The Simple Life

Starting Strong


Last week I bumped into some friends at a local mall. It was absolutely hilarious. We haven’t seen each other for a few years but he reads this blog faithfully albeit silently. So I am walking from the opticians heading for the supermarket when I see a guy leaning on the wall near the shoe shop look up from his phone, see me, look away, take a second and third look then goes like…

“You!!!!!!”

Okay….who is that and then it hits me and I am like is that Sammy?

“Oh my God!!!! Sammy!!! It’s you!!!”

Then begun a one and a half hour conversation about just about anything with him and his wife who joins us later and one other passing friend and the response was the same…shock and surprise at how much weight I have lost. It also brought some things to light because I am not really thinking about how I look.

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“You need to document this process for people” he said.

“That is what the blog does right?” I replied

“Maybe give a few more detailed ideas on the process from start to where you are today. It will definitely encourage someone.”

It gets me thinking because I had a similar response and challenge in the very same mall, close to the very same spot with a totally different person just two days before this encounter. What are the odds that people are asking the same questions if the answer isn’t needed?

The next morning, Emma, Sammy’s wife, calls me to help her figure out how to get on the path to weight loss and better health and once again I realize the need. So today we will explore the first element.

Know why you are on this path or want to get on the path.

We have all heard people talk about knowing why when it comes to life change and motivation so I won’t belabour the point but you must have a deep personal reason for starting on the health, fitness and weight loss path.

In my case, the conversation began with God a long time ago about my optimum weight which I exceeded for several years. It would have been easy to say I am not over 100kg and there are people bigger than me but in all honesty I felt like I was 100kg yet I was just at 70kg. I looked like the proverbial African woman with a beautiful shape and nice hips but few noticed me struggle to stand for long, walk for long, keep my energy and focus up. No one saw the struggle within.

Every time I asked God for strength to keep going He gave it to me alongside the reminder that I needed to work towards our optimum…yes I said our optimum. Since He knit me together in my mother’s womb and knew me even before that, He also knew the maximum size I needed to be for optimal function and he held me accountable for it. He made a regular demand for me to go that way and I had the choice to align or walk away.

Yes, I had the choice to align or walk away.

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I finally had to make a choice because the fatigue plaguing me was too much and it became the trigger to ask for help one last time clearly intending to do something about it. My why isn’t just about being smaller, it is ‘To become all that God has shown me and operate at optimum.” That may sound amorphous but it is so clear for me because in there is a very clear definition of optimum and targets for weight, fitness and diet…His definition.

I can’t get away from His definition because it has been present for many years and every time I have attained that definition I have actually enjoyed it. I can only determine in my heart to walk the path no matter how challenging it may be. It has allowed me to be driven by a very personal, internal reason that stands the test of dissension or discouragement and gives me the capacity to walk a largely solo path and change that I may encourage others to do the same.

What is your Why? What is your driving reason?

Find it today and you will find the energy and focus to be more than awesome in this day. Let it be grounded on a clear word from God, a promise you can stand on, a calling to fulfil for him, an opportunity to showcase him. Find your WHY in God

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Prov 19:21 ESV

There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. Prov 19:21 NKJV

The Simple Life

There Aren’t Simple Answers


This morning as I meditated on life it became very clear that we are all here for a finite period and then we ascend to our Father.

As I reflect, God reminded me of a young lady I met over Easter as we ministered in a local girl’s high school. She readily smiled warmly when we walked past each other even though we hadn’t really spoken before that but there was a depth and calmness around her. When the team went on stage it was clear that she loved God and was there to honour Him above all else. Our paths crossed again late May at yet another girl’s high school but this time she was picking up equipment to go and setup elsewhere.

She was calm and warm keenly focused on getting to the next venue to be ready to spend time with others in the presence of God. She was not bothered about the inconvenience it was to come for the equipment, and it could have been viewed as such because it provided a chance to shift something for God.

By all appearances, she was in perfect health and full of energy but less than three weeks later she was resting in her Heavenly Father’s arm. At the onset I was like this is insane! Then God began to open my understanding as people in the team began to share about her. She was a pillar, reliable, accountable, faithful, committed and loved by many. She was in the prime of her life, ready to conquer the world, stepping out boldly into the market but in a blink, she was gone.

