Saturday, July 25, 2009

Be the Wind

Whenever someone says all sorts of nice things about me, my instinct is to disbelieve them. They can't be talking about me. They don't see me at home, with my kids, with my family, etc. Man, if they only knew... You know, those kinds of thoughts. But that's my own self-disapproval. My own criticism of myself. Thank goodness there are people other than me who see me and say nice things sometimes!!

In his capacity as the leader of Outreach of Hope, a ministry geared to instill hope in cancer patients, amputees and their families, former major-league baseball star Dave Dravecky urges his readers to offer encouragement that validates a person’s worth before God.

Dravecky notes that “It’s easy for us to confuse our true worth with our sense of worth. While the Bible teaches that our true worth never varies, since it’s based on God and not on us, our sense or feeling of worth can vary tremendously.” Our feelings don’t always align with truth.

This is an area of my life that I want to change. I need to get better at seeing the good truth about myself, and building from there, rather than concentrating on the bad and getting discouraged. I want to be better at being an encourager, helping others see the thruth about themselves. I'm always humbled when I read or hear good things about myself from someone else, but more than that, I'm inspired to continue striving to be the person they describe.

I looked up the word encouragement in my dictionary -- partly because I have a serious love affair with my dictionary (Seriously. It's part of my quirkiness, just ask The Bushman!), and partly because I wondered how the concept was described. My favourite descriptions are "to give courage, hope, or confidence; to embolden, to foster." I want to be an EMBOLDEN-ER, a FOSTER-ER. (Haha, Webster would be rolling in his grave if he saw me using the powers of the dictionary for such evils as creating my own nonsense words like this! Nah, I bet after Dr. Seuss rocked the literary world, something like this is pretty tame!!)

The church we used to attend has, in the pew racks alongside the offering envelopes, little encouragement cards. For a while before we moved away, I made it a goal to fill one of those out every Sunday and pass along some words of encouragement. I've gotten out of the habit now that I don't have the written word to hide behind. I'm not an outgoing person -- despite being outspoken! -- and actually find that saying encouraging, heartening, emboldening (?!) words to someone in person feels awkward and uncomfortable. It's simply not something I'm used to doing.

It's funny/sad the people I'm used to complimenting -- mostly total strangers, like the gas station attendents or you bloggy buddies, but I need to expand that circle to include friends, relatives, and neighbours whom I can actually see with my own eyes and whom I know more intimately. Encouragement is to a person what wind is to a sail – it moves people forward.

In the later years of his life, C.S. Lewis had a remarkable correspondence with an anonymous woman from America. In his letters, Lewis urged the woman to deal with life in an emotionally honest way, acknowledging grief, fear and anger openly. He also warns her about the danger of allowing anger and fear to drive her away from God. In all the letters, there are three themes that continually surface: honestly dealing with our emotional state, responding graciously to trials and trying people and being diligent in our prayer life.

While the letters may be interesting, what is most striking is that Lewis bothered to write them at all. He confessed to being often overwhelmed by his workload, and by this time in his life he could hardly write because of rheumatic pain in his arm. Yet the reason Lewis continued the correspondence was because he believed that taking time out to advise or encourage another Christian was both a humbling of one’s talents before the Lord and also as much the work of the Holy Spirit as producing a book. Isn't that a beautiful way to look at it? Being a source of encouragement to a fellow Christian was just as meaningful to him as anything else he did.

His is an example to all of us about the enormous value of spiritual encouragement, of being present with each other, of giving generously to those who may have little or nothing to give in return. We are not called to walk the road of life alone. Somewhere, there's someone -- probably many someones -- who need some fresh wind in their sails.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weigh-in Wednesday: Wrapping up the Challenge!!

This is it! It's over! Another challenge from the Sisterhood is DONE. Man, I can not believe how time flies when you're trying to reach a goal and not succeeding! It's incredible how fast this deadline has approached over the last few weeks.

My goals for this challenge:
  • lose a minimum of 10 lbs.
  • Okay, just be out of the 160's by the end of the challenge.
  • Geez, can you at least TRY to earn your 20# badge, for pete's sake?!
You get the picture?!

