Faithful

God is faithful, this is a wonderful thought and one we should take great comfort in. However, in a sick and twisted way, Satan is faithful also. This is something we should remain in high alert against because Satan is faithful in his desire to seek ways to gain access to our lives and destroy what God has done.

Satan is a master at playing your trusted friend. The minute things go wrong he is right there. He is asking, “where is God now?” He has deserted you and left you to figure this out on your own. You can look for him but you will not find him. I told you, God won’t help you.

We must stand ready to fight Satan when he tries to infiltrate our lives because I can guarantee you, he will try.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. — 1 Peter 5:8

Be on guard, be watchful and attentive. Be the person who maintains the attitude that the enemy will never gain entry into your life. Be vigilant and committed to stand against Satan over and over. Be aware and working against sneak attacks.


Pay attention because Satan is sneaky and he is faithful to his cause. He will set friends and family against you. He will slander you and use deception to draw you to those things that will destroy you. He will use you, against you.

Don’t listen to the lies flowing forth from the tongue of Satan. He is at war with anyone that believes and loves God.

 Rest in the fact that we serve a redeeming God. Don’t fight Satan alone, it is impossible, rather set your eyes on God and don’t take them off. Be obedient to God, be diligent and aware that Satan will try to outwit you. The stronger your faith, the greater the battle he will wage. Satan might be faithful but God is more faithful to you and He loves you. That is the fact that makes all the difference in the world. Stop believing Satan, don’t stop believing God.

Be a freedom fighter.

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31–

Dottie

…………..and so I ride

Breaking the Bulge

I was writing about the challenge and left off with day nine and with the renewing of our minds. We are now down to the last two days. I am down 8 pounds and feeling diet fatigue in a big way. I ask myself, why now, you have seen some success, you have stuck with the challenge, what’s going on?

I’ll tell you what’s going on. I quit making a priority of the daily inspiration of a healthy living devotional that was emailed to me. I quit writing about what meant the most to me. I watched the video and read what was presented, but I didn’t write about it, I did’t talk to God about it, I didn’t do anything with it. Surprise, surprise, yesterday and today have been a real struggle with cravings and my mind wandering back to the old tapes that have always played.

So I have decided to recap the days I did not write about. I decided to make the information pertinent to my life. I decided to reconnect my weight loss efforts with God. A healthy lifestyle should not be a 21 day effort but a life long endeavor.

So here we go.

Day Ten – I do not gamble so I don’t know why this came to mind but it seems to be a perfect example. You know the “oh man, slap on the forehead” feeling you get when you have been gambling at a machine and you decide to go elsewhere. You get up and walk away, someone else sits down and they hit the jackpot. You feel dejected because you know that if only you had stayed the course you were on you would be the rich one right now.

 It is important to stay the mark and not give up because you never know when your breakthrough will come. Don’t give up right before you have the lightbulb moment of which things that keep you from reaching your weight loss goals.

Scripture inspiration-“ I do the things I don’t want to do but the things I want to do those I don’t do” ~ Romans 7:15

Boy isn’t that the story of our lives!

Day Eleven- Slaying our dream robbers. God doesn’t want us to live an unfulfilled life. He gives us the tools we need to live in freedom. We are just to stubborn, afraid, busy, important, dirty,

It is not a game of hide and seek. He really doesn’t want to hide himself from us. He wants to make Himself know to us. He created us, He wants to take pleasure in us.

We have things that we believe about ourselves. These things get in the way of reaching our goals. There are the things that cause us to procrastinate, make excuses, blame others. These are responsible for low self-esteem and a bad self-image. These false beliefs (that we all have) are at the root of why we do what we do.

I felt there were two scripture that were especially relevant for this day.

They continued to follow their own gods according to the religious customs of the nations from which they came.”~2 Kings 18:33

John 10:10 states: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Day Twelve- My first thought this day was, oh my gosh, I made it over half way through! I have kept journaling, posting to the Facebook page and tracking me food. Year Dottie! Then I started reading the topic of the day, excuse making. It made me want to shut the IPad down and go back to bed. But I didn’t, I waded in.

