The only way to get our muscles to grow is to USE them. It requires effort. If we want to gain muscle mass it requires us lifting HEAVIER things, working HARDER than we currently are. Over time, the things that once seemed impossible & challenging are much easier.
The same goes with our faith. Whether it’s faith in people or faith in God, faith is like a muscle. It only grows if we use it. Once we use it, test it, challenge it and grow it, daily struggles, questions, stress, doubt, all the heavy weights in our life, feel light because of our ever-growing stronger faith.
Today I write on faith, because faith is an important part of our spiritual health. Before you tune me out, continue to read and take what you want from this. Even if you apply it in everyday life with your loved ones. I think there is a message here for anyone – whether you believe in God or not.
Think about it, how healthy can we be if we are fit on the outside, but broken down, insecure and weak on the inside. Even people who don’t believe in God, have a deep desire to have faith in something or someone. They may put their faith in money, a job, a diploma, a spouse, a friend, science, teachers, bosses, politicians or their own physical abilities or taent, but humans are born to want to have faith in something.
Think of it this way. How often have we said “once I just graduate, or when we can get everything paid off, everything will be much better” That’s faith, faith those things will improve your life. So much so, you will continue to go to school even if it kills you, and you will try to paid down those bills even when you are dying to spend more money. You also have faith your car will stop when you apply the breaks. You trust your debit card will work when you swipe it through the card reader. Why do you have faith in such things? Because you practice it, you’ve tested it over and over again. So, you practice faith already, but it’s time for you to pick up the Big Boy faith weights.
The same way a client thinks “there is NO WAY I can lift that” and then they lift it anyway, if we want our faith to get stronger, we have to start trusting God with bigger things. We need to constantly challenge our faith muscles like we do our skeletal muscles. Why does it matter? Many studies have proven people who have faith are healthier. Part of that is a no-brainer. I mean, people who are trying to improve their spiritual life are less likely to destroy their body with drugs or stupidity. They are (should be) more obedient citizens and they are more disciplined. I also believe a lot of the added health benefits is from having more faith.
More faith means less stress. For instance, have you ever had a boyfriend you couldn’t trust? How unhealthy was that relationship for you? I bet you were more stressed, insecure, tired, full of constant doubt, skeptical, thinking the worst all the time, and maybe even downright depressed. However, take the same you in a different relationship where you trust your boyfriend. You feel loved, confident and stress-free….you are relaxed, healthy, rested and at peace.
What is Faith?
Faith is not a religion. Faith is an action based on what you believe. Faith is defined as “confidence or trust in a person or thing. Complete trust.”
We have faith in the people who we get to know and love – and that know and love us back. We don’t put much faith in strangers, so how can anyone expect to trust God if He is a stranger to them. A simple fix is to spend more time getting to know our God, and give him the opportunity to prove He is trustworthy – which is proven over time. (God says “…test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malacai 3:10)
As a man in love desires to prove his love to his bride, God desires to show how much he loves us and He can’t do that if we don’t give him a chance and trust Him or get to know him. Once He has won our heart, we will trust Him more – and the more we trust Him (and build those faith muscles), the more our faith will continue to grow stronger.
Doubt, the Faith Killer
Believe me, we all have our moments of doubt. I know I do, and we do the same things with our loved ones too. We can easily let a window of doubt slip into our thoughts where we wonder if they are trustworthy, or we wonder if they will let us down. That’s normal because we are human. Yet, the only way to truly find out is to continue to trust them and get to know them better.
Unfortunately, this is where we go wrong with God. As soon as we have doubts, we quit. We not only quit trusting Him, but we quit the whole relationship. Can you imagine how crappy our marriages and friendships were if we quit every time we had a doubt or fear? Well, we’d have no friends or marriage for one, but life would also be very lonely and hopeless.
I challenge you to start training your faith muscles. If you lack faith or don’t believe in God, maybe it’s because God is a stranger. No one can expect you to trust and believe in the unknown. Take time to get to know Him and trust him more – and watch your faith muscles begin to bulge! You will not only benefit spiritually, but your body will thank you too!
Today Joyce Meyer talked about when she first started working out with what she called little “dog-bone” 3lb weights, and how heavy they felt (this is a pic from her video of her making fun of herself struggling). Yet, now, she lifts 20-25lbs dumbbells (GO JOYCE!) and laughs at how hard those lighter weights once were.
