Battling Depression · Body Image · College · Finding Purpose

Fitness Re-evaluated

It has been a hot, hot minute since I did a post that was fitness related–and with good reason. The past two months I’ve been doing nothing (physically speaking) outside of walking the pups or yoga.

Now, I don’t regret this time off from exercise whatsoever. Taking the focus off of the workouts allowed me the necessary time to re-evaluate my meal planning and the food side of things (which, to me, is more important than any workout anyway!). I’m working on a post that goes over how God’s been working through my meal prep, but what do you think: do a general spiel or maybe provide an example of what I eat in a day? I could even do both if you’d like 🙂

Anywho, as I mentioned in my post “Fitness… or Fun?“, I have tried a lot of different workout routines in the past year and a half. When you’re starting a health journey (notice that I didn’t say diet or weight loss; this is your body, for life, not a fad’s get-fit-quick scheme ❤︎ ), I think it’s important to test the waters. Even if you don’t like it, at least you tried it! There’s all sorts of workout options out there: running, weight lifting, yoga, karate, zumba, hiking, sports, and many more. The important thing is that you give it a chance–say, four weeks or so, before deciding you don’t like it or that it’s not your style.

So, after my recent reprieve from all things exercise, I’ve once again turned back to lifting. When I started lifting for a few months this past summer, I was towards the beginning of my health journey and honestly didn’t really know what I was doing. Now that I’ve experimented and taken time out to work on form, I’m ready and excited for the growth ahead.

“She wraps herself in strength, carries herself with confidence, and works hard, strengthening her arms for the task at hand.” Proverbs 31:17

The further I get into this renewed fitness journey, the more I’ll share about the Biblical reasons I believe God wants us to exercise our bodies, but right now I want to share my former mindsets about exercise–in case you have ever shared similar insecurities.

As I’ve been putting together a weekly lifting schedule, I realized that in the past, I was holding myself back from giving my workouts my all out of fear.

Fear I wouldn’t achieve my dream physique.

Fear I would become obsessed with my appearance.

Fear that God would give me an injury if I started obsessing over my body.

But fear comes from a misunderstanding of God’s love for us.

I didn’t see working out as a form of worship when I started this journey. I didn’t understand how I could grow in Spirit while I was growing in physical strength. So, I never gave it my all because I feared that our Heavely Father would smite me where I stood.

Oh, how he must have sighed at me.

When I drew closer to Him, spending more time reading the Bible and praying, He showed me how askew my rationalization really was. He loves me–He hand-crafted this very body and is delighted when I want to take care of it. He’s not going to punish me for exercising it. The more I know Him, the more I know His will.

And if I’m living for His will, I don’t have to be afraid of anything. Because when I’m constantly in communication with Him, I’m not obsessed with outward appearance.

Sure, the temptation’s there. Do I want sleek, toned muscles? Who doesn’t haha?! But I can balance my goals–God already knows I want a stronger physique. If I believe and put in the hard work, the victory is already mine, not because of me but because He’s the God of all.

Physical training is good… Spiritual training is even better.

It’ll take time. It’ll require hard work, patience, sweat, discipline, and dedication. But doesn’t our faith require the same things?

God can use your body and workouts as praise. Just ask Him to show you the first step you need to take.

I’m still tweaking my new workout routine, but I can tell you I already feel SO much better! Sitting all day doing homework and going to class just takes a toll on my body, so adding a half hour to an hour of movement is incredibly rejuvinating. I’d love to provide extra encouragement or tips if you’re just starting out on your healthy journey! Know, however, that I am by no means a professional and I’m still learning, just like you. I wish you the best my dreamers! You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

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Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: Open Doors

Happy Monday to you!

In the spirit of new beginnings (it is a Monday, after all), I want to encourage you to be bold today. I know, I know, easier said than done–hey, I’m a shy introvert, I get it! But God’s been opening my eyes here lately to what can happen when you don’t let fear stand in your way.

So here are five quick quotes I want you to come back to, today or any other day, when you’re starting to feel like you can’t achieve your dreams or that something is holding you back:

  1. 1 John 4:18 “But perfect love casts out fear.”
  2. “Be bold. Be brave. Be you.”
  3. “If your dreams don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough.”
  4. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
  5. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Learning to cook

On the subject of conquering fears, this may not be a big deal to you haha, but I’m finally getting past my fear of cooking! 🙂 If you’d like to know more about how God’s been conquering my overeating, let me know and I’ll do a post specifically for it!

