Almost a year…..

one-yearIt’s been almost a full year since we moved from Gallup.

I spent the first few months feeling incredibly guilty about leaving. And then I spent a few months convinced that I had failed God, Gallup, and myself.

I’ve always viewed life with a pass or fail mentality. And for me, failing was anything less than an A-. So, closing the church definitely put me in the absolute failure category.

Since we left Gallup, I have visited a lot of churches. In the beginning, when I went into a new church, I’d think we did that or wonder why never tried doing it that way. Maybe if I had been more like this pastor then I would still be a pastor instead of  a visitor. Honestly, one time I went to a church and thought that the whole reason we didn’t reach the level of success that I believed for was because I couldn’t sing. You see, the pastor’s wife at that church is an amazing singer and leads praise and worship. Maybe if I could have at least  played the piano things would have been different???????

But in the last few weeks something has changed because I’ve started seeing things differently.

God has been speaking to me that he saved me to be his daughter not his servant. Think about it for a moment…If God only wanted servants then why would he create mankind? He already has devoted and obedient servants that he calls angels. These angels did not require the sacrifice of the cross to put them in a position of service. They were, are, and always will be doing exactly what they were created to do —- serve!

Angels are never called children of God.

Up until recently I believed a lie. I believed that God loved me because I was doing his will. I believed that God had created me for a purpose and if I failed to fulfill that purpose then I was failing not only myself but I was failing God. And if I was failing God, then what use did he have for me?  I was living life as an indentured slave because I had totally forgotten that serving God is in it’s simplest form an act of love.

Jesus said, “Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:35-36

These are the truths that God has been speaking to set me free…..

  • God knit me together in my mother’s womb because he wanted a daughter.
  • God rescued me from physical death time and time again because he loves me as his daughter.
  • God doesn’t need me to do anything but live as his daughter.
  • God allows me to participate in his will because he enjoys spending time with his daughter.
  • God’s purpose for my life is for me to live as his daughter.
  • God wants me to enjoy all of the benefits that come from being his daughter.

Since coming to understand and accept these truths, I am able to change my perception of the past and my expectation for the future.  No longer do I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I no longer accept responsibility that was never meant to be mine. I choose to see serving God as the privilege of participating in the wonder of who He is as my father and as just another opportunity to spend time with Him.

Living life as a daughter makes the promise that Job received be true for me too…..

The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.*

*“Adonai blessed Iyov’s later situation even more than his earlier one.” Complete Jewish Bible. 

 

A tranquil mind gives health to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30 (CJB)

A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body, but passion and envy are like rottenness to the bones. Proverbs 14:30 (AMP)

I’ve told you over and over that I struggle with comparing myself to others. It may seem harmless to look with envy at the athletes/models in magazines or at the fit women in my gym, but it isn’t because every time I do that I come up lacking.

Whenever I fall back into the habit of  comparing myself to others or envying what they have achieved, I  always end up feeling disappointed, discouraged, and, quite often,  depressed.

You see, there is a great difference between comparing myself to someone  and being inspired by her.  When my motivation is envy, I cannot learn from that athlete/model in the magazine because envy forces me to find or create explanations for why she is so much better than I am. These explanations may be as harmless as she has better genes for this than I do, this is her full time job, or may be as negative as noting that  she could not have achieved this look without plastic surgery or photo-shopping.

And, when I’m around real people who are much more than images on a page, not only can I not be inspired by them or learn from them,  I am not  able to develop  true and lasting relationships with these amazing women because  envy, comparison, and insecurity sole intention is isolating me from others.

For me, comparing myself is a habit that pokes it’s ugly head up when I least expect it. I can walk out of my house feeling as if I’ve never been prettier only to arrive at a party to discover that I am surrounded by women who are prettier, fitter, and dressed better than I am. What do I do then?

My options are to retreat into the corner or to come out strong with the truth: I am more than my looks. I am more than what I am wearing. I am more than my level of fitness. I am more than I weigh. I am more than enough……

And I am more than willing to be your friend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember this…..

