Tag Archives: God connection

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Gratitude Empowers Success!

IMAG0212“It’s hard for someone who is satisfied with the things of this world to deny themselves.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

Ouch! Did you have to step on my toes?

I don’t like to think about sacrifice and self-denial, which might have something to do with the extra 60 pounds that needed to go. Feelings of deprivation are something I fight, not just with food but with other parts of my life. One thing I’ve found to help fight those feelings is focusing on gratitude.

In 2012 I started a gratitude wall. (This idea was from One Thousand Gifts, which encouraged writing three things a day that you’re thankful for so that you’d have 1,000 in a year). I wasn’t consistent. Instead of  daily chronicling, my typical behavior was to record gratitudes for a while, then forget until I got really grumpy. And then grab my sharpies and write 15 at a time. Or more.

Even with my haphazard approach, I reached my 1,000. Every time I planted my feet and wrote on that wall I come away better. Blown away by all the amazing blessings God gives me and my loved ones, I felt less deprived as I focused on all that good instead of what I couldn’t have.

My little wall is a bit like Lysa’s attitude adjustment. She said, “Say to yourself, ‘I’m not deprived of an unhealthy option. I’m empowered to make a healthy choice.'”

In Paula world that would be like getting grumpy because I know I shouldn’t consume a bowl of pasta or several cookies–or french fries. Instead of dwelling on that I grab a pen and write the stuff I can have:
yummy pomegranate (didn’t even know I liked them until the last 6 months)
crisp, juicy apples
baby spinach with walnuts and craisins
lettuce with salsa, chicken, and cholula sauce
Balsamic chicken and a little brown rice
Steak
My BeFull shake with frozen fruit

You get the idea.

But Lysa took it deeper. Her gratitude thoughts are:
health
renewed energy
decisions that led to confidence and peace
decisions that honor both my body and my God

I add joy to that list. Ease of movement. The twinkle in my hubby’s eyes these days. Discovering prayer walking in the midst of sunshine and birdsong.

With God’s strength self-control is possible. Instead of thinking we could never give up something, we can switch our thinking to how we are empowered to make healthy choices and embrace the gratitude of the many good gifts we get to enjoy.

My gratitude wall penning went from April of 2012 to December of 2013, so itIMAG3179 included my weight loss journey, which was really fun to look back upon. Here’s a glimpse of some weight loss gratitudes that I hope encourage you:

  • There are no calories in Cholula sauce, herb tea, or pickles!
  • Dropped 32 pounds
  • Walking, praying, and singing beneath a blue sky
  • the courage to persevere even when the struggle is long
  • lime in water
  • strength to draw boundaries
  • Jerry likes the shape of “everything” since I’ve lost 50 pounds
  • lavender and mint scenting my water
  • Sexy homecoming!
  • humus!
  • raspberries, dark chocolate, and wine
  • God promises I will not be defeated

How about you? What makes you feel deprived? How do you combat the negative emotion? What are you empowered to enjoy? Grateful for?

Tweet it!

Gratitude empowers success!

Carnival Mirrors and Mocking

Pretty much any time we step out into new territory we are opposed.

If you haven’t experienced this, please let me know. I want your secret.

Several years ago I began a weekly devotional called Soul Scents. It wasn’t long before I got hate mail telling me all the reasons I wasn’t good enough or holy enough to write about spiritual things. After a few tears and lots of prayer I kept going. How? I clung to the truth. I didn’t have to be good enough. The only way anyone is that good is because they are covered by the blood of Jesus. That writing experience was one of the best of my life, and a few thousand came on the ride with me.

What if I’d listened to the critique?

Fast forward to now. I’d known for a long time I was supposed to offer videos on my blog. A few weeks ago I finally stepped up. I felt exposed and nervous, but that first Monday Makeover was a personal victory! It wasn’t perfect, but I said what I knew I was supposed to say. I DID it.

But after a day or two the opposition started.

This time it wasn’t from people; it was an oppression that became so tangible it was as though the very air I breathed cried out, “hopeless,” telling me there would never be true success, that I would never really influence this world for the better. Even the air around me seemed tinged gray.

I pushed through videoing my second Monday Makeover, sharing Truth I absolutely believed, but speaking out of a determination to move forward, not out of free-flowing joy.

That Monday was awful. Tuesday morning was not much better. I read my Advent devotional determined to embrace the beauty. While it shined pencil light into my darkness, I still felt I was suffocating.

I tried to journal, to talk to God, but instead of free-flowing conversation there was confusion and an overwhelming sense of condemnation. In my mind I saw a strong man standing before me, glaring at me, arms crossed. I cried out, “Lord, this is not the True You, the Loving God You’ve revealed to me.” I think the last thing I wrote in my journal is that I felt powerless and needed Him to rescue me.

I went on with my day, attending my critique group. When it was my turn for advice on my manuscript I asked for prayer instead. My friends surrounded me.

It wasn’t long before one spoke up. “I believe the Lord has given me a picture that reveals what you’re dealing with. I see a “fun” house full of a maze of distorted mirrors. Over a loud speaker comes mocking laughter, playing over and over. You’re fighting to look in a true mirror, but you can’t find it.”

She was right. Those three women began praying and before I went home that day the gray film no longer suffocated me.

I knew who I was. A daughter of the King.

Maybe I’ll tell you the whole story someday, but for now my message is simply this: You will be opposed when you move forward; but you will NOT be defeated.

Believe. Keep walking forward. Grab your friends for prayer and encouragement. Ask God to rescue you. Read TRUTH.

IMAG0288

The darkness wants to destroy all that is good in this world, to keep us captive to despair and doubt. To tell us we are unimportant, ineffective, and unable to succeed.

But the Good News is “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does NOT overcome it.” (That’s from the Gospel of John.)

I hope to hang some lights later. If you happen to drive by my house know that I’m shouting victory to the world with their every twinkle.

The LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness has NOT overcome it!

Victory over the Carnival Image