My Fast Against Laziness

My Fast Against Laziness

Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

Occasionally I find myself in a rut of general laziness.  Do you ever get to that place?  As a homeschooling mom of four little ones I often tell myself that I deserve a much-needed break.  Sometimes I say to myself that I’ve earned this time to read for five hours a little while.  If I’m being honest, there are days my break times are exceptionally long and my work times exceptionally short.  I can easily fall into this trap of allowing myself time to “rest” or telling myself that I’m relaxing, when in reality I’m just wasting time.

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Wow! There’s a lot of depth in this proverb.  Let’s consider for a moment that we’re looking beyond the obvious overgrowth of thorns and disorder that encompass my home when I’m in my “resting” time.  I’d even like to look past the deeper implications this has on my relationship with my husband and my children.  Let’s look past my husband’s dissatisfaction when he finds himself scrambling for work clothes through days-old stacks of laundry. Look past the broken hearts of young children whose favorite things have been trod on and broken by scurrying feet that are undisciplined by the keeper of the home.  I’d like to look all the way inside my spirit as it sits unattended and unfulfilled during my laziness.

And there it lies, the very scene this proverb spoke of.  I see the thorns sprouting and covering over any beauty that once was.  I see the weeds poking through, disrupting the order that could still be.  The stone wall that Jesus so carefully guided me in erecting around my soul as a veritable fortress is crumbling.  Little bits of mortar have flaked off and lie sprinkled across the ground as stones begin to sag in defeat.  When this fortress of diligence was left unattended it began to break down.  And each day I choose to neglect it in favor of laziness, it crumbles a little more.

Building Back Up

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  We are so very blessed to serve a forgiving Savior.  Just as a parent continues to guide their child after making the same mistake over again, so the Lord guides us back to Him.  The beauty of my relationship with Jesus is that I can repent and be set right immediately.

My dear friend challenged herself, and I challenged myself to use August as a fast against laziness.  The premise was simple: As we looked through our days and saw ourselves doing something lazy in place of something useful, we would work to choose the useful thing instead.  The very first day that I woke up twenty minutes early and opened my Bible to spend some time with Him, my Savior began to trim back the thorns.  Throughout the day as I chose to be diligent in teaching my children the word and how to apply it, He began to pull the weeds.  As I went about my work within my home with a happy heart and a soul contented, He gently pushed back the sagging stones and patched up the holes.

The glory of my Savior can radiate through me when I have a firm foundation of discipline and diligence.  When I choose the next right thing to do at each turn of the day, I am blessed by my work and by His work through me.

Do you find your diligence slipping in your time with the Lord like I do?  Don’t despair!  It only takes one right choice to get back on track.

Can we pray for you today?

From Disaster to Delicious!

From Disaster to Delicious!

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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I now have a new favorite soup and it happened completely by accident. My dinner was nearly a disaster!

I had prepped all the veggies to make a chicken roast only to realize that I had waited too long to use the chicken…stinky!!  Truly stinky!!  So I thought I would salvage the rest and make a veggie broth and add a box of orzo for dinner.

Well, it sounded like a good plan until I tasted my creation and realized I had added WAY TOO MUCH PEPPER!

After I posted a “Save Dinner SOS” on Facebook, I headed over to Google to see what others had found.

I’m so thankful I asked my cooking friends for help on Facebook first, because they came back with the answers that saved my dinner and brought about this new favorite soup recipe.

Are you ready for this? The answer to too much pepper is

Lemon and Cream!Dinner SOS

 In case you’re curious, the recipe, which I’ll call Creamy Vegetable Orzo Soup, is super easy. Cut all the following into bite-size pieces:

  • 1 sweet potato or white potato
  • 2 onions
  • 4 ribs of celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 6-8 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • About 1 Tbsp Herbamare
  • Add all this to a large pot and saute everything above in coconut oil for several minutes to your liking.  (I typically saute them for 5-8 minutes so they are still a bit crunchy.)
  • Add water to almost full and then let simmer for 30 minutes.  (The longer the better flavor, but this night, we were hungry and needed to eat soon.)
  • Right before you are ready to serve add 2-4 drops of lemon oil or 1/2-1 full lemon juiced and 1 cup cream.  (I would recommend starting with a little of each and then add more as desired.)
  • Cook the orzo in a separate pot and add it to the big pot when the soup is ready to serve.

This dinner which was almost a debacle really got me thinking about our lives.

