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It’s no secret–I love exercising. It used to be an absolute, unhealthy obsession. And I will admit that yoga helped to break that for me. Yoga brought me to place of movement that didn’t equate calories; yoga some how melted stillness and activity together; yoga makes me strong in ways that nothing else ever has; yoga calls itself a practice and not a workout … and really, when I finish a yoga class, I can often hear the Lord whispering to me. As I lay in shavasana, Scripture washes my mind, prayers come easily and peace reigns. (Of course, this doesn’t happen every time without fail, but it’s more often than not.)
And then, someone (more that one someone) told me that yoga is sinful. They seemed like they knew so much about it. I heard that the poses were offerings to false gods, I heard that it was based on false, eastern religions. I heard that Christianity and yoga were mutually exclusive.
And then I heard otherwise … so what to believe?
So, finally, I just made my own call. I love yoga. I know that God healed me from anorexia–it was all Him–and I also know that yoga was a big part of that. But truthfully, I didn’t tell a lot of people about my home practice. I wasn’t sure how to defend it. I wasn’t prepared to be criticized for my decision.
Enter, a podcast that I stumbled upon today: Faithful Wellness interviewed Brooke Boon, the founder of Holy Yoga, and it made sense! Rather than try to restate everything that Brooke said with such clarity, I’ll simply post the podcast and link here for you.
This blog started as a chronicle of my recovery from anorexia then, it hosted the launch of my book: The Predatory Lies of Anorexia, so it only seems fitting that it continue to proclaim Christ, freedom, health, hope and clarity to those who are looking for freedom from body image, weight issues and eating disorders.
Somewhere, some-when, in the last several months, I’ve lost my “edge”. Suddenly, the blank page intimidates me again. I have nothing to say. Nothing seems original or worthy of the time and effort to put fingers on keys, nor does anything seem worthy of being read–it’s all been said before, right?
In fact, when I look back at the thousands of posts I’ve written–I’ve probably said it all before.
God’s Word is emphatically clear when it tells us that our tongues can get carried away. They can set an entire forest on fire! So, at what point does a writer say, “Enough?”
I’m wondering if that’s where God has me … I know many authors and writers take full lifetimes to express all God has laid on their hearts. But, I’ve turned a corner in my own vocation, finding greater joy and ease in reading others’ work than crafting my own. So that’s where I’ve been–reading, refining and relishing the work of other writers who call on the One True God. What a joy it is!
We’ve talked about seasons here before. I truly believe one of the hardest things in life is letting go of a lovely season. Think of autumn, always seemingly the shortest season of all. A few crisp days and then suddenly, they bleed into frigid temps and good reasons to stay cozy indoors. Or, summer clings to its very limits, refusing to release those long, hot days to the reprieve of fall.
In life, think of the things God’s given you to do that you absolutely loved! You found your niche–others could tell, too. For a time, you were successful, happy, predictable, comfortable and then … something interrupted your flow. Suddenly, you found yourself starting over, asking God, “What do you want me to do?” At the very least, you found yourself doing something you never expected.
I think that’s why I love the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon says over and over, “There is a season for … “. The interesting thing about seasons though, is one can’t begin until the other ends.
Maybe that’s how we find ourselves overcommitted, stressed out and irritable–we’ve launched into a new season with out telling the last one “goodbye”.
What season do you find yourself in? Is one fading and another dawning? Are you afraid to say goodbye?
Even as He quiets my mind, heart and fingers, God still speaks. So, for the next season, I hope to share the little things He’s teaching me–the daily wonders, the calls to thankfulness, the stern rebukes, the steadfast love. These posts may be shorter, concise or questioning and even less than profound. But I hope you’ll enjoy this next season with me. After all, there’s beauty in every season.
Friends, I’m going to take a step back from the LASTing Peace video series–perhaps only for a time, perhaps indefinitely. I will still be writing and posting at least once a week and more often when the Lord leads.
This today is from my journal just recently. It’s a dialogue I had with God. He continued to faithfully answer my wounded heart though His perfect Word. If you’ve ever had trouble hearing from God, I hope this gives you a sense of what His voice sounds like when it whispers through the pages of Scripture:
I have been worried lately that somehow my husband and I will revert to the “old us.” We’ve changed so much; God has healed and forgiven so much–to go back to a false sense of self-sufficiency–it terrifies me. I cannot live that way again!
But even as I fretted, I have been praying Proverbs daily for us and the beginning of Proverbs 14 says:
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
That puts the onus on me. I can destroy this thing or I can build it up. I know that in the last few days, I have been kind of sulky and subversively unhappy about things: his long hours at work, his fatigue or distance at home … you know that, “It’s not fair” kind of thing. I know even in the midst of my poor attitude that I risk pushing my husband away by making him feel like he’s needed but failing to be available.
So then I fret that I’m going to ruin this thing—probably already have. What if, by my attitude, I’ve already shut him down. What if he’s already decided that I’m whiny, obnoxious, unnecessary and a burden? What if I’ve lost my chance to build us?
