Friday, July 26, 2013

Set Your Hearts On Things Above

My little sister is on her way back from a missions trip at Fort Defiance in Arizona with Youth Works. She went with her friend's church. I saw that she was online on Facebook and started a chat with her asking how her trip was going. She told me that it was amazing and that, "I learned so much and it was an amazing experience." I started crying. I have been praying for this trip and for her--even asking friends to pray for her. My family has been through a lot of ups and downs. My little sisters have perhaps had the most difficult adjustments to make and have not always known how to cope with those adjustments in healthy ways. I have been so blessed particularly since getting married a year ago to see them blossoming into beautiful young ladies. Not being in school anymore, I have had more time and resources to be able to see them more often. I have seen them both have more and more moments of being responsible and caring and less and less moments of selfishness and lashing out. They are 15 and 12 years old, so I get it--believe me!--but it is still beautiful to see them changing. Those are really hard ages to be in our culture today, and yet I am constantly surprised by how mature and wise they are becoming. It is so encouraging! Thinking about this has actually encouraged me to dig into my bible right away and I found this, which I think is something that I need to be reminded of:
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."
Have I shown my sisters this? Do they see that I am more concerned with God and what He is concerned about than my cell phone, my job, how far along our house renovation is coming, or what kind of things we have in our house? I confess that I think that they hear me mention God or tell Bible stories, but they might not see what an intimate relationship with Jesus might look like from me, or even that I care about God more than materialistic things or my own contentment.
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."
I am becoming more and more convinced in my heart that taking off the old self and putting on the new self is often a daily or even hour-to-hour occurrence. It's something that I can only do through complete dependence on God, with His strength. That can seem overwhelming, but I believe that God will help us if we really want to do it. Why wouldn't He? He doesn't leave us alone on this journey. He's there even when we think He's distant or absent. Think of the Footprints poem and google it if you don't know it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Little Things

I know that it has been a long time since my last post.  I suppose that a lot has happened since I last posted! Some great news was that in the month after I had started eating gluten-free I lost 10 pounds!  Unfortunately, I think that I may have gained it back ;)  We don't own a scale, I just have the Wii Fit balance board if I want to check it at home, but that doesn't happen very often anymore.  I think that part of my problem was that I was eating more foods with fat and protein (like nuts and other grains) without doing the extra activity needed to put the protein to use in building up my muscles or to use up the calories from the fat right away.  I am hoping to keep going for walks and go rollerblading again.

Last week I went for 2 long walks, went kayaking, and rollerbladed 5.5 miles.  The night after I rollerbladed I got sick--puking for the first time in 11 years.  My stomach hasn't really been the same since and I have been very sensitive to sugar and sweet things with fake sugar in them.  Maybe it is a blessing in disguise!  I have already known that I am sensitive to sugar and other sweeteners but didn't really care.  Fortunately I want to stop feeling sick, so hopefully I can keep on track with eating sweet things in moderation.

It seems that my health is dependent upon the little things.  Physically I need nine--yes nine!--hours of sleep every night to function well.  I apparently need to moderate my intake of sweets as well as choosing to not eat gluten.  I also need to be active, both in little every day tasks and in going for walks, rollerblading, kayaking, and things like that.  If I don't do those things it is evident in my health.  I get sick, I gain weight, I am exhausted all the time, I am forgetful, I am crabby, etc.  I think my mental health is dependent upon some physical things too, interestingly enough.  I can't think well if I am too tired or I physically don't feel well.  My emotional and spiritual health especially are dependent upon my relationship with the Lord.  In my mind and heart I know when I am not healthy emotionally or spiritually and I even know what would help bring me back to being healthy--spending time with Jesus.  Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I just spend time with Jesus and everything is fixed and all my problems are gone.  It's  more like...I spend time with Him and I am able to think more clearly.  My priorities are realigned with what is really important and I am often able to see things in a different perspective than before.  Sometimes I also just have a sense of peace that would otherwise be unattainable in such a circumstance--the peace that surpasses all understanding.

With all of these things it seems like I could write a list of rules and things that I "should" do.  It would be so easy to do that but I know that I would find myself breaking all of these rules all the time.  Instead I want to make these things become my lifestyle.  I want to be constantly in an active relationship with Jesus and be doing other things to keep myself healthy.  I want to set a good example for those around me, including my sisters and any children Josh and I may have in the future.  Not that they must attain whatever standard I have set, but that they may see my life and the goodness in it that comes from Jesus (for from God comes all wisdom, knowledge, and understanding) and want it! That's the way that I want to live my life.  That people can see Jesus in all the little things in my life and want Him.