get from our circumstances. It’s good to look for the good, to celebrate it even in small ways. Doing so is a moment of victory.

Be prayerful: Focus your thoughts on God through prayer. When I was tempted with unhealthy choices, it used to trigger a pity party. Now, I turn my temptations into triggers to pray. Turning to God rather than turning to food is a moment of victory.

Be thankful: When I focus on how much weight I still need to lose, it brings me down and I start entertaining thoughts of defeat. However, when I focus on all that I’m gaining with God through this process of losing the weight, it makes me all the more determined to keep going. What is something positive you’ve gained during your weight loss journey so far? God’s activity can be seen much more readily when we focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t have.

We can’t control our circumstances, but we can control our choices. Setting mini-goals physically and spiritually positions us for victory today. Indeed, you can be victorious even when the distance between your present reality and your desired goal seems so far apart.

Today, you can join 15,000+ women who are also claiming victory over their struggles in Proverbs 31 Ministries’ online Bible study of my book, Made to Crave. The study begins January 19th! Click here for more information or to sign up.

Leave a comment below sharing one mini-goal you’re setting in 2014. I’ll pick 5 winners to each receive a signed copy of Made to Crave.


The Boy Questions

A year ago, I posted the following thoughts in preparation to write Made to Crave for Young Women. But I wanted to repost this now that the book is out and give several copies away. Please leave a comment below to be entered.

I wrote this book with Shaunti Feldhahn, amazing friend, author and social researcher. In other words, moms, if you really want to know what your girls are thinking, you’ll want to read this. She has woven her amazing research with teens all throughout this book.

The focus of this book centers around ways Satan tries to distract us from God. He wants us to get legitimate needs met in an illegitimate way.

Oh how I wish I’d had this book in my teens years.

Satan comes after us in these three areas:

Physical Desires
Material Desires
Emotional Desires

It’s the same three ways he came after Eve in the Garden of Eden. It’s the same three ways he came after Jesus in the desert.

It’s the same three ways we’re told not to get lured away from God in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Here are those same verses from The Message Bible:

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world — wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important — has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out — but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

So, how do we communicate these truths in an everyday way that will connect with a teens heart? One way to do that is by equipping them with the right questions to ask. For example, under the section on emotional desires, I tackle attention and affection from boys.

Whew… what a topic right?

As a mom of teen girls, there’s a big part of me that wants to say, “stay away from boys until you’re 30!” Okay, maybe 28. Ahem.

But, maybe a more realistic approach is to teach them the right questions to ask before spending time with a friend boy. (And yes, that wording is intentional.)

Worship — Who or what does he worship in the shrine of his heart?

Words — Do his words (spoken and written) build others up or tear them down?

Character — Who is he when no one else is looking?

Personality — Who is he around other people?

Interests — What kinds of things does he do to recharge?

Feelings — Do you feel better about yourself when he’s around?

Attraction — Is your attraction to him centered around something that will stay over time?

When asking these questions about a boy you are interested in, don’t ask based on what you hope will be in the future, ask these questions based on the reality of today.

What do you think about these questions? Are there others you would add? What speaks to your heart most from the verses shared from 1 John 2? Which young woman in your life do you want to share this message with?

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win one of five signed copies we’re giving away.


What Every Mom Should Show Her Daughter

In my new book, Made to Crave for Young Women written with social researcher, Shaunti Feldhahn, we encourage moms and daughters to watch this video and talk about it together.

Seriously, it’s eye opening.

It just goes to show the illusive beauty benchmark the world dangles in front of women and girls is unrealistic at best and unattainable at worst. In short, beauty isn’t looking like the models. Even the models don’t look like the models. Beauty, true beauty, comes from within.

And that isn’t just some convenient Christian cliche. It’s truth.

That’s why I am so passionate about this new book, Made to Crave for Young Women.

Here’s a note a woman named Libbi just posted on Amazon. It made me tear up with thanksgiving that this book that was so challenging to write, is reaching people — young and old.

Every single person, man, woman, boy or girl, has a longing on the inside of us. The longing for something more.

We have longings to be loved, to feel happy, even if for a moment. Those longings, while natural, will destroy our lives if not handled correctly. We were made to fill those longings with God. Not chocolate chip cookies, or a handsome boyfriend, or those adorable shoes at the store.

In this fantastically written book, Shaunti Feldhahn and Lysa TerKeurst show that it is God’s plan for us to run to Him instead of to food, material possessions, or even other people. If we run to God, we can experience eternal happiness rather than short-lived enjoyment.

This book was exceedingly better than I could have hoped. This book was perfect for me at this time in my life. I have always seemed to have a problem with self control. This past week, however, I have been trying to walk in more self-control. This book could not have come at a more perfect time.

This book has helped me so much, I can’t even begin to tell you. Though hard to pick, I think one of my favorite quotes is this one, “The key, friends, is not to simply follow a rule- it’s to be wise about our choices so we rely on God rather than something we crave.”

Talk about a perfect quote! Using scripture throughout, this book easily makes the best non-fiction book I have read this year. Overall, I would one-hundred percent recommend this book. It is one of the few books that is COMPLETELY worth your money. I guarantee it.

Libbi H.

Thank you Libbi for taking time to share with me these sweet words of encouragement. They are a treasure to my soul.

Today, I’m giving away 6 copies of Made to Crave for Young Women. Just leave me a comment below and I’ll announce the winners of this contest and the She Speaks scholarship contest on Monday.