Category Archives: PFOCUS
FOCUS – MOTIVATION – INSPIRATION – EDUCATION.
This section is for those of you who need the motivation (and maybe even a kick in the pants) to focus, or refocus, on your goals.
“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.” Dolly Parton
When I think of Dolly’s quote I think of how my mother also tried every diet in the book before she finally lost her weight. I know she must have felt like she spent her entire life dieting. The truth is she just made a few common mistakes that just continued to prolong her results – and it happens to so many people. That’s why so many American live their all their life dieting.
10 Tips to Break the ‘Never-ending Diet’ Cycle:
- Avoid diet hopping. Some people never stick to a diet long enough to get results before they hop on the next diet that comes their way. If you chose a diet plan, stick to it.
- Never attempt an unrealistic diet. I can’t help but think of the Cabbage Soup Diet, which I was on for all of four very long days. A successful diet is one you can stick with for the long haul.
- Don’t rely on the quick fix. We all know better, but our patience often gets the best of us. Don’t give in to weight loss gimmicks. A quick fix is just a temporary fix and only postpones the inevitable.
- Be realistic. If you are on a mild diet and exercise plan, expect mild results. The more intense the program, the faster the results. Be realistic when setting and working toward your goal.
- Be honest with yourself. People seem quick to recall all the healthy low-calorie foods they eat but get amnesia when it comes to unhealthy choices. The scale will tell on you so, in all actuality, you aren’t fooling anyone but your self.
- What you don’t know can hurt you. I find most people who have failed on their diet have been guessing their way through it all. Other people just don’t want to know the truth. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has taken a bite of something and as soon as I begin to read off the calories he plugs his ears saying “lalalalalalalala, I don’t want to know, lalalalalala”! The fact is the calories are there whether we know it or not.
- If you aren’t dieting, you should be maintaining. Even if you lose the weight, you still have to be accountable for what you eat in order to maintain your new size. Many people who hit their goal end up right back where they started because they went back to eating poorly.
- The “Weekday Diet” doesn’t always work. Many people diet all week, only to erase their hard work each weekend with poor food choices. Although this may work while in maintenance, this diet faux pas is what makes people feel like they are dieting all the time and never reaping the reward.
- Never underestimate the power of the calorie. Weight loss boils down to one thing – calories in vs. calories out. You can’t expect results if you are not sure how many calories you are eating.
- Commit to dieting the right way. A lack of commitment just prolongs the amount of time it will take to get results. You can live on a yo-yo diet for the rest of your life and get mediocre results, or you can commit to working hard for a while and live the rest of your life enjoying your results.
One of the things I hear a lot after someone has lost a lot of weight is that someone gained all their weight back. It’s a big fear for most people. They join a boot camp or do a competition and they reach all their goals, and a few months later they are right back to where they started – or worse.
While, in our gym, there are more people that keep it off than people who gain it back, it happens – and I sure didn’t want that to happen to me after my competition so I sat down with Steve and we made very specific rules. Here are the parameters I plan to put in my life to help me maintain my weight during our “off season”.
Whether you are in between trainers, boot camps or competitions, you can apply these same rules to your own life to make fitness a lifestyle instead of a phase, and make your new goal weight your new normal weight.
5 Tips to Maintaining Your Weight
1. Decide on your new ideal weight. If you haven’t reached your goal yet, your ideal weight will be a lower weight. If you have reached your goal, your ideal maintenance weight should be your new weight (unless you’ve just competed and dehydrated – then your weight should probably be 5-7lbs heavier than your stage weight). This weight is what determines whether you should be dieting (eating fewer calories than you are burning) or maintaining (eating the same amount of calories than your burning).
At 5’9″, my ideal weight used to be 144 for me. If I started rising above 144 (my NO! STOP weight was 148), I would diet back down and get my weight back into control. Now, my new normal weight is 136. After the show I stayed in the high 130s and hit 140 and I immediately jumped right back on my diet until it went back down. Today, I weighed 135 today. I will continue to weigh in to keep me accountable.
