Stripping Off The Dirt

Stripping away the dirt.When things get stressful I head to my workroom and start refurbishing something. The piece of furniture that diverted my attention this time was an antique table that was in my grandparents house when I was growing up.

If only the table could talk. It would tell of family dinners, and weekly card games with the neighbors. It served as a solid surface to write letters to family members spread across the country. When us kids were visiting, the table would be a work surface for cookie baking, holiday crafts and any number of other things my grandparents could think of to keep us kids busy.

I cleaned decades of caked on dirt off that table. I sanded layers and layers of built up varnish and polyurethane coating that was applied to protect the table from us kids. At long last the table stood naked and completely void of any covering. It stood in the middle of the room looking just as it had when the carpenter built it all those years ago.

I then started with bare wood to make the old table something new and beautiful.

Isn’t that what God does for us. He strips off the built up gunk we have covered ourselves with over the years. He sands and chisels the stuff that has grown hard and is hidden in hard to reach places.He works slowly and methodically until we stand before Him as He created us.

He makes us new, whole and spotless.

I don’t know about you but I am thankful that God loves me enough to refurbish me and bring me back to perfection!

Dottie

…………and so I ride

Am I Enough?

Am I Enough?

One of these days my life will be perfect. I will be rich enough, energetic enough, thin enough. If I were just a little bit “more” life would be great. There are days that I feel every finger is pointed at me, every wrong is blamed on me and every laugh is directed at me. Not wanted, undesirable, unaccepted, unworthy.

I am not “enough”.

How does one start being “enough”?

 Does being “enough” mean that you have worked more, exercised and dieted more, collected more possessions to earn your way to the title of “enough”?

Is there a goal you could set for yourself that when achieved would truly convince you that you were “enough”?

There is nothing that can give you the feeling of being “enough” on this earth.

That is something that only God can give you.

Remember who You are in Christ, He makes it quite clear…..YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Being “enough” is not something you can buy or work overtime to earn. You are a child of God, simply for that reason, YOU ARE ENOUGH.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 8:1

“Not Guilty, you are now free to live as the person God created you to be!

“To the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the one He loves” Eph 1:6

God has accepted us, unconditionally, wholly and completely now that we belong to His son.

And finally, who are we to argue with what God says about you, His creation?

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

 “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female, He created them.” Genesis 1:27

God respects and loves us. He made us fearfully and wonderfully. We are reflections of God’s glory. We can reflect His character in all we do.

You are “enough” because you were created in God’s image, not because of anything you own, anything you have done, and certainly not because of your physical appearance.

As long as you believe what God says is true, no one will be able to convince you ever again, that you are not enough.

You are “enough” , quit living your life making up for the feeling that you are not .

Quit the exhaustive and obsessive self improvement projects. Quit trying harder than comes naturally to you, quit exhausting yourself in your pursuit of “enough”.

Your life holds meaning because God loves you and you are His child. He created you to be more than “enough”.

God created you for victory.

Are you living in victory?

Dottie

……………and so I ride

The Number on the Scale

The Number On The ScaleWe can step on the scale and do one of two things.

#1- Let the number on the scale can tell us we are fat, unworthy, ugly, lazy, and no one is ever going to love us.

#2- We can realize that the number on the scale can tell us how much our body weighs but it cannot define our worth.

The fact is, the number on the scale doesn’t tell you much except for the amount of gravitational pull you have on this earth.

The number on the scale cannot define beauty, purpose, worth, or how much you are loved by your Father.

You can choose to look at the scale and say-

I am a fatty, I am unworthy, I am lazy, I am ugly, and no one is ever going to love me for who I am.

Or you can look at your scale and say-

• I am justified by His grace through the redemption that came through Christ Jesus. Romans 3:24

• I am a set free child of God- Roman’s 8:21

• I am the accepted child of God- Roman’s 15:7

• I am the Holy Child Of God- 1 Corinthians 1:30

• I am a brand new child of God- 2 Corinthians 5:17

• I am a loved child of God- Ephesians 1:4

• I am a close child of God- Ephesians 2:13

• I am a confident child of God- Ephesians 3:12

• I am a VICTORIOUS child of God- Romans 8:37

We are supposed to find our identity, not the number on the scale. Yes we need to strive for “healthy” but we can do that by paying attention to how we feel physically and mentally. We can notice how our clothes fit and make adjustments where we need too

Your body is fearfully and wonderfully made. If you listen it will show you exactly what you need.

You scale can tell you what your body weights at any given time, it can show you a number, but that is ALL it can tell you. Don’t judge yourself by the number that the scale spits out.