As our faith grows, things in life that were once difficult to have faith through are like those dog-bone weights. You will be able to carry heavy loads in life with ease and enjoy the victory of experiencing strength in the Lord. CLICK HERE to watch her awesome teaching on faith.
“I can do all things in Christ who STRENGTHENS me.” Philippians 4:13
Don’t you want to be STRONGER – inside AND out? I know I do!
Today’s matching motivational image:
Worrying Can Cause:
- Lack of sleep or insomnia
- Panic attacks
- Fast heart rate
- Inability to concentrate
- Muscle tension and muscle aches
Web MD explains that when you worry for a long time, you have excessive fuel in the blood that isn’t used properly (like pinned up energy to use for exercise or activity), which can cause a host of other major problems like:
13. Suppression of the immune system
14. Digestive disorders
15. Short-term memory loss
16. Premature coronary artery disease
17. Heart attack
Stress is not what causes health problems. It’s how you handle stress in your life. If you don’t handle it well (or at all), and you just worry about it – eventually it WILL come out and attack your body. You cannot pin all that anxiety up without exploding eventually.
6 Ways to Handle Stress Better
If you catch yourself worrying, here are a few things you can do to control it so it doesn’t affect your health:
- Exercise – People who worry, tend to be very frustrated because they can’t do anything about their current problem. Exercise, hands down, is the best way to relieve stress and get out your frustrations. It also will help you fall a sleep better so you don’t stay up thinking about your problems.
- Eat healthy – You need to fuel your body with good food if you want to feel good. Unfortunately, people who deal with a lot of stress tend to eat poorly, and eat more – as if to get some type of temporary satisfaction when they are so unsatisfied with other areas of their life. Poor choices may help you feel better for a moment, but they will leave you lacking the energy you need to handle the rest of the day – and the weight you gain will leave you even more discouraged.
- Slow down – many people who are stressed out, try to keep busy to keep their mind off things. They tend to work longer hours, stay entertained, avoid quiet and self-medicate themselves with alcohol or drugs. What they need most is what they avoid most – silence. This is where yoga is very good. You get to stretch tense muscles, control your breathing, meditate and even pray. Remember, you can’t go 100 miles an hour without eventually crashing. You need to purposely slow your body down to prevent wrecking your health.
- Rest – This is something that often times will not come naturally. You will have to FORCE your body to rest. Even if that means taking a mild sleep aid (like Tylonel PM), it is imperative you get the rest you need to stay both physically and mentally healthy. If you miss rest, you are setting yourself up for a ton of other problems – and you’ll have even more to worry about, with no energy to do anything about it.
- Limit or avoid stimulates – If you are a big coffee drinker or smoker, you are probably making things worse. You need relaxation, not stimulation. If you don’t plan to give it up, then you need to give your body a way to blow off steam. Take a walk or jog, workout, play a game of tennis, go to the batting cages or driving range, or take some boxing lessons. If you are going to stimulate your body, let your body use that stimulation to be active.
- Get help – If you feel you can’t do any of these things on your own, or you have tried them and you are still dealing with excessive stress and anxiety, see a doctor. Seek professional counsel and talk with a friend. It is super important that you have people who care about you monitoring you, supporting you, and helping you through this difficult time. Whatever you do, don’t go it alone.
Are you a chronic worrier? Read 9 Steps to End Chronic Worrying
I’ve never heard anyone say “I feel so fat, if only I could be stronger in the gym”. No, that never happens. What they say is, “I’m so fat, I just wish I could be stronger around food”. The fact is, what we do in the gym is the easy part. It’s what we do in the kitchen that is tough.
We need food. It’s fuel for our body – BUT we have to learn to control food like we learn to control a weight. Think about this: When people first lift free weights, their weights are all over the place. Every movement feels a little unnatural. Newbies are shaky, wobbly and unbalanced. Lifting weights takes a certain amount of practice, which require repetition. Then, once we are able to control the weight, we work to improve, increasing the weight, and improving our skill.
We could use some of those same principles in the kitchen. We must first do what comes unnatural for us. For example, you may need to force yourself to eat 5-6 times a day at first. Like trying a new exercise, we have to try new things with our diet, like counting calories or making protein shakes. Then, you have to practice those things over and over – yes, you heard right. We have to practice eating healthy. You will practice new recipes and try new snacks – and just like when we practice anything else, we will not always get it right. So we keep working on it.
