Archives for posts with tag: hope

Yesterday I shared about detoxing and generally preparing for the Daniel fast physically. It’s so easy to become so focused on the food, what we can or cannot eat, on recipes and where to buy all this organic, clean food that we tend to neglect the real reason for this fast.
The first few years of doing the Daniel fast I was so totally focused on the “how” that I lost my vision of the “why”. So while it’s important to plan meals, go grocery shopping in advance and prep your body for the fast , it’s even more important to prepare yourself spiritually. Why are you doing this fast? What areas in your life need a thorough house cleaning? What are those dreams that you’ve placed on the shelf? How close do you desire to become in your relationship with God? And most importantly, what is God desiring for you in these 21 days?
How about taking the next few days and preparing your soul and spirit for this fast? Take some quiet time, journal, pray, do what calms your mind and opens your heart and begin focusing more on Him.
Your body will protest, your emotions will crave coffee, your mind will try to talk you out of fasting but being focused on God, on His plans and receiving His encouragement, hope, strength and yes, correction, will help you going strong through this fast!

Part of my workout routine is yoga and I have to admit its my least favorite. I used to think yoga was calm, relaxing and a ” break” from all that cardio and weightlifting , but boy, was I wrong! Yoga will leave you shaking, sweating and with pain in muscles you didn’t know you had!
Now, dear reader, I think you know me well enough by now to know that I don’t ever take anything at face value. So let’s jump into this ocean and dive! I promise it will be worth your time!
The first thing I realized when I began to do yoga was how tight and inflexible I really was. I would look at the instructor and think to myself:”how on earth can you get into that pose and hold it for that long”?
If you let it,life will place you in positions and situations that will stretch you beyond your abilities. Just talk to parents of young children!By looking back and reflecting I realized that a lot of circumstances in my life stretched me and I had to learn to let go of my rigid ways and bend a little. Can you say “ compromise”? Other instances taught me what was really inside me, that I had abilities way beyond what I had believed I could do. God seems to place people in my life who see the potential and will not relent to place me in positions that stretch me into who I really am!
As in yoga, stretching is at best uncomfortable, and at worst highly painful but if you don’t back down and persevere you will learn to loosen up and gain strength in places you didn’t know you possessed strength! Your choice is to either fight it or persevere!

The next lesson i learned from yoga was in order to hold a pose you had to engage your core and focus ! It’s all about balance . I grew up dancing ballet and in order to perform a dance beautifully and gracefully you had to be able to focus! It was beat into us to always keep our eyes on a focal point. The minute we would loose that focus we would stumble and fall. Isn’t life the same? There are so many distractions around us to cause us to take our focus off God and place it on circumstances, events and especially those lovely distractions that promise joy and pleasure but ultimately lead us off our God-given path and cause us to waste our time and energy on something that will never fully satisfy our hearts!
Focus brings balance and balance is needed to keep dancing this beautiful dance of purpose and destiny!

That leads me to our core. I’ve had several back surgeries and in order to be able to fully function I’ve had to learn to strengthen my core through ab and back workouts. Can you say sit-ups? In yoga you can only achieve perfect balance by strengthening your core. Those muscles will keep you standing straight and strong! So what is our core? It’s our spirit! It is who we are and our connection to God and His Spirit. Yes, I know this might sound super spiritual but it really isn’t. I picture my spirit to be in the center of my body, right by the stomach. Whatever I feed my stomach will affect the rest of my body and either strengthen or weaken it. It’s the same with our spirit. If we feed it encouragement, kindness, peace and joy it will strengthen us. However if we choose to feed it negativity, unforgiveness, bitterness and self- pity it will poison and weaken us. I’ve learned and am still learning to feed my spirit through God’s word, gratefulness, thankfulness, hope and through friends who release life into my core. As with yoga you’ll have to exercise repeatedly to strengthen your core. Just like one ab workout a week will do nothing to build your muscles, neither will one session of bible reading or Sunday morning service build up your spirit. It will require a choice every day to “eat” healthy thoughts, words and say no to the junk food of criticism and negativity.
So, let’s allow ourselves to get stretched out, gain focus in what is really important and build up our core to carry us tall and straight through life!

Dance this dance of life with focused grace and gentle strength! That’s where your beauty shines!

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