runner girl: returning to the land of the living

I’ve been away dealing with life and surviving… for the most part anyway 😉

I’ve read quite a bit already this year (I’ll consider sharing my reading list soon), and I recently read a book recommended by one of the Taste For Truth Support Group members titled, Every Body Matters. This was packed full of conviction about my lack of consistent exercise.

So, I decided to make a change. Yes, I need to move more, but specifically I want to run again. I feel like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life when he cries out, “I want to live again, please God, let me live again.”

I want to run again, please God, let me run again.

I’m starting from the beginning and will be baby steppin’ my way through this process. I picked up a copy of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook to get myself into the mindset of being a true beginner. I’m trying to wipe out my preconceived notions and reservations from injuries past. I’m refusing to look back wistfully at my “glory days” and choosing to accept that I am starting from a place of excess weight and lack of consistent conditioning. It is what it is.

No amount of whining is going to change the present facts, but devising a plan and taking it one day at a time will likely change my future. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve begun walking more consistently to prepare for the training schedule outlined in  The Beginning Runner’s Handbook. Here’s what those walks looked like:

As you can see from those average paces, I’m not fast. On April 2nd, I made the mistake of trying to hit 3 miles in a time constraint I had. I shouldn’t have been doing any jogging yet. I was overdressed, got overheated, and then got sick. Now, if I can’t carry on a conversation, I slow down. I’m not trying to win any races, I just want to slowly build up and avoid injury in the process. Plus, I don’t want to dread going.

Yes, that’s correct, on the 6th, I stopped to pet a donkey. If you’re following my “God delights my heart” photos on Instagram (@ImBJuled), you’ve already seen this little darling.

Sometimes I get distracted during a workout, but hey, I’m trying to enjoy life a bit more these days… some might call it stopping to smell the roses, but in this case, I just had to stop and pet the donkey.

When I first started walking again, I had to renew my mind about it every time because I really didn’t want to go. I was in the mindset that walking a couple of miles wouldn’t really make a difference anyway, but that was a lie. Thankfully, I didn’t listen to it because now I look forward to walking. Plus, now I’m not missing out on as many sunrises, sunsets, and donkey encounters.

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RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 11

Moving on to the eleventh week of this challengeLast week we worked on taking all thoughts captive. This week, we are going to add a new healthy habit. 

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~ Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

Whatever You Do 

In this “Information Age” we are bombarded daily with things the health experts think we should or shouldn’t be doing. This information is often conflicting from one guru to the next. If we aren’t careful we can find ourselves caught in a never ending cycle of chasing the next answer to our problems. Have you ever spent hours researching a new diet plan or a new supplement? I have.

The enemy would love for us to get so caught up in following the world’s advice and bombarded by information that we forget to consult the Lord on what we should do.

Still, despite all of the information out there, common sense tells us some things are beneficial, such as: drinking water, eating veggies, adequate sleep, taking a multi-vitamin…etc.

We’ve focused on food boundaries and exercise, and during this week as we focus on our bodies again, it is time to add another beneficial habit. What that habit will be is entirely up to you. We want to choose something good for us on a physical level. It needs to be simple and clear. Using the things I listed above, your goal statement for this week might be:

My goal is to drink 64 oz. of water each day this week.
My goal is to add a green salad three days this week.
My goal is to go to bed 8 hours before I have to get up every night this week.
My goal is to take my multivitamin with breakfast every morning this week.

There could be other habits you find more important than these, so feel free to choose something else. Be sure to write down your “My goal is” statement for the upcoming week.

Beginning any new habit will take some discipline and focus. As a daily reminder, be sure to say your goal statement aloud each day. Please only choose one new habit. Once you have this one down, you can add another one in the future.

Remember, our priority is to renew our minds and to seek God’s guidance as we travel this journey. We want to think God’s thoughts about all things, even our habits. So, as you build this new habit, make sure you are glorifying, thanking, and praising Him in the process.

“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
~ Psalm 86:12 (ESV)

Week 11 – Alrighty, we’re keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download this week’s PDF.

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes 6 days, + God glorifying music 6 days, kept my food boundaries 7 days, and exercised 4 days for at least 15 minutes.
My wt. stayed the same the tenth week :)*
Challenge Total: 4.6 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
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RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 10

We’re beginning the tenth week of this challengeLast week we worked on forgiving others (and ourselves). This week, we are going to take all thoughts captive. 

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV)

Captive Obedience 

This journey has already been about changing our thinking, so this week’s concept shouldn’t seem foreign to us. We’ve been pouring in God’s truth for weeks and now we are going to apply it directly to those thoughts we shouldn’t give free reign of our minds.

It is impossible for us to be obedient to Christ if our thought life is still running amuck. If you’re wondering, “Why can’t I just obey God?”, it’s because our thoughts dictate our actions. We addressed this in week two with thoughts about ourselves, but this concept extends far beyond our own navels.