Look at the definition of what practice:
Practice: repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency. “Practice makes perfect.”
Don’t you think we could all use more practice when it comes to eating right? This means we have to REPEATEDLY keep trying to improve our eating habits, even when we fail, until we are proficient in healthy eating. Like anything else, it will take work. We can’t rely on shortcuts or happenstance. But, just like the work we put in the gym, the work we put in the kitchen comes with a great reward! You will get stronger.
Fitness is a lot of things to a lot of people. However, people can be so focused on the small stuff, they lose focus of all the right stuff. Some people get led astray by specific aspects of fitness that tickle their fancy in the moment. Others get turned off by the obsessed fitness freaks who treat fitness more like it’s a cult than a healthy lifestyle, shaping their bodies into something that looks more like a cartoon character than a picture of health. Then there are the people who really have never experienced fitness, so the only impression of fitness maybe a self-absorbed coworker mocking them at the office every day.
Fitness: Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture
It’s more than a trend.
Fitness is cool and everyone knows it. People don’t look at fat, lazy people and want to grow up to be that guy. They want to be the guy or girl they see running the beach in the morning or hitting the weights religiously in the gym every day. They want to be the celebrity in the tabloid shot leaving yoga or doing a quick workout while on vacation, like Matthew McConaughey from Magic Mike.
Fitness is cool, but we need to remember the impact it can make on people’s lives. People who live the fit lifestyle are leaders, whether we like it or not. People are watching us and we have the opportunity to use that cool-factor to encourage others to get healthy. We can ACT cool and turn people off, or we can BE cool and turn people on to fitness. Just think, you may be the only flesh-and-blood fit person someone comes in contact with. Are you going to attract them to fitness or make them run back to the couch and ice cream?
It’s more than a sport.
It’s not just one sport, fitness has a ton of sports and games. Bobybuilding, Figure competitions, Crossfit Games (#CROSSFITGNC), Marathons, Triathlons, Mud Runs, 5Ks, Power Lifting…you name it. Then there’s the competitive side outside of actual sporting events like the P90x Challenges, Biggest Loser contests at work, 90 day challenges, etc.
It can be easy to get so deep into the sport of it, you forgot why you started the whole fitness thing to begin with. Some people get so focused on the sport, they become judgmental toward others that don’t take their fitness to the competitive level they have chosen. Before you know it, someone can focus so much on their particular sport, they begin to neglect their actual health and let other areas of a healthy lifestyle slide.
Yes, it’s a sport, but it’s not just about winning and losing. We need to make sure we don’t get so caught up on our performance that we forget our improvements – and where we are headed.
It’s fixes more things than you think.
Although most people depend on fitness to fix their waistline, no one should expect fitness to be a quick fix – or just fix one specific problem. It fixes a lot of problems – and if you realize that, you will feel even more successful in your fitness journey than you would ever feel if your only concentrating on finding your six-pack.
Sure fitness can whip your body into shape, but it improves (and can completely fix) many ailments and physical issues like heart disease, obesity, cardiovascular health, diabetes, asthma, poor flexibility, body pain due to weak or tight muscles, and many other issues that can make life pretty miserable. Not only that, it helps our mood and is scientifically proven to drastically improve, and sometimes completely eliminate, depression.
Remember, there are no quick fixes, but there are REAL fixes – and fitness shouldn’t be about just fixing only one of them.
Fitness is a lot of things to a lot of people – what does fitness mean to you? – B –
CUT: Sever, Separate, Detach, Remove, Delete.
If you want to rearrange your body, you will need to rearrange your life – and some things will need to be removed altogether. You can’t keep the same things in your life and expect a different result. You also can’t lose weight unless you are taking in fewer calories than you are burning. That’s just science. If you’ve maintained your weight the way you have been eating over the last year, you can cut calories easily by cutting stuff back (or out) of your diet.
1.) Cut portions in half (use salad plates instead of dinner plates to manage portions)
2.) Cut bite sizes (use small forks and spoons instead of shovels)
3.) Cut out high calorie drinks
4.) Cut down on sauces and condiments Read the rest of this entry