Revealing the One True Healthy Voice, Healthy Voice Lenten Devotional

May you be enriched by the message, scripture and powerful lyrics in worship today from your Healthy Voice, xo Meredith

Hello Spring. Goodbye Scale = Self-Worth

Hello my Healthy Voice friends. Today is a Faith, Food and Fitness Friday Blog!

Today also marks the first day of Spring. March Madness is in full effect and I want to talk to you about your scale strategy. Yes, that's right, I said scale strategy. 

In the spirit of the season that many of us get focused on how we're going to look in a bathing suit, I just wanted to take this time to share with you how important it is to have the right mindset before you get on that scale.

Our society has made the scale that you weigh your body on, a barometer for worth, social standing and sometimes success. Many of us can remember the times that we let a stupid number ruin our day, maybe our week. That's why many of us aren't looking forward to getting back on that scale - simply because it sucks to have to go through the roller coaster ride again. Up and down. Up and down. If you choose to get on that scale you take the risk of letting it determine your destiny. 

Think about the person who has been the hardest in your life to please. You spent ages wanting to make them happy and no matter how hard you tried, it wasn't good enough. Not only that, if you did well, there was still more ground to cover. You always felt with that person like YOU are never enough.

That - my friends - is the scale.

You have given it the power to determine how you feel about yourself when the only one whose got the power to do that - is you. So. Here's the deal.

Stop giving your power away to a number on a piece of plastic that gauges ONE thing - NOT your worth - but your Weight. Friends, it is THE WORLD that has told you for years that number on the scale signifies your worth. Take a second to realize how much of our own power we've given away to a scale.

Here's the other deal. I don't care what your relationship is to that scale. I don't care if you never get on it, you get on it every day, you get on it twice a year, you get on it backwards, you get on it at every meal, or 20 times a day. It's not about how much - it's like a drink for an alcoholic. Never is it about how much, it's about what you think it's doing for you. 

Let it be a simple number if you do get on it. Do your best to NOT let it determine your worth and if you aren't there yet, pray that God relieves you of the attachment to that scale or the perfect number you envision that it will one day display. I am certainly not saying don't have goals. Let the number be a piece of the bigger picture. Let your goal be what you learn when you DON'T make that number your self-worth.

If you are on a journey of weight-loss or maintenance or even gain because you've lost too much to maintain health - know that the joy is in the journey. The joy is in letting God take it off as he works in you. The joy is not in how fast you can get it off or how big the number is. That's why we're never happy when we here it, because it triggers our desire for MORE. It's never enough. I'm never enough. That's where it can take us. 

I don't know about you - but I'd rather do the opposite of what everyone else is doing and NOT get on that roller coaster ride.

How do I know this? Well, like you I have years worth of "getting on the scale" stories. But more recently I went to my doctor's office, and got a weigh-in for medical evaluation. That "number" has barely moved. How easily can I put that judgement on myself. So I focus on how I feel. I look to her to measure my waist. Maybe that will be better. Two inches. Awesome. 

It's the little things my friends. I didn't have to walk out of that room and let the day ruin me because of what the scale told me. I could realize two inches is great and still not make it the focus of my day. I can walk out of there and just keep walking, keep doing what I'm doing, make some adjustments that may need to be made but trust that it's all in the journey - cause the weight?

Is not the fix. All I know is that it's my relationship with God that carries me through the day and the journey of weight. I'd certainly rather have HIS Healthy Voice encouraging me in his still small voice than a loud, punishing Unhealthy Voice telling me I'm not good enough. I just know if he was sitting with you or I right now, he'd be going, "I love you. I'm for you. Don't let that scale determine your value. Let me take care of that, cause I love you with a love so great, that scale can't even come close."

Have a blessed day and weekend my friends. Until next time.

 

"Come Clean with God in Your Heart": 5th Healthy Voice Lenten Devotion

Hi everybody.

