Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Itís hard for me to believe it, but today marks my one-year anniversary with
Spark People. One would think it would be easy for me to write a thoughtful reflection on the occasion, but itís not.
I didnít come here looking for a magic wand to wave or even a new diet plan. In fact, I came here because Iíd become involved in another social networking site and my (then) health coach recommended I check it out. (If youíre reading this, Jennifer, I will forever be grateful for that recommendation, for what you taught me, and the time we had together.)
Iíve applied what Iíve learned about self-examination, social support, and goal setting to so many areas of my life over the past year, from fitness goals to de-cluttering goals, to financial goals. Iím going to be perfectly honest with you. I havenít lost a lot of weight. I havenít run a marathon. I havenít paid off all my debt. And I still have areas of my home that are packed with way too much stuff.
But Iím a very different person than I was a year ago. I have more ďtoolsĒ in my tool box, and I actually get them out and use them. Iíve learned the value of being brutally honest with myself and of giving and receiving social support. Iíve learned the meaning of ďgood enoughĒ. Iíve learned when itís time to let something go--possessions, beliefs, behavior patterns, and even people that no longer suit the me Iíve become. Iíve learned about my value and not to waste my time worrying about those who donít appreciate it. I have more confidence in myself and my ability to make a plan for the unknown we call tomorrow, and to adjust it as necessary. Iíve learned to operate in faith rather than fear more often than not.
Bottom line is that Iím becoming the kind of person I have long admired and felt I couldnít be. And Iíve learned that feelings can be tricky things that can get me into a whole lot of trouble if Iím not careful. Theyíre often unreliable. They can change very quickly. And perhaps most remarkably, Iíve learned that I have the power to choose the ones that benefit me and reject the ones that donít.
I am still a work in progress, to be sure. But the Spark has been lit, and itís propelling me in the right direction. So happy anniversary, Gnuattitude. The best is yet to come!
Friday, April 10, 2009
I recently heard a powerful message on the story of the man healed at the pool at Bethesda from the 5th chapter of the book of John. The story is set near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, where there was a pool of healing. A large number of people with various illness would lie there, waiting for an angel to come and stir the waters. The belief was that the first person who made it into the moving waters would be healed of his or her ailment.
The story continues to tell of how Jesus passed by a man who was lying by the pool and asked him, ďWilt thou be made whole?Ē or ďDo you want to get well?Ē On the surface of it, this seems like an odd question with an obvious answer.
But instead of simply saying, ďYes, I want to be well, ď the paralytic gave an excuse, saying heíd been waiting for 38 years, complaining that he had nobody to put him in the pool and someone else always got into the water before he did. Jesus simply told the man to get up, pick up his mat, and walk.
I find many parts of this story interesting and applicable to the struggle many of us face in our journey to a healthier life. First, I find it interesting that Jesus did not waste time sympathizing with the paralyticís plight. He didnít even acknowledge that the manís problem involved anyone but himself. He not only refused to play the ďblame gameĒ, he didnít even acknowledge it.
How often do we try to play the ďPity me, Iím all alone in this impossible struggleĒ game? Not only wonít that kind of self-pity solve the problem, it isnít even a valid argument. My problem is MY problem, and my challenges are MY challenges. The first step in solving my problems and facing my challenges is to claim them and acknowledge my part in having created them in the first place. The life I have now is the result of the choices Iíve made, and if I want something different, it will require me to make different choices.
I also think itís interesting that Jesus didnít ask the man how long heíd been waiting. Iím pretty certain the man had heard that question many times and had come to expect it. But Jesus didnít have to ask; He knew the answer. But it didnít really matter how long the man had been there. The only thing Jesus was concerned with was, ďWilt thou be made whole?Ē
How often have I chosen to remain paralyzed? And how often have I given up the struggle just before a breakthrough? How often have I continued to operate in old patterns, not because they were effective but because they were familiar? How often have I trusted in the wrong people and things, ignoring the necessary process to receive the promise? How often have I relied on my senses and emotions and neglected to walk by faith?
It doesnít really matter how long Iíve struggled with a problem or how many times I didnít quite make it ďinto the poolď. The only thing that matters is if I really want to be well, and if I act upon what God tells me to do. He will provide the resources I need and the right people to teach me. The lesson will be learned when I am ready to learn it. He might even send an angel to stir the waters, but I donít need to get into them. In fact, I prefer to simply pick up my mat and walk.