We can’t really move forward if we are not taking responsibility our own actions and our own lives. Excuse making can and will kill dreams. To make an excuse is to give up personal power and leave us feeling helpless and often hopeless. I believe that each of us are all to familiar with this feeling.

To move forward we have to get to the bottom of why we make excuses and begin to deal with the real issues that lie behind the excuses we make. After all, it is impossible to change what is not acknowledged.

Relevant Scripture- “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”~John 5:7

Day Thirteen- The best friend to excuse making is “blaming”. We blame our genetics, good down home comfort food, our friends who just have to take us to lunch, Satan for tempting us beyond what we can endure or maybe we even curse God for making us with so little willpower.

The blame game has been around since the beginning of time. Adam, Eve, the Garden of Eden, you remember the story. Adam blatantly blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.

Often we play the subconscious blame game. We don’t recognize that deep down we might be blaming our parents or just about any other reason you can come up with.

However blaming will get you no-where. As long as you are blaming others, you remain stuck in the problem and are not focused on finding a solution.

Relevant Scripture – “It was the woman who you gave me who game me the fruit, and I ate it.” Gen: 3:12

Day Fourteen- Procrastination. Perhaps I’ll start someday in the future, I’m not ready yet, I will begin another day. Later. Procrastination is a thief. This struck me profoundly. We honor our commitments to anyone else in our life, except the commitments we make to ourselves. Why do we do that? Probably the biggest thing for me is fear of failure, I know I will fail so why start? I know I will be ready someday, but just not today. Sound familiar?

Relevant Scripture.

“How long are you going to wait before taking possession of the remaining land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given to you?”

That pretty much sums up our lives doesn’t it?

We keep forgetting we have an inheritance. We certainly overlook the fact that it already belongs to us and is free for the taking.

Day Fifteen and the home stretch of the challenge. Emotional Eating

Yikes, how dare she bring that dirty little secret out into the open. She even included statistics! Like I want to know that 80% of my eating is done for emotional reasons. But wait a minute, 80 percent? Wow! It gives new meaning to the phrase eat to live instead of living to eat. Thus far in my life I have been living to eat. Oh how that statement hurts the ego. I had used the popular catch phrase emotional eating often but it was not until I sat down and talked to God about why I eat in response to my feeling instead of when I am hungry that I came to know how big of a problem this really was for me.

Long story short, learning to feel our feelings and not stuffing them deep inside is when we will quit using food to pacify, comfort and fill us.

Relevant Scripture- In your anger do not sin… Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.’~ Eph. 4: 26- 27

Day Sixteen – This is the day that it became very apparent to me that we were hitting the big, hard stuff in the minefield of weight gain and loss. It really isn’t about the food but about what we believe about food and eating.

Self-esteem and self –image, it is hard to even think about, let alone talk or write about. Often our lives are filled with rejection, rejection and more rejection. We usually do not find unconditional love and acceptance on this earth. I loved the acronym that was presented to us this day. F.E.A.R. (False evidence that Appears Real) Admit it, we all see ourselves, those around us and the world in general, through glasses that are tainted and colored with past experiences. If we continue to walk closely with God He will remind us to take these glasses off and see life and Him as they really are.

Learn to look at your strengths not weaknesses. Look at what is right, not what is wrong. See yourself as God sees you, beautiful, whole and complete. Go ahead, name ten things that you love about yourself, it is not as easy as it sounds to do.

“We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers…!” ~Numbers 13:33

Day Seventeen- Satan prowls, all the time, every day. It is when we get lax on our time with God that Satan springs into action. We must remain on guard, we must remain vigilant at all times.