Well, I DID managed to at least earn the badge. But only just barely. I'm down only another 0.4 from last week, which means I've lost 20.2 pounds since starting the Becoming a Woman of Moderation Bible study, but only 5.2 of those pounds were now in this Shrinking Days of Summer 7-week challenge.

AND, I have to admit I cheated a bit. I gave myself an extra day this week. Normally, I weigh in on Tuesday mornings, but The Bushman and I went out on a last-minute date on Monday night, so I gave myself all day yesterday to try and shed a few more ounces. Or at least the ones I consumed during Monday supper!!

So I DID earn my 20# badge and I am ALMOST out of the 160's. If I hadn't been quite so easy on myself and allowed so many snacks at the beginning of this week, I probably wouldn't have had to change my final goal for this challenge a third time. I was so unmotivated this time compared to the last challenge!

I'm struggling a lot with complacency right now though (like I mentioned on Monday), and I know it will likely remain an issue until school starts in September and we get into a regular routine again, but I'm hoping to shed another 5 pounds before the girls start school in 7 weeks, so I'll still be working at it, even though I know it'll be hard to care!

Girly $5 Flip Flops by JazzyLolo

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Walk the Talk Tuesday

Breakfast: coffee w/skim milk, 1/2 c. skim milk, one slice toast w/Nutella & margarine
Lunch: one bowl Ramen noodle soup, one open-face salmon sandwich on a bun, 1/2 bun w/margarine, 1 c. iced tea
Supper: one serving Beefy Jalapeno Corn Bake, small serving Salsa Rice, medium serving cucumber salad, large serving mixed peas & carrots, 1 c. iced tea
Evening snack: watermelon and several Rollkuchen

Breakfast: coffee, 1 c. skim milk (some of which went into the coffee), 1 thick slice toast w/margarine & Nutella

two mile walk: 40 min

Lunch: 1 double hotdog (one bun, two wieners) w/two slices processed cheese, small handful nacho chips, small handful cheese puffs, 1/2 can of pop
Supper: one moderate serving Singapore Noodles followed by a smaller-but-completely-unnecessary second helping, two egg rolls w/plum sauce, one large serving Oriental coleslaw, two large pieces of watermelon
Evening snack: 1/2 bag microwave, low-fat popcorn, one large bowl of cereal w/skim milk


Breakfast: Small serving porridge w/skim milk and brown sugar, coffee

three miles: 45 min
(in order to make this time, I had to run a combined total of
9 hydro pole lengths ~ approx. 1/2 mile or 0.8 km)

Lunch: large serving leftover Singapore Noodles, 1 c. skim milk, one Mr. Creamy cookie (Oreo knock-off)
Afternoon snack: 5 pretzels
Supper: two small pork chops (done this way), medium serving leftover Hashbrown Casserole, medium serving tossed salad w/dressing, 2 c. iced tea
Evening snack: TWO lazy cinnamon bun tortilla roll-up thingies, 1 c. skim milk, FIVE slices processed cheese

Ugh. ANOTHER "ugh" day.

coffee w/skim milk, 1/2 slice toast w/margarine & Nutella
Lunch: one leftover hamburger w/processed cheese slice, 1 c. iced tea
Afternoon snack: TWO lazy cinnamon roll-up thingies, 1-1/2 c. skim milk (BAD tammi!!)
Supper: large serving pork fried rice, large serving Oriental coleslaw, 1 c. iced tea, 1/2 c. skim milk, 1 serving instant chocolate pudding

lawn-mowing: 60 min

Evening snack: almost a whole bag of microwave lite popcorn, 1 can pop, 2 thick slices cheddar cheese.

Again, not a great day. Man, that's three in a row now. NOT GREAT AT ALL! I don't think I've ever had TOM "munchie" trouble like this before. At least I've never given in to it like this before... Nasty.

