Shelly's Spot

The Words That Tumble Onto The Page

Month: September 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Big Or Small

If you can’t follow the Lord in the small things, what makes you think you can follow Him in the big things?

Initially – His will might not be clear.

Initially – His way might not make sense.

Remember this, in the long run His plan is always perfect.

Each little thing from God is important.

Not every call from the Lord will be a big event, however, every time the Lord brings us to and through an experience there will be some benefit to us and possibly the world around us.

His plans are designed for our benefit.

 

Dear Lord, 

Please help me to be mindful of Your call, to be open to Your plan, and to surrender myself to Your will, so that I can be the person You designed me to be. Please, Lord, use me to carry Your message, to do the small things and the big things, allow me to be Your child, disciple and instrument. 

Amen

Adopted, Reborn, Born Again

When you become Christian you are adopted into the family of Christ, you are born again, renewed, for some people each of these terms or one or more of these terms conjure negative images, but they shouldn’t, because they are about the relationship a believer has with the Lord.

At the moment of my baptism I was born again, as a child of God, adopted into the family of Christ. When I accepted the gift of grace, and embraced my situation as a child of God, in need of saving, the Holy Spirit came to live within me, to keep me company, to strengthen me when I am weak, to keep me on the path when I wander, to show me the light when the world around me is dark. Once adopted, Jesus has no intention of letting me go, He has no intention of letting someone steal me away from His love, His protection, His grace.

In accepting the gift of grace we die with Christ on the cross and are reborn. In being reborn, we are ready to accept the gift of the Holy Spirit to come into us and live within us, so we are never alone, never forgotten, never separated from the love of Christ. Christians are new creations in Christ, we have been adopted into the family of God, we truly are born again, or reborn. Does this mean we will now go about our lives without sin, no, we will continue to struggle with sin all of our days, what this means is that we cannot be pulled away from our relationship with Christ. Being born again does not mean you are now perfect, or you now have all the answers, you might have an answer to the biggest question, but if you wander around as if you are perfect, if you are constantly judging those around you, no one will ever want to hear the true message you have to share. Being born again doesn’t give us the right to judge others, in fact being born again should make us less judgmental, knowing how priceless our own forgiveness was. The cost of our own salvation should humble us, seeing the blood of Christ that was shed to pay the price for our salvation should make us more understanding of those in need of that same salvation. Knowing that Christ suffered for our sins, was beaten, was punished, and was nailed to the cross to die for us, should make us more loving, more forgiving, more inviting, and more open to everyone we meet. We have no right to judge, not knowing what we know, being born again should mean that we have changed to be more like Christ, Christ died to forgive the sins of every person who would ever live, Christ washed the feet of His disciples, He walked through the dust to get from place to place, He lived a simple life of service to others. Being born again shouldn’t be the end of the story for us, it should be the beginning.

Dear Lord,

Please allow me to be a better child, living forgiven and saved, please use me to reflect Your love for others. Please keep me from being a judge, but remind me to see the people I meet the way You see them, to love them the way You love them, to be a better me, because the Holy Spirit lives within me. Please remind me to share the good news, to invite people into the family. Give me humility and gratitude, and let me be who You would have me be, today and everyday. 

Amen

After 60 Pounds

After 60 pounds lost, I am trying to figure out how to make my clothes last longer. I had held onto some clothes that were too tight for years, in the hopes that one day I would be back down to that size. Now that I have gotten into them, they are quickly becoming too loose, which is great but is making me wonder how many times I will have to purchase items that will have a very limited life span in my closet. I bought some jeans this week, my oldest son doesn’t even remember me ever wearing jeans, I did but not often and it has been enough years that he wasn’t paying attention. I am moving from the elastic waist pants, that have no definition to pants with real waists, buttons and zippers. It is exciting and nerve wracking. I am also going to have to invest in some new shirts, for years my tops have been over sized t-shirts that hid away my fat and figure from the world. Now I am moving into new territory, well, new again, I need shirts that don’t swallow me whole or hide me from the world, but that I can move in and be active in, and look good in. I have to get used to the idea that I can be seen. For years I was hiding and didn’t even realize or acknowledge it, now I want to be out there, not flaunting anything but not hiding anything either. So, my closet is waiting, my clothes hanging there in overcrowded rows waiting for me to come through and weed out the things I will not be using anymore. It is almost like changing the eating plan, this is the next step in becoming a new me, changing my clothing. I want to be comfortable without compromising appearance, I want to be mildly stylish on occasion, without looking like I am trying to be 20 again, and I want to feel good about how I look, when I see my reflection. I am working on the hardest part, my body, a 60 pound thinner me is a great start, now to lose the next 20 and the 20 after that and so on, until I am at a weight where I can honestly say I am good. I hadn’t factored in the mental/emotional exercise of changing my wardrobe, slowly switching and then switching again as I go through sizes, until I am finally where I was headed all along. Thinner, with clothes that fit and flatter, and that reflect who I am. I am getting there, I am moving on, my new jeans this week was a big step, I will keep on walking.

