Refueling Our Tanks!

As women, we all possess two areas–two tanks–that can run on empty.

First, we have that get-up-and-go area–our oomph, if you will–our energy level.

Second, there’s that more out-of-sight area–you know, the veiled one—the one we try to keep hidden from others–our emotional level.

Of course, both of these areas ebb and flow.
Our energy “tanks” become low through illness, lack of sleep, not eating the proper foods, not exercising, etc.  On the other hand, our emotional “tanks” deplete themselves in sneaky, less noticeable ways. You are excited about moving into a new home, you have a sister who is getting married, a child having a baby, family visiting for the holidays. All happy life-events, right? Yes, and all life-stressing events.  Down goes that emotional tank. We don’t even need to mention the unhappy events that will deplete our emotional tanks, do we? Those are not sneaky at all!!!

How about filling UP those tanks?
Those energy tanks can be filled back up fairly easily. We’re ill so we go to the doctor and get better. Lost some sleep? Take a nap and catch up. Been eating poorly?  Start a new diet and begin to watch what we eat.

However, those emotional tanks are a bit trickier to refresh. We can be energetic on the outside, but almost completely sapped and emotionally drained on the inside. We don’t even know we are on the edge until something pops up and throws us a curve—it can be the tiniest of things once you get to the point of emotionally running on empty. Your feelings get hurt over the smallest infraction on someone’s part. You begin to over analyze everything and want to control all of life’s events.

We need to learn how to refuel our emotional tanks BEFORE we reach that empty point! Our emotional tanks don’t empty out all at once, so we don’t notice how empty we’ve become until it’s almost too late to refuel!!

So, how can we do that? We need to be refueling WHILE things are depleting us not AFTER. Using the analogy of our car gas tanks–we don’t wait until they are totally empty before refueling. Same thing here–we can’t run on empty! It takes time to refill your emotional tank, so don’t wait too long to begin the process.

Let’s look at some examples of how we can refuel before running on empty.

  • Spend time with the Lord, reading the Bible, praying (these activities always tend to take a back seat when life gets hectic)
  • Make yourself a priority (everyone suffers when we are not at our best, so don’t feel like you are being selfish when you put yourself first and take care of yourself)
  • Make a date with yourself for some pampering time (pedicure, manicure, “me day”)
  • Exercise (this is also one of those things that takes a back seat when life gets busy)
  • Keep your diet clean (when we don’t eat the foods that “fuel” our bodies, every other area suffers)
  • Spend time being creative (activities you enjoy, such as gardening, crocheting, painting, reading, etc.)
  • Make a gratitude journal (it’s hard to stay down when you are being thankful)

You’ll be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, etc., when you are NOT running on an empty emotional tank and when your energy tank is full!! The people in your life deserve to have you at your best.

When your energy and emotional tanks are full you are refreshed, both in body and spirit. Your outlook is renewed. You are refocused on those things you hold dearest.

I will be filled with joy because of You.
I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:2

Breaking the Sugar Habit

Why is it so difficult to break the sugar habit? Studies have shown that sugar may help curb stress, which keeps us coming back for more…and more…and more. This hormonal effect of sugar is what creates a craving for sugary “comfort” foods when we are stressed out.

In its natural state, sugar is a relatively harmless (even necessary) carbohydrate that our bodies need to function. It is found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy as a compound known as fructose or lactose. The problem comes when sugar is added to foods during processing for added flavor, texture, or color. This is more common than you may realize–you don’t have to be in the candy aisle to be surrounded by added sugar!

Eating too many of these empty calories has many health effects, the most obvious being major weight gain. Added sugar drives your insulin levels up, messes with your metabolism, and causes those calories to turn right into belly fat. YIKES! And while losing weight is well and good, that’s just the beginning of the health benefits of cutting back on the sweet stuff.

Here are just a few other legit reasons to fight the sugar habit:

  • It may lower your blood pressure
  • It may lower your bad cholesterol
  • It may decrease your heart attack risk
  • It may keep your brain sharper
  • You’ll be less likely to have Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • You’ll be less likely to suffer from depression
  • You’ll break your addiction to the sweet stuff
  • Your skin will look younger and more clear
  • You’ll lower your risk of diabetes
  • It may help prevent fatty liver disease
  • It may help reduce your risk of certain cancers

NOW, FOR THE GOOD NEWS! You CAN overcome your addiction to sugar. Below are a few tips to get those cravings under control.

KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR IN BALANCE
Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. So, it makes sense that cutting out sugar will help keep your blood sugar stable and your brain functioning at a higher capacity. Keep your blood sugar in balance by:
EATING A NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST
Protein like eggs, protein shakes, or nut butters are excellent choices. Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss.
EATING SMALLER MEALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Eat every 3-4 hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, and beans).
ELIMINATING SUGARS AND ARTIFICIAL SUGARS
Go cold turkey. This will help your brain to reset. Eliminate refined sugars, sodas, fruit juices, and artificial sweeteners (Stevia acceptable substitute) from your diet. These are all drugs that will fuel cravings.
TRY TO GET SEVEN TO EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP EACH NIGHT

Research shows that lack of sleep increases cravings.
AVOID EATING TWO TO THREE HOURS BEFORE GOING TO BED

PRAISE Bible Study Method

PRAISE Method

PRAISE Bible Study Method

Introducing the PRAISE Method of Studying the Bible.Here’s how it works.

P – The P stands for PRAY. First, confess any sin God reveals to you. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding of the truths you will be reading and for a fresh hunger for His Word. Pray the passage over your own life or someone you love. Ask God to help you live out your applications.

R – The R stands for READ. Read chapter or verses for the day. Then choose 1-2 verses and write or type them out word for word. Say the passage aloud.

A – The A stands for APPLY. Personalize the verses. What is God saying to you? How can you apply them to your life? Are there any changes you need to make or any action you should take? Ask yourself the question…”How will I be different today because of what I have read?”  So much of Scripture application is about the “today-ness” of it. That’s why we need to come to the Word on a daily basis to get a “word” from the Lord.

I – The I stands for INVESTIGATE. Dig a little deeper. Look at cross-references or commentaries regarding your daily reading. Highlight, underline or place a mark in the margin of your Bible next to any one Scripture that stands out. Identify the characters, the setting, the circumstances surrounding this passage. Break the verse down, line by line. Dissect it, word for word, asking the Lord to give you wisdom and understanding. Make a list of the thoughts, questions and ideas that come to you while you read this passage.

S – The S stands for SUBMIT. Submit to any changes the Holy Spirit is prompting you to make in your life.

E – The E stands for ENGRAVE. Engrave God’s word on your heart by memorizing a chosen verse from your reading.

As you read each day, end your time with a few moments of pure PRAISE. Thank the Lord for ALL He has done for you. The Psalms are a great place to go to for praise prompts. Read God’s Word back to Him OR get a hymnal and sing/say the words of your favorite hymns back to Him! Two great ways to end your time in His word with a time of PRAISE.

Almost Always

I almost always love fresh starts and new beginnings. I almost always look back at the year gone by and think…”Whew! I made it through another one without any major health issues, deaths in the family, etc.” While last year was still a blessing as far as health, that death in the family thing…well, I didn’t get through the year without that issue. I lost my biggest cheerleader, my most faithful pray-er and intercessor, my best friend…I lost my Mom.  She went to be with our Lord a few months ago. 

In January, when my inbox overflowed with emails telling me to—“Begin this year…say yes to a fresh start now…change your life“…yada, yada, yada…this almost always girl wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t feeling it. I felt left behind. Grief does funny things to your personality. So, here I am in almost February wanting to say “Happy New Year!” I’m ready now. Joy and anticipation have come forward and grief has taken its proper place at the back of my mind. 

So…HAPPY NEW YEAR!

If you have had an almost always kind of beginning to your new year, please join me in a symbolic flip of the calendar to 2015 today. Be encouraged. Be joyful. Be ready. Be renewed. This is the day the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

We were made by God—for God. HE is our biggest cheerleaderHE is our most faithful pray-er/intercessorHE is our best friend.  I may have lost my Mom, but I will always have Him! May we all be reminded of that today!

Prove It!