This is the third day in a row I've felt OVER-full when I went to bed. Gross. I ABSOLUTELY have to get this under control if I want to reach my "second choice" goal of getting out of the 160s by the time this current
Sisterhood challenge ends on Wednesday. (my initial goal was to lose at least 10 lbs, but I nixed my chances of that happening when I allowed a small gain a couple of weeks ago)

Breakfast: 3 pancakes w/syrup, 1 c. skim milk, coffee
Supper: one hamburger, two small helpings macaroni salad, THREE tall glasses Coke

two-mile walk: 40 min

Evening snack: 3 Dorito chips. For serious. Just three.

Breakfast: half slice toast w/margarine & jam, 1 c. skim milk, coffee
Lunch: small bowl macaroni & cheese w/salsa, 1/2 slice bread w/margarine, 1 c. iced tea

two-mile walk: 40 min

Afternoon: one large glass iced tea
Supper: one medium bowl of chili w/nacho chips, sour cream, and a bit of shredded cheddar, 1 c. iced tea
Evening snack: one large bowl of cereal w/skim milk, three slices cheddar

Breakfast: coffee w/skim milk

two mile walk: 40 min

Afternoon snack: one helping of Shreddies cereal w/skim milk and a bit of sugar
Supper: (Date night! First one in about four months!!) large bowl cream of potato soup w/4 crackers, medium Caesar salad, large helping dry ribs, 1/2 slice of garlic toast, 1 glass Pepsi, 1 mug coffee w/1% milk

Well, not a stellar week again, that's for sure. I don't think I've done much more than maintain my weight again, despite the amount of exercise I got this week.

Total exercise time: 4 hrs, 25 mins
(moderate to hard exercise)

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Annoying Side of Contentment

I hate plateau-ing.

I know it happens for natural reasons. Those plateaus I can tolerate. Mostly because I know how to handle them and how to break out of them.

But then there are the other kind...

The kind that happen for emotional/mental reasons. Like the kind that says, "Hey, you've done great, sweetie. You're down from a tight size 17/18 to a comfortable 13/14 and people are noticing how awesome you look. Do you really want to bother killing yourself to lose another 15-18 lbs when you already look so much better than you did before?"

THERE! Right there, that last question. THAT'S the annoying plateau reason.

But you know the biggest reason that it's annoying? Because it's MY reason for not really achieving much in the weight loss department lately, dang it. I could handle it a lot better if it was happening to someone else! I'd probably even have great advice ~ or at least an opinion. But now? Not.

I HATE that I'm letting my own vanity become a stumbling block on this journey. While I certainly enjoy being smaller, I kinda don't like that I'm "feelin' fine" rather than still feeling like a buffalo butt. I sorta wish I couldn't see a difference in the mirror yet.

When I felt like a lard-a$$, I worked hard. I was motivated. Now that so many people have told me how great I look, I've kinda lost my motivation. I can easily see myself being content to stay here, hovering around 160 lbs, rather than struggling further to reach my goal of 145.

Someone call me a rude name, for pete's sake! Something to light a fire under my butt again.

I know how to push past a plateau that's occuring for physical reasons. I know you need to shake things up a bit, try a new routine, or a new eating plan. But how on earth do you break out of a plateau caused by laziness masquerading as contentment??!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Best News EVER!

Health experts have long warned of the risk of obesity, but a new Japanese study warns that being very skinny is even more dangerous, and that slightly chubby people live longer.

People who are a little overweight at age 40 live six to seven years longer than very thin people, whose average life expectancy was shorter by some five years than that of obese people, the study found.

"We found skinny people run the highest risk," said Shinichi Kuriyama, an associate professor at Tohoku University's Graduate School of Medicine who worked on the long-term study of middle-aged and elderly people.

"We had expected thin people would show the shortest life expectancy but didn't expect the difference to be this large," he told AFP by telephone.

Main reasons for the shorter lifespans of skinny people were believed to include their heightened vulnerability to diseases such as pneumonia and the fragility of their blood vessels, he said.

But Kuriyama warned he was not recommending people eat as much as they want. "It's better that thin people try to gain normal weight, but we doubt it's good for people of normal physique to put on more fat," he said.
(Read the entire article here.)

