The Simple Life

From Mindlessly Scared to Trust


A few days ago, I was thinking about this journey and I realised that it is like none other I had ever done. I thought it was just about weight loss and health but have discovered that is the excuse God has used to get my attention and teach me many lessons.

I write for a living and some of my recent work has been more intense than I could even explain. It was sectors I had never tackled and with intensity and short notice like nothing I knew. It was easy to stop and panic and a couple of times I actually did. Several times I sat at my computer to work and my mind went blank… totally blank. A couple of days I sat there all day and nothing came. That is terrifying especially when there is a deadline fast approaching. Yet only God could get me out of there and He was strangely silent.

One of those days, I was off kilter because of the pressure. I couldn’t do much until God impressed a good friend on my heart. As I settled in to pray with my friend I was led to listen to the words coming out of my mouth in prayer. Alas!!! It was as if as I was praying for her I was also praying for me from a place of deep understanding that I didn’t have before. I could clearly see where she was, what she was going through and how it tied into my own process. Later God highlighted another friend and as we prayed together, He once again tied my prayer and process to my friend’s life. The terror they both felt was the same terror I was feeling. It was like we were standing on faith but seeing no visible intervention. We were at the very end of ourselves and there was no solution in sight.

It was standing on the edge of a cliff and God says jump and there’s no visible safety net, just His clear command in your ear. Yet despite the terror in your soul, you jump because the God of all creation has said jump. You go free falling at one hundred kilometres an hour seeing the solid ground getting closer alarmingly fast and you scream at the top of your lungs in sheer terror then peace, bliss, arms around you. At that moment you discover that He was always flying beneath you ready to pick you up as a mother eagle swoops done to catch her chick that she has actually tossed out of the nest.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As if that isn’t enough, He takes you back up to that same perch and tells you, ‘Jump!’ This time it is different because you jump again knowing full well that your Father is there and He will not let you shatter and if He does let you fall there is a reason. Yes! There is a reason. For so many years the statements that ‘God knows’ and ‘there is always a reason,’ were so cliché to me. It was the kind of thing that used to tell me someone has nothing to say so they latch onto these statements. This season has taught and continues to teach me that indeed, God has a plan and He knows the reason it all happens.

Trust your Father, just trust him. There is a capacity He sees in you so He has allowed your life to unfold as it is. There is a supernatural way He will cause you to understand His presence and plan then unfold and manifest Himself through you. The only condition is that you must give Him the reins and allow Him to lead you.

In these moments I learnt to trust my Father.

 

The Simple Life

Every Choice Matters


I’m sitting in traffic heading home after a long day and intense meetings and I’m so hungry I could eat a horse. As I try to figure what to eat that’s easily available understanding comes. First I want to buy roast maize then I remember its all starch 😔… Then I looked around and all the street food available starch. Yes, I’m a street food girl but my options are increasingly limited these days. Why limited? My new regime has reduced carbs aka starch and sugar.

The cab driver hears me say I am hungry and offers me eclairs. Maayooo! That is even worse than the maize now; sugar straight to the bloodstream, an instant spike in energy but no satisfaction. Oh, I learnt many lessons from the last time I ate lots of sweets. Anyway, eventually a lady with bananas rocks up, I buy two and eat and though I’m not really full it’s better so I go with that.

It’s interesting watching my food choices and seeing how they are affecting those around me. I have totally changed how I eat and shifted my boys slightly. My lil man was totally into chips (French fries) but now he’s like, once a week is enough. Chips are a staple in my house and have been for a long time but these days, the lil man determines where we buy them depending on how much residual oil the chips have after packaging. No! I didn’t tell him that. I’m so excited.

It’s even more interesting to walk this journey with him. Every time we are leaving the house together he’s concerned if I’ve had breakfast and if not have I packed it? Have I carried water to drink? What is the plan for dinner? When we are out he watches my plate to make sure I am on track. Some of my friends find these changes daunting and too much pressure but I love it. Why? It has taught him some simple lessons I will share today.