We must know ourselves, our circumstances and the situations we allow ourselves to be drawn into. If you know you overeat when you are hungry, find a way to eat before you are ravenous. If you know you head straight to the junk food when you are mad, physically make an effort to find another solution to your anger. If you are feeling vulnerable in any way, your self control is compromised. Pay attention.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. ~ 1 Peter 5:8

Day Eighteen- Computer or video games, Facebook, crocheting, reading, you name it. These are the things that can rob your focus and steal your time. Focus is what it takes to live a healthy life, it doesn’t magically happen. We have to continually adjust, and readjust as we work to maintain our focus and concentrate on our commitment to healthy living.

“…….knew you not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Luke: 49

Just as Jesus had to remain focused of God, we must also. Peter sank when he lost sight of Jesus and started to worry. Keep your eyes on your goal and focus on God. Don’t put your focus on the challenges of maintaining your weight loss when the situation is conspiring against you, focus instead on the power of the Holy Spirit and tap into His source of strength.

Day Nineteen-

 “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:30

Depending on how you look at it and how you chose to spend your time, this could be a pretty stark message to take in first thing in the morning.

I have tried to lose weight every way imaginable. Alone, with friends, with every diet book imaginable, in groups, you name it, I have done it. More often than not however, it is a lonely and isolating venture. Being the human that I am, when that gets old, and it will, I revert right back to my old habits. I need someone to point me to God when I get off track, someone to bust my chops when I make a trip to the convenience store just to buy a candy bar/donut/icee/.

Support equals a better chance at success. Motivation soon wanes when you are your sole cheerleader.

Day Twenty-

You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little…Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.” Haggai 1:9

I have almost done this! One more day and I will have successfully completed a health challenge for the first time ever with a new loss of 8 pounds. My eyes have been opened to the things that are affecting my ability to lose weight. I now know that I was the one who stood in my own way of losing weight and keeping it off. It all boils down to surrendering the journey to the only one who can free me from trying to lose weight on my own. God can do what I have not been able to.

Have I ever made myself a priority and put my health needs before everything else that commanded my attention. Maybe for a minute or two, but never for a lengthy or lasting amount of time. I am a priority, I do deserve to nurture myself. I deserve to make myself a priority.

It does take effort. There is never enough time for exercise, never enough money to buy healthy food. I can make excuses with the best of them for things that I don’t want to do or things that matter to me. I see now that I am not being noble or loving to others so much as saying I am unimportant to me. God wants me to view myself as He views me. I am important enough to take care of.

“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little…Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.” Haggai 1:9

Dottie

…………and so I ride

The Power of Negativity

Challenge Day 8

Speaking to your situation

Something I learned Friday about this challenge surprised me. Cathie said that a full thirty percent of the challengers would not show back up come Monday. I don’t know why that surprised me given that up to now I was usually counted in that statistic.

I guess it also proves true another statement that she threw out there for us to ponder. It separates those who wish they were healthier from those who are committed to becoming healthier. OUCH!

The definition of commitment is a promise to be loyal to something.
I have been pretty good at healthy lip service in the past but at the end of the day, the evidence is plain for all to see. I would say that I certainly wished I was thinner but I was not willing to throw down a commitment to see that it happened. So am I willing to make a commitment to be loyal to something, the something in question being me?

I read a really good explanation of commitment. “Commitment is the difference between excellence and mediocrity.” It is only when we commit that we can know success. I know it seems a huge sacrifice but commitment to a healthy lifestyle and being fit does not have to mean deprivation and starvation.

God will bless you as you honor your Commitment to Him. Let’s start here, a healthy lifestyle holds no place for negative self talk. Today the challenge for us was no more negative speaking of yourself and your abilities.

Everything doesn’t have to be black and white, if you aren’t perfect you are a failure. That is not true, look for the middle ground. You are made in God’s image, you cannot be that bad.

Quit looking for only negatives, if you look honestly you will find many positives. Did you know that according to the Mayo Clinic, negative self-talk can induce physical and emotional stress that causes harm to your cardiovascular system, the health of your gut and your immune system. If that isn’t incentive enough to cut the negativity I don’t know what is.

