My Word for 2015

I confess that the title of this post is a bit misleading. I don’t have a word for 2015. Though so many have adopted the practice of picking a word to be the theme of their year, I can’t pick just ONE word. I like words, and lots of them. However, I do like the idea of having an overarching focus for the year, so after some thought I came up with something that will hopefully serve to shape my attitude and my heart over the next year. Instead of a word I turned to God’s Word and picked a passage of Scripture to claim as mine for the year.

Here it is:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I’ve known this passage for a long time, but I’ve never spent a lot of time dwelling on it. The truth is, those are hard words. How are we supposed to do these things? It seems impossible to rejoice ALWAYS, to be prayerful ALWAYS, to be thankful ALWAYS. And it is. In my own strength, there is no way I can do those things. Though I hate to admit it, I am a generally pessimistic person. My first inclination when something challenging happens in my life is not to think, “Hooray! I’m doing back flips of joy that this difficult thing has happened! I’m going to embrace it and pray about it and be filled with gratitude for this trial. Praise the Lord!” Instead, usually my first inclination is to cry about it or stress about it or complain about it. Only later do I think that perhaps my time would be better spent giving the whole thing over to Jesus. My plan is to pray these verses every day and work on obeying the commands to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. By God’s grace, maybe by the end of the year, my first response to trials won’t be pessimism but joy. If being joyful, praying continuously, and giving thanks in all things is God’s will for me (and this passage says it is), then I know He will help me do those things.

I’m going to be honest here. Last year was not a great year for me. I feel like there were more disappointments than successes, more failures than triumphs, more challenges than victories. And I know that 2015 isn’t guaranteed to be any better because I’m claiming this passage of Scripture. God doesn’t promise His followers that if we follow Him, life will be easy. Truthfully, if we are following Jesus the way we should, we’re going to encounter suffering of some sort. BUT I also know that if my heart can adopt these words and my mind can be saturated with them, my spirit will be at peace even though trials may come.

So bring it, 2015. I’ve got my armor on!

Moving Forward

So, yesterday was Wednesday. (I know, aren’t you glad you have me around to bring you the late-breaking news?) It should have been weigh-in day for me, but I didn’t weigh myself. For one, I was sick and spent most of the day lying around, and two, I knew it wouldn’t be a number I’d want to see. The truth is, I let my 4 pound weight loss from last week boost my confidence, but it didn’t boost my self-control. Lame, huh? I didn’t track anything over the weekend, and that’s a sure sign that I’m not being mindful of my eating.

The only thing I did do well last week was exercise. I rocked my workouts, and on Saturday I ran my longest distance since October 2012: 4 miles! I even got up early and was out running before 7 a.m. on a Saturday, which is unheard of for me. And the best part is I loved every minute of it. I told myself I would take it slow and walk if I had to, but I was completing 4 miles. No excuses. So even though I wanted to throw in the towel around mile 3 and was wishing with every step that I lived in a flat neighborhood, I just kept running. I let myself enjoy the morning and soaked in the sun peeking over the horizon, the breeze tickling my face, and the stillness of the neighborhood. It was, dare I say, fun!

Post-run victory glow.

Post-run victory glow.

The victory of that run was so exciting, and yet I feel like my lack of discipline with my eating spoiled it somewhat. I feel frustrated that I can’t get everything right at the same time and frustrated that I’m already having setbacks after just 2 weeks of trying to lose weight. But the good news? Tomorrow is a new day and a new month, and I haven’t messed those up yet. I will face the scale tomorrow and move forward.

One pound at a time, one day at a time, one choice at a time.

A Different Kind of Hunger

Today was a crazy, stressful day. The firm I work for just moved to its new permanent location, and a lot of things are in flux, we don’t have internet, and I lost a key to a locked filing cabinet (I know, I’m fantastic). I had to run several errands today, and during the course of running these errands, I passed by many fast food restaurants. I could practically HEAR the french fries in McDonald’s yelling as I drove by, “Erin, come in and eat us! We will make you feel better! We’ll take all your stress away! We are piping hot and tasty!” (Who knew McDonald’s made such articulate food?) Quite the battle was being waged in my head, and I could have easily zipped through a drive thru and gotten a milk shake or some fries. I wanted to.

BADLY. 

But I didn’t. I can’t tell you how many times stress or anxiety has tempted me to eat, or more specifically, overeat. I tell myself that a little bit of “comfort” food will make me feel better and that it’s not a big deal because it’s just a few french fries.

It’s all lies. That food hardly ever makes me feel better; usually I just feel guilty. It’s not good for me. It’s chemicals on a plate. (Tasty, tasty chemicals, but still.)  And not only is it not good for me, but it doesn’t solve my problems. Eating french fries wouldn’t help me find the missing key or make our internet magically start working.

Eating food does not solve problems. More often than not, it just creates them.

Yes, I realize I need food to live, but that’s just it: I feel like so often I’m living to eat instead of eating to live, and that’s not the way it should be. I have been clinging to Psalm 107:9 recently, which says, “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” Notice that this verse says “hungry soul,” not hungry belly. The Lord does provide food, but He also provides something only he can: fulfillment. Satisfaction and fulfillment ultimately are not found in food, but in HIM. 
May I taste and see that the Lord is good. Always.

28 Pounds

As of this morning, that’s all that stands between me and my goal weight of 155. 28 pounds. 28 pounds shouldn’t be all that difficult to lose, right? After all, I’ve already lost 78 pounds! It’s not like I don’t know how weight loss works. I have all the tools I need.

And yet I can’t help but feel as though those 28 pounds are like 100 pounds. It seems daunting, and I can’t figure out why.  Oh wait, yes I can: discipline (or lack thereof). My attempts to lose weight since having Charlotte have been of the stop-and-start variety. I haven’t had long stretches of commitment bonded with action, and it shows. From June 1 2011 until January 1, 2012, I lost 12.2 pounds. That’s kind of ridiculous. Sure, it’s 12 pounds that needed to be lost, and I’m so glad I lost them, but a 12 pound loss over 7 months isn’t impressive. At that rate, it will take me approximately 16 months to lose these last 28 pounds. There’s no way that’s happening.

So what now?

If I’m going to reach my goal weight this year, I have to take action. I have to be committed. So for the month of January, here’s how I’m going to work on losing the weight:

1. Track all of my food. I got unbelievably lazy with this and haven’t consistently tracked my food since the summer. I told myself I didn’t really need to track, that I know what I eat and how many calories it all has. Lies! If I am not tracking, I let a lot of things slide. An extra cookie here, a regular Coke there, an extra serving at dinner, and before I know it I’ve eaten WAY more than SparkPeople’s recommended range for me. So back to logging I go. It’s tedious, but it works. I am more prone to think twice about eating something if I have to account for it.

2. Exercise at least 4 days a week. Since I’m planning to run a half marathon this year, this MUST happen. I need to work on building my running base this month anyway, so it won’t be hard to figure out what exercise I need to do.

3. Wake up between 5:00 and 5:30 during the work week. If I am going to exercise and read my Bible, I need to wake up earlier. Which leads me to…

4. Go to bed no later than 10:00 p.m. Ideally I’d like to get to bed at 9:00, but I’m going to start with 10:00 and then work my way back to 9:00.

5. Complete the Hello Mornings Challenge. (This challenge is hosted by one of my favorite blogs for moms, Inspired to Action, so check out the challenge and Kat’s blog. You will be blessed and encouraged!) I’m super excited about this and hope that it will help me achieve all of these goals.

Watch out, 28 pounds! I’m coming for you!