First, he now knows has influence. He knows that he can help someone work on a project from start to finish, be a great supporting cast and keep them accountable. He feels strong because he has coach’s number to exercise his right to ‘report’ me if I am being too much. Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet. His greatest influence though is in encouraging me to keep going when I don’t feel like. Simple questions like have you worked out today, what are you eating, do you need me to help…help me keep on track.

Second, he now knows that though the path to the goal may be difficult, consistent action makes progress possible. He’s watched me work through cravings and win some and lose others. He’s watched me pack food because I don’t know what will be provided where we’re going. He’s watched me blunder and get back up. He has seen me choose to remain on task even without immediate results so we keep walking and talking through the challenges and the lessons.

Third, he’s learnt to think through things, set goals and commit to the cause. We plan meals together and when there are challenges we find options. I watch him wonder what I’ll eat and he gives options for me. He has also applied these lessons for himself. Last term when he changed schools and dropped significantly in class, I watched him get anger at himself then get up, dust himself off, set a target, work towards it and he hit the target. He now knows he can.

Fourth, he understands the value of honesty. There have been days when I ‘broke’ the rules and ate or did things I shouldn’t. I could have chosen to lie to coach and say I was on track or be honest and post the picture. I kept my word because I was learning to be honest and he has kept his word to me. It has also opened up deeper discussions between us that I really appreciate.

I have always been a firm advocate for teaching children things when they are young but there’s more I’m learning. Our children learn more from our actions than our words. If I was talking about lifestyle change and cheating all the time he’d learn it’s ok to do that. He will either step in my footsteps or avoid them altogether but at least I had set an example.

Who would have thought a simple health journey would be so revelation?

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The Simple Life

Keep Going


Thanks for not pushing, I know it’s not easy to keep quiet about the lack of workouts… It’s coming back soon.

Trying my best… Now make sure the comeback is sooner than soon before bad man comes out 🙃.

I don’t like bad man at all so I’m working on it but hopefully by next week.

Good. When next week?

Tuesday.

When next week?

Chill man…I’m reworking my internal motivation.

Tuesday it is. Have to hold you accountable you know. 😉

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The question I was asking myself is how to make it a lasting habit. How do I enjoy working out for the rest of my life? How do I keep going even when it is a long day and I get home beat but didn’t get it done in the morning? How do I keep the joy of working out and not make it like a duty? I need my workout to be a joy because when it is a duty my body doesn’t respond as well and so the toning and weight loss are stunted.

As I dig deep I realise the answer stems from the desire to work out and my why. I have made it work before, was consistent to the point of being addicted to it yet now it is a chore. I have to find a way to dig back in, grab it and hold on. I must reconnect to my motivation, find the cause of disinterest, deal with it, see the triggers and set up mechanisms to deal with them too.

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You need to get to the basics. What was your “why” before? What is it now?

It has been and still is “to be able to operate at optimum.”

Good. Glad that’s still there. So what has changed?

It’s just like I’m tired. I just don’t feel like working out, yet I know I need to and want to.

At least you’re honest about it but you need to chuck those excuses. It’s easy to give up when feeling drained. Ironically, that’s when you must push harder and find out what you’re made of. I’ve learned that the hard way and tend to feel ten times better afterward. It’s super rewarding to push and still achieve the goal even when you don’t feel like.

I know that! You know how at work sometimes things feel off but we are able to clear the mind and keep going? Why can’t I do the same here?

Work is different since there are people you answer to and consequences if you don’t perform. A workout is personal. You’re accountable to yourself and can make up reasons for when and where if you want to. Either way, you have a goal and I’m determined you get there. Remember… Commit and don’t give up and I won’t either.

I remember the disclaimer of “don’t start if you aren’t serious.”

Exactly… same one

I’m not saying I’m giving up, I just need to be real with me and find a reason to go on. If I don’t deal with these issues at the root they become too big and I’ll likely stop. I wish I could snap a finger and all the fat disappears, I have a fantastic body and deep commitment to working out.

Hahaha! You got jokes.

