Week one status update:

This is harder then I thought it would be. I have definitely had ups and downs this week. I felt pretty lazy over the weekend not doing much in the way of physical activity eating poorly, not getting together with people and not attending church on Sunday. But during the week I stepped up my game and felt better. I biked to and from work (I even invested in a new fancy bike for myself) I opted to look into some challenging physical activities to push myself I enjoyed engaging with friends and co-workers and I have been praying consistently. So definitely a roller coaster but it’s a slow change not one I’m sure I can say I’ve noticed anything significant as of yet.

A goal allows me an incremental way to mark my progress and gives me something to strive towards. However with this being said I am not a highly goal driven, goal oriented person. So I need to come up with a goal that is fluid and adapts to my lifestyle and how I interpret success. So all of my goals become fluid, not fixated and are made up of things I can feel and sense but do not need to meticulously track.

Physical Goal

My physical goal is to feel and look better. Achieving this with a fluid goal can be tricky but I have a strategy…

I plan to take weekly photos of myself as a comparison of where my body is at. I also plan to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle that will allow my body to feel good and function at a higher level. This means higher metabolism, more energy, better sleep and improved performance within the activities I perform.

Emotional Goal

To be more up beat and positive

This one is a little harder to monitor due to the fact that I am your classic hormonal female so for this one I will be relying on others. The way I treat and respond around others is often directly related to my current mood and attitude. The more fun and more pleasant I am the better my emotional state is. The more I want to get out and do things and see people the better I am feeling. So I plan to gauge my success with this goal based on the amount of time I want to spend out and about and my stress level/attitude while I’m interacting in a social environment.

Spiritual Goal

To listen to what God is saying and respond.

To me this goal can not be fluid. To truly listen and respond to God is not an optional thing that I can judge based on how often I hear him or how often I want to hear him. It’s a sense of awareness for his promptings. I plan to try and monitor and gauge this by  writing about it. This allows me a recollection through my days and weeks for how well I’m maintaining an open door policy between myself and God.

 

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Making a Goal

First blog post

I’m a 25 year old female and I have struggled all my life with body image. Of course like most women I have always found flaws in myself from my weight to my complexion, my height and even the sound of my own voice. I have not been alone in my journey and have had many people over the years encourage and support me always telling me how beautiful I was and that I was a child of God and fearfully and wonderfully made. These words of encouragement along with my own self reflection would help for a time but then a trigger would happen in my life and I’d be right back down to the bottom of the self loathing pit.

I decided to start this blog as a tool both for myself and maybe for others. My goal to see changes  both physically but also emotionally and spiritually. Having written and photo documentation to help prod me along and see things that I may otherwise have not seen in myself.

Physical

I think above all this has always been a major struggle in my life which has then brought me down on a spiritual and mental level. I have never been the thin pretty girl. I distinctly remember always comparing myself to friends and family members and loathing how different I was. A truly low point for me was at a Christian camp where all people are supposed to be loved and respected. With a group of teens however this is not always the case. It was obstacle challenge day and we were randomly divided into groups of both guys and girls to try and perform different challenges around camp. The one challenge was to get six people from one end of the field to the other and only ever having four points of contact on the ground. I can still hear the comment that was made and it makes me cringe “lets not use her she’s too butch”. I knew I wasn’t the skinny small girl but to be called butch and  by a guy hurt more than I can say. I now look back at pictures and that’s who I see the butch girl. The girl who gains muscle instead of becoming lean, who gains weight with even the slightest deviation from my workout routine the girl who will never be skinny. So what do I do about it, I work out. I push myself to my limit, if this is who I am then I am going to try and embrace it head on. Is it easy no, do I fall down sometimes yes. I am definitely no where near perfect or where I want to be. I still look at pictures of myself and cringe but I’m getting there one day at a time and each picture looks a little nicer than the last.

Emotional

Being a “butch” girl shook an adolescent girl like me emotionally and created quite the internal turmoil. Since that day that’s how I’ve viewed myself. It occurred to me that if I’m the butch girl I should go all out and be the butch girl. A good theory, a version of self acceptance, that unfortunately back fired. Being the butch girl to me meant being strong, abrasive and aggressive. I wanted to beat everyone at everything. I lost friends and managed to disconnect myself from family during this time. Hanging out alone became routine and searching for affirmation through conflict became second nature. This personality trait although much improved sticks with me even today. I am highly competitive I voice my opinions strongly and take offense quickly.  It is emotionally strenuous as I compete with other women over looks, popularity and success. Each improvement in my life boosts my esteem only to crash at the next photo or post that someone makes reminding me how inadequate I am and that I will never look like that, talk like that, act like that or be as successful as that. So how do you fight what you feel so you don’t implode? You create a routine to keep yourself from being left alone with your thoughts for too long. I make sure I’m going from the time I wake up to the time I fall asleep. I have created a routine that keeps my brain engaged it is also a very physical routine which releases endorphin’s to help me regulate my mood. Am I perfect at controlling my thoughts and emotions far from it. I struggle daily to keep emotions in check and not fall off the wagon. Moments of calm are often moments for me where a storm brews inside and negative thoughts encroach. All I can do is continue my routine and giving myself positive affirmation. To those I’ve offended or hurt with my crazy mood swings, abrasive attitude and black and white opinions. I hope to make amends and work harder at being a friendly loving person that people are not scared or intimidated to be around.