Then my Father reminded me that despite all the things those around felt, in His scheme, she had run her race and finished the assignment and we who were still here needed to do the same. It was imperative that I looked at life through His eyes and not through the lens of my understanding. He had taken her when she was young but her purpose was done so in His eyes she was old enough. There was so much more she could have done for Him, yet it was also ok that she now rested with Him.

The biggest one for me was her health and beauty. We talk about looking good, being attractive, eating well but for what reason since our bodies are finite and will definitely end up in the soil and rot. No apologies for being morbid.

So I ask myself, ‘Why the focus on health and fitness?’

What difference does it make if we will all end up in the same place…six feet under? Why bother to try and live well and a bit longer? Why you ask too?

There aren’t simple answers but I will share the ones He has revealed to me as energy to keep going no matter. We are all born of dust and to dust we must return but the biggest reality is that there is a definite path for us to follow and tasks for us to finish to the glory of God the Father.

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The Simple Life

It’s Stretching


Today I am borrowing a post from Ms. Jane Thuo.

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I have never given birth, my knowledge of physical stretch marks is limited. But I know about spiritual stretch marks because I have been stretched proper.

God has stretched me, He continues to stretch me.

It’s baptism by fire. When the fire of God comes into your life it’s painful before it’s pleasant. He comes in and burns up everything in your life that is useless, and what’s worth keeping He sets up on fire for His glory. Yes

He shakes things up until those things that cannot be shaken remain. God works on you until you let go of all the useless things in your life, and you’re hanging on only to the ROCK that cannot be shaken.

So when the father of all lies came whispering in my ear today he had another thing coming, I took out my bazooka like Ryan Phillipe and it was like a shooter episode – total massacre! I think he’s still recovering from a nervous breakdown.

Yes, on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. I will not look to the right or to the left but straight to Him who is my rock, fortress and my salvation. And yes as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me…..my God will deliver me from the fiery furnace, BUT even if He does not, I still will not bow down to any other god.

It’s one thing to trust God for something. It’s another thing entirely to trust God through something, or continue to trust God when it looks HOPELESS, and everything around you is shaking, and you don’t understand what’s going on, nor believe it’s fair. It’s difficult when something is stripped off your life that you’re not ready to give up yet.

Trusting God is a decision.

You choose to pray and not worry. You choose to trust His plans and not yours because you don’t know. You trust God with your pain, because it may hurt now but you are birthing something new.

You trust God to build your house, because unless He builds it you labor in vain. Trusting that His plans are to prosper you and not make you fail. Trusting that nothing you are experiencing is a surprise to Him. His ways confound the wise.

Trust, lean on, rely on and be confident in the Lord and do good…sow good seeds. Nothing pisses off the devil more than when he’s throwing his best of jabz at you, and you’re busy smiling and saying ‘I will trust God, do good, and help somebody when I’m at it.

Stop overthinking things, leave it at the cross and enjoy your life. Be satisfied knowing the one who knows, even when you can’t see the big picture now. One day you’ll look back and say, now I get it.

Now I understand why God had to make me go through that.

The Simple Life

They Are Watching


I am called to showcase the realities of a consistent life so I must press on and stay the course

Recently I had lunch with friends and as usual I opened the salad page to figure out my meal. It is an restaurant I like so choosing a good meal isn’t too hard. I’m so engrossed in my order that I don’t realise I am being watched. I order a chicken salad with vinegar and olive oil on the side and my friend almost bursts into giggles before she says, ‘I was waiting to see what you would order.’ I laugh because she is one of those who has watched me walk this journey.

As we sat around the table I realised many other things have changed in me. For instance, I no longer have the taste for soda while only 6 months ago I could drink two litres on my own. I no longer tolerate creamy dressings yet I was the main perpetrator of those. I also can’t really tolerate the commercial tomato sauce, ketchup or chilli sauces I prefer chillies cooked down but not the commercially made one.

We are just past the five month mark and my life and body have changed indeed. The thing that got me however is the reality that there are people watching. I have shared goals and progress with everyone who would listen so some people are actively watching what I am doing. I have met others who have noticed a new confidence or change in how I dress, and some are watching closely. But the difference I have noticed is that they aren’t watching to see what will fail but rather to encourage and be encouraged to be consistent.