Just being honest.

I know! My prayer for you is that you find the energy and success in digging deep. It’s important that you do. Otherwise, you’ll continue riding the perpetual cycle and end up despising quite a few things and people including yourself.

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running-runner-long-distance-fitness-40751.jpegDear Father, This journey is all about you and bringing praise to you so help me find my way and stay the course no matter what. You set me on this path so keep me walking to honour you. This place of start-stop is not ideal or your will for me so help me stay on course, help me keep the faith, help me finish the race. I rest in You and Your love for me now and always.

The Simple Life

Busted…


Last week I was busted by coach…oohhh yes! It wasn’t pretty. I had forgotten to send in my digital food diary for a couple of days and when I did…let’s just say it was interesting. I’d eaten loads of starch and sweets and made no apologies for it and I was pretty confident it would pass after all I’d been good for more than 110 days.  Oh boy…wrong thought.

So, let’s discuss your diet this week.

What about it? I replied laughing.

The very fact you are laughing means you know what I am talking about? Where did the fruit and veg go to? Why all the starch and sweets?

It’s been a hard week so it was easier to work with what I had in the house and not have to stress myself.

Really?

Yes.

Why?

I just said it was too hard to deal with everything so I dealt with what I could.

That’s not like you.

What do you mean?

What is your credo? What do you live by?

What do you mean?

Don’t you live by #NoExcuses?

Yes!

So why are you giving me excuses?

It’s not an excuse…it’s a reason.

It’s an excuse as far as I am concerned.

Why do you say that?

Because you are better than this.

Huh?

After a long day when I want to just go to bed and forget the healthy dinner and working out, I remember that I have an agreement with someone saying no excuses. I know someone who daily says that then goes out and does what she needs to do. It makes me go out and do what I need to do and keep up with my goals. Then you come and tell me you were tired? That just doesn’t fly here.

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Oh wow! That one hit between the eyes. What was the real reason I was off track? Why was I covering my tracks with things like I am tired, it was easier, I didn’t feel like? Was that the real reason or was I refusing to deal with something? Later that day I was chatting with my mentor and updating her on progress or lack thereof and I got asked hard questions again. Now I was really listening.

Do you know why you lost focus? She asked

Things were tight so rather than figure it out I just used what was there.

So you went with your own solution instead of inviting God in?

What? Was that what I had done? Gone with my own way without reference to God? oh my! Not good at all

No worries, lesson learnt now what adjustment do we make going forward?

To ask God about everything.

Good. I need you to not hide. Reach out when you need to.

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Now I could see. It wasn’t coach going off on me but God using the people I am accountable to, to help me stay the course. To make me course correct for good so I dug in and sought answers. The reason I was messing with my food was simple…laziness. It takes energy to think through what to eat every meal and then prepare it as or after I prepare food for the boys. I do lots of fresh vegetables so I convinced myself it was because I was tired but it wasn’t. It was simple…I was being lazy and there was proof. I had put back almost one kilo since my last weigh in and the culprit is sugar. In my body, increased sugar intake = weight gain. Pretty simple equation!

Just like that, He stripped me of my excuses and foolishness and we restarted our walk.

#NoExcuses #NoLimitations

 

The Simple Life

Beyond Logic


When God says I have got you…don’t doubt it. Rather open your heart and mind. Trust your Father.

Think about Noah. In that day they had never seen rain from the sky so imagine how mad it appeared for him to be talking about this rain that was coming. I imagine the conversations went something like this…

Hey Noah,

Hey Joshua.

What are you building?

An ark

Why?

God has said it will rain and flood the earth and only those in this ark will survive.

Rain?

Yes!

What is that?

Water from the sky.

Hahahahahaha! Water from the sky?

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Yes water from the sky.

How does it come?

I a not sure but God said it will come from the sky.

So why do you need the ark?

God has said, it will rain and he will release the water from beneath and flod the earth to wipe out mankind for its wickedness.

Micah, have you heard this? That God will send rain and open the floodgares of the hearth and sweep away everyone who isn’t in the ark

What Josh? Who is talking such rubbish?

