Friday, October 21, 2011

Empathy in Extreme

Many of you may have read about the recently publicized personal trainer named Drew who is on a journey of taking six months to eat an unrestricted diet in order to gain weight and experience the emotional and physical cravings of being overweight and addicted to sugary and fatty foods. He started in May 2011 and after six months, will then utilize his food and fitness plan to lose the weight during the following six months. Haven't heard about it yet? You can check it out at his website

In my own journey of weight loss with its ups and downs, physically, emotionally and spiritually, the reason I share my ideas is to give hope in the area of weight loss. Why can I do this? Because I've been there. Drew is taking the courageous step to walk in the shoes of those of us who struggle with food addiction, at least for a little while. I find it interesting to note, however, that in his description he says he is "addicted" to fitness. Is this yet another area of addiction, which needs to be put in its proper place? Such a tough balance.

I can't wait until we can simply feast in heaven and not worry about our physical bodies along with all its addictions, both positive and negative. Being free of the bondage of addiction is the ultimate desire, but in the meantime, we all need a way to learn to manage them. Through it all, I stand by my motto: God is there---always.

I am fascinated and inspired by Drew's example of empathy to the extreme levels. How about you?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Be Still and Know that I am God

I know that The Oprah Winfrey Show has finished its final season on the air, however, I recently discovered Oprah herself is continuing her appearances on television with a new level of meaning. She is hosting a series called "Lifeclass" with the premise that she discusses various aspects of having a better life.

In a recent episode, she talked about one of my favorite (and most challenging!) topics: believing in yourself. She spoke of an inner voice to which we need to listen in order to get a sense of our personal purpose in this world. She quoted one of my favorite verses in the psalms "Be still and know that I am God." This stillness, she suggests, is defined as obtaining the sense of inner quiet so that we can get in touch with ourselves.

What I love about the verse is that I see it as having four meanings, depending on the focus word. For starters, the common focus on the word "STILL" in "Be STILL and know that I am God" suggests a calmness created so that we can quiet ourselves enough to be able to sense a presence of God in our lives. It's oh so important, and is probably the one blessed thing we can choose to do for ourselves for a more focused life. But the verse has more intonations: with a focus on the word "KNOW", I am reminded that while I am working at the discipline of being calm, I can KNOW that my Creator is God, and am strengthened in my faith as a result. The next focus is on the word "I". Boy this one straightens me out like a schoolgirl when I realize I am once again trying to take control of things only God can do. "Be still and know that I am God" reminds me that God is God; it's a simple fact. I am reassured when I can depend on Him and Him alone. And the final focus on the word "God" reads like this: "Be still and know that I am GOD." I can hear the music playing; harps and trumpets and drums, all in harmonious sound, humbling me to my core when I recognize I am talking about the Big Guy here. Do I hear an "Amen?"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Putting My Face On

I love makeup and I love scripture.

My kids and I have a daily practice of “putting on our armor” as suggested in the book of Ephesians to help us prepare for our day. We put on our “belt of truth” while practicing to clip on our belt buckles, and the “breastplate of righteousness” while patting our chests, and tie up the shoes on our “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” We then strap on our “helmets of salvation” and the “shield of faith” (left arm bent upwards in a protective gesture) and thank God for the “sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God.” I sensed a mother’s calling to instill tangible ways to apply biblical principles for my children to see the connection between God’s way of working in our world and our need to be safe and protected each day.

Personally, I enjoy makeup as my way to prepare for my day, both physically, mentally and spiritually. When I wash my face with special cleansers and apply the moisturizing lotions, it’s my version of buckling up my belt of truth. Without cosmetics, the truth of how my skin looks is evident! I’ll properly apply foundation and concealer to cover up my flaws and appear “righteous” like that breastplate I’m wearing, and give me that sense of peace I need from the gospel. Next, a smooth stroke of the brush, and I apply blush to my cheeks giving me a look of being more alive because of my helmet of salvation. My eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara give me that extra touch of color which can radiate from the faith I carry in my precious shield, and the lipstick enhances my mouth which is ready to speak the treasured Word of God, which is the sword of the spirit.

I think God likes makeup too!