Don’t Give Up On Doing Good

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a post. It’s been a very hectic few weeks to say the least. The normal busy-ness was added to in the form of sick children, an extremely cranky, teething toddler, and bunch of other work-related stuff I can’t really go into – but it was BAD.

It has not ever been “not-busy” since we moved to Mwanza, and granted we knew the first year or so would be like this – it’s not really a surprise, but whenever we face particularly challenging situations at the Village (check out the “Bringing Hope” tab up top for more info on what is it we actually do) at first it usually does surprise me a bit. Probably because things seem to go really well for a couple months – everything is running smoothly, people are generally getting along, we’re moving forward, things are happening in a positive way and then it’s like a bomb drops. Something big. Something you can’t ignore and something that affects everything and everyone. And then for those few days or weeks that’s all you deal with! Climbing out of the whole, dealing with the consequences, while trying to still be Godly at the same time (easier said than done).

It’s not like I have unrealistic expectations that everything will be good all the time – not at all, but still somehow these things tend to come in such an “out of the blue” way that they still surprise me. It’s in these times – when I reach the complete end of my rope in every way, that I need to remind myself of a few things…maybe you need to hear these reminders today too…

  1. God absolutely still knows what He’s doing – and he hasn’t stopped “doing.”
  2. Our rewards are not on this earth. Our rewards for how we serve on this earth will be handed out in eternity and we may not know until then the impact our actions had.
  3. Don’t give up on doing good. Let God deal with the actions and responses of others – you can’t control those anyways – so just keep doing good and being faithful. Remember you are serving for Jesus, it’s not about how other people respond.
  4. Remember how broken you are – and how amazing God’s love is for you – and then look at the people around you through that lens.
  5. Our battle is not against flesh and blood- but we are most definitely at war. Expect attacks – the enemy is not going to just sit around and let you impact the Kingdom of God without trying to derail you. Remember where your strength is.
  6. Jesus can and does bring hope into every situation if we invite him in.
  7. You feel a lot better when you let go of the bitterness and start being intentionally grateful again.
  8. Remember God called you and He has equipped you for that call.
  9. Jesus loves “those people” or “that person” that you absolutely can’t stand right now. You can’t even fathom how much he loves them, but the fact is, He does.
  10. This too shall pass. And how you handle this has the potential to make you stronger and smarter – for the next time – because yes, whatever we are facing now is preparing us for what’s ahead.

I have been meditating on these verses this week…

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.”

~Psalm 121:1-2

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You’ve Always Been Beautiful

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I love this quote. I feel like it’s such a good reminder for all of us who are trying to improve ourselves – whether it’s fitness, our eating habits, breaking other bad habits, our education – or anything else – You’ve always been beautiful. Inside and out. Just because you want to make some changes; some improvements doesn’t mean you’re not good enough already – it just means like with anything in life – we can always improve. We need to challenge ourselves to become the best version of us we can be.

But while you’re working on those goals – just remember, you’ve always been beautiful. Period. And you always will be.

Blessings to you today as you do what you do to make an even better YOU.

Life Through the Eyes of My Four Year Old

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Sometimes I like to stop and think about life as my kids see it. To put myself into their little shoes for a few moments and look around me. It’s often times very different from the way I see the world as a “grown-up.” (Although I guess as a grown-up I’m supposed to call myself an Adult, oops). It’s a good exercise to do once in a while – it makes you appreciate the “little” things.

It’s easy as an adult to get busy and caught up with everything and miss out on special moments. You’re too busy working, or worrying about the bills, or you’re just so tired you can’t really think straight. But every once and while I try to slow down – even if it’s just for a few minutes and I try to think like my kids. To see the world through their eyes. When I think of how my four year old sees the world, I realise sometimes I’m missing the point.

To him, everything is still new and exciting. It’s all an adventure waiting to happen – there’s always something to discover, to explore and to learn. He doesn’t get bored. Have you ever noticed that? Toddlers and young children don’t really ever get bored. They find something to do; to amuse themselves. Their curiosity fuels them and so they can’t be bored or lack something to do. Even if it’s playing with sticks and grass outside – it’s discovery and imagination time – there’s no boredom.

My four year old is not afraid to ask questions. In fact he asks an average of 1000 every day. 🙂 This is how he learns (I remind myself of this when I’m answering the same question for the 10th time). But for him there’s no thought to – if it’s a good question, what I will think of him for asking such a question, if he should already know the answer – none of that – he just asks whatever pops into his cute little head.

Hopping, skipping, jumping and running are not part of an exercise routine for my four year old – they are just the different ways he moves around. He doesn’t really walk. Anywhere. Apparently walking is not as fun as the before mentioned modes of movement. He doesn’t worry or fret about getting enough steps in that day – activity and movement are just part of his daily life – because he enjoys them.

My four year old can laugh at just about anything if he’s in the right mood. He finds humour in the tiniest things and his laugh is contagious. You can’t help but laugh yourself. In those moments when he’s laughing and I don’t really know why but I start laughing because his little laugh is so funny – in those moments there is true joy. It’s nothing monumental or amazing, it’s just life. Four year olds know it feels good to laugh; so they do.

