Buying time….

I told you yesterday that I have to wait THIRTY minutes before I can have my morning cup of coffee. Usually, I lay in bed and wait for those long minutes to pass. Sometimes I get up, count down the minutes, and sit with Hank while he drinks his coffee.

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Hank and I like to drink our first cup of coffee with Joyce Meyer.

I’ve always enjoyed her practical approach to Christianity and have credited her ministry to most of my inner healing. After Hannah got osony-walkman-cassette-player-350n the big yellow school bus, I’d stuff my Walkman along with an extra tape into my athletic neoprene purple fanny pack and go on my morning run. (Yes. I am that old!)

I still love her practical approach. And every morning, she still challenges me to heal, grow, and do my best to enjoy the life that God has given me!

But I’m rambling. Today she was talking about living life on purpose and not wasting time. She went on to say that at 73 years old, she works out with weights three times a week and walks five miles a day. (I’m impressed!) She said that others might see that as a waste of time but she sees it as buying time!

Buying time!

The National Cancer Institute  once wrote,

“Regular exercise extended the lives in every group that we examined in our study—normal weight, overweight, or obese.”

Buying time to live. Buying time to give. Buying time to grow old without feeling old. Buying time to be with  children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Would you see exercising differently if you thought of it as buying time instead of losing or wasting time? Would you find a way to incorporate some form of exercise in your life if you thought it might give you a few more days, weeks, or years with your family?

According to the National Cancer Institute you could actually buy as much as 4.5 years by incorporating regular exercise into your life!

 

I live in the high desert of New Mexico surrounded by the original Americans and their homeland known as the Navajo Nation. History, the railroad, and I40 have brought men and women from Mexico, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  In fact Gallup has become  such a diverse community that our church has a banner on our building that reads “Strength in Diversity.”

I am a pastor who truly believes that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. When others come to accept Jesus as their personal savior they often wonder about  how their cultural beliefs will merge with their newfound faith.   I have taught many men and women that they should respect their culture and the lessons that have been passed down from generation to generation. I encourage others to embrace the  wisdom of their ancestors while honoring scripture.  Yet  there are those times when culture blatantly opposes God’s Word. When asked what to do during one of these situations I usually respond with one simple sentence.  Scripture trumps culture. 

And that’s as true for me as it is for anyone else. I am an American. Let me be more specific. I am a Southern White American. And my culture is known for some of the most delicious food in this country. From fried chicken, fried okra, beans and cornbread,  to shrimp and grits, we have amazing food! Oh! And don’t forget that sweet tea ruins through our veins!

Not only am I a Southern White American who was raised on delicious food that isn’t  good for you,  I’m also a 50 year old woman who grew up with the convenience of McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut,  and a bunch of other fast food restaurants serving me food that seemed to taste great but, once again, has proven not to be so good for me.

And I have grown up eating the  Standard American Diet. From childhood into adulthood my grocery buggy looked just like everyone else’s.  It was filled with five pound bags of sugar and flour, sodas, boxes of cereal, chips, frozen pizzas, and so much more…..

You may be wondering where I’m going with this. How does scripture trump culture when it comes to eating?

1 Corinthians 6:12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.

19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

I can choose to eat the Standard American Diet and suffer the consequences of my choices.  I can continue to embrace my the diet of my people and deal with the diseases they have tried to pass down to me.  Or I can choose to confront the culture of eating with scripture. Not everything on the grocery shelves is good for me so I choose not to put those items in my cart. For me sweet tea is addictive so that means that I cannot  allow myself to cave in to that addiction.

But ultimately I choose to honor God with my body by feeding it good food that is nutritious and delicious, daily exercise, and a good night’s sleep.

Today I want you think about this question:  Have you allowed the convenience of fast food along with processed foods, the lack of exercise, and burning the candle at both ends to make you a slave to the Standard American Diet, disease, or obesity?


Photo Source

My cycling injury is almost three weeks old. The road rash is gone and I can bend my arm now. But I can’t hold anything heavier than a quart of half & half and I can’t fully extend my arm. And the required rest and recovery time has added a few pounds to my waistline.

