We throw off the lie of perfection and cling to our identity in God as we strive to be whole, healthy, and fit. Our goal is wholeness, not perfection.

Archive for the ‘grace’ Category

You’re Already Amazing Monday: Chapter 2

This is my second attempt at recapping Chapter 2.  My first attempt read too much like a middle school book report.  Okay, maybe elementary.  So I’m going to share my personal highlights and takeaways from the chapter.

  • God planted the “Who am I really?” question in our hearts to help us understand who he created us to be.  If we don’t know who he created us to be, then we can’t fulfill the purpose he has for our lives.
  • Knowing who I really am is necessary to love God, others, and myself more.

Strengths

  • A strength is a personal characteristic that can be use on behalf of God in service to others.
  • The three strengths I identified – trustworthy, cheerful, supportive
  • God is the source of my strengths, I am not (Philipians 4:13)
  • When I come up short, I need to focus on who I am in Christ
  • My divinely created strengths are supported by my weaknesses, because if I was good at everything (which I’m not by the way), I wouldn’t focus on much of anything (which is difficult enough already with ADHD, thank you very much)
  • My assets (strengths) can easily become defects if I don’t keep my motives and their intensity in check

Skills

  • A skill is a strength expressed in a specific way that builds up others and benefits the kingdom – NOT the definition I would have given before reading this chapter
  • Mad props to Holley for referencing Napoleon Dynamite and making me giggle
  • The three skills I identified – relating, encouraging, guiding
  • Strengths stay consistent throughout life but the skills that express them can vary depending on the season of life I’m in
  • God wants my heart more than my skills – Thank you, Jesus.  Because some days I feel like a complete failure for not getting enough accomplished.  Or for not being cheerful or supportive enough.

My “Who” and Who I’m Called to Serve

These were my favorite sections of the chapter.  It took me several years to identify my social circles, and My “Who” served as a nice refresher.  This came at the perfect time, since I am returning to work after an extended maternity leave.  I don’t have the opportunity to regularly interact with adults (other than my husband), so remembering that I can’t truly share who I am with everyone there was a timely reminder.  Who I’m Called to Serve was an encouragement to keep striving to work on my dream of serving in ministry full time.

your strengths + your skills + who you’re called to serve

=

you making a difference in the world in your own amazing way

God’s Heart for Who I Really Am

This section made me cry.  Every time I read it.  Growing up, I struggled with being mixed.  I believed that I wasn’t Latina enough because I don’t fluently speak Spanish.  I believed that I wasn’t Black enough, because, well, I don’t look Black.  (I don’t use African American because my family is Caribbean and it just doesn’t fit) I knew that I could pass for being White but didn’t want to.  I wanted to be accepted for the unique person that I am.  I wanted to feel like I belonged.  God healed this particular heartbreak, but reading these words let me see how God has used the break to shine through me.

We are much more than pretty…we are wonderfully made.

We are much more than likeable…we are deeply loved.

We are much more than okay…we are daughters of the King.

I think the enemy tricks us into believing we are not enough because he knows if we discover the truth, we’ll be unstoppable.

Tears.  Tears of joy.  Tears of relief.  Tears of regret over wasted strengths and skills due to fear.  Tears of grace.  But then I wiped away my tears with a renewed sense of determination as I read these closing words:

Girls, let’s stop shaking in our boots and instead start standing tall for him together.

Let’s use our strengths, skills, and relationships to make a  difference.

Let’s be who we are, really.

I can’t do it alone – are you with me?

YES, I am!  How about you?

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A Message for Fit Moms

I’m reading You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth (read it and stop by here every Monday to join the conversation) and this paragraph stopped me in my tracks. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, because a friend of mine was feeling defeated by a workout she has been doing.

Making progress in life is hard work. When we insist on moving forward as quickly as possible, we can wear ourselves out in a hurry. Sometimes when God makes us wait, it’s one of the most merciful things he can do. It doesn’t inherently mean we’ve done something wrong. In fact, it can indicate just the opposite – that we’re right between some really big things God has for our lives, and we need to rest up.

I shared the paragraph with her and let her know that I can totally relate to wanting to be better/stronger/smaller/more fit/smarter/more experienced/whatever right NOW. It can be difficult, disheartening even, to not make progress at the pace I would prefer. But then God slows me down and I’m able to be grateful for the progress I’ve already made. I can easily forget that I just had babies, because they’re growing so fast. Not to mention what carrying them for 37 weeks did to my body. Our bodies are amazing for enduring what they did to carry and birth children. We (and I’m totally speaking to myself here) need to be patient and loving as we ask our bodies, often force them, to do things that will make them stronger in the long run but hurt right now.