So there! all you ad agencies, magazines, and other media sources trying to tell us that skinny is the only way to be beautiful and healthy. Take THAT!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"It's MY body and I'll overeat if I want to!"

Ugh. You would just not believe how gross I felt this morning.

I'm guessing you probably have a good idea why. You don't know the particulars, but I think you know what happened around here last night!

Actually, I don't think it was last night's 1/2 bag of lite, microwave popcorn and the bowl of cereal that were really the problem ~ though that together with the bloating that often heralds the imminent arrival of "THAT" time of the month were probably mostly responsible for the balloon-like feeling in my gut today.

No, my problem yesterday was much more likely the whole day's worth of overeating and specifically, the NOT REALLY CARING and CLAIMING IT WAS ALL MY CYCLE'S FAULT. Much more serious, underlying issues.

But mostly the not caring.

I was rebellious.

I FELT rebellious. "It's my body and I'll die if I want to ~ overstuffing it with gross food combinations and unhealthy, unnecessary snacks."

It's so easy to buy into this world's philosophy that self is, and should be, of ultimate importance in any and all circumstances and decisions. We are naturally selfish and the slide into self-worship is either so slow and gradual or so slick and fast that we just don't even notice. And it's also very easy to blame God for creating us this way. You know, He really brought this on Himself!

It's SO easy to play that card. "God made me this way and gave me free will, so it's HIS fault that I'm choosing myself over anything else." As someone who's been a professing, born-again Christian for essentially my whole life, I'm ashamed to admit even I have these thoughts from time to time. It's so easy to forget all that we have ~ our kids, our bodies, our talents, our homes, our LIVES ~ have been loaned to us for only a time, and for the specific purpose of glorifying God.

In the Bible study I'm currently working through with my wonderful, "real life" friend Alicia and also hosting online on my ValleyGirl blog, we're learning all about the archaic concept of modesty. I don't think I've ever thought of modesty as pertaining to anything but the way we dress, but you don't really have to think very long about the words "modesty" and "moderation" to come to the conclusion that they have the same root.

So what are the principles that should determine and govern lives seeking to be modest in dress, modest in speech, modest in eating habits, et cetera?
  • The principle of Lordship: Jesus is Lord over all.
  • The principle of citizenship: If you’re a child of God, you belong to a different kingdom; you don’t belong to this world.
  • The principle of ownership: Your body is not your own; it belongs to God once you’re a child of God.
  • The principle of stewardship: God has entrusted some things to you, like a body. He’s entrusted beauty to you, and you have to use that in ways that are pleasing to the Lord.
Paul says to the Corinthians, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." {1 Corinthians 6:19-20}

We need to remember we were paid for by the blood of Christ. Everything we do should be a reflection of our gratitude and praise as a result ~ even how we eat. Yes, it's extremely difficult to comprehend and live this way, and yes, it's actually impossible, but our efforts are still required. Our goals should never waver, despite our fallen, sinful nature and the failures that come as a result.

God gave us the wonderful gift of free will. Rather than use it to fulfil my own selfish desires, I really do want to use that gift to honour Him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weigh-in Wednesday

Well, this was NOT the result I was hoping for.

I was really hoping for a 3-pound loss from my last weigh-in (July 1), and I thought I'd actually come closer than this. I behaved myself during the week at my parents' and have really only had what I would call a BAD DAY about three times over the last two weeks.

But, when I stepped on the scale yesterday morning, all I got was a measely 0.4 loss. It's still a loss and I'm fairly sure it would have been more if I wasn't due for "that time of the month" in a day or two. But still. I was definitely hoping for better.

I'm looking forward to next week's weigh-in (the LAST one in this challenge!!!) though, once all this bloaty weight is gone!