There is evidence I have changed but I still have some growing to do and I am realising just how dependant I must be on God to live this way for the rest of my days. Coach always says that losing weight isn’t work; the work is maintenance and this week I have realised just how true that is. As I sat having lunch I thought about how easy it is to start something, make progress and then stop when things get hard, but I am called to showcase the realities of a consistent life so I must press on and stay the course.

There is evidence I have changed but I still have some growing to do

That caught me again because my Father in heaven knew that I was the best person for this life and so He gave it to me. He knew that I would build the right support structures and connect to the right people. He knew that I would commit to the process despite the challenges along the way. He knew that I would face every challenge and surmount it all the same every day.

Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of life and the Lord of love…my heavenly Father. Thank you my Father for your faith in me and your strength and love that has come through your children. Thank you that I can count on you every day of my life and I can be sure that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by walking with you.

I press on toward the mark set out for me and run with perseverance the race marked out for me, walking away from the desires that seek to ensnare me and strengthened by the power and might of God. I will never give up because he loved me enough to lay his life down for me.

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The Simple Life

Drill Master Needed


How often do we say we don’t know the way forward yet all we need to do is to reconnect with who God has said we are and ask Him to clarify everything all the time? I’d say too often. How often do we use common statements when we don’t really understand what they actually mean to us and how we must live them out? What are those things we do just because we have always done them yet we don’t understand the reason behind them?

I dare say it is time to question everything, absolutely everything in and around us.

There are things I need to understand and grow into that only God can highlight, explain, and shift for me. There is nothing impossible with God so as long as I concentrate on what He has said and how He has instructed me I will be able to deliver the same. Yet I cannot concentrate if I don’t have a full picture of Him and where we are going… the guiding light. The picture that would give me the capacity to keep walking and remain committed to the path no matter what. A real picture of whom I am in God and who I need to become that I can hold onto.

I must begin to ask God questions about things around that He may make sense of it.

Several times in the last week or so, I have found myself correcting my posture; tucking in my core and sitting straight up, shifting the position of my legs and how I lean forward and how I rest until my body says ‘That’s the right way.’ In the middle of one of the posture corrections, I saw the picture of soldiers standing in a parade, tall, straight, solid, fully alert, looking straight ahead no matter what passed near them. In an instant, it hit me like a great bolt of light I understood their posture was important because it allowed them to focus on what is important.

buckingham-palace-guard 1Even when they are at ease their posture is strong, solid and alert, always ready to step up and make the right move for the sake of the nation. I think of the guards on sentry duty outside Buckingham Palace. They don’t move a muscle for the duration of their shift even if people take photos with them. Yet if they notice an attack about to happen I am sure they would respond with precision. Imagine these are just ordinary soldiers so what do the Generals go through to reach the fullness of who they are and who they must be always as they lead their teams.

God has made me His Special Assignment Soldier, and there’s a very specific way I must train to rise into that. Training needs a good drill master who pushes me relentlessly past my perceived limits into new territory, who sees the potential in me and will pull it out even if I feel like I am breaking. Who will notice when I am overextended and ensure a pullback to avoid injury. Who will ensure the right measures are taken for cheeky behaviour.

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This helps me deal with any limiting thought patterns I have and break down barriers that hold me back. He is there to push me past the things I have feared doing so that I can see myself as my Father does and become all that He has said I am. He functions as a vessel to push me into the fullness of the divine plan!

Wah!!! I must remain in this place of accepting who I am in God and connect to the deeper expression of the reality of Him. This time it is more than just words and must be about true and lasting transformation on the inside that will overflow to the outside. It is all about knowing who I am in you and becoming it. It is about a consistent walk with him, not one hit wonders or one-word wonders.

It is open eyes living based on what He has shown me; being the best I am in Him; taking daily walks with Him as a partaker into a deeper reality of Him.

 

The Simple Life

Keep Going…


Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. God isn’t finished with you, so keep on moving forward. Even the snail reached the ark by persevering!         – Ps Rick Warren

I am very reflective and introspective. I love to look back and think through life, learn from my challenges and responses and know where I am in reference to where I am going and how much more needs to be done before we get there. Many days I find that unless I have spent time in reflection, it is harder to keep walking with a spring in my step and joy in my heart. So I sit and reflect and tag coach along to assess and contribute.

Meals were on point! Kudos! Did you manage to work out as well?

Saturday and Sunday are my rest days so no work out, unless standing in the parking lot for two hours talking counts 😎.

