Outcomes

There’s a quote I’ve seen, online, that says, “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.” {source unknown}. And, oh goodness, if that ain’t the truth — am I right?

Outcomes... Aren't Mine to Control | Life, Unleashed

So, so often, I want to control how things will turn out in my life. I pray with the expectation that I will get what I think I need. Yet, God has other plans.

When I try to determine the outcomes I think should happen, I only end up frustrated, disappointed, and miserable in the end — because, yeah… I’m not God.

In thinking that I have any control, I am –in essence– trying to play “god”, thinking that I know what’s best for me & my life. How naive.

Thankfully, God is merciful and patient. He allows me to experience these situations (and their resulting frustrations) to gently correct me and remind me that He is the one in control, while also showing me that I can trust His plans for my life. He only has my best interests at heart.

And funny enough, it’s those times where I relax and hand over the reigns to my Lord — trusting Him wholeheartedly — where He tends to ‘show off’ by giving me something that is far, far better than I could have chosen for myself.

Though I seem to need continuous reminders about all of this, God is faithful.

 

God is in charge | Life, Unleashed

REVIEW: “Without Rival” by Lisa Bevere

Without Rival: Embrace Your Identity and Purpose in an Age of Confusion and Comparison” by Lisa Bevere

 

Lisa has a way of writing & teaching that really sparks a fire within me. She writes to empower other women to live boldly for the Kingdom of God.

In “Without Rival“, Lisa tackles the issue of our identity, and ushers a wake up call for us to remember who (and Whose) we are … and what that means for us, as we live out our daily lives.

Other topics that are touched on include: comparison, insecurity, responding to others’ judgment or insecurities, genders as equal in God’s economy, fearless living, God’s unrivaled nature and His unique love for each one of us, as well as our legacy, and the promise we have that all will be restored.

I loved this book, and underlined quite a bit. I will probably need to re-read it at some point, in order to gather even more… there’s a lot of great stuff here.

 


Note: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Also, this post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer page for more information.

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (02/06/2017)

Here is yet another installment of the “Into My Journal” series, where I share a snippet from my own journal in order to show you the benefits of journaling, and to (hopefully) encourage you through the lessons I’ve been learning through my own writing.

Sneak Peek Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

So, here is an entry from December 13, 2016:

…It’s not like I don’t have any ideas on what to write — I have TONS of ideas!!! It’s just this dang fear… fear of my writing being “not good enough”, and fear of doing all the work and not getting anything from it (eg. comments). I guess part of that is impatience, too, as the longer my content is ‘out there’, the more likely it is to be found.

God says that I should be writing, anyway, because I at least have an “audience of One” — “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). It’s all for Him, in the first place (or, it should be).

And — AHA! — this is a TRUST issue, too! By worrying about my writing not being seen, not being good enough, or not getting comments, I’m in essence saying that I don’t trust God to take my writing and accomplish His purposes for it! Not to mention, I’m being selfish by wanting my writing to give me something in return for my efforts (that’s entitlement), and prideful in expecting it to all be so good that people can’t help but comment.

I’m people-pleasing… seeking my readers’ approval, rather than God’s. Yet, God’s approval is the only thing truly necessary or important (or, it should be).

Thanks for all of these insights, Lord. Please renew my mind so that I write for You… give me the desire to do so, please. And help me to trust You to do with my writing what You please — to use it for Your purposes. Help me to see & remember that my job is solely to faithfully write and be obedient, and to leave the outcomes to You.

(FYI… other than omitting the first part, which was too personal to share, this is exactly what had been written in my journal.)

True Nourishment

I recently shared my own take on what true nourishment looks like. Today, I’d like to follow up, and expand on each point, a bit.

True Nourishment | Life, Unleashed

TRUE NOURISHMENT…

TAKES SOME TIME

This is two-fold. First, you aren’t likely to completely change your habits overnight. If you’re used to eating processed foods and sweets, and rarely eat healthy, you aren’t going to be a consistent healthy eater from today, forward. However, you CAN start to practice eating better and making healthier choices.