Talk about a worthy commitment, tell yourself that you will compliment yourself when you would normally tear yourself down, and then do it. Turn your negative thoughts and speech into a prayer.

When a negative thought plops itself in your head. Put some volume to a positive word, speak it loud and clear. Words will override thoughts every time!!! If you speak it often enough, you will come to believe it.

Let your prayer be, Lord give me the strength to take every thought into captivity. Help me to battle negative thoughts and replace them with truth. Come along side me as I endeavor to fulfill this commitment to you. Amen.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Dottie
……and so I rideimage

The Power of Choice

Challenge Day 7
The Power of Choice

I can’t believe it, it is Day 7 of the challenge and I am still here! That in itself is a record and I am proud of it. I was trying to figure out what the difference in this challenge is and why it is keeping me coming back.

The difference is the focus is on God, the focus is on making Him a part of this process, ok, blew that again, the focus is on making Him the process.

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True, I am in this challenge with Him and I play a huge roll. I had to start the change I want to see with a commitment, and then I had to actually take action. That commitment was to simply show up and trust that in God’s timing the change will come. It may not look like what I am envisioning but that is where trust comes in.

Then, surprisingly, I am finding the motivation to step up my exercise and watch my diet a little more closely.

Commitment, consistency, patience, action and trust.

Beautiful young woman walking on the beach with a white tissue

Those are just a few words that I am putting into play. Two steps forward, one step back, three steps forward, two steps back, six steps forward, one step back………at the end of the day, I am still ahead of where I started.

I think I need to get comfortable with the fact that there will be setbacks no matter the change that I want to see. That is where it gets a little difficult, I realize that. Any setback at all tends to make me want to throw in the towel, walk away and go back to old habits, it is much more comforting and secure. To coin a phrase from my least favorite person, “what difference at this point does it make?”

Well, the difference is, it is only by learning to roll with the setbacks that we realize setbacks afford us wisdom, strength and oftentimes humility. Do you know how many times I write something, delete it, rewrite it, delete it, rewrite it before I get it like I want it? To many to count, but in the end I have a text that I am proud of.

Submit those times to God, keep re-submitting them (that part really is necessary). Once you make the commitment to change and take action, God will come along side you and match your willingness and faith. He will give you the strength to do what you started.

If you listen, God will show you the path to take (be warned, it will not be straight forward, accept that fact now) but the bottom line is, you are the one who has to take the first step.

A good friend and I were having a conversation last night and she said that she has been presented with an opportunity for growth and she knew she would be blessed by it, however, the selfish part of her doesn’t like the discomfort that would be involved in the process. There is truth and humility in that statement.

Are you prepared to be uncomfortable and to chose life. Make a choice to move in the right direction, knowing that there will be backward movement, just keep going. Push through past your comfort zone. You are not alone. Realize and live in the knowledge that change is incremental, gradual and will require a blend of faith and action.

Apply new behaviors continually until they are no longer new behaviors but are habits. Habits are easier to incorporate when we are afraid and vulnerable.

Change only starts when you decide to take the first step and to do something different. Stop waiting, stop wishing, make the choice.

Pray, pause, chose life, you will find God will bless your life with abundance.
Dottie
…………..and so I ride

Thoughts on Challenge, Day Three

What If?

There were some valid points made today. In fact, points that made me put down the Fried Taco and say to myself, what in the world are you doing Dottie. Why is it so impossible for you to make a commitment to be healthier and stick with it? This is a 21 day challenge, surely you can give up 21 days in your hunt for health. It seems to me that if I cannot do that then maybe I am not really serious about all this healthy living stuff I spout off all the time. OUCH!

I feel like everyone else is slamming this challenge and here I am, on day three and haven’t even got going yet. I know what is going to happen. We will get to the end of the 21 days and I will either be right where I started or I will be a pound or two heavier. Then I will say to myself, why didn’t you do it, you are such a loser. This part, I have down.