We start out with high hopes, but sometimes we get sidetracked by something that was not part of God’s plan for our lives.  Maybe we get too focused on money, our looks, or our job titles. Maybe we just leave God out altogether because we like our plan better than His.

Usually, veering off track brings heartache. Sometimes we feel like there is no way God could use us again.  We’ve made a mess of our lives that can’t be corrected.  That is an outright lie brought to you by the king of lies and destruction.

Don’t believe the lie! Just like my damaged soup, Jesus can take you right where you are and bring about such a new creation that the world will only be able to stand in awe of His handiwork.

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We see this story over and over again in the restoration powers of Jesus’ healing hands.  Whether it was healing the demon-possessed man who lived in the graveyard or raising Lazarus from the dead, it’s the hope of a resurrected heart and a new life that has Him living at the middle of it instead of ourselves.

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Right now, hand over to Jesus whatever horrible thing you think God can’t clean you of. The truth is HE CAN and HE WILL!  All you have to do is believe the truth.  Jesus came to cleanse you of all your sins–not just a few, but ALL of them!  Now, that’s a recipe for hope and eternal life!

Embrace it and savor it.

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Sweep, Clean, and Fill It Up: The Principle of Crowding Out

Sweep, Clean, and Fill It Up: The Principle of Crowding Out

Julie W

Julie W

I am a certified fitness instructor and have been teaching group fitness classes for over 22 years. I am also a board certified holistic health counselor with a degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I am 48 years old with a 25 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. My husband Chris and I have been married for 28 years. I have been a member of the Church of Christ my entire life as well as my mother, father and both sets of grandparents. I am the owner of a local food service based business and currently teach conditioning classes here in the Edmond area. I have been a strict vegetarian for many years but I will walk 10 miles barefoot in the snow for a good piece of chocolate! ;)
Julie W

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Crowding Out

In Health Coaching School, I learned an interesting concept called crowding out. In terms of nutrition, it means to stop focusing on the laundry list of foods that you can’t or shouldn’t eat. Instead, one should focus on the single goal of just adding more good things in. It’s not necessarily beginning by removing the bad things, but simply trying to fit in all the healthy foods you need every day.

Here is where it gets interesting. After a few months of applying this technique there seems to be a unanimous “Aha!” moment when people say:

You know what? I was so busy trying to get all the good stuff in. I just didn’t have the time, or frankly, the room in my tummy for the bad stuff.

There you have it!  This secret applies not only to weight management but almost every aspect of our lives.

A Biblical Concept as well as a Practical One

This concept is a very biblical one. Its principles are not so new where the word of God is concerned. In Luke 11 Jesus is driving out many demons and having some rather harsh discussions. (This parable often confused me until I learned the principles of crowding out.) In verse twenty-four, an impure spirit is cast out of a person. The spirit goes on a journey seeking a new residence, but it cannot find a place to rest. The spirit then decides it will return to its former home. When it arrives, it finds the place swept clean and put in order. The spirit then finds seven other demons more evil than itself to move in also. And the person is in much worse shape than before.

Just before telling this particular parable, Jesus says:

Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.

Jesus is talking in verbs here–action words–and this passage of scripture is a call to action!

Jesus calls us to a positive response, and this requires movement on our part. It is not enough for us to rid ourselves of the dust, clutter, and garbage. We must replace and fill in those gaping holes with the good. This principle applies whether it be food, vices, negative selftalk, anger, etc.

Christ is calling us to the principle of crowding out.

 

 

Don't (1)Don’t sweep the house clean and leave it vacant. Too much empty space leaves us wide open for an attack from the enemy. Fill the house with every good and perfect thing you can get your hands on, whether that’s Christian music in your car, a scripture on your bathroom mirror, your daily devotional time, walks outside in prayer, etc.  Don’t get so bogged down in trying to change the so-called “bad” behavior/habits, which revolves around negativity.  Once we have let go of that particular struggle or sin we are left with an emotional sinkhole.

Let’s fill our minds, bodies, hearts, marriages, relationships, and work spaces with such overflowing good that after a while we all have a unanimous “Aha!” moment and say:

You know, I focused so much on filling up on God’s word, God’s love, and sharing that with the other people in my life. Before I knew what happened, I no longer had space for all the negative, destructive thoughts or behaviors. The good stuff filled me to the brim. Not only is my house swept clean, but it is bursting with life and vitality only the Lord can provide. 