Second, studies show that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you’ve eaten just enough to be satisfied (not stuffed). So, it’s important to eat slowly, and watch for the “cues” your body will send you.

PAYS ATTENTION

In addition to eating slowly, you need to pay attention to what your body is telling you. We have built-in sensors (the hormones, Ghrelin & Leptin) that tell us when we are physiologically hungry, and when we’ve eaten just enough to refuel ourselves.

Unfortunately, most of us have lost the art of paying attention, so we aren’t familiar with these feelings, or “cues”.

However, if you choose to pay attention, you will begin to recognize your body’s unique signals, and can then respond accordingly.

Fun Fact: Did you know that most people will “sigh”, or pause, during a meal, when they have reached their “satisfied” point? If you stop eating at this point, you will find that you’re no longer over-stuffing yourself!

REMEMBERS ITS SOURCE

It is important for us, especially as Christians, to remember that everything we have has been given to us by God — He is our Source.

At the same time, it’s helpful to also, occasionally, reflect on how our food got to our tables in the first place. We can choose to thank God for the people who worked to produce this food for us, from the farmers (or factory workers), all the way to the hands of the one(s) who helped to prepare the meal.

HONORS THE GIVER

Here, I am thinking not just about nourishing foods, but also our entertainment choices. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do”, it should all be for the glory of God. So, before you eat, or partake in an activity, think to yourself, “Does this please God? What might be a more God-honoring choice?

DOES NO HARM

Yep. I borrowed this phrase from the medical profession. But, it fits. Think about the food you eat regularly: Is it helping, or harming, your body? Is that can of soda beneficial to your health (really)? While no foods are inherently “good” or “bad”, some are obviously more beneficial than others. Some foods give us energy (eg. water, fruits, vegetables, legumes), while others leave us feeling sluggish (eg. refined sugars).

 “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.
// 1 Corinthians 10:23 //

KEEPS IT SIMPLE

Meals don’t have to be complicated, or include big productions in order to be considered healthy. You could have an Antipasto platter, and call it a meal. Or, you could steam some veggies and get a Rotisserie chicken, pre-cooked, from the grocer’s deli department … all in under 30 minutes!

The key is to do what feels right for you. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be.

OFFERS GRACE

We are al human, which means none of us are going to do things “perfectly” all of the time. If you slip or stray from your good intentions, give yourself grace, forgive yourself, dust off the crumbs, and try again. You haven’t truly ‘failed’ unless you stop trying, and stop moving forward.

For, though I fall, I will rise again.
// Micah 7:8 //

INCREASES ENERGY

This goes along with two of the points above. Again, certain foods will benefit you more than others. If you pay attention, you’ll start to notice which choices give you energy, and which ones drain you. Obviously, plant-based foods will be a better energy source than, say, a cookie (not that there’s anything wrong with the occasional cookie, of course!)

IS ENOUGH TO SATISFY

Ever notice how, some days, you can eat and eat and eat, and never feel satisfied? My guess is that, on those days, you aren’t really asking your body what it truly needs, and then listening for the answer!

Sometimes it’s not even food, at all, that our bodies are calling for! It could be that we need a hug… or, some time to ourselves… or, maybe you’re just dehydrated, and need a drink of water.

Also included, here, is the fact that our stomachs are, in fact, designed to hold very little food (approximately the size of your closed fist). It doesn’t take much to hit that “satisfied” point — at least, physically. So, check your emotions, and see if something else may be eating you!

NEEDS NO EXTRAS

For those who have trained their tastebuds to no longer crave refined sugars, many fruits & vegetables taste great on their own, without the need for anything “extra” (eg. butter, fruit dip, salt, etc.).

True Nourishment also feels satisfied with a single serving, and doesn’t need to go back for seconds (or more!). 