Whether we are recovering from an injury or sickness, we all go through those times when we can’t do the activities that we enjoy. So what do we do?

For me, I can’t go to the gym right now because I really need the use of my left arm to lift weights, use the elliptical, or run on the treadmill. All I can do today is wrap my elbow and wrist, get the dogs, and go for a long walk. And that has to be enough. Rather than being angry that I’m not working out and have gained a few pounds, I choose to find joy in the walks with my dogs.

What about you? When you can’t do what you enjoy most, what can you choose to do instead?

 

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I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

Bicycle Race by “Queen”

Columbus, Ohio has great running/walking/rollerblading/cycling trails and I’ve been taking advantage of them as often as possible while visiting Hannah, Austin, and Liberty! 

I’m a people watcher even when I’m pedaling 13 mph on a bike and I’ve noticed that the people who are out riding their bikes or rollerblading are having the most fun! I’ve seen ladies who are at least 70 pedaling old fashioned bikes with baskets, obese men who have to ride with their legs spread out a really odd angle to accommodate their massive girth, and little girls wearing their ballet tights riding these trails. And everyone of them is having a good time!

And that’s what keeps them coming back to the trails. They are not exercising, they are kids again and they are having FUN!

Have you ever noticed that straddling a bike or strapping on skates makes exercise fun for must of us? I think it’s because it reminds us of our best childhood moments.  For me, riding my bike was my first taste of freedom… I rode down to the convenience store on the corner to buy cigarettes for one of our neighbors that we called Uncle Arthur. He let me keep the change to buy a coke or candy for myself! It was heavenly! Freedom and candy at the same time!

What about you? When is the last time you rode a bike or went skating?  Why not go this weekend and see what  childhood memory pops up? 

       

Relationships, part 3

“Our parents care for us as children and we care for them in their old age but we always know that there will come a day when they will see Jesus long before we do.” (July 2, 2013)

As  parents age and move closer to the end of their lives many adult children may find themselves stepping into the role of parent, care-giver, and nurse while trying their best to honor their parents.

When in this position, it’s necessary to try balance parents, spouse, children, and grandchildren too. Throw in work and church, it  feels as if there is absolutely no time to take care of oneself.

Some days it may feel as if one is walking a high tension wire and just about to go crashing to the ground.

There seems to be no time for exercise. It may even seem selfish for wanting an hour to take a walk or go to the gym.

Comfort foods are used as a stress-reliever. Indulgences become a reward.

And it’s about so much more than finding balance, dealing with stress, or being bone-tired. Caring for our parents comes with the childhood wounds, family tensions, and the building frustration of the unfairness of it all. Brothers and sisters seem to go on with life as normal. While they were only there for a few hours to visit,  parents go on and on for days about how good it was to see him or her. To add insult to injury, the absent brother or sister is the parent’s favorite child who does no wrong.

If you are in this position, then I want to tell you that you absolutely, positively need to begin caring for yourself. You can’t on like this indefinitely! If you continue to try to balance it all, you will come crashing to the ground sooner rather then later. And then what? Who will step in and pick up the pieces?

Not only will it all come crashing down but you may find that you’ve put yourself in a place where someone needs to take care of you.

It’s time to ask for help! You’re not weak because you can’t keep it all balanced and you’re not selfish because you need a few hours a week to take care of yourself…..

(Disclaimer: Due to distance, I am the kid who shows up for a few days to help out and then leaves. My husband, Hank, tries to pick up his mom and takes her out of town for a few days so that Judy can get a break. Thank you Judy and Rhonda for all that you do to take care of our parents! )

Relationships….

Yesterday I mentioned that our bodies are the only thing that we have throughout our lives. Everything is either relational or temporary.

Now, I don’t want you to think that relationships are not important. The truth is that we were created to love and be loved and we can only do that if we are in relationship with God and people.