I do not want to get to the end of the 21 days and say “if only”, but even more, I don’t want to take the fast route to severe health problems that I know will plague me if a few years time. Is the momentary pleasure I derive from eating unhealthy food really worth what I am doing to myself?

I don’t want to be like the neglected vase of fresh flowers that we forget to water day after day and one day we look at them and they have died from neglect.

My Father God, I have messed up the first three days of this challenge, I am asking you to strengthen me and to give me the motivation and wisdom to say no to the extra servings of sugar, fat and high calories. Help me Father to see clearly what I am doing to my health. Give me the desire to follow the path to good health. Give me a spirit of commitment to you and not to food. Help me Father to turn to you and let you fight this battle for me, help me to trust you to meet all my needs. Help me Father to change the way I think about eating right, moving more and living healthy.

Help me to be glaringly honest with myself, if I am to lazy to exercise, let me see it, if I eat when I am not hungry, eat unhealthy foods or eat to much, help me to see it. Strike me with the truth of enduring bad health habits. It is only when I can be honest with myself that I can begin to correct these things. Help me to trust the Holy Spirit to guide me through this difficult journey. Let me lose myself so I can be true to you. Give me the strength to endure to my goal and say hello to the new me. Amen

Favorite thought of Challenge Day Three.

“There will be tragedy and triumphs, tests and testimonies, set-backs and successes, mountains and valleys”…….

This is a good reminder that there will be “those days” and I should not be taking them personally, or using them as an excuse to wreck my forward progress. They too shall pass. I strive to be the little engine that could or rather the little engine that did.

Dottie

…………and so I ride

Living in Loveliness

I think I misnamed my blog. It is called Looking For Loveliness. I don’t think the goal should be looking for loveliness, though Lord knows we all spend an inordinate amount of time doing that, the goal should be to learn to live in loveliness we already possess.

The world will beat you down with the notion that you aren’t worth the trouble , heck at times those closest to you will do the same. Do not be deceived instead rejoice in the fact that you are worthy, and you are lovely, just as you are.

The definition of lovely is “exquisitely beautiful”. Although few of us think we can be described as that, that is exactly what God thinks. And if God already knows that we do not need to spend our loves looking for affirmation of that fact. We are created exquisite, with rare beauty in a graceful way, God’s grace. A life where God is reflected inspires love.

Others will see it and try to steal it away, the only way to keep this from happening is to decide that you won’t let it happen. Stand strong in the knowledge that God thinks of you as exquisitely beautiful.

Do you see that you are already lovely and reflect your Creator? You are solid light against a world that is clothed in darkness. Although we long to blend in and not be noticed, we, as Christians, stand out in stark contrast against the world.

We strive to fit into our surroundings and are often content to blend into the world, but that means that no one can tell where we end and the world begins. We are called to let our loveliness shine and reflect the God we serve and the God who created us.

Part of our loveliness is in the fact that we pour forth that which has shaped us. The Holy Spirit, God’s Word, Prayer, a consistent walk with God and a devotion to Christ. These are the things we will be remembered for, not how we dress, what we eat or the house we live in. Let your loveliness sparkle and bathe those around you in the light of love. Here is the important part, no matter the circumstances you find yourself in, the fact remains that you were created exquisitely beautiful, no one can take that from you for it is God given. Wear it like the crown it is.

When you feel tempted to crawl into your corner of inadequacy and despair. Remember you are living in loveliness. God loves you and He created absolute perfection when He created you.

Dottie
………….and so I rideimage

Are you aware of your inheritance

Angry words, a door slamming and a car screaming out of the garage. I am left standing alone and left feeling like a person stranded on a desert island alone. No one to talk to, no one to listen and no one to help in an emergency. I feel alone in this world.

Standing in the living room, husband sitting on the couch, kids in the den with their cousins, parents, grandparents and assorted other close friends gathering around the table for a holiday meals. I am left standing in kitchen feeling as if I am looking through a mirror into a family gathering that has nothing to do with me. I feel alone in this world.