God has not forgotten me in my struggles. He has been with me all along, even when I havenít recognized or acknowledged His presence. And He has been preparing me all along to step into His place of purpose for me. Godís delays are not denials. He has me in just the right place at this particular moment in time to receive His healing and His blessing.
Yes, I will be made whole!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
As the promise of spring weather begins to tease me, I find myself noticing the cobwebs that have accumulated as the result of a forced air heating system and windows that have been closed for several months. Now, Iím not really keen on the whole notion of spring cleaning--what Iím really keen on is getting out of the house and into the sunshine--but I recognize the need to periodically clean out the cobwebs and get a fresh start.
As Iíve gone around the house with dust rag and vacuum in hand, itís occurred to me that itís time to ďclean out the cobwebsĒ in my mind and my life as well. Itís all too easy to overlook what accumulates over time in the nooks and crannies, in the corners and behind the doors of my life. But the fact of the matter is that while I may not see these ďcobwebsĒ every day, if I donít get rid of them, they will just get bigger and bigger until others will notice even if I donít.
These cobwebs serve no useful purpose. They are merely evidence of windows that have been closed for a long time and forced air that has pushed the dirt into the corners where it stays until itís acknowledged.
And so Iíve been looking at my life these past few days and making a point of opening my eyes to the cobwebs that need to be cleaned away so I can have a fresh start. I began this task by looking up, and seeing that God has given me all the tools and resources I need for the job. He didnít promise that it would be easy or a quick task, but He does assure me that He will help me.
Then I began to look around, to see the cobwebs that have settled in the door ways leading into my life. And it occurred to me that nothing and no one can come in without picking up some of those cobwebs unless I sweep them away.
Finally I looked behind--behind my motives and my desires-- for the cobwebs that have kept them less than pristine. And I determined that this was just not acceptable any longer. The cobwebs simply have to go!
And what does any of this have to do with my journey? Just this. The cobwebs are insidious remnants of a past that I am ready to leave behind on my way into the sunshine of the fresh, new, balanced life I know I deserve.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
My mini fast breaks have proved to be more challenging than I thought they would be. I've managed to fix my own lunches and to eat at least 6 servings of fruits and veggies a day since the first of the year. But it certainly has been more difficult than I imagined it would be.
Because of the weather and my schedule, I've had to do my marketing locally. While I am grateful to have our little IGA here in town, it has a limited selection, particularly in the produce department, and this has forced me to get more creative than when I shop at a bigger chain grocery or a super store.
I've made two different kinds of soups with frozen vegetables and dried legumes. I took advantage of the "buy one get one free" bags of romaine lettuce in order to make taco salad. I've eaten some canned and frozen vegetables and fruits. And I took a chance on a bag of tangerines, which thankfully, turned out to be quite nice. But it certainly isn't the variety that I've become accustomed to.
To be honest, it would have been much easier to fall back on pasta or frozen meals, but I didn't do it. I made meatloaf so I would have something other than cold cuts to make sandwiches for school, and I've used a lot of canned tuna, but I know for a fact that I've eaten better food than if I'd bought those cafeteria lunches!
Still, I can't wait to take a road trip to a town that has a real supermarket!
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
A few days ago some other teachers and I were discussing the quality of the food now being served in the school cafeteria. There have been a number of changes made over the past few years, and we've been told this has been an effort to serve more nutritious foods in appropriate portions.
However, my teacher friends and I have observed that more pre-packaged foods have been on the menu this year, including pre-packaged PBJ, "sliders", and "grilled" cheese sandwiches. One friend remarked that she was appalled by a use by date three weeks into the future on one of those entree offerings. We all agreed that this is not our idea of healthy food!
So I've decided that I will no longer be buying my lunch at school. I'll be packing my own lunch. This is going to take some additional planning and preparation, but I'm actually looking forward to the challenge. And I've decided to use this as the basis of a mini fast break for the first 14 days of 2009.
So, I'm putting my first food-related goal in writing today. Beginning tomorrow I will use the food tracker to track fruits and vegetables, as my mini fast break goal is to eat 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
I've always fancied myself a lover of fruit and veg. But to be honest, there have been days when I would rather reach for starch or protein or sugar laden food than the green, red, or yellow stuff. My plan is to consume at least 3 or 4 servings in my homemade lunches and the rest at home.
As I prepare for my 2 week fast break, I'm looking forward to this additional challenge and some nutritious lunches without the additives. Now, I'm off to look at my soup recipes!
Get An Email Alert Each Time GNUATTITUDE Posts