I signed up for a 60-Day Challenge at the gym. The concept is if changing a few things for 60 days then hopefully it becomes a habit. Their thoughts are by working out more often it will become a habit. So yes, I am hitting the gym more often. They ask the question, “What’s Your After?” So, I have been pondering my after.
Smaller and Stronger, also healthier. I want to be smaller, not like I was in high school. But healthier. I have made changes in my diet. The first change was to give up wine. I love enjoying a glass of wine on the back porch. It is something that I could do every night and not think twice about it. I gave it up because of the weight it put on me. So, what do I do for that back-porch enjoyment of having a drink? Mocktails, of course. I make a mean mojito with sparkling water, crushed fruit and mint.
One of the other things I wanted to lessen in my diet was my love for beef. It is a “go-to” for me. I love burgers, steak, spaghetti, just about any way you can cook beef, I love. But after a week and a half of no beef, I wanted a burger. I found a beef & mushroom patty that was good. Could not tell there was mushrooms in it. I am not a fan of mushrooms, like the flavor but not the texture. I also cut most bread out of my diet. This one was tough because I eat sandwiches for lunch most days. Pita pockets have come a staple in my house now. Yes, the burger went inside the pita pocket. I do not miss the bread much.
So, with the 60-day challenge concept in mind, what is YOUR after? What habit would you break? Or start? Among the dietary changes I have made, I have focused more on my faith walk. I have started writing scripture. It is part of my morning quiet time. When I miss my time, I really miss it. I love spending time with God in His word but also in nature (meditating). I find jewels of scripture that allow me to shift my focus from me to Him throughout my day. I have a month-to-month scripture writing tool I use. In writing scripture, it is not just writing it, it is reading it, writing what it means, how it applies to your life and how does it enhance your view of God. There are times I find it challenging. Reading Paul’s writings seem to be the most challenging for me (little bit of a headache sometimes).
I am also trying to memorize verse that speak to me. One such scripture is Psalm 51:10-13 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.” I have use verse ten several times in my blogs. But recently I have been dealing with a ghost of an event that happened a long time ago. Verses 11-13 restored my hope. I found that I moved away (or at least tried to move away) from God again because of this ghost. When you read verse eleven, do you hear yourself asking God to not cast you away? It hit me…we ask God to stay with us, but we so easily cast Him aside. We remove ourselves from Him and place other things over Him.
Verse twelve ask God to restore the JOY of salvation. Over time we lose that joy. We get overwhelmed by life. The saying “Life happens” is true. But if we do not make every effort to spend time with God, life happens, and we find ourselves discontented and grumbling. Joy is not happiness, do not confuse the two. Happiness is an emotion that comes on based on experience. Joy one the other hand comes from deep within, it is an inner peace that comes from God. We have to have a willing spirit within us to actually experience JOY. When we love people like God loves us, then we experience joy. But we have to be willing to share ourselves with others.
Verse thirteen is what my blog is about. To teach God’s ways and to help others return to God. There have been times recently that I have written things but failed to publish them because I heard that voice inside me that says, “I can’t”. Those are the times that I believe the lies I tell myself and fail to teach God’s ways to anyone including myself.
What is YOUR after? What would you change to become a healthier you? We are talking physically but also spiritually. What are you holding onto that is causing you pain? I recently found a jewel of scripture, Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Draw closer to the throne of grace, my friend, so that you will find mercy and grace during your time of need. Take 60 days and make a change (or two).