Fix your mind and eyes on Christ.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I first read this quote in Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. And it struck me so deeply. It convicted my heart to step back and check myself and also gave me a good excuse to ignore the critics.
The critics can feel crippling sometimes.
You know the critics: people who have a whole lot to say about what others are saying and doing but they’re not doing much of any of it themselves. These are the self-proclaimed judges. The ones who think they know it all. And maybe they know a whole lot, but when it comes to putting “it all” into practice they don’t have hardly any experience.
So, what does this have to do with being healthy?
Well, a whole lot actually. It touches deeply on mental and spiritual health which actually affects physical health more than we realize. Knowing that God is the only one true judge can take the pressure off from the critics. They’re not going to go away, but that doesn’t mean we have to listen to them. Jesus Christ died for me and you so we don’t have to fear judgement. We don’t have to fear the critics.
Because their opinion doesn’t matter.
Often we have judgements crowd our thoughts as if they are on repeat. And they can pull us down just as much as the critics.
I might invite for you to ask this question:
Who told you that?
And if the answer isn’t God, then drop it because it doesn’t matter.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says,
“We pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.” (GNT)
God’s opinion of you is what matters. And actually, He thinks you’re pretty awesome. He made you perfectly you know. We don’t have to strive to be perfect, do all the perfect things, and have our life together like the Jones’s. That is us trying to please the world and our own selfish desires. We just need to please God! That’s it!
And if we focus on that, all the things will fall into place. Not that it’ll be perfect, but we’ll be honoring Him in our messiness. And that’s what is truly important.
So, are you in the arena? Or, are you a critic on the sideline?
What’s holding you back from living? Life is short and the time to live is now. Step into the arena my friend!
Gut story? Who wants to read that?
I know, right?!?!
BUT, if my story can help someone else to feel encouraged then this gut story of mine is worth sharing and reading. So, here it is:
About 10 years out of college I started having some serious health issues. Pain in my upper back and stomach pain from out of this world. Had ALL the tests and procedures done. Blood work, colonoscopy, endoscopy, ultrasounds, x-rays, two gallbladder tests complete with radioactive drinks….
And the only thing they found was possibly the scarring from an ulcer. Yet, I was in excruciating pain every single day. Finally, my gastroenterologist told me, “We don’t know what’s wrong with you. There’s nothing else we can do.”
In the midst of all that I also had food allergy testing and found out I was allergic to barley. Weirdest thing ever, I thought. And I told the doctor I didn’t drink beer. He said, “Then you’re fine. There’s nothing you need to do differently.” I didn’t understand so I went home and researched and found that barley has gluten and is in nearly everything it seemed: anything with flour, Carmel color, sauces, coke….
So, that was it. That was the day the medical field lost my trust. That was the day I decided to take back control of my own health.
So, I started doing research on how to make my body healthy. On how to heal. I read, and read, and read. I listened to health talks meant for doctors. I became a sponge for knowledge about my gut and health. And the thing was, no matter what the topic there were always similar suggestions for how to heal. And it all started with diet.
I knew my mental health wasn’t in the greatest shape either. I had begun to see a counselor to help with that.
And, I had come across a reverse elimination diet called the GAPS Diet. That stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet. Whoa. The more I read and learned about it the more it described me. But if I tried this diet I was going to have to change everything. I mean everything. Starting with what I ate. See, the reverse elimination diet component means you take everything (yes, EVERYTHING) out of your diet. You drink bone broth for a certain number of days (depending on your body) and then you begin adding in foods one at a time to see if your body has any adverse reactions to them.
I was ready to not hurt every time I swallowed a bite of food. I was ready to reclaim my health. And I was ready to do whatever it took to get there. So, I jumped in. Feet first. Head first. Whatever you want to say, I was all in. And for two weeks, all I ate was bone broth. Beef bone broth, chicken bone broth, and fish bone broth. (I don’t recommend the fish. Ick!). Then I began eating the chicken from the broth I’d made. And within a few days I was already feeling better. Within a few weeks I wasn’t in pain anymore.
Then, I added cooked onions, cooked apples, and eggs next. I continued adding foods one at a time until I was on the full GAPS Diet – which is still limited but way more options than just broth. I stayed on this diet for about two years.
This diet healed my gut. But it didn’t heal my allergies. I had gotten my mental health under control by this point. I had even gotten off all anxiety and depression medication (whoa- that’s a story all in its self).
So, I began working with my chiropractic physician. She put me on a regimen for two months of supplements to reinvigorate my gut cells. Then I was on a strict diet of mostly veggies, fruit, and meat for two months.
And this process healed me from my allergies- along with tons of prayer too I might add!
