I have been a derelict blogger of late. We all know that life comes at us in waves and lately keeping my head above the water has been an act of faith. December is already geared up to be busy, but not the same kind of busy. In other words…time to write. (Just that sentence made me smile.)
It is not a lack of subject matter that has slowed my posting, it is the time to sit and complete the coherent thought so I did not lose you along the way. Today I am talking about everyone’s favorite subject…CHANGE.
I’m going to say it…the process of change sucks. Unlearning bad habits, learning new habits, the pressure we put on ourselves to do change perfectly is insane. However, if you never do anything different you are always going to have the same outcomes. So I have three major changes I am taking on. 1 My Health/Weight, 2 my finances, and finally my approach to relationships and situations. The short version…I am giving it all to God. I have a plan but will go where he leads.
I Don’t Do New Year’s Resolutions
Just Weight A Moment
I make it about 2 days on a well intended New Year’s resolution. I might make it a week if a friend is dragging me along. New Years Resolution is the equivalent of failure practice in my mind. In other words there is an expectation to fail. So I am starting my changes a month before everyone starts posting their resolutions. One of the things I realized during the fast back in August is that I cannot “just say no” to food without some help from God. No I am not planning to fast my weight off, but in order to get where I need to be for my health I am certainly going to be calling on him…like a lot. As you recall, food is kind of my second favorite thing in the world.
In a few days my Challenge Kit will arrive from Beach Body. I am utilizing the 21 Day Fix and at least for the first month using Shakeology. I need a kick-start and this is my plan. I am planning to set a little money aside each week so I can continue with Shakeology as I go along. I want to lose 100 pounds. (Yeah, that is a one and two zeros). That will put me at the weight I felt best about myself. I felt strong, still had curves and could buy clothes without having anxiety attacks. Honestly, 100 pounds ago I was no more healthy than I am no, because my life was pretty sedentary…that is a change I have to make that presents a challenge. (If you are interested in Beach Body, please contact me as I know a great coach to help you get started. Promoting each other’s business when I can.)
All my favorite past times involve my couch or recliner. (Reading, watching TV, planning meals etc) My aerobic activity is generally cooking. You see the problem here, right? I can do this with God’s help and a little encouragement from my friends and online community. Once everything arrives…I’ll let you know and start keeping you posted. (I am dreading taking those measurements and no I am not posting them…not immediately.)
Money Is The Root of Anxiety
I talk to very few people who are excited about their finances. I would wager that most of us are just getting by from one paycheck to another. I started working my way through Dave Ramsey’s financial workbook. After a few chapters I went from feeling ok to feeling physically sick. Then we got a surprise bill to the tune of nearly $5000. (OK not a complete surprise but their proposed payment plan was like getting defibrillated when you were in normal heart rhythm…not good). When we moved to West Virginia a few years ago it depleted everything we had saved up. Then we were trying to cover expenses using credit cards. You know what I am talking about because according to a study 70-80% of you have done the same thing.
Let me tell you now…I. AM. DONE. It will take about 3 1/2 to 4 years to pay off all our unsecured debt. Then I still have massive student loan debt, a vehicle and our house to pay off. I am 41 today, my goal is debt free by 50. I realize that is ambitious and truth be told I may still be paying on my house or the student loan…but the Gallien’s are getting a financial make over. It means changing some about how we live. A little less eating out. Fewer splurges. It may mean finding new ways to be charitable, instead of buying things.
Since dear old Mr. Ramsey tried to give me heart failure, ok it is totally the fault of our choices, I have decided to pick back up on the 30 days of no spending. I am starting now to plan January to be a no spend month. (it’s kind of terrifying and exciting all at once) I am planning to promote my essential oils website with Young Living in hopes to help supplement some income. Lastly, I plan to have something published in 2017. It may be a self published compilation of blogs or I may force myself to get a book finished…either way, I plan to have something in e-book or hardcopy before the end of 2017. It is ambitious considering the demands on my plate, but I believe God created me to be more than what I currently am. I believe I am called to utilize my writing for ministry. Which means, God is going to bless the efforts I put forth and guide me. After all, every good thing comes from God. (Someone remind me of that when I get frustrated…PLEASE.)