Ha! You have jokes. Rest is important for recovery 👍.

I have been learning the importance of rest. In fact the break I took has been helpful… I’m able to push my body because I know where we’d got the last time.

Push your body as in endurance?

Yes.

Gotcha!

This morning one of the exercises was sidekicks and I was amazed at how my mind didn’t freeze when it showed up but begun to figure how to do it. Wasn’t easy but I completed the set.

👏 👏 👏 👏👏👏👏👏.

☺ It was exhilarating.

I bet it was. That’s fantastic! You’ve come a long way, grasshopper 🙂.

Indeed! Its mind blowing to realise that just 5 months ago exercise terrified me now it’s exhilarating. Thank you for your steadfast support.

Power of transformation!

True, now I know change is possible no matter how hard it seems at the start.

You committed and did the work, which combined with willpower and determination goes a long way.

It helped that I had a drill master by my side 🙃; and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Ha! Drill master

Yup! Recently I was thinking about who God has made me and He reminded me one of the names He calls and then I realised that there’s a very specific way to train to rise into that and a good drill master who pushes you beyond your perceived limits is an important part… Thank you Capt. Drill master

Wow! What’s amazing is your commitment to stay true to the course and be honest about the journey given the distance. It’d be easy to lie about progress, workouts or lack thereof since there’s no “Drill master” physically present to watch your every move. I hope you give yourself plenty of credit for that.

Yes it’d be easier to lie but I learnt that the loser if I lied would be me, my son and the generations tied to my out coming. As for ‘Give credit and amazing,’ those have never really crossed my mind 😎. I simply thought this is what people do when they give their word. Thanks for pointing another point of celebration. It’s really been school… Learning to keep my word no matter what and put in the needed effort

Amen to school. Learn and grow. Even when it is slow going and everyone is passing you, keep walking, follow the dream that God has given you. Keep walking because every step counts.

Stop, listen to God, learn and grow no matter how slow you seem to go.

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The Simple Life

Still…I must get past it


‘What is the plan for this new season? What is God saying about this new start?’ My mentor asked.

I know she wasn’t just putting me on the spot but she was asking from her meditations. She was asking because it was important that I kept in mind the reason I was on this path. After all, nothing works like a clear vision and reason to keep going.

‘I am still on discipline and consistency, it hasn’t changed.’ I replied.

The word ‘still’ caught my attention. Still presupposes that there is more learning needed as the thing sought hasn’t come fully or reached the fullness of what could be. Still means there is space to grow from the constant presence. Still means the mark is yet to be fully attained. So I was still in the class about discipline and consistency.

It is four months and twenty-three days since we started and we were still on the same learning curve with God. Is this where I should be? Is it that I hadn’t reached a certain target or I hadn’t connected to something? Is it that I am or have been lost and need course correction? Are we working on a higher level of where I have come from? What is it that we are back here for another season?

Consistency shocked me because I had become totally consistent to a fault. My body would refuse to rest if I hadn’t worked out but the fact we were still here meant that something hadn’t been attained. Discipline too had been attained for a period and progress has been made, so what is it? Several things stand out for me:

  1. I haven’t reached my target weight.
  2. I was still on the elementary stage of the workout regime so there are still stages to reach.
  3. I have been avoiding certain exercises because my mind would say they are too hard and I’d change to something simpler.
  4. The fear of failure still sat somewhere in the vicinity waiting for me to miss a step and then run roughshod over me.
  5. A deeper level of faith still has to be activated through this process
  6. Class isn’t finished

So I am still growing into the fullness of who God sees me and there are challenges I must overcome that I may be the right person to help others. He showed me that this process is less about me and more about the lives for which I need to show an alternative. There are others who need to understand the possibilities by watching my journey. I have to become the fullness of God or we will all remain at the same level until I learn it all and commit to keep learning.

Learning never stops! I cannot say that I have been here for X months I need to move on.

Moving on is premised on my capacity to learn everything for this phase and then move on to the next phase regardless of the pain or process. Moving on demands I get comfortable with change and challenge, accept that life isn’t all smooth sailing but is a great mix of growing through the hard times and moving forward step by step.

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There is no downtime or space to just sit and do nothing. To walk with God is to be constantly about his business and doing what needs to be done to honour Him. Period!! ‘Still’ has to become fuel for the next level.