Spiritual

The most important thing to me is spiritual growth. I was born and raised in a Christian home and have always believed that God is my Savior and that Jesus died for my sins. When the emotional roller-coaster of adolescents hit I began to fall away from what I have always believed. How could there be so much hate in the world. If God loved me why did I feel this way. I started relying on the world to help fix my problems instead of relying on God. I have had moments of transformation where God has re shown himself to me and pulled me out of my sinfulness but self worth is a powerful and easy target for the devil. I pray daily with husband (my support and rock) and I keep a journal so I can keep records of how God truly is moving in my life and the lives of those around me. I hope others will continue to pray and support me as I feel I am being pulled down into another battle with Satan. The battle of self worth constantly raging and making me believe things that I know deep down are not true about myself. God is good and wants what’s best and perfect for me he know me inside and out and knows every day ahead for me I need to continue to push and rely on him and be thankful for who I am and what he has given me.

 

Phillipians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Seeing Results

Finally starting to see results. the time and effort are paying off. My body hurts, I’m exhausted by the end of the day and I’m busy, but my soul is full my relationships are strong and my over all physical activity.

My goal at the beginning of all of this was just to have a way to vent and track my own personal success from a fitness perspective. But this has become so much more than that. It’s a way to open up to people, to relate to people and to build on some personal goals.

From a fitness perspective I have exceeded even my own expectation. I look and photos and see a change, I’ve accomplished so much and I am getting better and better at everything I strive towards every time I do them. I have gotten my bike to and from work down from 28 minutes when I started to 22  minutes. I am starting to see improvement in my shooting when playing basketball and I can feel myself getting stronger every time I try something new. I look forward to maintaining and improving as we move into the winters months so that I am able to accomplish even more and reach higher goals next year. My goal is to get onto a women’s basketball team and although that did not happen this year I have been put on a sub list and am already subbing. This summer I also want to attempt my first half marathon and my first Triathlon.

From an emotional perspective we are still working through some things but I am truly learning my body. I know what to avoid for food and that my body needs a certain amount of sleep. I am keeping myself in check and making sure I am aware of my moods. This has allowed me to grow deeper in a lot of my relationships and make me a calmer person with less anxiety and stress.

Lastly my spiritual journey. This has been an amazing one. Am I where I want and need to be no but I am striving and learning every day. I am being patient and listening for Gods word and advice. I find myself going to him and praying just naturally now instead of fretting and worrying. The sermons at my church pack so much more of a punch and have so much more meaning. I’m learning weekly if not daily. I feel more reliant and calm. I also know that with this will come more attacks as well but I am determined to strive and push through them to continue my growth and walk with God. I am done being a luke warm Christian and I will live for him.

Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Amen

Making Time

Phew! What a busy few weeks it has been. I appreciate everyone’s patience as I finally have found time to get back to my blog. I feel however that the business is also appropriate and the perfect avenue to look at this week.

In church we just covered this issue as well of time, time management and when to say “yes” or “no”. Life passes in an instant and our time on this earth is juts a brief moment in time but it is an opportunity to share a good news and to make a difference in the live around us. The following sermon puts it more eloquently than I ever could so if you have a moment please take a look.http://admin.mediafusionapp.com/mediaFusion/player.php?channel=30&playerId=c4d8366&seriesId=8240&lessonId=25921&mediaType=video&backToArchive=#.Wc1U-VtSyUk

How true does it sound that we try and cram so many things into a 24 hour period. There’s of course, sleeping and eating, your job, your family, and any social activities you may encounter. How do we utilize these to make a difference in our world without getting burnt out ourselves. But not only burnt out but allowing ourselves to have  a high quality of life. I am slowly learning to manage these different elements in my life and have discovered the value in saying both yes and no.

It has pained me to feel like I have to say no to different things in life but in order to have continued health and happiness but also to continue to develop my relationships with those around me and to be able to be an influence and a representative for God. I above all feel that if you are involved in things you are passionate about and also good at you can have an influence in peoples lives regardless of what your are. By managing my time better and saying no when necessary I’m hoping it will open up opportunities in other areas for me to say yes. I also hope and pray that it will afford me a more calm consistent lifestyle that is not constantly jammed full of the stuff of life.