2. Set a new goal. Whether this is a race, a bikini or bodybuilding competition, a weight loss contest, a cruise or a photo shoot, you must put some kind of goal into place. Goals give your training purpose, and make it easier to say no to high-calorie foods and the temptation to skip a workout. My goal is to come into January at a specific body fat percentage, muscle weight and fat weight. I want to know I am starting my diet ahead of where I started it last time. I also want my skin to stay tight and continue tightening up. I can’t do that if my weight fluctuates too much, so my goal is to avoid weight gain so I can improve my skin texture. Plus, I just feel a million times better in all my clothes!
3. Make a recovery plan. What do you do if you bounce a check or max out a credit card? Do you keep spending what you can’t afford? No. You start making a plan to pay it off and get back in the black. The same goes for dieting. As soon as you go over budget, you have to start paying it off because you can’t afford to eat that much anymore. This is when you step up your cardio (work off your past debt) and reduce your caloric budget (learn to be more frugal with your calories). This is just checks and balances – but you have to make a plan ahead of time. As soon as you get back to your ideal weight, you can afford to have a cheat meal, you can afford to skip a workout. But, until then, you have to stay disciplined and get your body back in control.
4. Cheats are treats. What I mean is, cheat meals should be a treat, not a habit. There are certain things Steve and I decided we would not buy and bring into our home. This forces us to go out and get it if we want it (which requires more planning and reduces the chance of impulse eating). For instance, we will not buy ice cream. If we want ice cream, we’ll make a date out of it – but I’m not going to have something that available to me. Same goes with chips and other high-calorie snack foods. As soon as I bring them into the house, they can work their way into our daily lives. Then it becomes a unhealthy eating habit. We will continue to have limits on how much we eat out and how much we “treat” ourself. And, we will continue to cook healthy, low-calorie meals and have low-calorie snacks at home.
5. You’re never “off”. One of the biggest mistakes people make is doing a boot camp or competition and then taking “off”. They work hard for 3 month and then they stop completely. You should never be “off” – you are either in weight loss mode or maintenance mode. While a competitor can gain a little weight in off season while they try to build muscle, the more fat they gain, the harder they have to work to get it off when they are in season. Why not try to keep your fat under control so you start your season ahead of where you started it last time.
Stop right now and make a plan of how you plan to control your weight over the holidays so you don’t start 2015 behind where you are right now. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail. Planning is key to success!
What is fitness to you? I think when people think “fitness”, they think “exercise”. They think of running, lifting and sweating. They think of Fitness Magazine, with fit bodies and flat abs – but I think most people go down a LONG list of other things and activities before they get to diet, water and sleep.
Fitness isn’t an exercise. It’s a lifestyle. Fitness is truly a way of life, it’s not just what you do in the gym. This includes how you eat, how you sleep and how you move throughout the day. ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) describes fitness as a 5-part package. In order to be fit, you should be able to check off all 5 elements of fitness:
- Cardiovascular Respiratory Fitness
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
- Good Flexibility
- A Healthy Body Composition
How do you stand up to the ACSM guidelines of being fit? I’m 4 out of 5 (flexibility being my weakness – but I’m working on it!).
I’ve seen a lot of body builders who couldn’t run a 1/4 mile and runners who couldn’t lift a weight. I’ve seen fit looking people have heart attacks because their bench press was more important than their heart’s health (and their love for unhealthy food was untamed). I encourage you to LIVE fit to BE fit.
As you work hard to get fit and stay fit, you purposefully do things to improve these 5 elements of fitness. This means you stop looking for the easy way to do things and look for ways to fit more healthy activity and fuel in your day. You go to bed earlier, you stay more active, you stretch, you drink a lot of water, you eat healthy, you manage your weight and you challenge your body’s strength, stamina and muscular endurance. You don’t just exercise – you LIVE IT!
“Why her? Why does she look so good? Why does it seem so easy for her? We do the same workout and she drops fat like it’s nothing. I workout harder. I’m stronger. I’m faster. I’m better. Maybe it’s her genetics. Maybe she has a faster metabolism. Maybe it’s her supplements. Do you think she is doing steroids? Do you think she has “help”? Maybe the doctor is giving her something to help her get faster results. Maybe I need to see my doctor. Maybe my body just doesn’t work like hers. Maybe it’s my thyroid. Maybe I’ll never be able to look like that.”