You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

College

Life Happens: College 101

Hey guys!

It feels like an eternity–and then some–since I got to truly sit down and bask in the feeling of blogging. Anyone else had those days (cough, weeks, cough), when you’ve been so busy and you finally get to come back to your blog?

Well, that’s definitely me right now. First off, I’d like to apologize to anyone who has commented and I’ve been–severely–overdue in responding. I know it’s no excuse, but that phrase in my header: “Life happens”? It’s been happenin’.

College students are probably familiar with the term “senioritis”, a passionate desire to get the heck out of dodge and leave all things high school behind.

Yeah… I never got that.

What I have now is some ironically twisted college-itis. I’m at a community college currently, and was accepted into the university where I’ll be transferring in the Fall this past October… so now I’m feeling a severe case of unmotivated lol. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the overly-studious individual I’ve always been–I’m just so ready for this stage of the game to be over. (And who wants to go back after Spring Break and then consecutive snow days anyway, right??)

Rather than being the behind-the-scenes man we typically see Him as, God’s been peeking His head out from behind the curtain a whole lot for me lately: Career planning (I absolutely have not forgotten that post! I’m waiting for God’s leading on the timing, I thank you so so much for the patience!). Applying for housing. Surveying potential summer jobs. Preparing for my first trip to Radford (this Saturday, ahh!!!). Significant meal prep modifications (might be a post soon?). Juggling my schedule. Trying to truck through the final legs of this last semester.

It can seriously put your brain on autopilot.

If you’ve been through the “senioritis” phase (or are going through it right now), this may sound familiar. However, it’s pretty darn foreign to me and I’m not sure I like it haha. Half of my brain is going over all the reasons I need to stay focused and get back into the swing of things and the other half is somewhere in Guatemala, lounging in the sun (Maggie, this was for you xD).

So how do we get past this?

I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure–I obviously don’t have everything perfectly put together! I like being open with you guys though, and to me it makes a person far more real when they don’t just “grin and bear it”. So, while I offer up these tips, know that I’m in the exact same boat trying to follow these myself, friend:

  1. Take a break: Spring break coming up? Do not fill it up with extra homework you can get done–I know, this sounds like the opposite of helpful, but hear me out. Your poor brain can only handle so much late-night studying and caffeine comas before it melts. Productivity is good; overexertion is not. God instructs us in the Bible to care for ourselves–mind, body, and spirit. Caring for yourself may very well mean setting a curfew on homework, free time or no. And I’ve often found that I do even better after letting myself rest than if I’d tried white-knuckling it.
  2. Get organized: In a former post of mine, I talked about the benefits of using a planner or bullet journal or the like. When I’ve got three million things coming up, taking a few minutes to simply jot down what’s coming up when keeps me from getting overwhelmed. (Bonus: it helps prevent total brain shut-down because you’re not trying to remember Granny’s birthday cake recipe, if your brother’s soccer game hours conflict with you and your bff’s dinner plans, and who replaced Pierre-Charles L’enfant during the urbanization of America.)
  3. Me Time: While it sounds similar, I want to emphasize that this is not the same thing as taking a break. Whereas a break could be an allotted amount of time or a vacation or even just ten minutes between study sessions, “me time” is different. Think of it like a business meeting with yourself, if you will: you wouldn’t cancel on your boss, would you? This time has to have the same priority level–write it in bold in your planner if you need to. My typical “me time”, for example, can be my Bible and yoga time first thing in the morning or maybe working on my book manuscript (if writing stresses you out though, opt out on this one). Half hour, hour, or a whole day–whatever you need and whatever is rejuvenating to you. Oh, and no rushing it!

As a side note, I want to say that, though my schedule has been loaded and I am looking forward to the things to come, God has been beautifully reminding me to stop and smell the roses. These past two years, but these past two months especially, He has been cultivating my mindsets, my heart for Him, and my body in ways I’m only beginning to understand–and I couldn’t be more at peace. No, everything in my life’s not perfect. No, I don’t have it all together or know what’s ahead. But I know that, whatever tomorrow brings, God’s already there.