Ephesians 5:15-16

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Running By Faith

It’s been a few weeks since but I did it. I biked 220 KM over the course of two days and in a time much faster than I ever imagined I could. I had the support of friends and family behind me pushing me through. But the big motivator was my faith. What was I doing this for? Why was I pushing my physical limits? I asked myself that after the first day and came to a conclusion, PRIDE. I was doing it for pride I wanted everyone who had supported me to be proud and even those who hadn’t. I wanted people to look at me and know I had accomplished something great for a great cause. I wanted it for pride in myself so I could feel good about me and my physical abilities.

When I sat down and realized this I felt guilty. There’s more to life than looks and how other people view me. But maybe I could turn this around maybe this didn’t have to be about me. All eyes were on me so why not take advantage. What happened next was amazing.

Day two arrived and it was super cold that morning and I was tired but I got on my bike at the front of the pack ready to go when they released us onto the course, and I prayed. I prayed for good weather, for strength to endure and for my fellow bikers. I had no way to communicate with many of them or tell them the good news of Jesus. I wasn’t advertising my faith with a cross or emblem on my shirt but I could pray and so I did. From start to finish I prayed, and I sang worship to myself and made it through. I saw results of my prayer in myself by being able to endure and bike even faster on day two than I had on day one. I saw prayer answered in my recovery time after the race and safety during the race. The result I did not see was my prayer for those around me. Were any of them moved by God in some way would anyone ever even know I prayed. I still don’t know the answer to this question but I have faith.

God provides always and many things we pray and ask for are answered in ways we can’t even imagine and ways we will never see. My prayers were definitely heard, and they were certainly answered, the result and reward are for God alone. I give him all the glory for the success on my ride and I continue to pray that he will push my ego and my pride out of the way to let him have the glory in all I do.

I want to make a difference, I want to share God’s love. I’m not loud and proud about my faith, and I’m certainly not perfect in my actions and attitudes but I’m learning. and I will continue to pray and give him the glory in everything.

At church we are working through a teaching series called “Running By Faith”  I got the title for this post based on that. It’s a reminder that we are all running a race whether literally of figuratively. Some of us try and run on our own strength and become angry and upset when we fail and others of us run by faith. God is my strength and he will always be there as a help and guide. He knows what’s best for me and I choose to follow the path he has for me and not the path I had chosen for myself.

I encourage all who are interested to check out the sermons on this matter as they are a powerful declaration of how we ought to be living and what it means to be faithful.

http://admin.mediafusionapp.com/mediaFusion/player.php?playerId=c4d8366&channel=30#.Waif8bKGOUk

What I love is it doesn’t mean I have to be perfect because I am far from it, but it means I have a Heavenly Father who loves me no matter what and wants what’s best for me and will guide me if I let him.

Hebrews 11:1-3

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Bundle of Nerves

My goals are going well. I can honestly say I have never felt more proud of myself than I do right now. I feel confident and at ease. My mind is clear and right, my body is strong and rested, my faith is powerful and firm. And with that I am still scared. T-minus two days until my big bike ride begins. I’m committed I’m trained now all their is left to do is ride. But I’m afraid…

Have you ever gotten stage fright. That feeling of your face going red the taste of bile in your mouth and your stomach is doing somersaults totally out of control. That’s how I’m feeling. The stage is set and all eyes are on me. Normally I’m not one to get stage fright but I’m also quite comfortable being on stage in front of people. This is way outside my normal comfort zone. I have never been an athlete to perform and here I am participating in a major event a huge challenge where not only will there be viewers around to watch and cheer me on but there has been a financial investment made in my success.

I appreciate to my very core the support and love I have felt over the past months as people have given so generously and as people cheer me on and support me in my goal. Who knew I had such a great group of people surrounding me who believe in me and want nothing more than for me to do my best and succeed.

The stage is set the bands warming up the curtains about to be pulled back and then it’ll be show time. I am trying to view this like other productions or shows I’ve put on. You do the work to practice your part and your lines to know where you need to be and when you need to be there and this is no different. I’ve prepared I’ve done the training and the fundraising I’ve prepped my body and noted my route and my timing. SO when the curtain is drawn back I can perform with confidence. I hope that once I get going the nerves will ease and my confidence will kick back in. I know I can do this and I know with the support, love and prayers from my family I can succeed.

Phillipians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

My Body is His Temple

Have you ever trained for something, not just general fitness but for a specific activity or event. I’m doing that right now. I’ve entered into a bike race where we have to bike a total of 228 Km over the course of two days!