This is Meredith coming to you live for your fifth installment of the Healthy Voice Lenten Devotional Series. Today I'm going to be talking to you about "Come Clean with God in your Heart."

A few months back, I was watching Parenthood on Netflix. (I have this thing with music. If I'm watching a show and I hear a song in the background, I grab my phone and #Shazam it.)  Anyway, I hear this lyric, "Come Clean when the lines get blurry." And again, "Come clean when the lines get blurry." I thought, wow - that's powerful. I knew I'd use it for a message somewhere and this one seems to be it.

 I thought since we're about a week or two out of Palm Sunday and Easter, it would be a good time to talk about our hearts.

When I looked up the phrase "Come Clean" online it says "to be completely honest, nothing hidden" or "to tell the truth about something you want to hide." As I dig a little deeper I find what the Bible teaches us about being "pure in heart."

Matthew 5:8 says, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God."

Psalm 51:10 says, "Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me."

On the journey of growing more deeply in my relationship with God, I have found a huge difference in the way the world teaches us about our heart and what God actually wants for our hearts. The world teaches us to follow our hearts because if we follow our hearts then we'll be happy. But guess what God wants. He wants us to protect our hearts. He says in Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." And listen to The Message version of it:

"Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right or left; leave evil in the dust."

In that version we can really see what's in our hearts. Our human hearts are flawed. Our mind, will and emotions are beautiful things that are part of us. We're made to think, act and feel. But we're also given free will, and we can take all those things to an extreme! We can let our thoughts our emotions and our desires run wild without ever realizing that our hearts aren't what is to be followed, but a God who knows our heart.

We need to accept that our hearts need a regular searching and attitude adjustment. There's a lyric to a song that goes, "Search my heart, and search my soul. There's nothing else that I want more." It's by Hillsong United. It's a reference to Psalm 139:23, "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts."

In that verse, I believe he wants us to open our hearts to His grace so he can lovingly purify them and bring us closer to Him.

There is another verse about our hearts that I want to mention that we've been discussing at my church for the last few weeks. It's from Luke 12:34, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be." We've been discussing it as it relates to money, which has been great. But it's also revealing to me other ways my heart isn't quite pure. My intentions are pure, yes. But my heart? Has got some issues. The beautiful thing is that I've got a God who loves no matter what my heart is going through.

The even better thing? Is that he is there as I look at it. He is there as I "come clean" about the issues that are holding my heart. He is there as I walk through becoming "pure in heart."

Just so you know if you are curious, I'll reveal more of those in my blog on Monday as they are still in process. But I can tell you they reveal a mix of powerful and painful things about my heart in the way I react to and judge others. I can say that only because God's got my back. I don't have to judge myself or fear.  I can take an honest look and come clean about those so God can give me the strength to change my attitude and heart.

Here's the deal though, the only way I get to that place is that I have to be willing to look at what's not pure in my heart. I have to be wiling to let God search it and wait for him to work.  Then I've got to step up and be willing to look at what he reveals to me. 

So, here's my challenge for you this week. I know this is heavy, tough stuff. But if you want to go deeper with God, you've got to dig deep in your heart.

Ask him to create in you a pure heart. But go deeper. Ask him to search your heart and reveal to you the ways your heart is blocked. Maybe it's something you've been thinking or feeling or wanting. I don't know. It's something only he can reveal to you. Whatever it is, I know he'll be there to carry you through it so you can release it and get closer to Him. Remember he wants to make you "pure in heart" so you can SEE him.

And finally here is the the article I mentioned, "Don't Follow Your Heart,"by John Bloom from the Desiring God website. 

"Are you content?", A Monday Healthy Voice Perspective and Weekend Reflection

I don't know what the weekend service at your church was about, but ours was "It's Never Enough" from the Series titled, "The Elephant in the Room: Getting Past Your Fears of Generosity." Josh King, our church's Director of Discipleship led it and did a great job. He said "The elephant in the room isn't money but our fears about money," and fear brings "cowardly paralysis or courageous pursuit" - one of the two. He taught about money in a way that I love to talk about "healthy", breaking down the world's perspective vs. God's perspective. One of the points he made was with the world your gain is material wealth and with God your gain is contentment. 