To all my brave college and school friends, I salute you! I know that you can make it through–even if it seems to take forever haha! I hope that these tips will help you, whether you’re in school or not, to approach the reality of life with the joy of a child and courage of a giant. God bless you, you are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Body Image · Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: On a Mission

Oh, how I have missed this community!! As anybody who’s been in college or is currently in it, you know the kind of schedule it comes with–and sadly, blogging has been on the lower end of the scale lately (I’m sorry!). But, whether once a week or more often (when I’m not loaded down with pigs and homework lol), God has a beautiful way of using this blog as a ministry, whereas on my own, in person, I would not be able to reach half as many people.

Which leads me to an important point about missions:

The who of missions is you. The when of missions is now.

Until VERY recently, the whole missionary thing was just a foreign concept, for those “really brave” Christians. Thanks to two beautiful friendships (Dreaming of Guatemala and Through Ink & Image, please go check them out, I wouldn’t be where I am in my faith journey without them ❤︎ ), my horizons have been broadened.

My doors have been opened.

My heart has been changed.

You see, whenever I used to think of missions, I honestly got kind of jealous of the people who go on them–I mean, it takes guts to go all the way across the world to a place you’ve never been and to a language you probable can’t speak! Coming from a police officer family, I’ve had more than my share of “The world is an awful place and these are the million reasons why: ” spiel. While I can’t argue with most of it, that’s not the point. The point is that I’ve been letting fear keep me from considering grander plans than I’ve ever dreamed I’d pursue.

God’s bigger than all that though.

I’m not quite ready to get into the whole change God has put on my heart, because there is just so much I’m praying over and researching in these beginning stages, but I can say that missions are in my vocabulary now. More importantly, I’ve realized that “missions” aren’t just some global outreach program: you can be a mission servant of Christ in your very own home. The reason I think we don’t realize this is because going and serving in Africa or some far-off place sounds so grand, when staying at home is less than an adventure. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that, if I can’t wholeheartedly serve God in the place he chose with the people he chose, what right do I have to go off to a foreign country and profess his love?

When you let go of fear, God can show you things you’ve never even believed possible. I know that’s a bit cliche and rather vague, but 1. it is so, so true and 2. I don’t know what you’re going through right now. I just don’t. I can’t tell you what fears to let go of or where you’re headed, because I don’t know what’s going on in your life.

But I do want to let you know that God is already there. Whatever tomorrow, today, the next hour brings, God’s there and He already knows.

“… and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

 

I hope this encourages you today. Not quite as short as my other Monday Mantra’s, but this has been on my heart a whole lot lately. It was a long process for me to give Him control of my fears, so I understand if it takes baby steps–I’m still taking mine. In my opinion, it’s better when that thing you’re battling takes time–it gives you time to adjust and to learn. Seek His wisdom and I promise you that He will freely give it. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

P.s. If you are someone interested in mission work, have been on a missions trip before, or are simply curious, go check out Maggie’s Missions Monday post series! I cannot put into words how God has used her to embolden me on my journey for him, so I will simply say thank you so much Maggie ❤︎  She has a beautiful heart for Christ that illuminates absolutely every area of her life, and I pray to shine that same light every single day.

Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: Unknown but Unforgotten

Good morning my dears!

This morning I want to share a quote I jotted down in my journal however-long ago. (Anyone else ever go fishing in their journals when post ideas are scarce?) Unfortunately, the author of this quote is a mystery–insomuch as my research has found. Regardless of its obscure origins, however, it made quite an impact on me and I am hoping it brings a similar effect to you:

“If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.”

Some of you have probably heard this referenced somewhere before. If so, while I apologize for the redundancy, I have to ask–

Did you take this to heart?

What are the things you could do today that could change someone’s life for the better?

Short and sweet, as I try to keep these Monday motivations ❤︎  In life, God calls us to show selfless love to those we know, those who dislike us, and those who are strangers–equally and without favoritism. I certainly don’t have this down yet, but the beautiful thing is that, the more we show love, the happier we feel, even if it’s not reciprocated. (At times, especially because it’s not reciprocated. There’s nothing like giving to someone you know can’t pay you back, all because you want to help.)