How you view life, work, others… it matters. The verse above says, “every lofty opinion” and “every thought”. It does not say, “Destroy and take captive only those thoughts that you think might be harmful.” We’ve been deceived too long to get to pick and choose which thoughts matter and which ones don’t.

One tiny lie, left unchallenged, can grow into an enormous believe system that can destroy a person’s life. If we filter our thought lives through the lens of God’s Word, we will dramatically reduce the risk of being fooled by the enemy.

Learning to take every thought captive takes time. It isn’t something that suddenly happens when you decide, “I’m going to take every thought captive.” It begins with investing time with God and His Word. If you don’t know God, you will have a really difficult time recognizing what is contrary to His desire for you.

Next, we need to start asking God to reveal to us the thoughts which don’t align with His Word. And you know what, this can even be a seemingly harmless thought pattern.

A few years ago, God pointed out to me that every time, after I stepped on the scale, I would mentally play the number in my head over and over the rest of the day. I didn’t know I was doing this, but after He pointed it out, I started to see that not only was I replaying the weight, most of the time, my mind replayed a heavier weight than what I actually saw that morning. Talk about deceiving! I was walking around all day thinking I was heavier than I was without realizing it!

This is one reason I encourage you to turn the number over to God after stepping on the scale. Get it out of your head and if it pops back in, take that thought captive…

“No, I am not defined by that number. I give that number to the Lord.”

…and make it obedient to Christ:

“In Christ I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”

I know it may seem a bit repetitious to still be talking about renewing our minds and taking thoughts captive ten weeks into this challenge, but we’re getting down to the details here. You could think multiple times a day: “I have so much work to do when I get home” without even realizing it. You may even think it’s a true statement that isn’t harmful at all. However, what did you feel when you read it?

Were you filled with joy and energy? Probably not. More likely, you were filled with dread and exhaustion. If you thought this all day while you were away from home, this thought process would definitely influence your actions.

Stress eat anyone? What about eating to procrastinate from all that work you’ve been dreading? Or, maybe you don’t eat but end up snapping at your spouse or your kids. And to think, that extra padding on our hips might be the result of a seemingly harmless thought bouncing around in our heads all day.

What if you took that thought captive instead? The thought enters your mind and you immediately take it captive:

“No, I will not worry about what I have to do later. I am choosing to live in this current moment. Lord, I cast that worry at your feet.”

…and make it obedient to Christ:

“The Lord will never leave me nor forsake me. I can do all things through Christ because He gives me strength. He tells me to be anxious for nothing and I know He will help me deal with whatever comes when I get home.”

When we first begin to recognize the seemingly harmless thoughts running rampant in our minds, we may have to take them captive and make them obey over and over in a single day (or even a single hour). Eventually, the chain will break though and we will find ourselves living in the safe freedom of captive obedience rather than the harmful bondage of captivating strongholds.

We have the weapons we need. We’ve been practicing pouring in God’s Truth. Let’s apply it to every aspect of our thought life and witness the transforming work of the Lord God Almighty!

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (ESV)

Week 10 – Alrighty, we’re keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download this week’s PDF.

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes a day, + God glorifying music 6 days, kept my food boundaries 6 days, and exercised 4 days for at least 15 minutes.
I’m up 0.6 the ninth week :)*
Challenge Total: 4.6 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
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RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 9

It’s crazy that we are already to week nine of  this challengeLast week we went on our second treasure hunt of the challenge. This week, we are going to tackle a biggie. 

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” ~ Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)

Forgiving One Another 

Breathe. Take a deep breath, and ask God to help you stick with me this week. I guarantee, it will likely be painful and unpleasant at first, but God has big things in store for us when we truly learn to forgive.

For years I would have said, “Of course I forgive others, God says we should, so I do.” Unfortunately, I was very deceived and didn’t recognize all the anger and bitterness I carried.

I grew up hearing stories about that guy in the book of Matthew who was forgiven some huge debt only to turn around and have some poor guy thrown in jail for not repaying a much smaller debt. (Matthew 18:21-35) I always thought, “How horrible of that man! I’m nothing like him!”

In fact, I was exactly like him, without even realizing it. Forgive? It was something I said with my mouth but my mind held on… replayed the hurt… swore never to trust that person….etc. I claimed everything from “they aren’t even sorry” to “I’m protecting myself” as justification for holding a grudge.

Webster’s says that a forgiving person “allows room for error or weakness”. If that doesn’t convict, Webster’s also says someone who forgives will “give up resentment of or claim to requital for” or “grant relief from payment of”. Um, are you needing to take some deep breaths again? Yeah, me too.

Isn’t this the very thing God offers each of us through the gift of salvation? Without His grace and mercy, we would be utterly destroyed. He wipes away our enormous sin debt, and yet we hold a rude remark against a neighbor. Yep, we’re like “that guy”.