As difficult as it can be, I sometimes like to have to talk to myself as though I’m talking to my 7 year old.  He is every bit the perfectionist that I am, which can lead to frustration and heartache on his part.  And lots of nevers.  Like “I’ll never be good at” this or that.  When these words come out of his mouth I call him over to me, pet and cup his face with my hand, look him straight in the eyes and tell him – “Yet.  You’re not good at it, yet.”

So to my fellow fit moms (moms working on their fitness) I say – be grateful for the ability to do what you can.  Try not to focus on what you used to do or what you can’t do, yet. I’ve found amazing women to walk alongside on my journey – via Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter – a tribe if you will.  When the lie of perfectionism hisses, we speak truth over one another.  Do you have a tribe of truth speaking, encouraging accountability partners?

You’re Already Amazing Monday: Intro

In her introduction to You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be, Holley Gerth invites me to pull up a chair so she can share a secret with me.  It is a secret so profound, that when I read it, I exhale deeply and my whole body relaxes.  “You don’t have to be more, do more, have more.”

YAA Intro

My whole life I’ve struggled to feel like I’m enough – Smart enough.  Articulate enough.  Funny enough.  Sweet enough.  Attractive enough.  Strong enough.  Brown enough.  Bilingual enough.  Ethnic enough.  Enough for you to accept me into your circle.  Enough for me to feel like I belong.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced a great deal of freedom in these areas.  But every now and then a small voice will hiss, asking me, “Are you sure you’re ______ enough?”

Just when that doubt starts creeping in, Holley speaks encouraging, empowering truth over me – “You’re a daughter of God, a holy princess, a woman created with strengths you’ve yet to fully grasp and a story that’s still being written by the divine Author himself.”  Whoa.  I believe I am a daughter of God.  So much so that it’s the first thing I write in any “about me” space of social media.  And I know my story is still being written because, well, I’m still here.  But a holy princess?  The mom of three boys who is ecstatic to get a shower before supper?  The wife who does her best but can’t seem to keep both the kitchen table and counters clean at the same time?  I have strengths I have yet to fully grasp?  I’m praying they include time management, staying organized, and budgeting.

But here’s where Holley had me hooked, eager to read more – “And if you really take hold of who you are and what you’re called to do, there will be no stopping you.  That’s because there’s no stopping him in you – and he’s got bigger plans for your life than you’ve even imagined.”  This quote ignites a fire in me because I know this season of my life is boot camp – preparing me for God’s next assignment for me, for what I’m called to do.  But there’s a lot of fear involved in knowing that this season will end.  There’s safety sticking around boot camp and not having to go into battle.  But the second sentence of the quote has me wanting to suit up and fight because it’s my life verse: With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20 NCV)

Whether you’ve read the book before or not, I hope that you’ll join me every Monday to recap each chapter and share what it means in real life to embrace who we are and trusting God to mold us into who He created us to be.

Already Amazing

Sometime this evening, I will be leading a workout routine, along with some wonderful women I met a couple of weeks ago, through REFIT Revolution, in North Carolina.  We worked on choreography and recorded several routines.  The one they helped me tweak is the routine we will be presenting tonight.  Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the original recording, so I recorded it again yesterday.

Now, I consider myself a fairly tech savvy person.  Not a tech geek, mind you, but I know my way around the internets (if you don’t get that reference you really need to check out Jon Acuff).  Well, apparently I don’t know my way around the privacy settings of Facebook.  I tried to share the video clip directly to the Facebook group we’re all in together, but it wasn’t an option from my phone.  Not wanting everyone to see it, I selected “Only Me” and then shared it to the group, forgetting that no one would be able to see it.

So I changed it to “Friends” and removed it from my timeline.  I didn’t delete it from my timeline, because I wasn’t sure if it would get deleted from our group.  I woke up this morning to notifications of likes and encouraging comments.  About the video clip.  That no one else was supposed to see.  I was mortified.  But then one comment hit me like a 2 x 4 – “Oh. My. God. You. Are. Amazing!!”  It was from my friend, and fellow twin mama (her boys were born the day after mine), Jennifer.

The thing is, I didn’t feel amazing.  At all.  Not when I was doing the routine – I was thinking about how frumpy I looked and that I probably should have worn workout clothes.  Not when I was done with the routine – I was out of breath and longing for the endurance I had before I got pregnant.