In my personal opinion this was the absolutely worst drink ever produced on the planet. But I drank it anyway because I was young and believed the lie it told  through advertising. And that lie was that I could drink sodas and be skinny. (You might also remember that these were the days of Virginia Slims…..)

And many still believe this lie. So for the next several days I’m going to be posting links along with my own thoughts about diet drinks…

Before you read the following article, please take a moment and think about the verses below and ask God to reveal the truth to you about these products that will set you free!

You are of your father the devil……… Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father oflies. John 8:44

and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32

 

Is there a link between diet soda and heart disease?

 

 

 

I’m a big fan of diet soda. I like the taste, and I love that it doesn’t have any calories. I can drink two or three diet sodas a day and not worry about gaining weight. But a new study has me wondering if enjoying the sweetness of soda without the sugar and calories is such a good thing after all.

 

University of Miami and Columbia University researchers followed roughly 2,500 New Yorkers for 10 years. All of the study volunteers were over age 40 and had never had a stroke. At the start of the study, each participant indicated her or his diet soda intake as “none” (less than 1 per month), “light” (1 diet soda a month to 6 diet sodas a week), or “daily” (1 or more a day). Each year, researchers contacted participants by phone to ask them about changes in risk factors and medications, as well as any health problems and hospitalizations that may have occurred.

 

At the end of 10 years, the daily diet soda drinkers were more likely to have had a stroke or heart attack, or to have died from vascular disease. The increased risk remained even after study investigators accounted for smoking, exercise, weight, sodium intake, high cholesterol, and other factors that could have contributed to the difference. The results were published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

 

Both regular and diet soft drinks were linked with certain, but separate, cardiovascular disease risk factors. In this study, frequent diet soda drinkers were more likely to be former smokers and have higher blood sugar, high blood pressure, and, ironically, larger waistlines. They were also more likely to have metabolic syndrome. That’s the name for a cluster of risk factors—high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels—that occur together and increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Folks who drank regular soda were more likely to smoke and eat more carbohydrates, but were less likely to have diabetes or high cholesterol.

 

A study such as this one can only hint at an association between diet soda and cardiovascular risk. It can’t pinpoint a cause and effect. But it’s not the first to implicate diet soda as a cardiovascular risk factor. A report from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, published in the journal Diabetes Care, found that people who drank diet soda every day had a 36% greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 67% greater risk of developing diabetes. Both of these conditions greatly raise the odds of having a stroke or heart attack. It’s a little surprising that diet soda drinkers were more like to develop two particular components of metabolic syndrome: larger waistlines and higher fasting glucose levels (results consistent with the New York study results).

 

So far, research on diet soda’s relationship to cardiovascular disease raises more questions than it answers. For example, do people who drink a lot of diet soda have other behaviors or conditions that independently increase their risk of cardiovascular disease? We also don’t have a good understanding of the biological effects of artificial sweeteners (see this Harvard Health Letter article for more on this topic). Manufacturers use a variety of artificial sweeteners in soft drinks, and surely new ones will come on the market. So it is difficult to tease out the effects of a particular sweetener—or beverage for that matter, because a range of drinks come in sugar-free form, not just soda.

 

Sometimes making a healthful choice is a slam dunk. Quitting smoking and exercising more are very good for you. There’s no debate about that. Other times it’s a tougher call. Surely, no one needs to consume soft drinks of any kind. But is it a problem to do so?

 

My husband gently (but persistently) tells me there is nothing good about drinking diet soda, not even the taste I claim to enjoy so much. The evidence seems to back him up. For me, I have realized (time and again) that I just feel better when I don’t drink diet soda. When I make the effort, I’m reminded how much I enjoy other beverages such as carbonated water or iced tea.

 

Wish me luck as I once again try to get off diet soda.

 

Posted February 21, 2012, 12:36 pm

Nancy Ferrari, Senior editor, Harvard Health