The Sisterhood - Team PURPLE!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Walk the Talk Tuesday

Tuesday (@ my parents')
Breakfast: coffee w/1% milk, 4 Mini-Wheats
Lunch: one open-face bun tuna melt sandwich, pickles, small glass iced tea
Supper: A&W Teen Burger and onion rings, half a regular Root Beer, one small slice cookie pizza

Wednesday (@ my parents' and sister-in-law's and aunt's!!)
Breakfast: coffee w/skim milk
Lunch: 1 small DIY sub sandwich, two small handfuls of chips, iced tea, 1 chocolate chip cookie
Afternoon snack: more cookies and a few chips. But mostly cookies!
Supper: large helping baked arctic char with onions and lemon (YUMMMMMM), small helping green/yellow beans, small helping mashed potatoes, two servings tossed salad w/dressing, two cups iced tea, 1 ice cream cone "drumstick" for dessert.

Thursday (@ my parents')
Brunch: one piece "ham & egg on toast," 1 c. orange juice, coffee w/1% milk
Afternoon snack: raw veggies w/dip
Supper: 2 cottage cheese perogies w/melted margarine & brown sugar, 2 potato & cheddar perogies w/lite sour cream, two 4" lengths of farmer sausage, one serving mixed peas and corn, 2/3 of a small Skor bar Blizzard. (dad paid, so I couldn't turn it down!)
Evening snack: Doritos w/salsa con queso for dipping. Large glass Coke.

Today was not good. But amazingly, it was the first really excessive day of the whole holiday, and it's my last day here, so I think we're doing okay!

coffee w/skim milk, bowl of cereal w/1% milk, 1 c. orange juice

Drove home for 6 hours.

Driving snacks: two small, leftover open-face tuna melts; 1 small bottle Starbucks "iced frappicino," two peanut butter granola bars
Supper: small helping barbecued venison tenderloin, small helping roasted potates/carrots/celery, large helping corn
Evening snack: two lazy cinnamon bun tortilla roll-up thingies, 1 c. milk, 1 can pop

Breakfast: 1 slice toast w/margarine & Nutella, coffee w/skim milk

35-minute, two-mile walk, followed by two hours lawn mowing. Man, I was BEAT after that!!

Supper: One moderate serving spaghetti w/meatsauce, one large serving tossed salad w/dressing
Evening Snack: large cereal bowlful of chips (1/2 Salt & Vinegar, 1/2 Doritos) and salsa

Breakfast: one slice toast w/Nutella & margarine, coffee, 1/2 c. skim milk
Lunch: one serving Salmon Potato casserole w/tartar sauce, 2 Oreo cookies

70-minute, four mile walk

Supper: one leftover barbecued pork chop, large serving leftover hashbrown casserole, one serving mixed peas and carrots, 3 roasted marshmallows.

Breakfast: coffee w/skim milk
Lunch: 1 c. skim milk

50-minute, three mile walk

Afternoon snack: an orange
Supper: large serving of fries w/vinegar and salt, large serving cucumber salad, 2 open-face tomato sandwiches (instead of a burger) ~ each w/Miracle Whip and a slice of processed cheese, tall glass iced tea.

Other than Wednesday and Thursday, not a bad week, really, considering I wasn't at home for half of it. Will this week together with last week translate to the 3-pound loss I was aiming for tomorrow? I guess we'll find out!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Weigh-in Wednesday

Well, I'm at my parents' place this week, and while they do have a scale, I refuse to use it for my official weigh-in. And not because I'm unhappy with how I've done, either!

Actually, the first half of the week was less than stellar, but since Friday night, I've done quite well, I think, despite being fed by my mom for the last 2-1/2 days.

Tomorrow afternoon I head home again, so I'll be back next for next weigh-in ~ hopefully with the 3-pound loss I'm aiming for!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Walk the Talk Tuesday

Breakfast: coffee w/skim milk
Lunch: 3/4 c. Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup, one toasted English muffin w/margarine, 1 c. skim milk
Afternoon snack: 1 c. iced tea, small bowl Old Dutch Mexican Chili chips.
Supper: one rather large serving of Redneck Corndog Casserole (the recipe says "serves 4," but I think 6-8 is probably more accurate), generous handful of carrot and celery sticks w/Ranch dressing dip, two honkin' fresh strawberries, 1 c. iced tea.
Evening snack (this is where the day gets ugly...): another bowl Mexican Chili chips, one can of pop, 3 slices of cheddar. FOUR Oreo cookies. Ugh. Not a great "half" day!

