Tag Archives: prayer

1300 Calorie a Day: A Lesson On Gratitude

meal prayer god is good
This is one of the prayers we said regularly at school before lunch time.

I recently downloaded a well-known weight loss app and after filling in all the information I was given a maximum of 1300 calories per day. This was somewhat frightening to me because I’m used to consuming 1300 calories per meal. It’s not that I was stuffing my face all day with junk food; I was eating healthy foods the majority of the time, but I would mess up by way of portion distortion.

 

1300 calories per day might not sound like a lot of food, but it is enough food for a female who isn’t engaged in physically demanding activities such as cycling, long distance running, or other intense sports.

 

With the exception of a few hunger filled days, I have failed to stay within 1300 calories a day. I’ve been averaging around 1700 and this is probably because I can’t stand being hungry. Waking up at night to the sound of my stomach grumbling is not worth the sleep disturbance and so I haven’t been too hard on myself for not staying within the calorie limit.

 

I was at a BBQ this past weekend where a woman from a different country reminded those at the table that there were many people in the world who remained healthy while living on 1300 calories a day. She reminded us that as North Americans we often over eat and habitually consume meals that are not nutrient dense.

meals prayer bounty

After thinking about what she had to say, I realized that my struggle with beginning a low calorie program was more about my false sense of deprivation.  I kept focusing on how much I couldn’t eat instead of being happy with what I could eat.

 

I wouldn’t recommend that anyone do a 1300 calorie a day program unless they needed to. What I’m doing is only for a short period of time and the calories will slowly be increased as my fitness level and weight changes. What I do recommend is taking time to engage in self-reflection about how you view food. What is it about eating the foods that God has naturally provided for us that make people feel like we’re being denied something better? Is it really a loss if we can’t or don’t eat a donut instead of a sweet carrot? If we have meat available from grass-fed cows that have consumed natural forage materials, why do people still opt for highly processed hamburger patties from fast food establishments? In a world where water is scarce for millions of people, why do we scoff at drinking water, especially from a tap?

Learning to be satisfied with eating only what your body needs is difficult for us as North Americans, but it can be done. It doesn’t necessarily mean having to enforce a caloric limit for yourself, it simply means being more realistic and thankful for the abundance of food you have. It also means remembering to be thankful to God for what He has provided for us, straight from the earth for food consumption.

meals prayer

 

Planning for Failure: Hopeless Prayers

messy life

I love to plan. I have many day planners sitting around my place, all of them partially used, but filled with many lofty goals like: do laundry, run club @ 6p.m., meal prep on Sunday, and plenty of other intentions of great achievements. The app Todoist has been great in helping me keep track of what I need to be doing; what has been completed and what still remains to be addressed during the rest of the day.

For 2015 I chose ‘Plan’ as my One Word, and as I had expected, this is a word that is on my mind quite frequently. I wasn’t sure what role this word would play in my life for this year, but four months into 2015, I have noticed a planning habit that I hope to break. I realized I often bring my plans to God in prayer when I am of the belief that something might fail. My prayer often resembles something like this, “Dear God, I want to achieve this-and-that, please help me not to fall flat on my face. Help me not to fail at this!” Wow, how powerful is a prayer like this? I realized that I continually approach God like a failure. I’m not actually asking God to help me succeed at something, what I’m doing instead, is asking God to help me as a failure.

I wondered how many people approach God as a failure. How many of us know God’s plan for our lives and instead of approaching Him in the power of prayer, we turn to Him in the weakness of prayer? As Christians we have often been conditioned to approach our LORD with a sense of insecurity masquerading as humility.

From NewAdvent.org

The word humility signifies lowliness or submissiveness and it is derived from the Latin humilitas or, as St. Thomas says, from humus, i.e. the earth which is beneath us. As applied to persons and things it means that which is abject, ignoble, or of poor condition, as we ordinarily say, not worth much. Thus we say that a man is of humble birth or that a house is a humble dwelling. As restricted to persons, humility is understood also in the sense of afflictions or miseries, which may be inflicted by external agents, as when a man humiliates another by causing him pain or suffering. It is in this sense that others may bring about humiliations and subject us to them. Humility in a higher and ethical sense is that by which a man has a modest estimate of his own worth, and submits himself to others. According to this meaning no man can humiliate another, but only himself, and this he can do properly only when aided by Divine grace. We are treating here of humility in this sense, that is, of the virtue of humility.”

There is no need for us to bring our prayers to God in a boastful or haughty manner, but when we approach Him, let’s remember that He has, “…plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” With this knowledge and promise from God, we can pray about His individual plans for our lives with the faith and trust of knowing He has the best of intentions with our lives. Our God isn’t the type to give you a calling and make plans for your lives so He can sit back and watch you fail. There will be failures, false starts, detours, and many other forms of distractions along the way, but these are all part of the process of God’s plan for you. Human error does not make you a failure, it makes you human.

happy people plan

QUESTION: Do you sometimes find yourself approaching God in prayer with a failure mentality? When you pray, do you do so with the mindset that God is caring enough to help you succeed at your plans? How do you often react to personal failure?

APPLICATION: Over the next week, pay close attention to the words you use during your personal prayer time. Reflect on whether or not your words are reflections of trusting the LORD or show doubt in God’s abilities.