I started training for this event at the end of May and have been going hard ever since. The motivation to train for an event is a great influence on me. It means even on the days I’m feeling lazy and like I wanna just relax it’s time to step it up another notch and get another ride in. It has helped my energy levels, my attitude, my confidence, and my over-all health. I’m curious to see where my motivation goes in a couple weeks once the race is over I hope due to the benefits I’ve noticed I will continue to maintain this level of fitness.

With that being said rest is also a good thing. Rest allows the body and the muscles to heal. It allows you to keep from getting overly emotional and moody and it helps you feel like there is more to your life and your days other than just training. My husband helped me see that and I’ve become more conscious of listening to my body and not over exerting myself. In doing this I’ve become, stronger and faster within the sport of biking but also in my other hobby Basketball. I have also noticed an  incredible increase in my endurance and things that once were difficult or left me out of breath seem easy.

God often refers to our body as a temple. This is meant both spiritually but also physically. Our bodies are used by God to complete his work and his purpose in our lives and it’s part of our job and our role here on earth to respect and take care of our bodies. God has set restrictions, limitations and rules for us, not to harm us or keep us from “the fun of the world” but to protect us and help us to live blessed, wonderful fulfilled lives in him. I only wish I had realized sooner. I intend to live each day to it’s fullest taking care of what God has given me and living each day expectantly for him.

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Sick of Being Sick

Being sick is never fun. It affects everything. Well this week I got sick. Due to the wild fires in BC when my throat started burning I of course credited the wildfires. But as the week progressed I have not felt better. It’s amazing what one little summer cold can due to your routine. I have not worked out to the same degree as usual and my workouts have not been as intense. It has made my body ache and I’m perpetually sleepy.

What has this week taught me. REST! This can be just as important as your work outs. By taking time off from my routine by sleeping more I have managed to keep this at a mere sniffle instead of a full blown cold. Plus as a bonus more sleep means better attitude better out look and better interactions with people and who doesn’t want that.

 

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Beauty is Fleeting

As women we have grown up around and been told through media that we must conform to certain standards. We must shave our legs if we want to wear a dress, our hair must be worn in the latest trend and that makeup is a must when leaving the house or getting together with people. We have bought into for decades.

This year has been transformational for me when I realized I didn’t need to conform to what the world wanted or expected of me. It allowed me to develop into the person I want to be. The girl who’s primary obsession is not her looks or keeping up with the latest trends and it’s taught me many things about myself.

Did you know that I am really good at sports? Me a girl who in her youth avoided any physical activity at all costs because I didn’t enjoy getting sweaty. I actually excel at sports and feel good when I compete. I have also found that I’m not the girly girl I used to believe I was. Yes I still enjoy a sappy romantic movie, the colour pink and getting dressed up, but I also enjoy wearing sweats no makeup and getting my hands dirty (even out in public!)

I had an aha moment this week as I was going about my routine, I personally have made it a goal for myself to not conform as much to society and as such have reduced the amount of makeup I wear to the point of even on occasion wearing zero makeup even when at work or when I’m going out. It has been a struggle to find my beauty in that as it left me and who I am completely exposed. This week however one day when I dared to go bare I found myself admiring my own reflection in the mirrors at work as I realized how pretty I was and that my natural skin although occasionally blemished was my own and on me it looked good.

I have never felt such a profound sense of pride in myself as I realized just how far I’ve come and just how much I’ve accomplished. Beauty is fleeting and the world will always push and pressure everyone, not just women, to look and act a certain way. But if your not happy with yourself  is it really worth it? My lifestyle and journey is not for everyone but I am happy to declare that I am a child of God and in him and through him I am beautiful and for the first time I was able to see the beauty in myself that God has always seen in me.

 

Proverbs 31:30

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

1 Peter 3:3-4 

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Not Always Easy

Life’s not always easy. Through triumphs and successes sometimes things just get you down. For me this was one of those weeks. My goal structure has been a huge help pushing me to achieve an over all sense of self. However the turmoil raging inside me could not be satisfied by merely reaching my goals.

I have struggled consistently through my life with hormones and emotions, and every once in a while it’s like this monster over takes my body and no matter how hard I strive, how active, prayerful or happy I try to be this monster still over takes me. It causes me anxiety, stress, lack of sleep, and a sense of melancholy. I’m not me during these times.

I question, am I the only one? Do I suffer in this state alone? I pray this is not the case. To those out there, that get the chance to read, this just know that you are not alone either. Life is hard even when things seem to being going great you can be knocked down. The key is how do you move on from it to improve things for the future. It’s what you learn and how you grow that shapes who you are and how you will end up living your life.

My prayer for the week:

Psalm 119 25 – 32

25 I am laid low in the dust;
    preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
    teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
    that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
    be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
    do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
    for you have broadened my understanding.