Breakfast: coffee w/skim milk
Lunch: 1-1/2 cups 5-Alive fruit juice, 1 c. hot V8, 1 nectarine
Supper: THREE servings Potato & Salmon Cakes (or casserole, in our case!) w/tartar sauce, cucumber slices w/Ranch dressing.
Evening snack: popcorn with margarine & salt, tall glass iced tea, 3 slices of cheddar.

Ugh, so much ugliness yesterday and today. Why is it when I'm already over-full, the only thing I feel like doing is eating some more? Anyone else have that problem? Pleeeeeeease tell me I'm not the only one!!

Breakfast: small cornmeal muffin, one serving Hearty Breakfast Casserole (leftovers from the weekend), 1 c. V8 Splash, coffee w/skim milk
Lunch: one toasted English muffin w/margarine, 1 c. skim milk

Mowed lawn for 40 minutes

Afternoon snack: handful celery sticks, 1/2 c. skim milk (leftover from one of the girls at lunch)
Supper: one small helping Redneck Corndog Casserole, (which The Bushman thought was the best invention EVER!!) large serving tossed salad w/croutons and dressing, large glass iced tea
Evening snack: 5 Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits, 3 thin slices of cheddar (have you been able to tell that cheese is a bit of a weakness for me?!)

Breakfast: coffee w/skim milk
Lunch: leftover tossed salad from last night (approx. 1 c.) w/a bit of shredded cheddar, a few croutons, and dressing; 1 c. V8 Splash

Mowed lawn for 45 minutes and with only about 10 minutes left to do, the handle fell off the mower, so that was the end of that. True story.

Supper: one orange, 1 c. Salsa Beef Chili w/some shredded cheddar and a dollop of fat-free sour cream; and WAY TOO MANY nacho chips for dippin', of course. One large glass iced tea.

30-minute, 2-mile walk

Evening snack: one slice bread w/margarine & Nutella, medium bowl of Salt & Vinegar chips, 1/2 can coke. BAD, tammi.

Breakfast: 3 pancakes w/syrup, coffee, skim milk
Supper: Potluck supper with people from the church and community. Ate moderately and controlled myself quite well, I thought.
Evening snack: 1 can coke, 2 bowls Salt & Vinegar chips ~ so much for a good day!

Brunch: two fried eggs, 4 strips of bacon, 1 c. V8 Splash, 1 c. skim milk, coffee

Drove for 6 hours to my parents' house. The plan was a success and my dad was surprised for his birthday!

Afternoon snack: one cold 4" mini-pizza (while driving), 2 handfuls mini Ritz cracker & cheese 'sandwiches,' 2 c. V8 Splash
Supper: small handful Bing cherries, small serving nachos, large piece of chocolate cream pie (the birthday "cake" in my family!)

Monday (@ my parents')
Breakfast: coffee w/1% milk, orange juice
Lunch: 2 small bowls cheeseburger soup ~ YUMM!!, small sliver chocolate chip cookie pizza
Supper: one 3" square piece of pizza, one helping of tossed salad with dressing, large glass iced tea, 1 c. 1% milk, small piece chocolate cream pie

Monday, July 6, 2009

Overcoming Self-Sabotage

Okay, now that we understand a little better how and why we do the self-sabotage thing. But NOW WHAT?! How do we FIGHT it?!

There's a wicked old MadTV sketch with Bob Newhart who plays a psychologist, and a patient comes in, complaining of all kinds of things and the doctor's sage advice over and over is, "Well..... STOP IT. Just STOP IT!" Wise, eh? Simple and yet so tough. How do we "just stop" self-sabotage?

1. Prayer. This is an area where I struggle the most. I have to admit, I sometimes get frustrated and annoyed when Christians talk about "just giving it to God" because, in practical terms, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??!! I think I'm finally figuring it out. I can't say that every time I'm tempted to eat something I don't need that I remember to pray and actively find something else to do, but I have had victorious moments and days in the last week. Each day this week, I've begun with prayer, including prayer for myself. That I would remember my early morning petition for self-discipline throughout the day when I'm tempted to sit here at the computer when my to do list isn't anywhere close to done, or when I'm tempted to eat and eat and eat in the afternoons while the girls are upstairs or outside for 'quiet time.'