For years I held onto clothes so that “when I lost my weight” I could wear them again. “When I lose my weight” or “when I get thin” or any other wishful statement that seemed to imply I was going to do anything about my weight. It turns out that you have to actually actively change something to lose weight and get fit. I didn’t have to think about it to gain the weight, if I had been thinking, maybe I would never have gotten as large as I was. Losing weight, changing everything about your habits to lose weight and get fit, takes a lot of effort at first, a lot of thought, at first. Now, after 5 months and 60 pounds, it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like habit, now as I move toward each new goal with new excitement and confidence, it doesn’t feel like I am doing anything special. I know that is not the case, I can list the behaviors I changed to get this far, and they are behaviors I don’t plan on ever picking up again. I am logging everything I eat and drink in my phone, I also log my workouts and my weight. I think about my food and exercise, my water and my new habits as lifelong and will not go back to not thinking, even as these new behaviors do become so much habit that they no longer feel like work. At first I kept track of everything because I needed to teach myself how to control my diet and exercise, I needed a constant reminder to behave, a physical display that told me if I had met my goals for the day or not, now, I have a pretty good idea of how I am doing, now I don’t log everything because I am afraid of failing if I don’t, now I log everything because it feels good to do it. It is nice at the end of a week, when I get my little week in review and I can see which days I did best and which days I slacked off, if I did. I don’t slack off like I used to, I don’t eat things that I shouldn’t, or drink things that I shouldn’t, but maybe I ate more of something that is good for me, than I planned, but I can see it, and make adjustments if I need to. I am a new me, already living in a healthier manner, but I am still in change, losing weight, working out to get fit, and learning how to be who I should be. I am doing what I have to do, to get where I want to go. I had to take control, and now that I have, I feel better and more confident than I ever did. Now, I don’t say, “when I lose my weight” as if it is some vague idea that lives in my mind but that will never come to pass because I am never going to get off my butt and do anything about it, now I know, I am on my way, I have come so far, and I will keep moving forward because it is no longer work, it is who I am today. I will not go back, because I didn’t like it there, I will keep going because it looks and feels so much better.

Sixty Pounds Lost

So, I hit the 60 pounds lost point, it is very exciting every time a milestone number is met, I guess that every pound is a milestone, since statistics are not on my side, but I really only celebrate the big numbers. I feel so much better and look so much better. I went to a health food store this week, to get some items for crafting my own beauty/personal care products and when I showed the girl my ID she mentioned how much healthier I look now. I do, I will wait to get a new license until I am done losing weight, but then I will need one, in large part because I will look so different. This past week I went and got a major hair cut as well, I had been letting it grow, kind of hiding behind it, but now, well, you can see how much weight I have lost in my face with my hair not blocking the view. So, this past week has been a great one, and I am starting this new week excited because of the milestone.

I am feeling vibrant, more bubbly and very excited for what comes next, it has been a long time since I have felt this way and it is good to be getting back to my “old” self, which is actually my young self. As I work out and lose weight, and as I eat healthier and drink more water, I find I have more energy and ambition, which is a good thing. I now look forward to working out each morning, and actually can’t wait for the weather to cool off so I can walk every evening with my hubby and son. I am also excited about the fact that soon, I will need some new clothes, and I will, for the first time in a long time, not have to shop in the plus size department. Not that there is anything wrong with the plus size department, but in most stores it is limited to clothes that are not really my style, clothes that are either too boring or too loud, as if heavy women want to either blend in or stand out. I just want to look good. The irony is, I did finally find a store that is all plus sizes, and I loved everything in it so much I had a hard time making up my mind. Of course, I had to find it after I started this process, maybe so that I would stay committed. I need to go through my closet and get rid of all the things that make me look sloppy and move toward flattering clothes.