This is one downward spiral fueled by an unrealistic negative mindset that is focused on blaming on ANYone else but yourself. We can’t judge a person by what they do in the gym. It’s an hour a day. Have you ever thought that it could be what she is doing the other 23 hours a day that’s getting her the results you want?
I see this in boot camp all the time. People do the same exact workout. They get the same information, yet one person loses 30lbs and gets shredded while their BFF leaves the same weight as they started. Did the BFF lose fat and gain muscle? Probably. But did they radically change like their friend? No. Why? It wasn’t what they did in the gym. It was what they weren’t doing when they left.
Think of it this way. We all know going to church won’t get you to heaven. There have been plenty of criminals who have gone to church. They might have even served as a deacon. They could have had the best intentions. They might have gone down to the front, or raised their hand, to say they wanted to change. They might have cried buckets of tears in complete misery with how they were living life, begging God to help them to change. They could have attended every service, gone to every Bible Study, and did everything other church members did, but their life would NEVER change if they didn’t change the way they lived OUTSIDE the church. That would require surrender. It requires discipline. It requires perseverance. It requires a lifestyle change.
Transformation requires DOING not just HEARING. We teach our fitness competitors the SAME stuff we teach our boot campers and clients. Some reach their fullest potential and some never even scratch the surface. Why? Like with church, the “message” is the same. My pastor is giving the same message to 4 different services, and hundreds of people. Each time his words penetrate our hearts and we take it home and practice it (practice also means we try and fail, and we keep trying anyway).
Our life is not the same as it was the first time we showed up. Our lives are being transformed – and we are not alone. I’ve seen radical life changes – HUGE transformations. So why isn’t EVERYONE that goes to our church having these same awesome experiences as we are? Because the keep going right back to the same way they are living, without applying what they are hearing. They expect to magically be transformed by the one-hour spiritual workout a week – and they fail.
I’ve gone to church all my life. I failed in life when I quit applying what I’ve learned at HOME. It’s not what I do at church or the gym that transforms my life. My workouts are almost the exact same now as they were when I was 20lbs heavier. What changed is what I was putting in to my body on a daily basis. It’s the consistency of eating clean and denying the flesh what it craves (chips and salsa, cookies, overeating, snacking, etc). If I eat junk, I’ll look like junk. If I eat too much, I’m going to weigh too much. If I eat clean, I will look lean. If I eat healthy, I will feel healthy. What I put in my body (and soul) absolutely has a radical affect on my life.
If you want to transform your life – whether physically or spiritually, you have to quit feeding your flesh (quit literally feeding your body the things it wants opposed to the things it needs – both physically and spiritually). You need to do more than rely on a Sunday message or a motivational mantra. It takes more than “good works” or a good workout. It takes a life change – 24 hours a day. Will you fail? Heck yeah – and you will STILL be SO much better off trying.
No more complacency.
No more pointing the finger.
No more excuses.
I don’t look at the body as a sex symbol or in vanity. To me, the body is like a clump of clay that can be sculpted into different shapes by applying science – and, like clay sculpted into a pitcher, our body is better used when it’s in good shape. A potter will cut away the excess, dig out the junk and squeeze the clay until it takes shape. If clay could hurt, it probably wouldn’t like the process very much. It would likely say “OUCH!”
In fitness, calorie management and training are the sculpting hands and much work is required to mold you in the best shape. One of the things I’m enjoying most, is one of the things I hate most – learning to set limits, stick to a plan and remain disciplined when I normally would cave. We live in a society where no one likes restrictions. People eat what they want to eat, buy what they want to buy and do what they want to do. When did restrictions become a bad thing? We need boundaries. We need to practice more self-control. It’s healthy and it makes us strong.
I’m loving living with more limitations, forcing myself to do what I don’t want to do to get to where I want to go. It’s hard work, but it makes me proud. I’m learning to control my flesh and not let it control ME! I’m learning I can do so much more than I thought I was capable of.