Oh! Noah over here!

Really? Turing to look at Noah pointedly

Yes.

You want us to believe that water will fall from the skies and flood the earth and kill all who are not in the ark.

Yes!

Why?

Because we have walked away from God and He is angry.

You have lost you mind Noah! You have officially gone mad!!!

Yet Noah obeyed and like a mad man built and built and built. He built this big thing and then to the shock of his neighbours the animals showed up in pairs on God’s cue. Imagine the feeling when God told Noah it is time to get into the ark and wait for his instruction. Then the door closed and was sealed from the outside that no one could open it from the inside. Ah…the first drops of water fell on the heads of the people as they walked along the road, tended the crops in the field and they rushed back to shelter. It only got heavier and heavier and the water begun to rise and they remembered Noah.

What was this? Could he  have been right? Maybe he could still provide refuge. Maybe the big boat could fit them all. They run to the spot where the ark was and knock but Noah cannot open because he wasn’t holding the keys. Alas…they cannot get in. they have missed the opportunity to connect to salvation and new life. They were too late and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Are there things in my life that I am not listening or thinking about? Are there things about my health that I should have dealt with by now? Are there instructions on what to eat and avoid that I am not focusing on? What is pending in this walk? What aren’t I doing? What about other areas haven’t I done? What have I avoided because it was different?

I have found that it is easier to settle in the place we understand. It is easier to be connected and grounded to logic because life has convinced us that God gave us brains so we must use them to the fullest. Oh yes, we must use our brains but there are deeper way. We have been told to be logical and realistic, to use the past as a measure of how, to think and make the most reasonable decision so on and so forth.

I have found that logic will only take one so far. Granted we will see opportunity and options but we will only have a limited view.

The greatness and the magnitude of God lie just one step beyond logic.

When we push past what we have always known and stand there waiting on Him for answers, direction, instructions; it opens up. He desires full trust and openness to His plan and ideas. Today I am choosing to be keen on the word of my Father and connecting to the things He has set out for me to do and become that I may bring him honour.

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The Simple Life

Through His Eyes


There are always opportunities to help others and we reach out but it is harder to accept help. Over the years I have really struggled with compliments. Oh don’t get me wrong, I will accept them and say thank you and maybe even blush but on the inside… it is a different story. This has little to do with anyone else other than me and my internal issues. Don’t judge!

I mentioned in an earlier article about an exercise coach gave me to stand in front of the mirror and look at myself, really look at myself and deal with the feelings it created. It sounded simple enough but I couldn’t do it immediately. I was raised to have a moderate opinion of myself and so this simple act felt like vanity. What??? Stand in front of the mirror and stare at me? Have I lost my mind? That is the doorway to vanity.

Don’t get me wrong. I use a mirror to check my hair, makeup, earrings, outfit, is the colour working? Do I look good? Yet to do any more than that was totally unheard of. It was vanity as far as I was concerned. It was an opportunity to think more highly of myself than I ought. It would be an opening for all kinds of madness I didn’t want to find and I wasn’t about to do. Shock on me a few days later, when God reminded me of the assignment!

Now I was cornered. If God is reminding me about it, it means that I can actually do this and it would not be vanity. I battled with God for a few more days because I had so many questions but as He pulled back layer after layer, it became apparent that the real reason I didn’t want to look at myself in detail was because I was certain that I would hate what I saw and I didn’t want to do that.

One Wednesday afternoon, when everyone else was out of the house, I set up the exercise. I stood before my full length mirror and looked at myself. I looked for a couple of seconds then I looked away and tried to remember what I saw… blank. I looked again and again for a few more minutes. Then it struck me…it wasn’t about vanity, it was about shame.

I was ashamed to look at myself because I felt I had failed to live up to my end of the agreement with God to take good care of my body. I was ashamed because I had insisted on reaching forty weeks in my pregnancy because I wanted to finish class so I got stretch marks that last week. I was ashamed for my love for chocolate that was still pushing more sugar than I needed into my body that was being turned into fat and stored. I was ashamed that I had been too weak to keep to the agreed exercise routine over the years and therefore had put on weight….and the list went on and on.