The article I referenced in Friday's post says : "We should never forget the value of our quiet-time as a place where our fears can be confronted and overcome. It's greatly beneficial to take generous time for meditation--both to dwell on God's grace and provision for our life, and to stare our fears in the face and recognize them for the irrational apprehensions they so often are.

The author also says this is why it's important to establish our priorities and a daily schedule during our devotional time in the morning because when we resolve in prayer to spend our days in a certain way, we're responding to God's leading and not just our own impulses. "The conviction of God's call, more than any factor, strengthens our motivation and quells our fears of both failure and success."

2. Help from our friends. God's touch in our lives, including healing from our fears, so often comes through the encouragement of friends. What makes the fear of success so difficult for many is the mistaken perception that they alone suffer from it. Seek and cultivate relationships where you can be straightforward in sharing your apprehensions of success. Which is of course, what we're doing here in the blogosphere at The Sisterhood, and to a much lesser extent, right here on this blog. But as much as these sites may encourage us and give us news, hints, tips, and insights, it still can't take the place of a personal, flesh-and-blood friend to walk with, encourage, and pray for us. The renewed strength, determination, and confidence that comes from this sort of a relationship can be remarkable.

3. Manage the benefits of success. It takes time for our minds to adapt to change, even when it is most welcome. We need to be realistic about our own adjustment process and not make sudden drastic changes, even when we've reached our goals. This is particularly true when weight loss was the goal. Part of the reason I've failed to maintain my success in the past is because once I reached my goal, I figured I didn't need to be careful anymore. WRONG!

It's certainly not wrong to enjoy the benefits of success ~ the Bible extols the value of rejoicing in our achievements and enjoying the results of our work ~ the point is simply that balance is needed. And remembering that God has created us to find our greatest joy in Him, not personal success.

4. Keep the wheels in motion. Someone reportedly once asked Albert Einstein how he was able to cope with his remarkable notoriety. He replied that he dealt with it by continuing to work and pursue new goals. He didn't dwell on his success but kept his mind actively involved in new pursuits.

The motivation of Christ is experienced most fully when our lives are in motion --not frantic, obsessive motion, but prudent, natural motion toward goals which we've prayerfully resolved Christ wants us to pursue. It's through this constant forward movement that our fears can be overcome and we can find the courage to become the person Christ has created us to be. And it's within this movement that we discover most completely and convincingly the truth of the biblical promise that in His joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

So we need to give our attention to using the gifts Christ has given us, and to moving toward the goals He helps us establish for ourselves. Keeping our lives in motion will allow the Lord to move us beyond our fears of success ~ even sometimes beyond our wildest dreams ~ and into those accomplishments that reflect

His best for your life.

PS. Here's that Newhart video clip. It's funny stuff ~ especially if you watch right to the end.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Examining Self-Sabotage

I have a problem.

Let's have a show of hands; how many of you notice you have trouble with self-sabotage? Maybe you can identify with this and maybe you can't, but I know this is a fairly widespread problem and it affects many areas of life, not just my living well efforts. It seems to be the most prevalent where the most self-discipline and sacrifice is involved. Hmmmmm, coincidence? I think not.

What self-sabotage boils down to is FEAR. Fear of letting go of what's comfortable ~ old habits ~ and fear of change and challenge. It masquerades sometimes as laziness or lack of motivation, but deep down, it's fear. Plain and simple. And while we might be able to reason away the fears and make them sound like perfectly acceptable reasons we're not trying harder, we're still allowing fear to stand in our way.

My best friend, Alicia, and I have been in the process of trying to lose weight ever since, well, ever since we can remember. Both of us have periodically had temporary success, only to 'fall off the wagon' yet again, often undoing much of the progress we'd made. It's frustrating.