You may look at my suit and think WOW, that’s beautiful!! A bikini contest must be like a beauty contest, but it really isn’t. It’s more like a science fair. I am nothing more than one big science project.
I’m not competing to win a trophy, because I think I have a good body, or because I want to be on stage. I might not even PLACE! I can’t go on stage hoping to win a $40 trophy, or seeking praise from people. That is not what makes me who I am. A trophy can’t define me. It mustn’t. It’s the training, the self-discipline, the process and what God teaches me along the way that means more to me than a bronze sculpture or a medal. It’s finishing what I started to become the best version of me I can. That’s what will make me a winner, trophy or no trophy. It’s me against me – and I plan to CRUSH the old me!!
The truth is, I really don’t want to compete. I don’t care about the stage (terrified of the stage is a more accurate description lol). I am not comfortable being in a bikini in front of hundreds of people – I don’t even walk to my car from the beach without a cover up on! I dread standing next to a bunch of other girls to be “judged” – don’t we get judged enough every day? Lord knows, I know ALL of my flaws already and could just slip the judges my own list of all my shortcomings and save them time.
I’m competing, first, because my husband has been dying for me to do this with him for years – and I admit, dieting and training together has been a lot of fun. Second, I am competing because it’s forcing me to break through plateaus, push my limits, reach my goals, and step out of my comfort zone. It’s an incredible amount of work and a time where God is growing me in ways I never thought possible. The same way your muscles can’t grow unless you put them under pressure, I personally can’t grow if I constantly am avoiding the challenges of being under pressure.
My body is NOTHING – it will fade away like a dying flower. Learning to not be controlled by it is teaching me so much about myself and about how much more we need to let God be in control – not out stomach, not our laziness, not our selfish ambitions. Learning to die to flesh and live in the spirit both require a lot of discipline – and I plan to run this race of life to the best of my ability!
“…I discipline my body and bring it to submission, so when I have preached to others, I myself should not disqualified“ 1 Corinthians 9:27
The Bikini – Sewn In The Sun
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Want to lose weight? Are you the kind of person who would just do better if someone else would cook for you, or at least just tell you what to eat? You aren’t alone. It’s called being lazy – and we ALL have a lazy bone that wishes dieting could be easier. Are we really going to let laziness rule our life? Seriously? We KNOW the reward is great, so why would we let a few food prep and calorie-logging steps get in our way?
We are lazy creatures. We want to be spoon fed. We don’t even want to read information now – we want to hear it or watch it on TV, because reading would take too much effort. We prefer to be forced to do the right thing because making the decision to do the right thing on our own would also be too much work. Even people at church want to be given a really good word from the pulpit to last them all week because they are too lazy to open the Bible and actually get a word from God themselves. Here are 4 ways laziness gets us in trouble.
1. We do not apply what we learn. We constantly seek more information, when we aren’t even applying what we have already heard. James 1:22 says “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Of course it’s talking about the word, being the Bible. However, I believe we can learn from this and apply it to many areas of our life. How often are we searching for new recipes, new workouts and new fitness toys when we already know what to eat, know what to do and have enough fitness tools to do it? Normally, the difference between someone who is getting results and someone who isn’t is the person getting results is actually applying what they have have already learned. While the person who isn’t getting results is only applying SOME of what they’ve learned, and still in search of an easier route or a shortcut.
2. We have selective hearing. When we choose to have selective hearing, and only apply what we like while ignoring the stuff we don’t like, we are deceiving ourselves. We live life pretending we are doing everything right, because we are doing some stuff right. This is a VERY bad habit. Why? First, you begin to believe the lie that you are doing “everything” you can. That’s not true. You are doing everything you WANT to do, but not everything you SHOULD do. Second, as we decide to pick and choose what we want to apply, we become more susceptible to false teaching and gimmicks. This applies both to our fitness and diet, as well as our spiritual journey. You don’t get to pick and choose truth. Truth is truth and if you ignore the truth long enough, you will begin to fall for any lie. You must apply all the principles to get the results you want – not just some of them. However, many people find themselves working hard in the gym (because they don’t mind that part), yet ignoring calories (because that is too much work) – and they wonder why they can’t lose the weight. If you want to succeed, you have to decide to apply EVERYTHING you learn, not just some of it.