HankFor the next few blogs, I’m going to write about how our perception of our bodies and our health affect the three most important people relationships in our lives. Later, I’ll share with you my thoughts on how our bodies affect our relationship with God the Creator.

The most important relationship in my life is with my husband, Hank. He’s more my life partner. He’s my best friend, fellow adventurer,  the father of my daughter, my ministry partner, and the one I turn to when life is not working out like I thought it would. He loves me more than anyone ever and has proven that he’ll always be there for me time and time again.

And yet, there have been many times that I’ve allowed my perception of my body to create a distance between us wider the Mississippi River. I’ve hidden in layers of clothes, turned out lights, and rejected his attempts at intimacy. (And when I rejected those attempts at intimacy I was rejecting him by implying that how I feel about my body is more important than how I feel about him.)

Like Eve after eating the forbidden fruit, I’ve tried to cover my nakedness because I’m ashamed of myself.

This lack of intimacy intensifies the lack of communication which leaves us feeling like roommates instead of lovers.  God did not create roommates to become one! When we are living as roommates instead of lovers then we have denied ourselves the power of agreement, the strength of two putting ten thousand to flight, and no one to pick us up when we fall.

Jesus said, “What therefore God has united (joined together), let not man separate or divide.” Mark 10:9

And I allowed the shame that I felt about my body to separate me from my husband and forfeited the blessings of God in my marriage all because I was not willing to exercise self-control in my life by denying myself those foods that pack on the pounds.

And I used those extra pounds as an excuse for not exercising which only compounded the problem. I found myself in an endless cycle where I could find no joy in my marriage or in life.

And then one day, I decided that it was time to make some changes. I started with watching what I ate and exercising and as the pounds melted away like wax on a candle my relationship with Hank improved….

Someone once asked me if Hank loved me more when I was thin than when I was overweight……. No, I love myself more when I’m thin! And when I love myself more I’m willing to come out from hiding to allow Hank to show me just how much he has always loved me. 

 

Scripture References:

  • Genesis 2:25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
  • Genesis 3:Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
  • Deuteronomy 32:30 How could one have chased a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had delivered them up?
  • Ecclesiastes 4:Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor; 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie down together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

 

Misery is a state of mind…

It’s true. Misery is a state of mind. You choose misery or happiness.

Have you ever noticed that siblings will live in the same household, have the same parents, go through the same problems and yet one is happy while the other one is always miserable? It’s because they each chose how they would respond to life. One chose happiness and the other chose misery.

Blaming misery on others doesn’t make anything better…. it’s just a manipulative way of inviting someone to join you in your misery. You know the old saying, “Misery loves company.” Well, it’s absolutely true. If you are miserable then you want to make darn sure that no one around you is happy so you blame them for your misery. You do everything within your power to make sure that they know that if they were different then you’d be happy.

You’ve created an environment where no one can truly be happy. Your spouse can’t relax in your presence. Your children are uncomfortable riding in the car with you. Friends avoid lunch dates. Even pastors are afraid to answer the phone when called.

And that’s because everyone knows that there is absolutely nothing they can do to make things better for you.

More than anyone else, women tend to be miserable in their own bodies. They hate the way they look. Dread swimsuit season. Avoid intimacy.

Women stand in front of the mirror and curse the very image of the living God as they curse themselves. Women routinely rehearse and magnify their faults and ignore their beauty.

And because they are miserable they make darn sure that everyone around them is miserable. Husbands are afraid to say anything because they don’t know how it will be heard. Children walk on eggshells. And daughters are taught to hate themselves. No one is happy and everyone is miserable.

If you are miserable in your own skin then it’s your own fault. You can choose to remain the same or you can choose to do something about it.

Here are a few ideas that will help you go from miserable to happy:

  • Start complimenting yourself. Begin to tell yourself that you are made in the very image of God and that’s absolutely beautiful!
  • Stop waiting on the magic pill that will melt your fat away to reveal the strength beneath. Instead:
  1. Develop the fruit of the spirit known as self-control.
  2. Eat well because the better we eat the better we feel.
  3. Exercise. God made your body strong!