Judge you the same way God does.

Dottie

………..and so I ride

Renew your mind, avoid the hole

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost……..I am helpless
It isn’t my fault
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don’t see it
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
But, it isn’t my fault
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It is a habit.
My eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my own fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson

This poem was presented to us in the Challenge today. I had read it before but had forgotten how powerful it was. I prayed for God to help me see myself in Portia Nelson’s words.
I love this poem. Read the poem carefully. Read it as it was written, five different chapters of your life. It is the story of your life, it is the story of my life.

In life chapter 1 we are wandering, lost, alone and helpless. There is a hole we have fallen into through no particular fault of our own. It may be a death, a job loss, a betrayal, any one of a number of unexpected pitfalls that life throws our way. We fall into the hole and there is nothing we can do about it. Our particular hole represents anger, anxiety, worry, grief, etc. It is the darkest hole you have ever experienced, you see no way out and you are there through no fault of your own. This sucks.

You climb out the same way, on your own, with your own sweat and tears. It takes you forever. You are cussing yourself and hitting yourself with negative, critical and judgmental thoughts right and left. You are thinking to yourself how stupid you are and therefore you are right where you deserve to be.

You quickly learn that doing the climbing on your own is hard work and affords little upward motion. Day after day you toil but you stay in the hole much longer than you anticipated. It occurs to you (barely) that God may be able to help you climb a little faster but the job of climbing out takes precedence over anything else and soon the thought of God evaporates in your sweat.
In life chapter 2 you find yourself on the same street with the same hole. You are fully aware the hole is there yet you walk straight towards it. Before long you drop right back into where you were not so long ago. The hole is still deep, dark and scary, it hasn’t changed a bit it is exactly the way you left it. It is becoming familiar.
You are living the same story you always have, you are expecting different results but because your pattern is the same, the results are the same. You fall in the hole yet again. You are thinking to yourself if the other people in your life would grow up and learn to act right your life would go a whole lot better. So now you draw up a plan to fix those around you. It could be that you even enlist God’s help. If God can’t fix your husband, your family, your boss, your friends, (you know, those people who make you fall into the hole) then who can. When God fixes all those people, you can avoid the hole. It really is as simple as that. You are convinced that someone else pushed you over the edge to the hole.

Life chapter 3 finds you on the same familiar street and the deep, scary hole is still where it has always been. It is almost a weird sort of comfort to see it because you count on it to always be where you left it. Yet once again, even though you know the hole intimately, you know if you take the next step you will tumble downward, you do it anyway.

You know you did it and you know you are totally responsible but because of your past experience with your hole, you climb out immediately. Having fallen into this same hole so many times you are awakening to the source of the problem. Maybe it’s time to find a different route, after all it is your fault you are there. Repeating the same mistakes over and over will have the same results over and over. Having come to this conclusion you can begin to change. God is reminding you that He is there to help you with your “hole” problem. There is a nagging in the back of your mind that if you seek Him before you begin your trip down the street with the hole, maybe He will come up with a different answer to the same problem that has always plagued you? As you are jumping (literally) out of the hole this time, you are coming up with a goal to include Him in your “hole” plan. You come to the realization that every trip into the hole has increased your need to ask for God’s help. Yes it was in slow increments because you have always been a slow learner. However, every time you asked Him, He helped you. When you asked Him for little He helped a little. What would happen if you asked Him for a complete solution to this nagging “hole” problem? After emerging from the brief stint in the hole, you head home to open that Bible that is……….somewhere in your house.

Life chapter 4 Is walking down the same street, coming upon the same hole but avoiding the hole. It is a whole new exhilarating experience. You saw it coming, knew what to anticipate from past experiences and you simply walked around it. A talk with God has given you a change of course which gives you a whole new set of possibilities. There really is something to this God thing. He is here to help you dig out of the hole, you are now beginning to have experience of that. But the amazing thing you are learning, is He is here to help you not only climb out of the hole, but to conquer the hole. God has shown you alternate routes and He has given you the gift of the knowledge that you are free to take them.
Life chapter 5 is your new day. It is the day you finally change streets. Life chapter 5 is the marvelous renewing of your mind. It is the time you realize that there will be holes in the street but you now have the courage to walk a different path, around the hole. You know you can because you trust He will do as He promised and give you exactly what you need to take the detour.
Renewing of the mind is happening. When you mind is changed by God, your life changes and the hole no longer consumers you. So when someone asks you to help them climb out of their hole, say, here, let me show you what worked for me!

Dottie
…………and so I ride

image

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.

image

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