Now, let me give you perspective on where I'm going with this, based on some of the experiences I had leading up to that service last week and weekend...

Right now, I'm listening to a podcast series called "Financial Fitness" with Rick Warren. This week while I was working out I listened to this Law of Contentment. Pastor Rick speaks of four keys to this law. 1) Stop comparing yourself to others, 2) Enjoy what you have, 3) Life is not about things, 4) Focus on what will last forever.

Stop Comparing yourself. All you have to do with this one is go to Facebook and look at who has got more of what you want. My friend Margaret and I were talking about this Friday, the different people we've had to drop on Facebook because of how triggering it is with all the places they are going and everything they have. Then I told her, I think we need to change our perspective on this. These people may have a lot but I was listening to a podcast this week that made me realize how much we need to realize the abundance of what we have. I asked her, "Are you content?" "Yes," she said. Of course we want more. But that's just human. The question is are you going to say, "I want what they have?" or realize, "I've got everything I need that God has given me." Are you so busy comparing your life and everything you have or don't have to others on Facebook that you can't see what you do have? SO many things. 

Enjoy what you have. The other week my husband and I went to pick up a bookshelf at a friend's house who was moving away. Now this house was absolutely beautiful - unique in so many ways and well loved. It wasn't just a structure. You couldn't see how special it was from the outside. But one you got inside, you were blown away. I left that place and I wanted it that minute. I wanted to move there yesterday. I remarked how a few years ago I would have almost expected it and had a temper tantrum if I didn't get it. But the reality, was that at this moment it's not a reality for us financially. I stared at the pics for a while imagining how I could make it ours. But you know what came to me the most? God will provide. He always provides. He's got something planned that fits us and that just might be staying put, and I'm okay with that. What a perspective.

Life is not about things. Amen to that. The other night my husband and stepdaughter were having a talk about money (theme again!). Both of them are very present to the face that life is about relationships and experiences more than things. My stepdaughter said, "I'd so much rather buy a cup of coffee with a friend and have an experience than go to the mall and buy a piece of clothing." (So proud!) Does that mean she doesn't want things? No. We were watching Kardashians last night and she told me the one daughter is wearing bracelets that are $6,000 a piece! I mean who wouldn't love to carry those Cartier masterpieces on your arm? (Even though someone could chop it off and buy a car for that much!) They are very nice but our goal as individuals isn't to make enough money so we can get those bracelets. Our goal is to be happy and I think we both know, as well as my husband that when it comes down to it - those "things" we want, we want, but we don't NEED. Our happiness comes from something greater.

Focus on what will last forever. I have had the chance to have a lot of things in my life. I enjoyed being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. But today, that's not something I can do, and I am truly okay with that. I'm only okay with that because it's not the world's "gain of material wealth" that I'm focused on, but a "gain of contentment" in my relationship with God. Why? Because I know there isn't one thing out there, or amount of money that could fill the hole that only God can fill in relationship. That gives me peace. That makes me know that when I have nothing, I have everything. It makes me know that when I'm working towards something, that God WILL provide in His time. 

I am grateful to know where true abundance, peace and contentment lies. I don't just know it in my head. I know it in my heart. So if I'm stuck resenting someone whose got more than me I just remind myself how much God has given me and continues to give me everyday. Does it mean it never happens? No. But -- I've got the antidote, and it's a lot more than things...

In the service yesterday, Josh posted a C.S. Lewis quote: "The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become." This morning my stepdaughter had one posted on Instagram also by C.S. Lewis, "If we find ourselves with a desire nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." (One called eternity. The things of this world are not our ultimate joy!)