How A Christian Should Be Dressed At The Gym

fitness fashion fila 1980

It’s March 2015, and it’s still winter where I live. Slippery, slushy, snow covered our city yesterday and overnight with more to follow. Of course this all means that my excitement at being able to consistently train outside has died; time to hit the treadmill and the gym again. Typical first world problems that I’m not ashamed to have.

As I was getting ready to pack my bag I realized my most comfortable top might be a bit too revealing to wear. It’s my go-to top for exercising and I only wear it in my home, the thought of wearing it anywhere else started to worry me. There were thoughts such as, “What if someone from church sees me?”, “What if I cause someone to stumble in their walk with Christ?”, “What if the *&#@’s at the gym laugh at me and stare?”. All of these were ridiculous things to worry about. I almost returned a pair of Saucony Stabil CS3 because they looked hideous. Never mind the fact that as a seriously flat-footed, size 11 woman with wide feet, I really needed these not so fashionable footwear. The sales associates assured me they were the best looking motion control runners that had ever seen, but it shouldn’t have mattered.

I should have been more concerned with function, not fashion.

fitness fashion pairs

I have an old fashioned mentality when it comes to how Christian’s should dress. I believe that North American Christian’s should dress in a manner that respects our body such as covering strategic parts, not wearing outfits with the intention of attracting attention from the opposite sex, and not wearing filthy clothing. I’m not a clothing police, so if I encountered people who broke these three rules, I wouldn’t say or do anything about it; these are my personal values that I don’t intend to force on anyone.

After much frustration with shopping for runners and trying to select workout wear for this week, I remembered a lesson I thought I had already learned. When preparing to workout, prepare your heart first. If I had focused on the reasons why I had joined a running club and why I needed to purchase specific footwear, I wouldn’t have been caught up in the shallowness of how one should look while being at the gym.

When I work out, I’m a hot mess of glistening sweat, yes, I glisten!  I look hideous and I become self-conscious. Let me tell you, there are some petty, gossipy, and snobby women at the gym and if I am focused on the important things I won’t be concerned about these females.

My fellow believers in Christ, let’s not let insecurity, pride, low self-esteem, or haughtiness accompany us to the gym.

lycra

Instead of only clothing myself in work out gear, let’s cover ourselves with the armour of God. The spirit of the enemy is always lurking trying to distract people and take us away from our purpose for taking care of our bodies. We can defeat the enemy by keeping our thoughts holy. Pray over your gym, the basketball court, the swimming pool, wherever it is that you exercise so that the spirit of God may be welcomed. There are many people in these types of places that have struggles and a great way to bring a blessing to these individuals is to pray  spiritual protection over them.

If you haven’t already been doing so, I want to encourage and challenge you to say a quick prayer of spiritual protection for your fitness facility and its patrons. Peace.

Ephesians 6 10 - 18

God Has Zero Calories

Spiritual Void

God Has Zero Calories

You’re probably wondering about the ridiculous title, but it’s an expression that I have been repeating to myself over the past few days.

The past few weeks have been filled with anxiety, frustration, and doubt which means it’s also been filled with mostly unconscious desires to stuff my face with all things sugary, processed, and fattening.  I eventually realized that I had returned to eating foods that I have banned from my house and my mouth. The evidence was there; Oreo cookie crumbs on my desk, candy wrappers in my handbag, and a recycle bag filled with juice boxes and a couple cans of pop. There was no denying that I was trying to ease (or possibly ignore) my anxiety by consuming junk food. It was time to face whatever it was that was causing myself to be uneasy and I knew the only way for me to do this was to turn up my faith practices.

rise up do battle

Turning to God with your fears, hopes, disappointments and so forth, is not always an automatic response for us. I approached God in prayer with the following words, “Aaarrgghh, o.k. God!” Whenever I say “O.K. God!”, it is never a happy occasion. I usually only say this when I’ve attempted to do things my way and have failed. This expression comes as a result of not following my gut feelings, my intuition, and most importantly the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

My default response to having anxiety that is off the Richter is to turn to food. I have had to work hard to disable this automatic behaviour.  Turning to food is always a lose-lose situation; turning to God is always a win-win situation.

Some Benefits of Turning to God Instead of Food:

  • God has zero calories
  • His Spirit guides you towards making healthy decisions in response to whatever is worrying you
  • Experiencing growth in your faith and an increase in trusting God and yourself
  • Anxiety, fear, and worry decrease
  • Feeling a sense of calmness
  • You engage in mindfulness and meditation which has numerous benefits for the mind and body
  • Negative thoughts slowly turn into a heart and mind filled with hope
  • Not feeling alone

For others their experiences will result in a different list of benefits. I’ve written this post as a reminder for all of us that turning to food never helps us deal with life challenges. For those who turn to exercise instead of food, that might be a healthier alternative, but it is still a form of avoidance. Once you’re through exercising, undo your laces, put down the weights, lock up your bike, whatever you need to put aside; and take the time to pray to God about all that is causing you uneasiness.

Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

be-anxious-for-nothing

QUESTION: Are there any automatic responses that you’ve developed as a reaction to continuous stress, anxiety, or worry? Do these responses help you to face the cause of your uneasiness or do they enable you to avoid looking at what is troubling you?

ACTION: When you are stressed, worried, or filled with anxiety, take all those mental and emotional burdens to the LORD. He is there waiting for you, He is with you already, you just have to acknowledge his presence.

Find bible verses that address the topic of stress and use the ones you like as a form of meditation. Meditate on these verses when you feel overwhelmed with anxiety or worry.

 May you be blessed by the peace God has given you!