The truly healthy choices will leave you feeling energized, satisfied, and vibrant (not sluggish, stuffed, or guilty).

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU WOULD ADD TO THIS LIST? FEEL FREE TO COMMENT, BELOW!

On Nerds and Nourishment

Have you heard of Nerd Fitness? I talked about it a bit, when I reviewed the book, “Level Up Your Life” by founder, Steve Kamb. Recently, Steve and his NF team have created a new add-on program called, “Rising Heroes“, which is story-driven. And I’m even more enthralled!

On Nerds & Nourishment | Life, Unleashed

When I first discovered Steve’s Nerd Fitness site (via his book), I immediately connected to his concept of “The Rebellion“. And, after reading the book, I created my very own avatar named Ember-Leigh.

Now, I’ve never been a “gamer”, so some of the concepts in NF go a bit over my head (I had to ask my 18 yr old son what a “boss battle” was. LOL). However, I’m just “nerd” enough that I love watching Marvel movies & the DC comics ones, as well as shows like “The Flash” and other action-adventure films, so I’m able to understand the general idea behind “Game Theory“. And, of course, being a Writer means I love all things “story”… so, creating a “world” for my alter-ego/avatar came somewhat easily.

So far, this is the story I’ve created for my avatar, Ember-Leigh:

To my people, I am princess Ember-Leigh, a WARRIOR in the King’s army. Currently, I am in an enemy prison camp — I was tricked & drugged, then taken captive by the Resistance.

While imprisoned, I am secretly training, and preparing strategies to overthrow the Enemy & his Resistance once I’m free.

I am writing “letters” to my people [in the from of blog posts], encouraging them and training them, in hopes that they will side with me as my Allies in the battle we all know is coming. We must be prepared — physically, mentally, and spiritually!

I’ve had an Ally here, behind enemy lines, who has been delivering my messages to my brother, the Prince, as well as the letters to my people. The Prince is working, behind the scenes, to prepare for my rescue. He says He has a plan, so I am counting on Him!

To help you understand where I’m going with all of that, here’s a little key:

• the King = God

• the Prince = Jesus

• the Enemy & Resistance = Satan & his minions
(as well as anyone who would thwart me)

• “prison” = current circumstances

• “rescue” = God’s plan to redeem my circumstances

I also view my avatar, Ember-Leigh, as being a mix of the following other characters:

  • Marvel’s Black Widow (for her figure, strength, & agility)
  • Marvel’s Hawkeye (for his laser-focus & archery skills)
  • the guy from “Limitless” (for his super-brain, thanks to NZT)
  • DC’s Elektra (for her skills, confidence, & strength)

Lastly, I borrowed my avatar’s name, somewhat, from one of my favorite television series’, “The Shannara Chronicles“. The main character is Princess Amberle… whose name I borrowed and changed to Ember-Leigh, as “ember” makes me think of sparks & fire (“Leigh” was added, as “Ember”, alone, didn’t give the right “feel”).

Fun, right?

While I haven’t joined the “Rising Heroes” program (yet), due to lack of funds, I’m seriously considering doing so. My gym membership contract is done at the end of March 2017, so I’m debating whether I will renew that, or sign up for Rising Heroes and create my own at-home routines. The biggest thing holding me back, at the moment, is the question, “Will I stick with the workouts, if I quit the gym?

It used to be that I could do okay with my at-home workouts for a while, but then I’d revert to my laziness & excuses, again. Of course, that was before I had a mindset shift, and before I joined the gym. Having the gym membership has helped, as I can’t afford to be spending money on something I’m not using, and I have liked being in the atmosphere where others are also working on their health — I enjoy being around others who share similar goals.

So yeah, the idea of doing my workouts alone, at home, makes me worry that I won’t stick with it.

You could always rejoin the gym,” you say. But no, that’s not necessarily true. To re-join (if I quit when my contract is up) will have me paying the sign-up fee, again, which is $100, and, I don’t always have that kind of money. So, that’s a risk I’d be taking if I give up my gym membership.