On the way to the service yesterday, it's funny - because Mike and I were talking about that wanting more concept. In the program we call it "the disease of more." I believe we ALL have that. As humans we always want more, especially in a world that's constantly tempting us with it. Addicts just take it to a little bit more of an extreme I guess.

Anyway as we're driving, having this conversation and in the background is playing the song, "What We Ain't Got" by Jake Owen. The sadness of this song (and the video) points boldly to this human condition of wanting what we don't have. 

Here's the funny part, we're driving home from church and I hear this lyric: "I got everything I need nothing that I don't, everything I need, nothing that I don't." I know it's Zac Brown Band and I run inside to see the name of the song. "Homegrown." Hearing it wrapped up the whole message I was hearing from last week up until the service on Sunday.

 It's ALL About Contentment and realizing we've got everything we need. Yes, we're going to want what we don't have. We're human. It's just a matter of deciding to fear that we don't have enough or fear and trust that God's got a plan, cause we've GOT everything we need.

In fact, if we know God, we've got more than we can ever imagine.

(Both videos are below. If you are curious there is also an awesome version of Homegrown from SNL but posting this one for you to see lyrics.)

Also, here is 1 Timothy 6: 6-12, ESV that you can reflect on this week. The "love of money" is a whole other issue but just remember it's not money itself but the love of it. 

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and we cannot take anything out of this world. But if we have food and clothing with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into the root of destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving, that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, oh man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called...



Why "Healthy" is Spiritual for Me, Healthy Voice #Faith, Food and Fitness Fridays

So I was talking with a friend yesterday about clothes, you know - like the ones you don't fit into at this moment because you aren't quite the weight you were a while ago? So you put them on, when you are feeling good, eating better and working out, and you react to yourself with a "Really (insert your name)?!" as if somehow miraculously in the course of about 8 days of moving your body, everything is going to fit better. You know that feeling? Then we talked about how there are some clothes that pleasantly fit better and then others you think will, but they don't?

You know what I'm talking about. Maybe I just need to say the word #jeans and you'll relate. 

Anyway, as she's talking all I could say was "I get you girl!!" Then I thought about that thing we say to ourselves, that "Really?" comment. It's like permission to beat ourselves up. We don't even know it, but we're totally giving ourselves the Unhealthy Voice attitude. It's like a whole "Can't you get anything right?" voice that seriously does us no good.

I mean who are we expecting to be? Just because the world tells us that we need to have the weight dropped this minute, we somehow think that the world's standard is our own. It's amazing to me how easily we can just let it infiltrate our thoughts and our whole being about living a healthy lifestyle. We don't even give ourselves the chance to allow the process to unfold. 

Here's what I'm getting at - I am one of those people who  just gets way triggered by someone telling me about their next workout, diet or body fix. If I hear someone telling the number they are on the scale, I seriously have to walk away either physically, or in my mind. Why? Because that's just not where I'm at. 

My process of getting my body back, is NOT about my body. It's not about what I'm eating. It's not about my workout. What I do physically does not define me or put me on some pedestal to make me think, "I got this." My approach to it is completely and utterly spiritual and when your approach to anything in life is spiritual - you do not focus on quick results. You focus on "progress not perfection." In fact, you can't focus on the results at all, because you've got to focus on what God is working on in you. 

Now, I know that we live in a world that's all about being healthy, but I just don't do it the way the rest of the world does it. I'm training for a race, yes - but I'm not focusing on obsessing about my training. I'm focusing on the process - however long it takes, to get me prepared to cross that finish line. I am not focused on getting myself in "perfect" shape to cross that finish line. I'm preparing myself and in the process of preparing, I'm focusing on the WALK, not the RESULT.

It is not an easy walk, or shall we say run. After my body's been basically still for a year, I would LOVE for the weight to drop. I also know when I go to the doctor's office and she says, "Step on the scale," she wants it to be there too. She wants to see the physical, visible result of a number. But for me I have to almost say, "I appreciate that you want that to be even better but I've got to stick to my truth and my truth is that I'm trusting God in the process. Period. End of story."