I love feeling better, that is the big thing. I feel better, physically as well as mentally. I think when you are heavy for awhile, you can convince yourself that you are okay with it, but you lose some element of yourself. Yes, I was a bubbly and out going heavy woman, but I wasn’t the same. There were subtle and not so subtle differences that I can see now, because I am no longer just accepting the way I was. I am sure this isn’t true for everyone, but I am equally sure that it is true for many. For me, I feel like I am waking up after a long and sometimes restless sleep. I was groggy but things are becoming clear to me. My head is clearing as my mind and body begin to work together. I am happy to be moving in the right direction, to be eating better, healthier and less, and to be working out, and looking forward to working out. All this is new territory to me, not that I was never thin and fit, but I have been heavy for so long and the landscape has changed. I look forward to the future though, and to working my way to a healthy more fit me.

Compassion

I have been thinking,
I think one of the problems with the world is that it is easier to judge a person than it is to have compassion. Judgment takes only a moment; you can judge someone in the blink of an eye and then dismiss them. Compassion takes time and often energy. We humans spend so much time judging others that we don’t even think about it; it is easier to hate someone if you never allow compassion to enter into the picture. Compassion is what we all want, what we should strive for in our lives. I have a great example of compassion in the fullest sense and still I lose sight when judgment calls. Our Lord had compassion on us, we were unable to live the way He called us to; we have never lived the way He intended. He had compassion on us and sent into the life of a baby boy Himself, to live and grow and give. The little boy grew, first inside his mother, then in the world as a child. He would have skinned his knees, would have fallen down, would have sweat and gotten tired. He felt hunger and pain and fear. He learned how to be a boy, how to be a man. He didn’t have to do all of that, God is God; He didn’t have to do any of that to save us. Why did He then, why did He come here and live among us and suffer for us. Compassion, to truly express compassion God chose to live a human life, to put himself in our sandals. God has great love for us, that is why we exist in the first place, but He also has great compassion for us, that is why He came here and died for us. Having compassion for another human being takes effort, to see the world through the eyes of another takes a commitment, you might not like what you see. To change the world we have to step outside of ourselves though, to change the world we have to see it the way God does, through loving and compassionate eyes.

 

Dear Lord,

Please help me to be more compassionate, please help me to see others the way You see them. Please guide me past my own judgments to a loving and caring place where I can feel compassion for Your children, where I can make a positive difference in the world around me. Please keep me mindful of how easy it would be to judge me, to allow me to wander aimlessly without Your compassionate and loving influence. Thank You so much for Your compassion, for the gift of salvation and for the love that You shower me with daily.              Amen

Finally Friday

It is Friday, and I have made it through another week, of busy schedules, hectic running around, the chaos of everyday life has not controlled me or overtaken me, I am still on the path, the one I walk with Jesus on, the one that keeps me grounded and focused and moving forward, not meandering and backtracking and going nowhere. I am living forgiven and saved, I am living today secure in the knowledge that Christ is with me, the Holy Spirit is in me, and I am a child of God.

Dear Lord,

You have brought me through this week, saved, forgiven and washed anew each day. You have stayed true to me, listened to my prayers, guided me to a closer walk with You. You have shown to me Your will, have helped me to take those first steps toward a closer relationship with You. Thank You for this past week, for the blessings and gifts that you have placed in my life. Thank You for the people you have surrounded me with, those who will help me and those who I can help. Thank You for giving me the chance to serve you, for giving me the chance to do better, to be better. Please watch over me this weekend, keep me true to your path and mindful of the opportunities You place in my life to be Your disciple. Please remind me to put on the Armor of God each day, to walk with my eyes open and my senses focused, so that I can walk as Your sheep. In the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray –

Amen.

Thoroughly Thursday

I have almost made it through the week, I can see the weekend and the hope of rest and relaxation. I can see where I have been, what I have experienced this week, and I can see the hand of God there, guiding me, giving me chances to serve Him, lifting me up through the difficult moments and carrying me through the trials. I am renewed daily by the love and comfort of the Holy Spirit living in me, I am reminded daily of the great gift of salvation, given freely to me, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. I have spent time daily in prayer, reflection and reading the Bible. I am better today than I was on Monday, more focused on my true path, more aware of the hand of God guiding me. I am looking forward to what today will bring.

Dear Lord,

I am Your child, I am so thankful to be called Your child. I am walking in a better place, filled with the Holy Spirit. Please, do not allow me to falter, please keep me focused and true. Please, fill me with peace, to make my way in the world around me, while remembering that I am not of this world. I am an alien in a strange place, I do not truly belong here, but rather belong with You. Please fill me with greater wisdom, greater compassion, greater vision, so that I can better serve You, reflect You and live doing Your will. Please, allow me to be Your child, today and everyday, and please keep me, protect me, nourish me, and prepare me for the days ahead.