What area(s) of life is Christ calling you to crowd out, sweep clean, and fill up with God?

 

We at Creating a Great Day want to hear what you have to say. In order to maintain a safe and encouraging environment, we ask that all comments be respectful.  

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What Is My Purpose?: A Question Everyone Asks

What Is My Purpose?: A Question Everyone Asks

Melissa W

Melissa W

Melissa is an Okie with a Texas heart. She is a wife and a mother of three - two boys and a girl (the girl being squished right in the middle). After having taught in the classroom for 8 years, she now happily finds herself as a stay-at-home homeschool mom living life on her little 1 1/2 acre homestead raising chickens, two goats and a small garden. In any spare time, she enjoys leisure reading and also enjoys writing on her blog (chroniclesofakeeper.com). Out of all the little adventures of life - her greatest joy is found in her relationship with God. Walking in His grace, living in His peace and resting in His redemption is something she is very passionate about sharing with others.
Melissa W

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What is My Purpose?

This life question will haunt many at one point in time or another: What is my purpose? The amount of time I have put into this thought alone accounts for over half my life. A haunting feeling always rising to the surface which begs the question of enough. Am I doing enough? Is what I am doing enough? This train of thought can suffocate and eventually destroy the drive that propels one into living out the purpose-filled life.

Over the last couple of years, I have come to a better understanding of what my purpose is and what it isn’t. Purpose has taken on a different meaning and I see life through different lenses. The process has led me away from the draining and approval-seeking path to one that is fulfilling and grace-filled.

Chasing the Wind

But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. – Ecclesiastes 2:11

If I could, I would throw out quite a few verses from the book of Ecclesiastes. I feel like I have a really good grasp on what Solomon was agonizing over in his deep contemplation of life. I too have sat back and taken assessment of my accomplishments, my possessions, and accounted for those gifts that are precious to me. People, things, decisions, awards, positions held–every moment of life–meaningless? Perhaps we search so hard for purpose, because we innately recognize the meaninglessness of everything. We were designed for purpose. Yet when that purpose is not understood–or worse, when it has been distorted–we mar and waste said purpose.

The effort and time we put into things, even good things, can all amount to wind chasing. Our work and our accomplishments are futile and they exhaust, with no hope of rejuvenation. When purpose is left out, all of the good and important things we do wash away like sand. We are left contemplating the thought of meaningless and enough.

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An Established Meaning

The first question found in the Westminster Shorter Catechisms asks: What is the chief end of man? The answer then given is: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

If we could let the knowledge of our prime purpose sink deeply, would it change us? We were created to bring Him glory and to enjoy His glory. I don’t know about you, but the knowledge of that is freeing and beautiful to me. This purpose, once known, makes all other decisions in life a little more clear–it is this ultimate purpose which drives.

“A sunset seen from the top of the I.D.S.—that’s glory. Or the I.D.S. itself almost invisible, like crystal against a grey-blue sky—that’s glory. A perfect performance on the balance beam by Nadia Comaneci—that’s glory. A perfectly executed 30-foot jump shot with one second to go—that’s glory, too…The glory of God is the beauty and excellence of his manifold perfections. It is an attempt to put into words what God is like in his magnificence and purity. It refers to his infinite and overflowing fullness of all that is good. The term might focus on his different attributes from time to time—like his power and wisdom and mercy and justice—because each one is indeed awesome and beautiful in its magnitude and quality. But in general God’s glory is the perfect harmony of all his attributes into one infinitely beautiful and personal being.”  –John Piper, God Created Us For His Glory

A Covering of Grace

I think of the years I spent looking for purpose, I think of the years I spent hiding from purpose, and now, I think of the years to come with an understood purpose. It is a covering of grace that can take wasted years and use them for His glory. It is a covering of grace that takes the new and untouched years for His glory, too. That is the thing about our purpose…it is not separate from Him. His grace is woven deeply in a tapestry of a life lived for Him and enjoyed through Him.

Embrace Purpose

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men… – Colossians 3:23

Sometimes, the purposeful life may tempt us to feel “less than.” Often, our perspective of this life is measured by great success in the eyes of man. We might even struggle as we look to the right or to the left and see others living out their purpose-filled life…and we may feel as if ours does not measure up. We might see those who lead thousands to Christ, we might see those who are glorifying Him while the world watches, and we may see those whose lives look so much more important than our own. When this temptation of comparison befalls us, we surrender to Him and press forward, looking straight ahead. We keep our gaze on Him and we complete every task for His glory and we soak in the joy that He offers. It is then and there that we will know we are living a life of purpose, because everything we do is for Him.