However, I wonder if the “fun” aspect of “Rising Heroes” would be enough to keep me motivated? In their program, when you complete the daily “missions”, you earn points that help out the faction you’ve been placed in, and that, in turn, helps to move the story forward. So, in essence, you don’t want to let your team (your “faction”) down!

I guess, in the end run, I won’t know if this will be enough, or if I’ll stick with things, unless I try it, right? It’s a risk I’ll just have to take, if I want to find out!

nourishment | Life, Unleashed

On a similar note, I’ve been thinking about my goals for this year — one of which is to lose release my excess weight, and another which is to eat healthier, less processed foods. And I keep coming across this concept: To think about how you relate to food, and to question (and renew) your mindset in regards to eating.

Now, if you’ve looked around this site at all, you know that MINDSET is a key concept here… it’s one of the four foundational principles {mindset, choices, perspective, & daily practices}. So, of course, this question (above) jumped out at me, with my thoughts of changing my eating habits.

After writing out the negative ways in which I relate to food (eg. eating out of boredom; reaching for “comfort foods” of Coca-Cola & chocolate), I decided to make another list based on NOURISHMENT, as that’s what I want food to be, for me. Here’s what I came up with (keeping in mind that I’m focusing on real, whole foods as close to their natural state as possible, when considering what foods are “nourishing”):

True Nourishment | Life, Unleashed

(and yep, I made it into an image so that you can print a copy, or save it to Pinterest!)

I will break each of these things down in more detail in my next post. But for now, this is what I will be choosing to concentrate on, in regards to my eating, in 2017.

Your turn... | Life, UnleashedDo you do better working out with others (eg. at the gym), or alone? OR, if you don’t yet make the time to workout, what’s holding you back?

ALSO: I’d love to hear your thoughts on my “True Nourishment” list!

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (01/02/2017)

Once again, I’m sharing a snippet from my own journal, in order to show you how you can get clarity through writing, and how God can use your journal to teach you things.

Sneak Peek Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

This entry is from July 20, 2016:

…That makes me wonder if my whole blogging premise is worth it? But, I know that it is not me who will change people’s minds. In fact, it’s like God and I are tag-teaming! All I can do is write about my own beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. Then God can step into the lives of my readers, and help open their minds to what He wants them to see.

My job is not to be successful, or to change people’s lives. My ONLY JOB is to be faithful and obedient to God, and to write. He will do the rest.

(FYI: nothing was changed… this is what I’d written in my journal. Though, I had to omit the first part of my entry, as it’s too personal)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal

In order to give you guys an idea of what journaling can do for you, I’ve decided to be really candid, and let you peek inside my journal, once in a while. I’d like to show you how my journals help me get clarity, and how God speaks to me through the pages.

Sneak Peek: A Snippet from my Journal | Life, Unleashed

So, here is an entry from November 17, 2016:

I’m back to the same old sticking point — the “quicksand” that stops me every time I try to move forward…the fear of writing content that others will read.

And, as I just wrote that last sentence, God whispered, “Why don’t you give Me that fear, just like you gave Me your fear of flying?” He reminds me that I’ve never offered Him this fear, yet.

So yes — here you go, Lord — I am handing over my fear of writing to You. Please take it from me and don’t let me try to grab it back! I’d really love to move forward, and this fear needs to go! It needs to get out of my way!!! (Get behind me, Satan! In Jesus’ name!).

After all, God does NOT give me a spirit of fear & timidity (that’s Satan’s work). Instead, God gives me self-discipline, along with His power & love. So I am ABLE to write what others need to hear from me (through Jesus at work through me).

Please, Jesus, take this spirit of fear from me. Help me to be BOLD like the lioness that You are calling me to become! I want others to see the transformation in me, so that they will have the courage to pursue it for themselves!

(FYI: nothing was edited… this is what I’d written in my journal)