Zing! Here came Psalm 127:1
“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”
And then fear grips me again. God, what if you started all this and now I’ve messed it up and you’ve given up and you’re just going to let us slide all the way back down into our mud. What if God!? What if you don’t care enough? What if I can’t trust you enough to keep us, save us, bind us, grow us? (Ever ask those questions?
Philippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
God’s faithfulness is found in His word. There are answers to every hurt, every question, every longing. We need only be still enough to listen and willing to hear what we sometimes don’t want to hear–and finally, willing to agree that His way is always the best way.
How should you vote?
The country is in a tizzy over who will be the next President of the United States. And, while it’s incredibly early to place much weight in polls and predictions, it’s never too early to begin praying about the outcome.
The Republican field is wide; the Democratic ticket not so much, but come November, the competition will be narrowed to two or three (if someone announces they’re running as a different party.)
The issues inciting voters are not so varied either. The economy and international relations are at the top of the list. There are plenty of moral issues at stake as well—the right to life and racial tension. And, for the most part, the American public is tired of political games—tired of politicians.
So, outside of the debates and the arguably biased news coverage of each candidate, how does a Christian make a well-informed decision about who to vote for? Is there a single set of standards anywhere that can help believers draw clean lines between the options?
I never expected to find such a precise set of standards in the book of Psalms. But, it shouldn’t surprise us. After all, much of the the book was penned by King David of Israel. And the rest were penned by those who knew him and were affected by his rule.
The Bible describes David as “a man after God’s own heart.” It makes sense then, that David’s personal and prayer life can guide us in making godly decisions about those who govern our own lives.
“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?” Psalm 15:1
While the president himself doesn’t spend much time on Capitol Hill, many other elected officials do and—for better or worse—the president has great bearing on the decisions made there. So let’s paraphrase this verse slightly: Who should dwell on Capitol Hill? The following verses give great detail:
“He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend … “ Psalm 15:2-3
These verses speak very obviously to the campaign season. How many candidates spend much of their air time slandering their opponent or speaking evil against him—often times even taking up a reproach against a former ally for the sake of popularity? And, while none of us on our own can claim to be blameless, a man or woman who has accepted the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice for sin is completely blameless. They also seek to do right and speak the truth.
“ … in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change … “ Psalm 15:4
This verse brings us to the moral issues. Which candidate consistently calls good good and evil evil? A specific case in point: Who is willing to stand up for life? Politicians are notorious for saying one thing during their campaign and doing another once they’re in office. The Bible tells us to look for a man who swears to his own hurt and does not change—this man or woman will not change their stance for truth even when it’s not in their personal best interest.
“ … who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved … “ Psalm 15:5
This verse covers a whole gamut of issues. As voters, we must vote for the candidate who—to the best of their ability—manages the country’s finances well, refuses to be bought and protects the innocent.
Finally, the last sentence sums it up. Do we not want to be a solid, unmovable country? This begins with an uncompromising, strong, unmovable leader.
The Bible tells us clearly how to vote. Is our responsibility as believers and patriots to determine who to vote for.
A friend of mine asked me to pray for her husband. “He’s been really down lately,” she said. I expect she asked many people to pray, but I couldn’t help but wonder if she specifically asked me because it’s obvious I’ve “been there”.
A verse popped into my head, “Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Proverbs 12:25
I’ve had an anxiety-filled heart. My mind often races with “do” things–things I should do, can’t do, didn’t do, did wrong, might die trying to do…
The Bible says that anxiety brings a man down. Can anxiety lead to depression?
Undoubtedly, it can. I’m sure many a psychiatrist would attest to that. The Biblical word for “weighs down” even leaves room for that interpretation. However, it’s the other angle of the Hebrew word shachah that grabs my attention.
Shachah can also mean: “to bow down, prostrate oneself in worship before a superior in homage, before God”.
What if my anxiety is meant to bring me to my knees? What if there is a redeeming quality to this depression? What if anxiety leads me to the place where I seek, implore and receive the superior power of my Father?
The Bible says that God causes all things to work for good. It may not feel like it. Sometimes my knees are bloody from being in this broken position. But it is here and only here that I find the strength to stand—and as Paul repeats—to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:13)
Let’s pair up 1 Corinthians 13 and Galatians 5. What is the connection between the Fruits of the Spirit and The Love Chapter?
Have you ever been told to “trust your gut”?
Psalm 16:7 says, “I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.”
The word for heart there actually means “kidneys”. Obviously, your kidneys aren’t going to help you make decisions, know what God’s will is, or understand a difficult Bible verse. But the full meaning of the phrase implies “my bowels admonish, instruct and discipline me”. In plain English: “My gut tells me what I should do.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can just do whatever you feel like. We can only trust our heart (or our gut) when we develop a close relationship with the God who is trustworthy.
Psalm 16 begins by saying, “I say to the Lord, you are my Lord. I have no good besides you.” David has come to know that no matter what happens, God is always good and whatever God leads him to do is best.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” This means that when you see God as better than everything else in your life, He will plant His desires within you, enabling you to be obedient and to want the same things that God wants. When you want what God wants, you can trust your gut.