So, I started eating whatever I wanted again. And for two more years I was just fine.
Then, this summer I started having pain and major gurgling again. My gluten allergy was back. And this time dairy has been an issue for me too.
So, I am once again gluten free and now dairy free. For the time being. I am certain that I can be healed again when the time is right. I’ve been through this before. And I know what to expect this time. And I’m ready. Ready to heal myself- without drugs, without chemicals, without anything Big Pharma has to offer me. Because nature was given to us by God. And he intended for us to use it. So, I will.
Are you in a place where the medical field has let you down too? Have you been given a “life sentence” of illness, disease, or symptoms? Let me speak life and love into you right now:
THERE IS HOPE. And yes, for you too. No matter what you’ve been told. No matter what your diagnosis. No matter what. There is hope. I’d be happy to listen to your story too. Share a piece of it here by commenting below.
One aspect of our health is mental health. In the last blog post I discussed all about a healthy mind. Read it here.
This post is all about a physically healthy mind: our brain.
Our brains are so important! (Hello- without a brain we can’t live!) They protect us from illness, control our central nervous system, keep us safe, amongst a zillion other things. So, keeping our brains healthy is super important.
So, what can we do to keep our brains healthy?
Here’s my top 5 tips:
1. Exercise your brain
Yup. Do activities and games that stretch your thinking. Cross lateral movements help both hemispheres of your brain communicate better. Puzzles and games like sudoku (my personal favorite) keep your mind sharp. Also, learning a new skill or playing an instrument can also help exercise your brain.
2. Eat nutrient rich foods for brain health
These would include:
- dark leafy greens
- seafood – especially smaller oily fish like salmon or sardines
- coconut oil
- dark chocolate (Hello! Yes Please!)
- pasture raised eggs
3. Drink lots of water.
Our brains are more than 75% water, so keeping them hydrated is of upmost importance. I recommend to my clients to drink between 50% & 75% of their body weight in ounces of water a day. This is a general number. Make sure you honor your body and give it the water it desires. (My body requires more like 75-100% of my body weight on ounces of water a day.)
4. Avoid foods that can cause brain issues
This would be sugar, artificial anything, gluten, and sometimes dairy. Sugars and gluten especially are detrimental to the brain. Some doctors are calling Alzheimer’s Type 3 diabetes. This is because of how the body is responding to sugar. Gluten has so many pesticides that the brain can’t help but be affected (yes, even organic grains can have pesticides). And many Alzheimer’s patients are seeing reduced or eliminated symptoms from no longer consuming sugar and/or gluten.
5. Reduce stress
Stress cause so many negative symptoms in our bodies when we don’t deal with the stress properly. Our bodies can actually store stress in our joints, muscles, and brain. This wreaks havoc on our health. We can’t eliminate stress, but we can manage it better.
Find at least one relaxing activity a day just for you. And maybe that’s just taking 2 minutes to breathe deeply. Or maybe it’s a hot bubble bath, a walk, or cuddling with warm blankets out of the dryer. Find something that soothes you. And give control to God. Let Him deal with the overwhelming parts of life. He wants to. And when we can finally give up control we will notice an immediate sense of peace and relief.
If we adopt a lifelong habit of caring for our brains and bodies then the likelihood of brain disease down the road will be dramatically diminished.
Want a cure for Alzheimer’s? Stop eating sugar!
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”
Our minds are more powerful than we might realize.
Did you know that people have actually lost weight by simply seeing themselves exercise in their mind! Hear me again: they didn’t actually do any exercise. They simply visualized themselves doing the exercise. AND. They. Lost. Weight.
Yup. It’s true. Our minds are powerful. And if we fill it with negativity like:
- I’m not good enough
- I’ll never fit in
- I don’t have a purpose
- The nightly news
- Fear and dread
- Constant arguing
Then we will have that in our lives abundantly.
On the other hand, if we fill our minds with positivity like:
- God loves me
- I have a purpose (even if I’m not totally sure what it is)
- I am loved
- UP television
- Peace and calm
- Fun times with friends and family
Then we will have that in our lives abundantly.
God gives us freedom to think about whatever we want. But Satan also has the ability to influence our thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says,
“Take captive every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.”
So, how do we know of what we’re thinking is from God or not. Well, we can test it.
Here are a few litmus tests for each thought:
- Does it contradict the Bible?
- Does it help me show love to others?
- Will this further the kingdom of God?
- Do I have the mind of Christ?
- How is this thought offering grace to others?
I only know these things because I have allowed so many thoughts in the past turn to actions that, I realized later, were not of God. And that led to some very painful events for me. (Saying sorry is really hard.)