One thing we've talked about in the past is the fear of success. It sounds ridiculous, but it's a very real fear for a lot of people. We're afraid to reach our final goal because we know in the past that when we have, we've relaxed our self-discipline and regained the weight we just lost. It almost feels pointless to strive towards a goal that historically, we've started to UN-achieve the minute we reach it. Does this sound like you?

According to one awesome article, Christians are actually more prone to this fear than most people. Why? Because "Christian teaching often fails to balance biblical perspectives on the desires of the flesh and self-denial with the positive role of motivation and accomplishment in the Christian life. The result is a myriad of success-phobics among modern Christians. Many Christians are convinced that God doesn't wish them to enjoy significant success. There seems to be more nobility and humility in failure--and much less hazard to your relationship with Christ!"

The article goes on to point out there are four main areas of fear that characterize self-sabotage:
  1. Fear of punishment from God. Achieving success will mean experiencing more pleasure and happiness than we're entitled to in this life. Reaching the goal will make us more competitive with God, more like God. He won't like it. He will punish us.
  2. Fear of losing the affection of others. Will my success be a blow to someone's self-esteem, a silent criticism of their judgment or their lifestyle? We worry about the effect of wounding someone's pride with our success.
  3. Fear of increased responsibility. This is a big one. Change is tough ~ especially undoing years and years of bad habits. And of course, this fear isn't without justification. Success usually does bring additional responsibility, and some concern about being taxed beyond our limits is healthy. Yet we can also carry an unreasonable fear of not being up to bearing responsibility which Christ will enable us to assume. On another level, we can dread the increased sense of significance that will come with our achievement and the new responsibilities involved. We may fear that we're not up to handling it emotionally. Change in our self-concept is always unnerving--even positive change.
  4. Fear of insignificance. In the grand scheme of things, is reaching this goal that important? This is so not important compared to so~and~so's goals and achievements. If I'm not going to feel like this is a big deal once I've 'arrived,' why bother putting myself through the agony of trying?
Are any of these sounding somewhat familiar? Since potential success can breed fears of both significance and insignificance, there are two perspectives we need to realize and accept.

"On the one hand, we need to remind ourselves that Christ has a distinctive plan for our life. He has given you a combination of gifts and opportunities as unique from anyone else's as our fingerprints. The work we do may seem futile in a purely objective sense, but our personality and mix of gifts will allow us to relate to certain people for Christ within our lives in ways no one else is as well-equipped to do. And in the mystery of God's providence we'll be there at just the right moment to meet certain needs of people which otherwise would go unheeded. We must remind ourselves constantly that God's plan for us is personally designed so that the work we accomplish will contribute significantly to what Christ is doing to meet people's needs. God intends our life as a matchless gift to people. Others will be deprived of important benefits if we fail to act.

"At the same time we should remind ourselves that ultimately, our work is only one small part of the picture of all that God is doing. The work is God's anyway, and we're forever in danger of taking ourselves too seriously. Scripture does have plenty to say about the danger of success becoming an idol, but it speaks just as often about the positive side of success and the importance of using our gifts constructively for God's glory. "Whatever he does prospers," the first Psalm declares of the godly person (v. 3). God has ordained each of our lives to certain accomplishment. Yet the fear of success can hold us back from God's best as greatly as any other inhibition or sin."
What is God's best for us? I think we all have a pretty good idea of what this means. And now that we understand a little better what self-sabotage is, where it might come from or why it might be happening, come back next week for a practical look at overcoming it.

Because we CAN overcome it, and start victoriously living 'God's best' for ourselves. Tune in Monday to find out how.

Glider 1

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

Happy Canada Day, everyone!!

Well, I'm not down quite as much as I was on Sunday, but I'm still down 1.4# from last Wednesday, so I'm good with that ~ especially since we had company on the weekend.

I was REALLY hoping to earn myself the 20# sticker today, but I guess I can wait until next week! Oh, except I'm leaving on Sunday to spend 5 days in the city with my parents, so I won't actually know how I've done until the following week. Hopefully, it'll be a good discovery once I step on the scale at home again!!

Haha, wish me luck!