“To do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us.”

-Oswald Chambers-

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What is my purpose- Social

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The Bully in my Brain

The Bully in my Brain

Julie W

Julie W

I am a certified fitness instructor and have been teaching group fitness classes for over 22 years. I am also a board certified holistic health counselor with a degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I am 48 years old with a 25 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. My husband Chris and I have been married for 28 years. I have been a member of the Church of Christ my entire life as well as my mother, father and both sets of grandparents. I am the owner of a local food service based business and currently teach conditioning classes here in the Edmond area. I have been a strict vegetarian for many years but I will walk 10 miles barefoot in the snow for a good piece of chocolate! ;)
Julie W

Latest posts by Julie W (see all)

The Voice in Our Heads

We go out of our way to be kind to total strangers. We watch our tone with our children. When the conversation is important, we measure our words carefully. And yet for a lot of us, none of these rules apply to the voice that speaks the loudest in our own minds. I wonder why?

We not only say hurtful and belittling things to ourselves, but that voice also has a tone. It is not sweet or kind; it sounds critical, judgmental, and harsh.  In my health counseling practice I have spoken with so many women who repeat the same demeaning mantra over and over as if on a recording device.  Things like:

  • “You’re so stupid.”
  • “You are so lazy. Why can’t you get your act together?”
  • “You will always be fat so stop trying to be something you’re not.”
  • “You’re weak…you don’t matter…you aren’t capable…”

And the list goes on and on.

We would NEVER speak to another person with those words or that accusing tone but we have no qualms about being our own worst nightmare.  We would never put up with another person treating us in such a way. But if it’s coming from our own voice, in our own head, not only is it fine but we believe it to be true.

The Need for Self-Compassion

Two words have been cropping up over the past several years in counseling offices, in therapy books, and TED talks alike.  Those two words are SELF COMPASSION.  Most of us know how to be compassionate to others but are at a loss how to offer that same love to ourselves.  In the words of one of my favorite Natalie Grant songs, she says, “You can’t be free if you don’t reach for help and you can’t love, if you don’t love yourself,” and it is so very true.

Frequently, I am asked questions about:

  • Techniques for weight loss
  • How to stop overeating
  • Ways to have more energy
  • How to feel more confident in my own skin.

As a fitness trainer, I know the scientific solutions to these questions but without self-compassion, self-love and self-care, none of it works.Remember the 2 greatest commandments-

Remember that the two greatest commands are to love God and to love others.  Matthew 22 goes on to say that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Self-love and compassion is a commandment of God’s word. I think a lot of us have missed the mark on this one.

The body is the single most proficient machine ever created.  It is beyond the measure of intelligence and efficiency and comes with all the signs, signals, and tools we need to be fully alive and functional.  The problem is we have stopped listening.  So many louder voices speak over us that we are no longer in tune with our bodies’ demands, wants, and needs.

Getting Rid of the Brain Bully

What if we made a pact with ourselves to remove that harsh, critical voice in our heads, and to honor our bodies by listening to its messages?

The answers to all of those health and weight loss questions lie in this formula.

When my body says:

  • Rest–I will rest.
  • Eat–I will honor it with healthy, life-giving nutrition and I will stop eating when I am satisfied.
  • I am hurt–I will deal with the issue immediately whether physical or emotional.
  • I feel like crying–Cry.
  • I need a friend–Call one.

How opposite is this compared to the way most of us operate?  We tell ourselves we don’t have time to:

  • Eat breakfast.
  • Rest.
  • Deal with that hurt right now.
  • Connect with others.

We push and push and push and completely ignore the things our bodies are literally begging us for.

Some of us:

  • Make our bodies wait hours for nutrition.
  • Sleep as little as 3-4 hours a night.
  • Give so much to work that we miss out on the very things that make our lives meaningful.

We all struggle with these issues. However, we must find balance in order to avoid the consequences of an overworked, over-stressed, and physically exhausted lifestyle.

The body-spirit-mind connection is so strong.

The three are inseparable, so to honor one is to honor all.  If we take this challenge we will fall in line with God’s design for us both physically as well as emotionally.  We will kick the brain bully to the curb. We will treat ourselves with the same love and kindness we extend to those around us.