Every time I looked at me I saw a failure and that isn’t what I wanted to see.

I shared this with coach and his response was classic. ‘Just do it again.’

Again? Have you lost your mind? I’ve just told you how it made me feel and you want me to repeat it

Yes.

Why? Why would I do something like that?

It is an exercise.

Therefore?

An exercise in my books is something you do repeatedly until you get it right or you overcome it.

I don’t want to.

Why?

Just!

You know that is not an answer right?

Right now it is! (as tears filled my eyes. He couldn’t understand even if I explained it again.)

Are you sulking?

…..silence…………..

Just know you need to do it again and again until you get it right.

I couldn’t believe his audacity. Why did he want me to go through so much pain? Why was he least concerned about my emotions? Why couldn’t I just ignore him and get on with life? why was this thing bugging me? Then my Father whispered…

Child…this isn’t about coach and his directions, it is about the instructions I have given you and how you must do everything I have asked you to do.

You didn’t ask me…coach did.

Isn’t he my vessel?

I don’t know!

Didn’t you ask me for help?

Yes.

Didn’t I send him?

Yes.

Then, the instruction is from me.

But why must I do this Father?

You need to see beyond your physical appearance to who I have said you and how I see you. You need new eyes and a new perspective; you need Me.

I walked back to stand in front of the mirror and though that first time I still saw faults, it was less painful to see them.

Why? I began to see through His eyes.

I came back the next day and the next and the next and the next and slowly, it all changed. A smile emerged, a giggle at a new white hair, a smile for a new shape, a loose skirt, a longer dress, space in my sweater…every change celebrated.

Finally I understood, He had a plan for me once I could see myself through his eyes.pexels-photo-1047346.jpeg

The Simple Life

There’s so much more


I went to my local fellowship and was chatting away with the young people when one of my friends came up, looked at me and walked away. I could see there was something she was looking at but couldn’t quite make out what it was. Later as I stood with mutual friends, she came back said hi and her next statement floored me, “You know there is a blog we follow and we have to ensure that we see the evidence of the things written.” I smiled because she is right.

Talk about a 10,000watt spotlight in the middle of the day. Yes, 10,000 watts combined with full African sunlight. I felt ‘mulikad’ (spotlighted) to the nth degree. Quickly I realised that once I laid myself out there, I don’t have the luxury of giving up or going back because there are lives premised on my coming out. there are people who will be and are encouraged by my journey. I have become my Father’s showcase.

Then He whispered, “There is so much more.”

“What do you mean so much more? Can I really take more than this pressure?”

“Why pressure?”

“People are watching, reading, hoping, waiting to see the outcome…that’s just pressure.”

“Who asked you to be on this path?”

“You my Father.”

“Have I failed you yet?”

“No!”

“So why the fear and concern?”

“I don’t like the spotlight. I like to live in the background.”

“I have chosen you as the perfect showcase for this segment and I have provided all the help you need, so unless you think I made the wrong choice, and that is all in your head, you are fully kitted for this journey.”

It took me a while to understand these words because my heart and head weren’t in alignment. But it is true, I set out on this journey because of a word He spoke to me about my current weight and where He needed me to be. It was because I had challenges I need to get past and He had the perfect solution. This journey has helped increase my ability to stay the course, trust God for grace, walk paths I would earlier have avoided, push beyond my limits, believe and act in that faith.

This reminded me of the scripture:

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. Hebrews 12:1-4

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My health and fitness life is driven by my faith life so I must be growing in both at equal speed or I will become imbalanced. I do not do it to keep the crowd happy or engaged, rather I see it as a marathon to reach the goal my Father has set out for me. He has even provided people on the sidelines to watch, cheer me on and cause me to reflect on the process as I keep going; for in the crowd people have reached out to ask for help, advise, encourage me, share their triumphs and milestones.

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out or us… v1