Obviously, some of us are dealing with much bigger grievances than rudeness, but there is nothing too big for God’s redemption. In our own strength, we cannot forgive the big stuff (and maybe not even the small stuff), but we’re not supposed to be operating in our own strength.

Maybe you’re like I was and are thinking, “I don’t have a problem forgiving.” Well, I hope you’ll come along for the ride anyway. If nothing else, you will get a chance to solidify the practice of forgiveness before a root of bitterness ever has a chance to take hold. Of course, there could be something hiding under the surface too. Be open to God’s leading. This topic is far too big to tackle in just one week, but we’re going to begin to address it and ask God to do some healing.

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” ~ Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)

Week 9 – Alrighty, we’re keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download this week’s PDF.

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes a day, + God glorifying music 6 days, kept my food boundaries 7 days, and exercised 2 days for at least 15 minutes.
I’m down 0.2 the eighth week :)*
Challenge Total: 5.2 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
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RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 6

Every challenge should be challenging, even if the most challenging part is sticking with the process. We’re beginning week six of this challenge and no doubt, keeping momentum when the “good feeling’s gone” isn’t easy. Last week we engaged in praising the Lord. This week, we’re hoping to turn the tide of positive versus negative influences.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

 Turning the Tide

Despite all the “good work” we’ve been doing over the previous five weeks, it is entirely possible  there is still more “garbage” going into our minds than there is Truth.

If we don’t protect our minds from the influences of this world, especially while we’re trying to break free from a stronghold, we will constantly be swimming against the tide. In order for the tide to turn in our favor, and for us to have more truth in our minds than lies, we need to plug up the areas where those lies are getting in.

If we spend more time reading, watching, speaking, or listening to what the world has to say than we do reading, watching, speaking, or listening to what God has to say; we will be treading water at best. We don’t want to barely survive. We want to thrive.

Since we still have to live in this world, we’re going to encounter some of the world’s messages, but it is possible to dramatically reduce our exposure. We make choices every day regarding what music we’ll listen to, what publications we’ll read, what we’ll watch on television…etc.

I’m not about to give a ratings list for you to go by, but I am going to point you to Philippians 4:8 (see top). This week we’re going to ask God to reveal areas where we can purge sources from our individual lives which bring death instead of life to our souls. We want Him to open our eyes.

It’s possible we may need to set boundaries with friends we’ve had for decades. We might need to delete some things from our iPods. We might have to purge our personal library. We might have to unfriend some people on Facebook. We may need to forego finding out what happens in that next episode.

A few years ago, when the Lord revealed to me that I was obsessed with finding the perfect diet, I felt convicted that I needed to let go of my extensive collection of diet books and apps. So, I donated the books and uninstalled the apps. It was so freeing to clear those out of my life.

I’m not saying it will be that simple all the time. I mean, I have yet to put my television in a garage sale. We have decades of being so attached to these sources that letting go of them could prove rather painful and might take some time. So, let God guide you down that path.

It is also possible there will be sources you cannot eliminate, like your spouse’s negative outlook, your kids’ rebellious choices, your co-worker’s foul language…etc. Even driving down the road we will be hit with signs and advertisements looking for space in our minds.

So, I’m going to ask you to add another layer of “renewing the mind” that I call “passive renewal”. We’re going to build a playlist of God glorifying music and play these songs in the background of our lives. Play them driving down the road, play them while you clean, play them while you work. Saturate your world with music that edifies the soul. Let it become the “soundtrack” of your life.

Right now, as I type, I have scripture lullabies playing in the background. Let’s turn the tide in our favor by purging the negative influences we can and ramping up depositing God’s truth into our minds.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” ~ Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

Week 6 – We’re going to add to God glorifying background music to our day to passively renew our minds. We’ll also continue to actively renew our minds by keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Also, this week, we’re going to renew our minds any time we are tempted to break our boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download this week’s PDF.

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes a day & kept my food boundaries 5 of 7 days.
I’m down 0.8 the fifth week :)*
Challenge Total: 5.6 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
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RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 2

It is time to move to week 2 of our “Renewing the Mind Intensive” Challenge. Those who are following along, I hope you’ve enjoyed renewing your mind for at least 15 minutes a day. I pray you’re also feeling lighter by getting those unconfessed sins out of your way.

This week we are going to focus on our “soul”. Beth Moore says “the soul represents the seat of our emotions and our personality.[1]”

If you’re an emotional eater, you know what that does to you. When our emotions drive us, we’re probably going to be in trouble. In the past, I’ve been one to eat no matter what emotion I’m experiencing. Also, I believed for a long time, this was out of my control.