3. You never really learn what is necessary to make fitness a lasting lifestyle. If you take short cuts, you are missing out on gaining more knowledge. Eating Lean Cuisines instead of learning out to prepare and weigh food, and count calories keeps you in bondage to boxed foods. As soon as you are left to cook or eat out, you will be lost. There is a certain amount of “homework” required to the fitness lifestyle. You must make the extra effort to measure food, weigh it, research foods, count calories, look up healthy recipes, study workouts, learn proper form, research supplements and study nutrition if you really want to KNOW how to live healthy. Sadly, people don’t want to know anything. They want to get healthy with limited knowledge. This is why people say “just tell me what to do” or “tell me what to eat”. Just telling someone what to do or eat sets them up for long-term failure. The best way to make fitness a lifestyle is to invest time in gaining the knowledge you need to KNOW how to live healthy (not pretend to live healthy). Think about how much time you waste surfing facebook or watching TV, where you gain NO knowledge. Don’t you think you are worth the investment?
4. You make life harder than it has to be. ironically, we waste more and energy time trying shortcuts than if we did everything the right (and often longer) way. Proverbs 12:24 says “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” I think this passage is interesting because what it tells me is lazy people will be FORCED to work even harder. It’s funny how easy life is when we suck it up and just do what we are supposed to do. It’s when we try to avoid work, we often have to work much harder. I’ve personally experienced this time after time – especially with home improvement projects. I can’t count the number of times I had to either completely do something over again because I was trying to cut corners.
What this scripture also tells me is that I will be more in control if I am diligent. How many of us want to be in control of our lives? Of course our life really is in God’s hands, but there are many things we can control – and exercise and diet falls in that category. Do you really want to be FORCED to labor – possibly doing what you don’t even want to do? Or do you want to take control and choose what you are willing to do? Unfortunately, many people wait until it’s too late and the doctor tells them they need to make changes or they are going to die. You can decide now, or someone will decide for you later. Either way, we really can’t avoid work. It’s a part of life – so you might as well take control now.
Have you been guilty of trying short cuts, waiting on an easier way or only applying some of what you have learned? Save a lot of time and energy, and each your goal faster, by doing fitness the right way – applying what you have learned, and continuing to learn something new every day! You will be SO glad you did!! Your only regret will be that you wish you did it sooner!!
Recently I was listening to a message about Joseph, the coat of many colors guy who was sold to slavery and raised up to leadership. He was a loyal worker, and had great favor where ever he went. It also said he was EXTREMELY handsome. As a result, his boss’s wife tried to seduce him. His response was “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God“. This may not seem like a big statement here, but how many times do we respond to doing something wrong with calling it what it really is?
Joseph not only saw it wasn’t right, but he saw just how seriously wrong it was – not just that it wasn’t right to do to his boss, but he saw how it wasn’t right to do to God. Talk about taking things up a notch!
What if we were to be more truthful with our struggles, thoughts and actions? What if we started being more honest with ourself and with others? I believe in my heart, we let things (problems) linger in our life because we never really truly address them in truth.
There needs to be a time when we all look in the mirror and we face the things we try to run from. Here are a few examples:
I can’t lose weight.
Am I really doing everything I can do?
I probably should cut back the wine.
Am I an alcoholic?
I need more time and money.
Am I using my time and money wisely?
I don’t want to join a gym.
Am I letting my pride get in the way of my health?
I just really like her/him a lot.
I am married and I am fighting an attraction which is wrong and will never be right.
I eat really healthy.
Could I still be eating too much?
I love food.
Am I letting food control me?
You fill in the blanks…..
We all have our issues and our demons we must face. For Joseph, it was a constant pursuing of his boss’s wife – even when he was doing all the right things. BUT, he never gave into temptation because he never stopped seeing it for what it was.
I challenge you today to face your struggles head on, write them down, talk about them with someone you love and trust. You can never win a battle you never admit you are having. 🙂
People do NOT like the word diet. It’s like a bad 4-letter word that’s offensive in all countries. Everyone has a different definition of diet. I admit I use the word all the time, but I never think of it as a bad thing. To me, diet means results. It means healthy food, smart food. It means perfect portions, not overeating, not eating junk. It means practicing self-control and it means feeling great.
