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Feed the Body, Feed the Soul

The journey

I’ve been thinking about the correlation between the food we eat and the food our spirit needs. And when I learned that March 8th is International Women’s Day with World Food Programme, I thought this would be a good time to talk about being hungry.

I’m hungry most days.  Not because I don’t eat enough…more often because I don’t eat.  I’ll realize at 3:00 in the afternoon that I’ve had nothing, or perhaps half a banana, all day.  It’s not good for me.  It’s certainly not helped me slim down–in fact, it’s had the opposite effect.  I used to have good habits with food.  I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day and built in the right snacks.  It kept the hunger pangs away and fueled my body effectively so that I was productive from morning til night.  But, not maintaining some structure has made me aware that I’ve lost the desire for breakfast, feel drained by early afternoon, and often make poor food choices in the evening because I’m hungry.

Ironically, my spirit has faced the same kind of neglect.  I used to have steady devotion habits.  Morning prayer time, steady appetite for  reading inspirational books, being plugged in with small group and Bible study, and praying at the drop of a hat during the day.  Like food, my lack of structure has left me feeling drained, untethered, and short on faith.

I think about my lax attitude towards food and remember that there are people starving the world over…even in my own city.   And there are people in other countries being tortured for their secret devotion to Christ.  I have no right to dismiss these gifts that others would cherish and make the most of.

I’m making some good strides in changing these things and with God’s help, I know I’ll get there.  I want to be hungry again…for all the right reasons.

I know I’m not alone in this.  What are you hungry for?

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Persistence

 

Persistence (AP Images)

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. –Calvin Coolidge

On Monday evening, I was flipping between two shows.  I didn’t realize that the Olympic sport being shown was called “ice dancing” (I just thought it was pairs skating), but I’d seen the Canadians as they qualified over the weekend and wanted to see them go for gold in the finals.  Yes, the costumes were flambouyant; and yes, the dances lacked the jumps we love to watch, but I didn’t care.  I was captivated by the sheer determination it must have taken every Olympic hopeful to get there.  The announcer stated that a coach had paired the Canadians at ages seven and nine.  Imagine giving up so much and practically living your life with someone else beginning in second or third grade because of a dream.

When I look at my own life, it’s clear to see that persistence was hard-wired in my circuitry.  And that’s both good and bad.  It’s great when we go after a goal, or start a new hobby, or decide that we’re going to help someone.  Something inside pushes us not to give up.  On the bad side, it can show up as needyness and competition, both of which hamper our ability to grow and affect change.

What is it within us that makes us strive for more? To reach for something that allows us to make the world a better place?  I think it’s specific passions born by God into each of us.  And what we do with them shapes who we are and alters the world around us.  Powerful stuff.

I was joyfully tearful when the Canadians won that night.  It was wonderful to see their persistence pay off.

What are you passionately persistent about?

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In Comparison of Others

Photo credit Peter Daveney

I admit it.  Sometimes I compare myself to others.  I wish I managed my blog and connected with new people as well as Lindsey does.  To have the effortless grace Tami does would be wonderful.  And how I’d love to wake up every day knowing exactly what I was made for, the way Britt does.

But I am not these fabulous women.  I’m me.  Not that there’s anything wrong with being me.  I know I have my own unique gifts and talents–it’s just that sometimes I wish I possessed the unique talents other people already have.  Wouldn’t that be fun-a sort of “widget”  list of great attributes we could add to ourselves?

We all struggle with “Keeping up with the Joneses”.  There’s a need to be seen as having it all together, staying on track with our career goals, having the perfect marriage, and being the perfect parents.  As I’ve gotten older, there are a few lessons beginning to take shape:

  1. Titles don’t make the person-Early in my career, I set some serious “over achiever” goals for myself.  And I worked way too hard to get them. A few years’ back, I realized I didn’t care about the ladder anymore.  I cared more about being passionate about what I do.
  2. Being passionate is a must-The business cards, the paycheck, being part of a leadership team…none of that can ever add up to “enough” when you are alone with your thoughts if you don’t love what you do. Same goes for who we love, who we’re friends with, and what hobbies we spend time doing.  We’re just burning hours without passion.
  3. Being happy is worth the risk-If you aren’t in a career, relationship, or church you love and are fed by, make room for a different possibility.  Be willing to be uncomfortable for a little while in order to be happy in the end.
  4. There are no perfect people- We all have strengths–and weakenessess–that make us who we are.  And while I may see characteristics in others I’m motivated to add to my own list, I know that God created each of us for a specific purpose and without those inherent traits, we would be unable to fulfill our purpose.

” Why compare yourself to others?  No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.”-author unknown

Do you struggle with this too?

 

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Knowing When to Hit “Pause”

Hitting Pause

Hitting Pause

The two-week break over Christmas gave me some wonderful time to think about my life-plan, bond with my family and friends, and look ahead to what I want to do better in 2010.   And even as I walked back into the office on Monday, I noticed how much more laid back, happy, and inspired people were.  Why don’t we do a better job of making rest time a priority? 

Here are a few of my biggest takeaways from that time off: 

  1. Making good memories is easy-We didn’t have to take a lavish vacation to make some great memories this year.  Almost totally unplugging (there’s always room for improvement) and really focusing on family activities made the time pass too quickly, but offered some great events we’ll cherish for years to come.
  2. Saying “No” must happen sometimes-It’s easy to get overextended and allow that rat-race pattern to become routine.  Breaking away from some of the commitments really frees us up to be creative and at peace.
  3. We have to stop trying to be like others-This blog is a perfect example.  I wasn’t born to keep a blog updated-it’s not my life’s work or passion.  I got into it because I saw people I respect doing it and thought I needed to follow their path. But what comes easy for some becomes a burden to others.  I’m not going to post every day, or likely every three days.  Making peace with that fact has made blogging enjoyable again.  There are  areas in each of our lives where we must manage our own expectations and do what feeds our own souls.
  4. If we don’t like our lives, it’s our job to change it-Being passionate about our work, crazy about the people we are around, and happy with how we spend our downtime is our responsibility.  The Lord gave us a chance at eternal life, and the Bible gives us a great tool for navigation.  But no person, job, friend, or gadget will make the grass greener.  If life’s not going according to plan, we have to change it.
  5. Things don’t have to be perfect-Sounds simple, but some of us struggle with perfectionism.  Keeping a perfect house has become less important to me than making sure there’s quality family time.   And by reminding myself of these five points even now, I can truly appreciate the life I have.  It’s messy sometimes, but I’d have it no other way.

What revelations have come to you when you step out of the fast lane?

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