Stop Digging At Roots
You have heard it, heck you probably have said it, “We need to get to the root of the problem”. Let me help you solve this problem real quick…the root of the problem has something to do with your walk with Christ. If the problem involves others, their walk with Christ is probably at issue too. I’m done digging for roots.
STOP! I did not accuse you of being a bad Christian. I am not questioning your love of God. What I am saying is we ALL have room for improvement.
I was raised under the concept of getting to the root of the problem to solve things. Let me give you an example. One of my children has serious “Daddy Issues”. He cannot rationalize why he is a disposable commodity with his father. 90% of the struggles my son has with anger, trust, acceptance and even faith stem from “Daddy Issues”. Knowing the root of the issue has done NOTHING to help me help my son. It does not seem to help my son, help himself. The real root of the problem is a man does not make his sons a priority. This is a reflection of a relationship with God, because if God is first and you are nurturing that relationship…your other relationships begin to fall into a natural order. God tells us to seek him first and when we do things have a funny way of working out. Before you say “It’s not me, must be them” remember God says if you love him to keep his commandments. So are you loving God first above all else and do you love your neighbor, brother, sister, spouse as you love yourself? reference Luke 10:27 (That’s right, settle down and recognize…most of us are slacking in one or both of these commandments)
Do we sometimes need to identify a problem to help a situation. Of course we do. But when you have 2, 3 or more people claiming a different root is causing all the problems and years pass without resolution…leave the root alone. Those roots will die if you stop feeding them. Feed your spirit. Read the word. Listen to the Word. Pray. Talk to God about this issue and let him guide you.
A final parable, if you will. Two brothers love one another. They occasionally go hunting or fishing, but they rarely talk or spend quality time together. They have very different personalities but similar interests. They love their families. They show up when they know the other is in trouble or sick. However, they never seem to get on the same page, or book for that matter. They never celebrate holidays together because of the way things have happened in the past. They keep repeating a cycle of reaching out, getting burned and returning to their corners. All sorts of little roots have sprung up inside their relationship but neither one will stop feeding the plant. They are both wrong. Instead of edifying one another and focusing on positives, they single out the negatives. Yet, their relationship is a heartache for both of them. They, the brothers, cannot fix this relationship. Neither can their nagging wives or children. The brothers need to leave the relationship with God. They need to pray in faith and strength for the strongholds in the relationship to fall. They need to claim victory. They need to speak victory into their situation. When a negative thought arises, they need to immediately pray and seek a positive thought to replace it with.
Sound crazy? It’s not. I once hated my ex-husband and my stepson’s mother. Not because of who they were, but because of what they did to their children. I still do not like either of these people, but I pray for them. When something happens that makes me fume…I pray for them. One of them believes they are being a good parent…in fact there is plenty of evidence they try, something gets lost in the translation. The other is a diligent worker and talented musician. It’s not much, but it is something I can attribute to them that is positive. Their actions still frustrate me, but I do not hate them. I will be honest with you…praying for these two people is the hardest prayer I pray most of the time.
An Old Wise Cherokee Once Said
An old Cherokee told his grandson: “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.”
The boy thought about it, and asked: “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man quietly replied: “The one you feed.”
I have no idea if this is really a Cherokee proverb, but that is who I have always heard it attributed too and that is what I am rolling with. The truth resonates in this nugget of wisdom. I like to think of the “evil wolf” as the flesh and the “good wolf” as the spirit. I want to feed the spirit in my life. That is my most earnest prayer for each of you. Anger, jealousy, resentment, inferiority and so on are all part of the dark and anything like that IS NOT OF GOD. How can I say that? Because God is Good and every good thing comes from him. You are a gift from God. In just existing you are someone’s blessing. Give God the glory. Give Him the praise. Give him all your baggage and all the roots you have been tugging at. Love Him first. Blessings chase those who put God first in their lives.