When did practicing self-control become so scary and bad? God ENCOURAGES us to practice self-control. There are countless scriptures on the importance of controlling our body, cravings and desires.
As you know, I like chips and salsa. I can’t eat it every day (but I WANT TO), but I do eat it. What if you let your kid eat whatever they wanted to eat every day? That’s a scary thought right? Well, it’s not too much worse than a grown adult eating whatever they want to eat every day. It might “look” healthier than PopTarts and Happy Meals, but it’s not much different when it comes to self-control.
Stop looking at dieting (or practicing self-control) as a horrible thing. Instead, look at it as empowering! Every time you resist your favorite cheat food, you are reminding yourself you are strong, you are one step closer to your goal, you are in control, you are not letting food rule your life, you are bettering yourself, you are doing the right and healthy thing. Every time you are eating healthy, you’re fueling your body with the foods it needs to help you reach your goals. Be proud, be excited!
Self-control requires sacrifice. Sacrifice requires being uncomfortable at first, but pleasure follows. Lack of self-control is the other way around. Pleasure first followed by discomfort that typically way outlasts the pleasure. Dieting (eating right, practicing self-control, managing calories) is investing in your future – and it’s SO worth it!!
Download the LoseIt app today and start taking control of your eating – and your body!
When I was in high school, my homeroom teacher came up to me and said “you’re walking the fence Bonnie.” I knew exactly what he meant and I’ll never forget it (or him, Coach Youngblood). While he was talking about how I acted at school verses how I acted at church, I believe this same condition (walking the fence) happens to all of us in many different areas of our life – including fitness. People have so much unnecessary stress in their life because they “walk the fence” with their diet, with exercise, with relationships, with finances and absolutely with their spiritual life. This “condition”, I’ll call it, causes so much discontentment, frustration, restlessness, resentment, anger, bitterness, conviction and conflict. Why? Because you want peace, but your body and mind are in conflict. You know what you WANT, but you aren’t doing what you NEED to do to get it. You are “walking the fence”.
For example, you want to get fit, but you aren’t fully committed to the diet. In this case, every time you eat poorly, every time you weigh yourself, or every time you don’t like the way you look in clothes, you are filled with regret, guilt, conviction, stress and disappointment. In addition, every time you are with your fit little friend, you are uncomfortable. A matter of fact, you are actually downright grouchy and feel even worse because she’s a constant reminder of what you should be doing. As a result, you may even avoid your fit friends or avoid the gym. Listen, there is more to life than how we fit in our jeans. I admit, I like myself better at a certain weight, but what I like more is the peace I have with myself when I am taking care of my body and living right (or at least trying!!). I refuse to live a life buried in guilt and discouragement from letting my life get out of control. While I sure do enjoy feeling thinner and fitter, I also enjoy the peace of knowing I am doing what is healthy and good.
Maybe your issue isn’t with food or fitness. Maybe it’s with relationships or with God. No matter what you are wrestling with, if you are filled with conviction, anger, frustration and restlessness, it’s often because you keep doing what you WANT to do and resisting what you SHOULD do. Once you want peace more than whatever you are currently craving, change will happen and peace will come. Joyce Meyer said peace finally came in her home when she wanted peace more than she wanted to be right. How often do we trade peace for something temporary? There is simply NO PEACE when you are on the fence. You can’t “rest” on the fence. On the fence, there is indecisiveness, conviction, conflict and restlessness. Peace requires commitment – the commitment to do what you need to do, not just what you want to do. It’s the decision to get off the fence and get on the RIGHT side of life. Depart from evil and do good; seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue (go after) it! Psalm 34:14 I LOVE this scripture!! If you crave peace, don’t wait for it to come to YOU, chase after it, seek it, pursue it, do everything you need to get it – and depart from the things that are getting in the way of peace. What are you not willing to “depart” from? Are you trading peace for food? Are you trading peace for what makes you feel good in the moment? You know which side of the fence you should be on so what are you waiting for? Seriously, what is more valuable than peace?