And people wonder why they are so obsessed with the "number" on the scale, on the pants or on the calories line of the Nutrition Facts box. It's because we've made the number the bar we set in so many ways, that we haven't given ourselves a chance to focus on just eating what FUELS our bodies. From the inside out, our society teaches us to buy into these numbers as our basis for worthiness of "healthy" and I'm here to say - it's a bunch of BS. I'm not saying I don't have weight to lose, or ways that I can eat better, or things I can do with my workouts to improve my health.

But there is only one way that I do this walk, and it's with God leading me - not someone's quick-fix scheme. That is the ONLY way I don't lose it - because HE leads the way to healthy for me. So when I get on that scale, I know, "God's with me and the process and results are up to him." All I've got to do is show up, and to be honest I'd rather have long term improvements, than quick-fix body changes. I'm in this life for the long haul and my purpose goes way beyond making my body the main focus. My body is a vehicle for God to work through me. But my focus is on being a channel and letting my work on the inside show it's results on the outside. 

The outside is NOT my focus. 

I'm a true believer that, to find your Healthy Voice you've got to: Be willing to go beyond the weight and get beneath the surface.

Think about it. Are you willing to stop going with the crowd and go within? Doesn't mean you won't workout or eat right. In fact, it includes that, but are you ready to leave the results up to God, including that body you want so bad?

"We Gotta Love Until the Fog Lifts", Healthy Voice Lenten Devotion #4

So, I don't know where you live but there was a serious fog outside my window the morning. It was so thick that they gave the kids a 2-hour delay. As I write this, it is lifting - but this morning I sat down in my writing chair and couldn't help but reflect. 

What is it about dense fogs? What are they there to teach us?

There's this little island called Nantucket in the Northeast about 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. Very cute, quaint, and preppy. My family vacations there and my Dad of course loved it as well. In fact, it's the last place I got to be with him just a week before he passed away. 

The thing about Nantucket is that it's famous for it's fog. Little planes fly into the airport everyday. Many times they are grounded because the "Nantucket Fog" is just that dense. So you wait it out, sometimes until the next day. But the thing is, you don't really mind it - because there is just something about it. Sometimes when you are there it hangs around all morning and lifts just in time for you to go to the beach. Other times, it sticks around all day. Sometimes, day after day. But like I said, there is something about it. It gives you this warm and fuzzy feeling inside cause you get permission on vacation to sit around the house and do nothing but drink coffee, read books and cuddle up in a blanket.

There is just something special about fogs.

In them, we are given two choices. We can either go through the fog and just trust it will clear, or, we wait it out until it's clear. Either way, you know the fog will eventually lift and the sun will eventually shine. But you don't get to know when that moment will be so you have to decide how you are going to approach it. It's like any decision in life. We don't always know what's ahead. Sometimes it doesn't seem clear - so we either have to wait a little longer to get a better picture, or we take a step out and risk it, trusting that if God's leading us, he's going to take us right through it. It's like Proverbs 16:9 says, "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

But there is something else about the fog. It's this feeling you get that, every little thing is gonna' be alright. It's this expectant hope you have for when the sun eventually shines. It's this peace in the time while you rest. It's a peace much like the peace we find in our relationship with God.

***

You know when I went to look up where "fog" is in the Bible, I found it in 1 Corinthians 13:12 where it says, "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting through a fog peering through mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright. We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly as he knows us."

Let me give you the context.

This verse is within the chapter written about love. The Message Version of the Bible calls it, the "Way of Love," in which we are taught to love no matter what. There is one verse that says, "If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, no matter what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."

That's because love isn't supposed to be out of duty, but out of the love God has for us.

The next words say, "Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always 'me first,' doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering truth, puts up with ANYTHING, trusts God ALWAYS, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love NEVER dies."