2 Timothy 1:7 says,
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”
He gives us tools to use our mind wisely and powerfully! What we put in matters. From out of the overflow of the heart and mind the mouth speaks.
What are you allowing in your mind?
Hi. My name is Carrie. And I am a recovering perfectionist.
I like things neat, tidy, my way, and perfect. And I prefer the people around me to be too.
However, that’s not real life.
Real life is messy, imperfect, unpredictable, painful, and way out of my control. (God is showing me this pretty intensely in the current season of my life. Sigh.)
I feel like part of being a perfectionist is feeling in control. And when life spirals out of control then we freak out, stress out, and our anxiety hits the roof (and perhaps blows it to smithereens).
Control is really an illusion. There are certain things in life that we can control such as:
- What we eat
- What we wear
- What we talk about
- What we think about
- Our happiness
- Who we hang out with
- How seriously we take life
- What we believe
- Our priorities
- How kind we are
Other than that, God has the ultimate say on what goes on in this crazy world of ours. We can’t control other people. We can’t control situations. We can’t control hate.
So, if you’re a perfectionist – recovering or not- like me, I invite for you to take a step back. Allow God to do His thing (He’s actually really good at it) and give Him control over all things. All things.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Are you willing to potentially have a broken heart? Are you willing to be vulnerable? Are you willing to put your self on the line?
I heard this quote from a Brene Brown book. It struck me then and even more now.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
Sometimes in life we put ourselves out there. We risk being seen. We allow ourselves, our thoughts, our visions, our goals, our lives to be vulnerable. We risk it all.
This quote struck me intensely today because my heart is breaking over a situation. But this quote reminds me that giving love (a.k.a. time, energy, feeling, passion…) is taking a risk. Perhaps the biggest risk in life.
But if we choose to lock ourselves away, harden our hearts, and allow no one in then we’ll never experience what God intended for us. We might be stifling the greatest gift God has for our lives. And let me tell you I have hardened my heart before and it’s not a fun place to be.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-39:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
So, the question, “To love or not to love?” has an answer. Right here. We are told to love God and love people. All people.
Is your heart breaking today? Perhaps, you too have allowed yourself to love and you’ve been hurt in the process. Take heart my friend.
God is with us, and He is for us! There is nothing in this world that can separate us from His love. That doesn’t mean that life won’t hurt. God is very clear that we will have trouble in this world. But take heart, “He has overcome the world.”
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.
If we are conscious about our health, then we probably have lots of knowledge about healthy things: what to eat, exercise, stress, sleep, etc.
What we do with that knowledge is what matters.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
When we think about being healthy we need to consider all three parts of the body.
First, let’s consider the physical body. There are many components here. Our weight, how toned our muscles are, our skin, how we feel inside our own skin, our internal organs and how they are functioning, our elimination system, how our immune system works, hormones and how they affect physical responses…
We could go on and on about the physical parts of our body as it relates to health. So, I’ll ask you- On a scale of 1-10 how healthy is your physical body?
Most likely, we all have room for improvement (I know I do!). So, what is ONE thing that you can do to move the needle 1% forward in your physical health?
Next, let’s look at our mental health. This component may be even more important than the physical body. What we think about ourselves, others, and the world can greatly impact how we act, react, and how our physical body functions.
If our minds have negative or toxic thoughts flowing through or stored up to replay at a moments notice then our mental health is affecting every aspect of our daily lives- whether you realize it or not. It also affects how your digestion functions as well as how your endocrine system works (your hormones). If you feel out of whack then most likely it’s time to check on what is going through your mind.
So, I’ll ask you again to rate yourself- on a scale of 1-10 how healthy is your mind? What is one thing you can let go of today in your mind or thoughts to help move you forward towards a healthier you?
2 Corinthians 10:5
We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Finally, let’s look at our spiritual health. Research shows that people who have spiritual belief in God have more fulfillment in life and are happier. When our spiritual health is doing well we usually feel better about ourselves, our lives, and have a more positive outlook on what is happening in our lives and around us (even if it’s hard stuff going on).
Spiritual health means how much we realize we need Jesus and the extent to which we believe Him and believe in Him. Check in with your relationship with Jesus. How are you communicating with Him? Does He communicate back? Are you investing time and resources to further your relationship and knowledge of Him? If yes, keep going! If no, are you seeking Him with all your heart?
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
This may be the most important part of our health altogether. So, one more time I’ll ask- On a scale of 1-10 how is your spiritual health? What is one thing you could do to up-level your relationship with Jesus?
Which part of your body- physical, mental, or spiritual- needs the most work? What will you do to set yourself up for success in creating your body to be a healthier temple for Christ to dwell?
Our life is as fleeting as the flap of a butterfly’s wings. How can we make the most of it?