When someone is desperate, how hard to they seek to get help? If someone is in pain, how quick to they seek comfort? When someone needs guidance, how much effort do they invest in finding it? If someone loses a job, how hard are they searching for a new one?
Over my years in the fitness industry, I’ve marveled at how many people who desperately need help are not desperately seeking it. I think of the story about a crippled man in the Bible who lay by, what was believed to be, a healing pool for YEARS. He literally lay there waiting for someone to pick him up and take him to the pool to get healed. I think many people (including me at times) are like that guy, waiting on someone or something else to do all the heavy lifting. Sometimes it’s because we are overwhelmed by the task that could be required of us to take action. Many times it is just pure ignorance – we have no idea what to do. Sadly, most of the time, it is just pure laziness. We’d rather hope for a miracle, than exert ourselves in fear doing a lot of work for no reward.
Listen, people who work get the reward. People just have unrealistic expectations, and they have a warped definition of the word “work”. They do a little work, and expect a big reward. They work for a short time, and expect the payoff to keep coming even if they quit.
Seek and You Will Find
It is rare that I see someone really seeking to lose weight who doesn’t lose it. People will often say “I tried, I really tried”, but if you were to reach deeeeep within their soul and could get the truth out of them, the real answer is “I tried a little”, “I tried once”, “I thought I tried”.
If you try to play the piano for the first time, you don’t expect to play Beethoven within a few “tries”. No, you don’t even learn a song at first. You start by learning the basics (#boring #uneventful #nofun). You have to learn the fundamentals before you can even read music or learn a song. With practice, you finally get to learn a song. You celebrate when you can finally play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with one hand. Then, you celebrate again when you learn to add your left hand. Then, after practicing, practicing and practicing, you begin to play the same song a little better, a little easier. Then you are ready for the next song – and it will be just as elementary as the first.
I can remember piano lessons, and I admit I was SO impatient. I would get so frustrated. I wanted to immediately jump in and play a more difficult “cool” song effortlessly without much practice. As a result, I’d take shortcuts. I’d play by ear, instead of reading music. I’d make up things that sounded good just so I could keep appearing to move forward. The problem was, I wasn’t moving forward. I was exactly where I left off. I might have “sounded” better, but I had not improved.
How often do we act like this in life? We do what we want to do to make us appear more successful (with our job, with our weight loss, with relationships, with God), yet many times we are exactly where we left off – exactly in the same place we were when we stopped actually WORKING.
I want to challenge you today to SEEK HARDER. Seek the things you desire to improve in your life with all your might. Seek answers to your weight loss plateau, seek help in your marriage, seek God in your life – and seek until you find.
God doesn’t ever ask us to do work for no reward. A matter of fact, He constantly talks about what we “get” when we seek Him. The key is understanding the word seek. I think we think of the word “seek” more like Steve seeks something in the fridge. He opens the door, looks at the contents and closes the door saying “Bonnie, where’s the BBQ sauce?” I’ll reply with “it should be in the door”. He’ll tell me he looked there. I will go on to list a few other places it could be and he’ll tell me he looked there too. The fact is, he didn’t really SEEK, he looked. Of course, I’ll go right to the refrigerator, open the door, move a few items out of the way and find it within 30 seconds. Why? I wasn’t looking, I was seeking.
Vines Dictionary’s definition of ‘Seek’:
To “seek” to ascertain a meaning (meaning, seek until you understand)
Are you seeking things like that? Are you seeking God like that? Are you seeking answers to your marriage issues or weight issues like that? Striving for, seeking until you fully understand, seeking until you find what you are looking for?
I had to laugh when Joyce Meyer was talking about how people act like they don’t understand what “seeking God” means. She then listed off a few examples of how we seek out stuff in life, like the woman seeking a 75% OFF sale or the guy in the deer stand seeking the deer in the freezing cold.
Don’t you think your life is worth the effort to REALLY seek the things that really matter? Your physical health, your spiritual health – happiness, joy, peace and well-being?
Today, make a commitment to stop looking and start SEEKING.
Today’s Spiritual Workout:
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalms 34:10