It's up to us to love while we are here on this earth, love like He first loved us. It doesn't matter if it's Lent. It's anytime. We have to love until the fog lifts and he comes back for us. This earth is a tough place to live. In some places the sun doesn't shine, but it WILL -  and the best thing we can do while we wait - is learn to Love as God loves us - without pretense, condition or expectation - JUST LOVE.

I encourage you this week to read 1 Corinthians 13. Watch the video "Proof of your Love" by For King and Country I'll have posted and think about how you love. Think about where you can love more for the long haul like God loves us, and less for the temporary fix. Not only that, realize if you have to - the love God has for you. Listen to a song called, "One Thing Remains," by Brian Johnson and Bethel Music. 

Whatever you do - let God guide how you love - and let it shine through you - until the fog lifts.


Weight and where we stand with it

I have had some SERIOUS revelations this week about weight. Maybe it's because I'm back into a mode of taking care of myself - working out, eating right, feeling like myself again. It's like the weight on the outside of me is there teaching me something as I SLOWLY take it off. And when I say slowly, I mean slowly. Like no scale budging, and it's like people are always going to judge whether they are weighing you in or they are seeing you for the first time in a while thinking, "What happened to YOU?" Well, honestly I don't know what they are saying or thinking. It's really none of my business actually. But if you've been one of those lifetime strugglers with it - you get me. It's like going into a Weight Watchers meeting and getting accolades because you've lost 20 pounds in a week and the next week showing up having gained. I mean, the death looks. It is no wonder we have so much shame about our weight. Anyway.

Earlier this week, I turned on that show My 600 pound life. Wow. Now I know those women and I are in very different places? But I totally "get" it and all I could think while I watched the 15 minutes of it that I did, was "This is proof yet again that weight is NOT a surface issue." It's ALL in the mind, like Joyce Meyer says, the devil likes to make your mind the battlefield. It's not the food. It's how we think about the food. The weight is just this obnoxious thing that is evidence of our emotional attachment or addiction to the food. It's yucky stuff. Watching that show I felt so convicted to talk to more women about the weight underneath - NOT the weight on the surface. Those women are doing that show, trying to eat little meals after surgery, they need a coach and a friend whose going, "I GET YOU," not - okay I lost 150 pounds and this is how I did it. Everybody always wants to make it about the weight and I'm just telling you right now, I'm protesting. I'm not going to talk about the weight anymore. I want to talk about the REAL weight - the things holding us down, the past, the pain, the feelings we have to push through....That's what I want to talk about. I challenge you to do the same with your group of friends. HA! Bring it up at your gym and see what happens!

On another note, this week for me was all about the little changes. I added lemons and limes to my water, not because I was told by some rule I had to do it, but because it felt good, and THEN I found an article on it. I stopped eating my one little slice of Ezekial bread in the mornings and it was like huge. It's amazing to me how us as food/carb/sugar addicts, whatever - we so have that disease of the mind and body. My husband could have a pancake loaded with sugar one morning and he'd be full till four. I'd have that, and I'd be starving in an hour from my blood sugar spiking and thinking about food ALL DAY. So crazy. I had no idea not having a piece of flourless bread at breakfast could trigger that insulin response so much. I mean I knew it, but I sometimes you don't really KNOW it until you make that one little choice to change. I'm also happy to say that our run last weekend went great. Was surprised at how far I could go compared to last time. Felt so encouraged! On Tuesday I got with Michel for my workout and told him how that stupid scale doesn't budge with all that's changing but how happy I was that I don't give all the power in the world to that scale to determine my worth or how my day will go or else I would be in a completely different place! And each day, I keep feeling better on the inside because I know God's working in me. He knows I'ms showing up, working out and letting him do his work in me instead of focusing on some quick-fix for my body. It is SUCH a trust thing to trust God with your weight and health. Wow. Try that on for size the next time you want to pick up that old pair of jeans and shame yourself! 

Have an awesome weekend everyone.