Need tips or guidance? Just ask!
Our health is directly related to how we deal with stress. And time is one of those stresses that affects all of us. How effectively do you use your time? I know I am not always the best manager of my time.
So, I’ve been reading this book called The Deborah Anointing, by Michelle McClain-Walters (she also wrote The Anna Anointing and The Esther Anointing). In it she says,
“The quality of your life is determined by how effectively you use time.”
Notice she says, “time,” not “your time,” Hmmmm….
We feel most stressed when our calendars are so full and we feel like we have to get it all done NOW! So, how can we practically understand time and manage it better?
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Michelle goes on to describe four spiritual seasons of time in our lives. We experience:
Spiritual winter – a time of death to self
Spiritual spring – a time to embrace the call
Spiritual summer – a time of revelation
Spiritual fall – a time of harvest and fulfillment
In the midst of our busy schedules it’s important to keep Christ as our focus. It is sooooooo easy to allow ourselves to focus on things of this world – money, status, reputations, ourselves… (God has been working on my heart on this very thing lately. Sigh.)
Our life here on earth was meant as a preparation period for our eternity. God created each of us perfectly and for His purposes. If what we’re doing isn’t glorifying God in some way, we might need to reconsider if we need that thing. What spiritual season are you currently in? And how can you honor and accept where you are?
Let’s look at 5 ways we can practically keep our focus on God and use our time wisely no matter what spiritual season you might be in.
1.Adequate time with God daily
This is the most important part of our day. Think about this: You have about 8-10 hours of time during the day that are most likely dedicated to someone else – work, kids, whatever. That leaves you with 14-16 hours of time for yourself. Hopefully about 8 of those hours are sleeping. And that gives you 6-8 hours to do whatever else you desire. What are you doing with that time? Cooking and eating, exercising, playing, chores… What can you do so that time with God is your number one, non-negotiable priority?
2. Make a list of our top 5 priorities
I encourage you to take a moment and write down the top 5 priorities in your life. These are the MOST important things. This list will help you prioritize what you say yes or no to. Then use this list. Don’t just make it and put it aside. Allow it to help you make decisions.
3. Take time to breathe
You might be thinking, Carrie, I breathe all day long. I know, I know. But, I’m talking about time to focus on your breath. Every time you breathe in oxygen God is breathing into you His breath of life. Take time for 10 deep, focused breaths a day (at least) and watch your stress melt away. There are many different breathing techniques for different things. If you need help with this please let me know! I’m happy to give you more details, information, or tips.
4. Say no
This might be one of the hardest things for us. Saying no – especially when they are good things! But, it also might be what needs to happen to clear some things out of your calendar to make room for your top 5 priorities. I invite for you to inquire of God first to see if it’s something He wants you to do or not. Is there anything you can say no to today? And I might add – that if you have kids show them how to say no to things too. You will help set them up for success in so many ways.
5. Make a plan and be flexible
It’s important to not be willy-nilly all the time or just live by the seat of our pants. We do need a plan. But it’s also important to be flexible with that plan. Life is uncertain and when we hold on to our plans like a tight fist then we are only causing more strain and stress on ourselves. (Take a moment and make a tight fist. See how that would feel in your entire body to carry that around all day every day.) Make a plan, and allow God to infuse, change, and direct you – even when His way seems way out of the way. His plans are always good!
So, what is one thing you can do today to be a better manager of time?
I’m done hiding.
Hello. My name is Carrie and I’ve had an abortion. No, I wasn’t raped. I was just a college girl who let things go too far.
And I hold zero judgement on anyone who has or has not had an abortion.
God forgives. Period.
No matter what your sin is: you lied, you stole, you had an abortion, whatever… God sees all sin as equal. And he forgives all of it. No questions asked. No stipulations. If you truly repent and ask for forgiveness it’s yours.
That means I’m equal with you.
We’re both sinners.
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
And I want to encourage you! If you’re in a place overwhelmed by sin you are not alone. The God who made the entire universe is right there with you. In the dark, in the grime, in the loneliness. And the only reason I can tell you this for certain is because of my own personal experience.
When trying to begin the process of dealing with my sin, I actually told God that I wanted to try and work through this and heal on my own. I didn’t need His help. And I felt him sit back, cross his arms, smile, and say okay. Little did I know that I wouldn’t get very far without Him.
In the coming months I’ll be sharing more about my story. Because God told me to.
Honestly, if it were up to me I would’ve carried this deep, dark secret to the grave. But God had other plans. And I know what the devil intended for my harm, God will use for good! And I’ve had the experience of saying no to God before. And I ain’t even going there again. Haha!
So, here we go. The secret is out. Because God told me that the time is now.