Amen

Wednesday Warrior

My regular week is half gone and still ahead, I am midway through the trail and I need strength and stamina for the days ahead. It is easy, after getting off to a good start to falter, to slow down or even stop. It is easy to sit down by the side of the road and give up, or ignore where I should be going, who I should be. My relationship is deeper, and yet I am easily tired. I need to be lifted up and to lift up He who waits on me. People some times refer to religion as a crutch, well, if a crutch is something that helps me along the way, that supports me when I am too tired to go on alone, or something that I can lean on anytime to keep moving; then yes, my faith is a crutch. My relationship with Christ is exactly that, a helping hand, supportive and strong, able to keep me moving when I can’t do it by myself. I have also heard other people say that religion is like a security blanket, yes, my relationship with Christ is often that as well. With Christ I am comforted, I am protected from the cold, I am held in a loving embrace, cuddled up and safe. Yes, Christ is my security blanket, He is my crutch, these are not put downs, they are compliments. I am not weak, when I am strong in my faith.

Dear Lord,

As I journey through this week, please remind me that You are there. Please let me feel Your loving embrace, feel Your supportive hand as You lift me from the side of the road. Please let me be comforted by Your warmth and love, and strengthened to continue on, to keep going, to be Who you see when You look at me. Please allow me to have the strength to stop fighting on my own, and to lean on You for the support you provide. Please allow me to set aside my ego and recognize my need. Please continue to fill me with the Holy Spirit, so that I can continue to reflect You to those around me. In the name of Jesus Christ, my heavenly savior –

Amen

Tuesday Today

Tuesday morning, and I am making it through the week. I try to stay focused on my faith journey, while trying to make it in this world, the two collide and clash so easily. How can I not get drawn into things I want to avoid, when the world is full of temptation? I must focus myself anew each day, come to the cross and kneel, let go of the things I want and focus on the will of God. Then, I am truly on my way. Then, I am a disciple, one who can be guided and who can be used as a guide for others. I must remind myself, not my will, but His will. Not my plan, but His plan. Not my life, but His life in me.

Dear Lord,

Please send Your Holy Spirit into me, guide my feet and focus my life on the work You have intended for me. Give me the clarity to see the world as You would have me see it, to set my goals and agenda based on eternity and not on the moment. Please fill me with Your peace, allow Your light to show to me the way I should go. Bring me through this day with better understanding and stronger faith and in a closer relationship with You.

Amen

Fifty And Counting

After the 50 pound mark, the scale starts working toward 60, and I am still going strong. I have never made it this far before, but I still have a long way to go and I know that I am in for some work in the future. I am staying motivated because I have to, I will keep working at it day by day chipping away at the weight until I get where I am going, then I will continue to work out and stay active so that I can stay fit. Did I mention this is not a diet, but rather a life change?

I feel good heading to the 60 pounds lost stage, I know there will be things I have to address down the road, and I am okay with that. I am feeling better than I have in years and I am going to make it. My family and friends have been very supportive of my journey, they tell me how proud they are, how they believe in me, and how they are happy for me, it is all good to hear. I don’t know if anyone can do this kind of thing alone. I don’t know how much harder it would be to stick with it if there wasn’t a single person in my corner rooting for me. I am glad I don’t have to find out. If you are trying to change your lifestyle toward a healthier one, trying to lose weight and get fit, you need people behind you. No, they can’t be the ones to keep you from eating what you shouldn’t, and no they should not and cannot be the ones who get you to work out, but they can be the ones who workout with you, or who ask you how your day was, how did you do today is a great way to stay on track.

I am using the My Fitness Pal app, and I love it, there is a place where I can keep track of everything, what I eat and drink, when I workout, how long and what type, my step counter feeds information to My Fitness Pal so that I am kept aware of how many calories I have burned and how many I have consumed. By tracking everything, I have a real time indicator of how I am doing today. This keeps me honest with myself, which keeps me accountable to myself, which keeps me on the path, sure I could lie, but why would I? So, here I am, within a couple of pounds of the 60 pounds lost mark, and I am finding and using tools to keep me going and motivated. I have a group of people who are supporting and proud of me, and I have a plan, for today and tomorrow. I can do this, I can beat this thing, I can lose the weight, get fit and healthy and I can keep it off. I have turned a corner, and I don’t have to look back or go back again.

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