As a fitness instructor, I show the utmost respect, concern, care, and encouragement for people who are getting in shape.  I constantly remind them to do what they can and extend themselves some grace.  But until I read Jennifer’s comment, I hadn’t realized how I wasn’t offering myself the same respect, concern, care, encouragement, or grace.

My body is not the same.  Period.  It may never get back to the way it was.  I have to remind myself of that and be okay with it.  I want to strive for better fitness, and better health, but in a manner that does not belittle what my body has already achieved.  I need to celebrate my progress – daily.  I am going to focus on what I can accomplish, rather than what I was able to accomplish in the past.  Comparison is dangerous.  Especially when we compare ourselves to a former version of ourselves.  

Comparison v Grace

Jennifer’s comment and everything it stirred up in me reminded me that I’m exactly where God wants me to be.  At this particular time on my journey to wholeness, I am reading You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth.  That’s why when Jennifer told me I was “Amazing” it felt like a nod and a wink from God.  I would love for you to join me in reading this awesome book about grace and finding freedom in believing we are who God says we are.  Today is the last day to enter the giveaway.   

Diet Update

The last time I posted I confessed that although I exercise regularly, my diet isn’t too stellar.  I said that I was going to check in twice a week – for some accountability – and share how my eating habits have, or haven’t, improved.  Uhm, so why didn’t anyone stop me and remind me that the 4th of July weekend was just around the corner?  Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, soda (a rarity for me), coleslaw, and the cookie part of two Oreos.  That’s what I ate on the 4th.  Not too impressive.  But I’m not striving for perfection.  More along the lines of 80/20 clean eating – 80% clean 20% not.

I can do 100%.  I’ve done it twice before.  21 days each time.  The first was a Daniel Fast in 2010, and the Ultimate Reset last spring.  So I know it can be done.  The problem is I tend to be a little obsessive and compulsive when it comes to, well, anything.  I know that food is fuel and it shouldn’t be used as a reward or punishment (head knowledge), but it can easily become either if I choose to let it take over my thought life.  For me it’s all about balance.  After almost a year of not “too stellar” I’m ready to get back on the balance beam.


 Here’s my plan:

1) Incorporate More God Food

Eat More FOOD

2) Eat Less Man Food

I’m not a fan of bad language, but I love this acronym. 

Eat Less CRAP

3) Prep Veggies and Fruit

I’m not sure if I’m a Gen X or Gen Y gal, but I definitely know I’m a member of the Microwave Generation.  You know, a slave to convenience.  Ugh, that sounded horrible and stung with conviction.  If I have to wash and cut anything when I’m hungry the likelihood of me doing it is zero.  But if I put in the time before hunger hits, then I don’t think twice about grabbing a handful of veggies or fruit.

4) Track Water Intake

I hate to admit that as a nursing mother of twins I have not been tracking my water intake.  I’m not quite ready to jump back into tracking my food, so if you know of an app for specifically tracking water, I’d love to hear about it.

5) Go to Bed BEFORE 11

This one may seem unrelated to nutrition, but it’s not.  Adequate sleep helps to curb your appetite – especially where unhealthy cravings are concerned.  People have less willpower when they’re tired.  Period.  It becomes even more of an issue if you’re working out.  Your body needs time to repair itself.  Honestly, going to bed before midnight has been particularly difficult for me. Once all of my boys are asleep I work on my many hustles.  If you are not familiar with Jon Acuff, please click HERE.


 That’s it.  I figured this would be more beneficial to use as a check-in system than a rundown of what I ate over a three day period.

The Tipping Point

Domino Effect

You know that uncomfortable space between stagnation and change?  That’s where I’m living right now.  I’m living in the space cohabitated (spell check says I made up yet another word – score!) by head knowledge and a lack of action.  I am not writing this out of shame or guilt, but rather out of a desire for a transparency that will create community.  My prayer is that this post will be the catalyst I need to thrust me back into living more healthfully.

Yesterday I submitted, or resubmitted rather (gotta love technology), a guest blog post about getting and staying active.  I was very comfortable writing the post, as I have been active for almost two months now.  Activity, movement, and fitness come naturally to me. What would have made me uncomfortable?  Writing about nutrition.  Why?  Here’s a big clue: I just finished eating natural peanut butter out of the jar along with mini-allergen free chocolate chips.  The fact that it was natural peanut butter has to count for something, right?

But seriously…While I was pregnant with the boys, I didn’t just gain a lot of weight.  I picked up poor eating habits I had put down years ago.  When the boys  were conceived, my diet was the healthiest it had ever been.  I was eating clean and mostly gluten free.  Then came the exhaustion and ravenous hunger.  A dangerous combination for a former junk food junkie.