Somewhere along the way as part of the growing up process we tend to lose some of these things. We start to think we know all the answers and so things aren’t as interesting. We start to become more self-conscious and don’t ask questions for fear of what others might say or think. (For many of us) skipping, running, jumping and hopping are not normal ways of getting around anymore but have become part of an exercise regime we drag ourselves out of bed (hopefully) every morning to do. Sometimes we can go a whole week or longer without really laughing. I mean laughing – out loud – from your gut – for really no good reason at all! We’re too busy for these things. The little things. The “childish” things. But let me just say. Four year olds know how to have fun. They enjoy life. They aren’t stressed or worried; they take things as they come. They bounce back quickly. They forgive quickly. They love passionately. What if we could manage to keep some of these traits as adults. Still managing to be mature and to make wise decisions and to take care of our families – but at the same time remaining curious and adventurous. Not being afraid to say what we believe or think or to ask a question when we don’t understand something. And to laugh. To laugh because it feels good and it is good and it sets you free a little on the inside. What if?

We all seem to want these things – to be happy, to have joy, to forget past wrongs, forgive and move on, to enjoy the little things – the things life is made up of. To live and love passionately. More often than not I think I have so much to learn about living life to the fullest from my kids. They know how to do it. They’ve got it figured out. I just hope I can help them hold onto to these things even as they grow and mature.

That Ugly Word

While there are many words that might be considered “ugly” I am talking about one specific one today. If you have ever had a challenge with maintaing a healthy weight and lifestyle – you know the word I mean. FAT. I honestly don’t even like saying it. I avoid it at all costs – it carries with it so many negative associations for me. But the truth is – while I hate to admit it – I am that word.

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However in recent days and weeks I have been trying to look at things a little differently. I have been trying to focus on the positive – on what I want to achieve rather than getting down about what I currently am because that can be a vicious cycle.  Through the good choices I make about food and physical activity I can change and leave that word behind me. I have the absolute ability to do this.

While I know this to be true – in my head – sometimes (all the time)  it’s much harder to live out day to day. Anyone who struggles with their weight knows exactly what I mean. It’s easy to start – it’s very difficult to be consistent and make a complete lifestyle change that lasts. But that’s the goal.  I am figuring out that if I want to leave that word behind me I have to do a few things…

1. Accept it.

This one is hard but I can’t let go of it and move forward in a healthy way until I have accepted that word as it relates to me. If I want to leave it behind and make healthy choices I first have to accept the fact that there is a pressing need because the truth is I am that word. That is the reality.

2. Take one day at a time.

Setting these huge year-long goals and thinking 50 lbs down the road can be good for that initial motivation needed to start but after that it just becomes about the day-to-day choices I make. I need to take baby steps and just get through each day making the right choices without thinking too far ahead because that can easily become overwhelming.

3. Get lots of support.

It’s impossible to move away from negative and addictive behaviour without a strong support system. This is not something that can be done alone while hiding from the world. I have to be open and willing to accept any and all support I can get. (Which is part of why I blog about my challenge to lose the weight). By putting it out there publicly I am opening myself up to receive more support, encouragement and accountability.

So while I can’t tell you I will be 50 lbs lighter in 6 months or a year – I can tell you that today I am choosing to make wise decisions about what I put into my body and I am choosing to be intentional about getting my physical activity in. And that’s it. Today I will win the battle. I will face tomorrow when it comes. And day by day I hope to make a lifestyle change. However long it takes is really irrelevant. It will take as long as it takes and no matter how long it takes – it will be worth it.

And while for now, of course, I am associated with that word…it doesn’t define who I am. Instead I try to focus on the positive and healthy changes I am making which will make my life even more full and vibrant than it already is.

New and Better Me – Take Two

Wow. What a crazy season it has been for us lately. Moving across the world, learning a new place, a new culture, a new job etc. I haven’t managed to keep blogging as regularly as I wanted to but that’s life sometimes. Our lives are very full at the moment – but I’m by no means complaining. We are so incredibly blessed and I am reminded of that every day. The downside is I don’t always have time to write about it all, but when I can – I will and that will have to be good enough! 🙂

I’m starting out (again) on my journey to get healthy. I can’t say it’s a new journey since I’ve been working on it for a while (with some major pit-stops along the way – i.e. having another baby). Now’s the time to start (again). My baby is 9 and a half months old! (Wow that flew by)! He is finally sleeping through the night most nights and letting me get some rest. We are settled into our new home and are feeling more and more comfortable in our roles at work. And so I basically have no more excuse to put off getting back to a healthier lifestyle.

I know I’m ready again. It won’t be easy. It wasn’t easy before, it won’t be now. In fact it might be harder. (I do have another child to worry about now, less time on my hands with working full time etc). But the truth is there will never be a “not busy” time to start. And I know that reaching my weight loss and health goals will only enrich my life and allow me to enjoy all my many blessings more and to the fullest.

I’ve got my food journal and exercise schedule started. I’m trying to cut way back on my sugar and carb intake and up my protein, fruits and veggies. It can’t be about will power – if it’s just that I’ll fail for sure. I need to make a conscious choice DAILY to do what I need to do to take care of myself and in so-doing give the best I can to my husband and kids. I’m doing this for them as much as for myself.

I don’t know how long this journey will take (I have my hopes) but I’m just going to take it one day at a time. Bite size pieces.

Words of encouragement are always welcome. And if you’re in the same boat as me and want to make a change for the better: Come on! We can do this. The time is NOW.

I’ll keep you posted. 😉

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