You know the old Lays potato chip commercial with the tagline “no one can eat just one?” (WARNING, the link contains a potato chip commercial designed to make you want potato chips so don’t view it if you think it might trigger a potato chip binge) Well, I fell for this about a lot of things. I believed I couldn’t resist that temptation. Partly because my desire to eat those things was driven by an attempt to stuff down my emotions, and partly because I believed this was just “who I was”… my personality.

While my personality makes me “uniquely me” , what I believe about my personality plays a pivotal role in my eating habits too. If I believe myself to be a “chocoholic” or a “sugar addict” or the family “garbage disposal”… guess what I will act upon? That’s right.

Every personality trait has a positive and negative side side. Someone who is passionate can use that passion for good, or it can get them into a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, we often live out the negative aspects more than the positive. As we grow up, we are labeled along the way (whether intentional or not) based on our personality or how we process emotions (such as “You’re too sensitive” or “You were born old” or “you are totally out of control”). Perhaps we are still acting on those labels to this day.

When we believe these things about ourselves, our views become warped and, if we know Christ as Savior, we are acting on false information. Unfortunately, most believers keep these labels even after Christ has set them free.

It’s been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. So, every morning this week we’re going to speak the truth about who we are in Christ, directly to our souls.

Below you’ll find a short list, but I encourage you to look up more verses about your true identity. A google search will return countless references. Next, write down the three “In Christ I am…” statements you struggle with believing the most. One look at your behavior with food/weight/body image should be a clue as to which ones you aren’t believing.

I realize you may have more than three (I certainly do), but we’re going to begin with just three for now. Place this list on your bathroom mirror (or nearby). Every morning, we’re going to say them in the mirror. That’s right, look yourself in the eye. It will probably feel very awkward at first. In fact, everything in you may scream, “this isn’t true!”

My friend, if God says this is who you are in Christ, it is most certainly true. You may not be living it out at this point, but it is the truth. So, let’s get started!

In Christ…

I am wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
I am God’s child (John 1:12)
I am forgiven (Colossians 2:13)
I am loved (1 Peter 1:5)
I am not condemned (Romans 8:1-2)
I am set free (Romans 8:1-2)
I am light in the darkness (Matthew 5:14)
I am protected (1 John 5:18)
I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)
I am a victor (1 John 5:4)
I am healed by his stripes (Isaiah 53:6)
I am God’s beloved (Romans 1:7 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13)
I am God’s temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:16)
I am able to do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13)
I am able to defeat the enemy (Revelations 12:11)
I am never separated from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39)
I am secure (John 10:28-29)

Week 2 – we’re going to continue building the habit to renew our minds for at least 15 minutes per day beginning with confession of sins and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 15 minutes with any method you wish focusing on renewing your mind about your soul (emotions/personality). I’m going to suggest the chapter on “Overcoming Unbelief” from Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and the “Emotions” section of I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download the PDF.

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 15 minutes every day last week.
I’m Down 5 the first week 🙂

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[1] Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds, Beth Moore, page 149

Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2017

It’s that time again! I am so excited to have the opportunity to participate in this wonderful challenge with Beth Moore, her gorgeous staff, and all my fellow “siestas”. It is such a blessing that LPM takes this on every other year. This will be my second year joining the team and I’m ready to go!20161221_071209-2

I tried to make my spiral last week when Beth’s blog post first came out, but my printer is behaving very badly…not a surprise. I was going to go ahead and use the image it spit out, but I just didn’t like it.

I considered ordering one from LPM, but I’m really trying to be more frugal these days. Part of me felt like I should just use the icky one to save the money. I mean, I already had the spiral (left-over from the 2-pack I bought in 2015). I would only be out one sheet of cardstock and a bit of ink. Plus, was it my pride keeping me from using it?

Ugh, so much grappling over something so silly! I finally decided I would use some of my personal “blow money” (thank you, Dave Ramsey) and have it printed at Staples.

I use them a lot for printing scripts and our Christmas cards because my printer usually flakes out during big jobs. I would end up losing my temper with the machine and screaming insults at it, so the husband forbade me from using it on large and/or important stuff (smart man).

Of course, now it is even choking on the small stuff. We can’t afford to replace it just yet (“living like no one else”… thanks again, Dave). Needless to say, I’m getting a lot of practice renewing my mind about things outside my control. Ha!

Anyway, I dropped by Staples while the kids were at their orthodontist appointment yesterday. I was going to use the self-serve printer but the guy behind the counter said it wouldn’t take card-stock. He offered to print it for me and I thought, “How much extra will I be charged for that?”

When it was all done, I pulled out my wallet to pay and he said, “It’s under a buck, don’t worry about it.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yep, have a nice day!”

I proceeded to thank him profusely and wished him a Merry Christmas!

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Every time I look at the cover of my spiral, I’ll be reminded of God’s provision. I got to keep my “blow money” and I got a pretty spiral. I feel so special.

Now, I’ve just got to decide what my first verse will be…