Think of it as a win-win: when you make someone happy, you feel happier. Try it out. Remember that you are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Battling Depression · Body Image

You Go, Girl!

Good evening my readers 🙂

Now, as most of us know today is International Women’s Day, which means most all of my men followers probably are sick of reading such related posts and will be ignoring this one–understandably so lol.

But you wanna know something?

I’m sick of them too.

Not your regular feminist attitude, is it? While I have nothing against women’s rights (obviously, I rather enjoy my life as a young American woman), I have never considered myself to be a feminist. Thus, the endless articles and posts about women’s strength were honestly a little tiresome and overdone to me. (No offense to any of my beloved followers who posted on the subject!)

The theme behind modern strength is that women are their own superheroes and don’t need anyone else.

I get the idea, the sense of empowerment that comes from embracing womanhood. No, we as women do not any man to complete us.

That’s because we need the man.

Sure, we don’t have to swoon for every Prince Charming. But we also don’t need to slay our own dragons, we don’t need to do it all on our own, and we don’t need to shoot down every many in sight while we’re at it.

Yes, we as women are strong–only when our strength comes from the Lord. I recently came across five steps for being a woman of God, and I want to share them with you tonight, as steps for gaining biblical strength–an unfamiliar or even uncomfortable concept in our era.

The strongest woman you’ve ever met still has a breaking point. The God backing her up doesn’t.

A lot of our definitions of strength stem from outward appearance or climbing the ladder. Strength of faith and quiet self-confidence is far overlooked:

  1. Seek God first: Before the car, house, job, career, money, friends, family, or husband
  2. Speak faithfully: Let nothing pass between your lips that does not bring you or others closer to God
  3. Show true beauty: Any pop star can get on a stage in today’s hottest fashion; it’s the real woman that has none of that, but can still shine, that exemplifies beauty
  4. Stay humble: In a world that goes on and on about you, it takes real strength to step out of the spotlight and serve others
  5. Serve the Lord: When we aim to please God, things like being selfless towards our family or lending a hand to a stranger start to bubble out from us unconsciously

In case you’d like to check out the website where I found these 5 tips, here’s the link.

I by no means have these to the -t, or am anywhere close. But, if you put in the effort and prayer every day, you’ll see–like I have been–that each day brings you more wisdom and value to life than you could have possibly imagined.

So, the strength I’m talking about gaining with these five steps isn’t exactly what the majority of the world is thinking of today, I know.

I’d like to think that strength of character is of more value than any feministic strength our culture roots for anyway.

I hope you enjoyed my outlook on this subject dreamers! And I pray that these steps bring you closer to God, because there is no strength like knowing who’s there for you at your weakest. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: All About You

Good Monday morning to you all! I hope, with a little extra coffee and maybe a snooze button or two… or ten (I get it, no judgement here lol), I can brighten the start of your week 🙂

Here are some words, just small sentences, that I thought of as I contemplated the lessons I’ve learned recently. More importantly, I began thinking of the future I’m cultivating through my every action today. I’m hoping these bring you some of my wisdom, meager though it may be, that you might soon learn the beauty of being you ❤︎

Embrace who you are meant to be.

Embrace who you are right now.

Embrace that thought that runs through your head, because you never know when that thought comes from a hidden dream.

Embrace your actions. Take responsibility, move forward, and keep believing.

Embrace one day at a time, even when one day feels like a lifetime.

Embrace your dysfunction. Nobody’s perfect, why do you expect you to be?

Embrace your family, flaws and all.

Embrace your friends–the few who stay are the few who will always remain.

Embrace love. Self-love. Playful love. Intimate love. Holy love. Then, give all the love back, twofold.

Embrace your doubts. Hold them, acknowledge them, reason with them, and then leave them at the next bus stop on your way to Courage.

Embrace life–the good, the bad, the ugly. Life will not be better with the next car, house, significant other, cigarette, bottle, or store discount.

You have to love the life you live before you can live the life you love.

Embrace God. He’s not going anywhere.

Embrace the freedom in forgiveness: forgiveness from God, forgiveness of self, and forgiveness of others.

Today, embrace you.

 

You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