We are worth it and some of us have spent far too long believing otherwise!  Since God’s own son died for one and all, HE certainly believed you were worth it!

Are you ready to start kicking the brain bully to the curb?  

What changes will you start making today to live in line with God’s design for us?

Perfection (or Not)

Perfection (or Not)

Susan
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Susan

Susan York Meyers is the author of several children’s picture books, including The Mystery of the Red Mitten and Grrr…Night,! for which she won the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award. Other books include Shoe Haiku and Two Old Ladies: It’s all in the Attitude. Two Little Old Ladies is a humorous inspirational book combining both fiction and devotionals.

Susan has spoken at Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conferences and has also judged in the juvenile and short story for children contest categories for the Oklahoma City Writers.She lives with her hubby and Kira, the dog that thinks she’s people.

You can find out more about Susan and her books at susanameyers.com
Susan
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Proverbs 31 scares me. The Virtuous Woman’s kitchen floor was always perfectly clean, no sticky messes for visitors’ sandals to stick to. She never ran by the bakery fifteen minutes before school for “homemade” cookies because her child forgot to tell her she was homeroom mother that week. And I assure you the Virtuous Woman never said to her husband, “Whoops, I forgot to go to the market. Can you bring a lamb home to roast?” I’d be afraid to let that paragon of virtue into my home. If there’s a checklist for perfection, there are no checks in my boxes. Seriously.

Take cooking. As a newlywed, I’d drag myself out of bed and make a full breakfast for my man. Remember this was over thirty years ago, when wives still did things like that. After a week, he confessed he didn’t like breakfast but ate it so my feelings wouldn’t be hurt. Well, I didn’t need to be told twice. I threw in the spatula and went back to bed. I didn’t make breakfast again until my son came along.

My sewing skills didn’t earn any medals either. Again, hark back to the olden days when schools still taught Home Ec. Knowing how to sew was a top priority for women. However, even my supportive, loving mother couldn’t figure out how to wear the apron I created.

And then there’s cleaning. If God is in the “big upstairs” wearing a white glove, ready to sweep it across the top of my shelves, I might as well give up now.

Fortunately, the lady in Proverbs isn’t a real woman. She’s a combination of virtues for which to strive. And that’s good news for people like me, who find “adequate” a sometimes daunting task. Even though I know God doesn’t expect me to be perfect, there are still nights I snuggle under the covers waiting for sleeping bliss, but instead my mind says, “Let me remind you how you screwed up today.”

It doesn’t help that it seems like everyone but me has their act together.

Is there some domestic secret? Why does everyone else seem to breeze through being a wife and mother, while I barely manage to limp along?

I remember one Sunday morning, between class and worship service, I caught up with a friend and fellow mother of a two-year-old.

She taught as a college professor.

Her house always looked perfect.

All the treats at her son’s birthday party were hand-crafted.

Maybe, just maybe, she could give me some tips on being perfect. Or at least help me achieve average a little more often.

“Sometimes, it just gets overwhelming,” I ventured to say as my son wiggled in my arms.

She laughed. “I know exactly what you mean. This morning my husband had to grab a pair of socks out of the dirty clothes.”

I managed to shut my mouth so it didn’t look like I was angling for someone to drop a worm in it. “The dirty clothes?”

“Yes. That’s just the way it goes some mornings, isn’t it?”

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She helped me that day. Her secret wasn’t perfection. It was confidence in the fact that she didn’t have to be perfect.

So what if the cake isn’t homemade? It’s bought with love.

So what if I read a bedtime story instead of cleaning? I’ll just tell everyone the dust bunnies are pets.

So what if I’m sometimes slow at getting the laundry done? If it doesn’t smell, no one knows the difference.

No one is perfect. We tend to cut everyone else some slack while holding ourselves up to impossible standards we can never meet. So, my challenge for myself is to start treating myself like I’m my best friend. When I look in the mirror every morning, I give my best friend a compliment. When I screw up, I cut my best friend some slack.

God loves me imperfections and all.

As for the Virtuous Woman, although there are days I like to imagine her cowering beside the washer, eating chocolate and hiding from her kids, I still strive to emulate her. I’ve just learned to give myself a break when I fail.

I am a woman formed by God’s hands, shaped by His love, and saved by His sacrifice.

And that’s perfect enough for me!

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