In each case I turned on my heel and headed for the “cupboard” where I knew the comfort was hidden. Cookies, snack cakes, chocolate. It was where I headed when I was trying to hide from emotions threatening to smother the life out of me.

Do these scenarios sound familiar? I bet you could fit your own story right in with mine.

The more orphaned and deserted we feel the more we resort to the one thing we know will never fail us. The comfort of food. We turn to food, time and time again for stress relief, comfort or as a reward. We turn to food when we feel alone or deserted.

We all know that emotional eating can be triggered as fast as life can throw stressful situations at you and that it can feel overwhelming and urgent. Emotional hunger almost never includes cravings for vegetables, tofu and bean sprouts. It does include cravings for the salty foods, fatty foods and sugary snacks that give you an instant high and keep you coming back for more. You feel like you need and deserve that cake, cookie, half pie or bag of chips. Emotional eating is never fulfilled and is located in your head. It is a craving that you cannot stop thinking about, you are focused on it and obsess over it. Emotional hunger always brings regret, shame and guilt.

Satan is good isn’t he? While we are busy filling our mouths with the sugary and salty offerings that we are obsessing, over Satan is having a good laugh because he has diverted us, once again from our true inheritance. Satan is shouting at God, look at her, she is my child!

I know, shocking isn’t it. We are straddling the fence. We are children of God but we are letting Satan creep in because he knows that emotional eating of the wrong food is one place he can keep us chained to him. One foot in Satan’s kingdom and one foot in God’s kingdom. But if we have one foot in Satan’s kingdom we are not in God’s kingdom at all. Satan knows this, Satan counts of this.

Listen dear friends! I know that going to our “cupboard” is the easiest thing in the world to do. Satan knows it too. That “cupboard” is filled with not only sugary and fatty foods, but that “cupboard” is loaded with shame, guilt, and regret. We are worth so much more than Satan wants us to know.

Satan wants to keep this fact a secret but we are living heirs to our mighty Savior. Roman’s 8:15 says that we did not receive a spirit that makes us slaves to fear. That means that we need not be afraid to trust in our Father. Have you asked Him to help you battle Satan and your emotional eating. Make no mistake, this is a battle and you can know that Satan is involved and he is determined to win.

Trust God to protect you, He wants us to know we can do that. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) Instead of heading straight for the “cupboard” next time you feel emotionally stranded, stand up and rebuke Satan. Ask God to help you. Hit the word of God, take a moment and think on exactly what you have as an heir to Christ.

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Living as an heir to Christ you inherit everything that He is. You are God’s most precious possession. God loves you just as much as He loves Jesus. You are seated at God’s right hand, not in the future, RIGHT NOW.

Your adoption into the family of God is a beautiful thing. No matter what surrounds you on this earth, you belong to the family of the King. As His adopted child God is not content to watch you struggle with the things that afflict you. He wants you to be victorious, He wants you to live victoriously. Most of all, He gives you all you need to do that. He chose you my friend. He singled you out and lavished you with all that He has.

Know these facts.
You have become God’s child.
As God’s child you have become His heir. You now belong to the most elite and Royal family not on this earth. You are an heir of the One who created the Universe. How cool is that. Do you honestly think that as an heir of the one and only and the Great God that He cannot give you the strength, stamina, comfort , wisdom and guidance to control your “cupboard”? Give him the keys and let Him control what you put in your body.

When your mind says you can’t, God says you can. When your mind says, you don’t belong, God says, come home to me my child.

You have been given the privilege of being a child of God. It is an act of faith to receive it, receive Christ and the gift that can never spoil, perish or fade is yours. Your inheritance is imperishable, unspoiled and unfailing. Your inheritance in God is reserved and waiting for you.

Fix your eyes on Him, go ahead, hand Him the keys to your “cupboard”.

You are God’s light in this world. Make your Father proud.

Dottie
…………and so I ride