Now, 3 months after the birth of my twins, I am still making poor eating choices.  The first poor choice is that I’m not eating enough calories.  Nursing twins requires what seems to be a ton of calories.  The second is a natural consequence of the first – satisfying the craving for high caloric foods with low quality foods.  But I know that with some preparation I can easily meet my caloric needs, stave off cravings (can you say salty and crunchy?), and eat quality food.

So what’s holding me back?  A lack of want to.  Plain and simple.  Which is crazy, because I really want to eat better.  The problem is I’m not putting in the work to back up that sentiment. Ugh.  I don’t need to read another book on nutrition.  I don’t need any more head knowledge.  It’s the putting it into action are where I’m falling short.  I was just telling someone the other day “Either you want to do something or you don’t.  If you don’t, you can find a million reasons to not follow through.  If you do, you simply do it.”  I hate it when I say something before realizing it really applies to me.

I don’t know about you, but I need motivation and accountability.  I’m really good at motivating others and holding them accountable, but sometimes find it hard to connect with others who hold me accountable.  So here I am at the tipping point, between stagnation and change, humbly asking you to hold me accountable. I’ll check in twice a week – daily is unrealistic for me and once a week isn’t often enough – and rate the quality of my diet.  What is it that you need to tackle on your journey to living a healthier, more balanced life?  Feel free to reply in the comment section or come over to Facebook .

Mulligan Monday

golf-course

As I was watching the US Open this weekend with my husband, I gave thanks that I am not a professional golfer.  There’s no grace in professional golf. ( Anyone else get a visual of Tom Hanks shouting “There’s no crying in baseball!”?  Just me?)  The first, and only, time I played golf with my husband, he showered me with grace in the form of mulligans – several of them.  I was shocked the first time I realized that in professional golf, the players do not get such a gift.

But like I said, I’m no professional golfer.  So today, I declare this day to be a Mulligan Monday.  I started an at home workout program on May 12th.  It’s a reasonable workout – as little as 10 minutes if I don’t want to warm-up or cool down and it’s as challenging as I make it.  During the first four weeks of doing the program I missed a day each week for one reason or another.  Most people would say that having newborn twins is reason enough.  But now that I know that the best time for me to work out before they even wake up, I really don’t have an excuse not to get it done.

With the exception of the night David Sr., David Jr., and I all tried Rev Abs, I took all last week off.  I decided to use the time to regroup. I wanted to come up with realistic strategies to help me meet the goal of working out each day.

Strategy #1: Visual reminder – I drew up a crude calendar for the next four weeks and taped it up on the wall next to our television. I plan to put a check mark, or a sticker if I ever get around to organizing the teaching supplies I brought home, every time I complete a workout.  My prayer is that having the calendar right next to the TV will serve as a great reminder, not just for me, but also for my motivation squad – David Sr. and Junior.  For every completed week, I will be rewarding myself, not with food, but by buying some of the ingredients I need to make homemade sunscreen.  I’ve totally fallen down the rabbit hole with this whole DIY healthy and natural skincare thing.  (See “No Filter” if that last sentence left you scratching your head)

Strategy #2: Accountability – As soon as I log my workout on my calendar, I will report to my online accountability group.  I set an alarm on my phone to go off during the twins’ “big” nap to remind me to report to the group.  It will also serve as a push and shove for me to work out just in case I haven’t gotten around to it by that time.

Strategy #3: Eliminate excuses – I will keep clean workout gear downstairs, close to the TV room, or in it when possible.  This includes my workout clothes, yoga mat, shoes, and socks.  I am easily distracted, so I’m more likely to start and complete my workout if I do not have to travel upstairs to get my workout necessities.

The beauty of a Mulligan Monday, or any day of the week for that matter, is that there’s no need to wait for New Year’s Day or the first of the month to “start over”.  However, we do need to be careful to not abuse the gift of the do over.  It’s not really a do over if we are continuously starting over.  If we find ourselves constantly starting over, there’s a really good chance we never earnestly started in the first place.  When we notice this happening, it’s best to take a step back to identify our goals, get our priorities in check, make a game plan, and then implement it.

Are you in need of a Mulligan Monday?  In what specific area of your life?  I’d love to walk with you on your journey to wholeness.  Let me know how I can pray with and for you.  Feel free to email me at floyds07@gmail.com if you don’t feel comfortable commenting below.

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