A simple wedding reception. That’s how it all started. Over three decades ago. Surrounded by hope, joy, and anticipation. I felt only despair, sorrow, and dread. My marriage was over. Didn’t they know how it would all end up? Part of me wanted to charge forward and frantically warn them…“It’s not what you think. This won’t end well.” Fortunately, I kept my thoughts to myself. I had enough going on just trying to cover the big “D” plastered on my forehead. On the way home, I blurted it out–“I want what they have.” There. I said it. It was out of my mouth. I looked at my Mom and admitted it. Yes, I wanted what “those people” all had. There was a common, obvious thread among them. What was it? One simple, life-changing answer. They had God in their lives and it showed. They looked good. They even smelled good. More importantly, they loved good. I was treated like “one of them” (even though we all knew I wasn’t). They were living proof. Walking and breathing testimonies.

They made me want to be like them. They made me want what they had. They made me want God. “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16, NLT)

More than 30 years later, I know. I know God uses His people to call others to Himself. I know God uses His people to show His love. I know God uses His people to repair broken lives. I know…because they proved it. I know…because God was faithful to do it. “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” (Matthew 3:8, NLT)

We were put on this earth for only one reason—to glorify God. We are here to show who HE IS, not who WE ARE. “He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.” (Psalm 23:3, NLT)

So, today, let’s honor His name by our lives. Let’s honor His name by our love. Lord, may we be a people to cause others to say…“I want what they have.”

The LORD is my portion…

Portion control.  OY!  For this ONE or TEN girl (I have no FIVE), this is a huge issue.  I have always told people….”I do much better practicing total abstinence.  I can’t just eat one donut, so I have to go without!”

Hmmm…. actually, this adage has always just been my excuse for a lack of control and discipline.  I don’t think I am alone.

This way of eating keeps us in a perpetual state of roller coaster dieting.  Bad for your body, bad for your brain, and really bad for your confidence and self-esteem.  Way too much time is spent beating yourself up for over-indulging and patting yourself on the back for a job well done. Personally, I am more bruised from the beatings than the pats! This inconsistent living gives Satan a foothold in our lives.

While researching “portion control” for this post, I ran across more than a few websites touting their “small plate systems” for losing weight.  They actually sell plates or plate systems (for $99) that will prevent us from overindulging.  Wow!  I was shocked.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  But, I did come away feeling like I shouldn’t need to be tricked into eating a healthy diet.  Time to buck up and buckle down.  No more excuses…and no purchasing $99 plate systems.

The Lord did not create our bodies to be treated like a teeter totter.  He created us with balance.  We are His masterpiece.  Created by the Master.

So, this year, I have deemed my
“YEAR OF LIVING IN THE 5-ZONE.”   No more extremes. Time to exercise some self-control and self-discipline. (1Thess. 4:4)  Time to exercise some moderation. (Phil. 4:5)  Time to live a holy and honorable life for God.

The Lord is my portion…

Want help honoring God and controlling portions?  Click HERE for some guidance.

Ready–Set–Go!

I love new beginnings! What a blessing to ring in the new year with you!  I always look back and think…”Whew!  I made it through another one without any major health issues, deaths in the family, etc.”  I know.  Sounds like it’s all about me, right?  Sorry about that.  Actually, it’s all about HIM!  What a joy to anticipate all of God’s goodness, mercy, and faithfulness ahead.  We can be confident that God’s decisions and ways are greater and wiser than ours and that we will see His glory in 2014 and beyond!  (Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! Rom. 11:33)

Let’s not just blindly flip our calendars. Let’s enter into this new year with excitement and new hearts and minds.

Let’s not just wander from month-to-month. Let’s enter each month searching for ways to be more obedient, kind, faithful, joyful, and active in others’ lives.

Let’s not just live from day-to-day with no direction.  Let’s run at life equipped with our Bibles, our faith, and our God.

Let’s press on and run to win (1Cor. 9:24).
Let’s be finishers–not just starters. (Phil. 3:14).
Let’s release those things in life that are slowing us down and keeping us from a mighty pursuit of God (Heb. 12:1).
Let’s remain faithful to the end (2 Tim. 4:7).

He is worth it and, as children of God, our lives are worth it.

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