Thursday, August 22, 2013

All Things Work for Good

This summer has been a season of self-discovery and growth, to say the least. I've suffered physically from workouts and suffered emotionally through relationships and conflict. I've pushed through tough intervals. Eaten broccoli by myself. Slept alone as my fireman husband transitioned to a new schedule. I've felt on top of the world after hours of prayer, and I've felt like the smallest person on earth after seeing areas that need serious improvement.

As August comes nearly to an end, and I reflect on what I've learned this summer, I'm encouraged to believe that God works all things out for those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28). God's opened many doors for me the past few months, including the pursuit of my own business and transcendence into a new chapter.

When I decided to train for a bodybuilding show back in April, I never imagined how it would change my life.

Sure, I thought it would be a challenging way to get me bikini-ready, but lead to me quitting my job and starting my own business? Uh, it never crossed my mind.

As I changed my daily routine to adapt to new workouts and a strict eating plan, I started implementing more structure into my schedule. I had to if I wanted to keep my sanity. I was working 40 hours a week at my desk job, teaching aerobics classes two nights a week, hair modeling at the mall kiosk and helping my hubby study for his fire academy exams — not to mention spending quality time with him, my two dogs, my family and the few friends I had left.

And what did I do next?

I agreed to start training more clients at another new gym. What, was I crazy?

As the potential for madness increased, I became desperately dependent on God's grace to get me through each day. 

I started making the 30-50 minutes on the stair master my devotional time. I downloaded the YouVersion Bible app and registered for reading plans. I started watching YouTube sermons of Joyce Meyer, Jimmy Evans and Creflo Dollar.  I turned on worship music in my bathroom as I scarfed down oats and rolled my hair. Since I wasn't drinking anymore on the weekends, it was easier to wake up and go to church on Sunday mornings — even without my husband sometimes.

When I should have been in the most frazzled, stressed-out state of my life, I was finally at peace. And there's no doubt in my mind it's because my focus was on Jesus and not myself or circumstances.

You see, God has a way of taking care of you if you let him. I think I'm so used to trying to make everyone happy and take care of everyone else and then my own crap too, that I tend to tell God, "Hey dude, can you just wait one more second while I finish this up and then I promise, I'll be with you ..." It's a real problem for us busy-bee's and people-pleasers.

What He wants me to say is "Lord, I'm so in love with you and desperate for your ways to be my ways, that I'm just going to sit here and worship you, and I trust that you will provide for me physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually and all things in between."

My homegirl Joyce Meyer always touts the saying, "Where the mind goes, the man follows." She's reminding us that whatever we focus on is what we become.

If you start thinking about a warm, ooey-gooey brownie with whipped cream and a scoop of ice cream on top, you're mouth's going to start watering, and sooner than you know it, you're walking into the kitchen and grabbing the Blue Bell.

The same thing happens when we set our minds to think positively. And more than just positive thinking, start focusing on the promises God's already spoken into our lives.

You are a treasure. You are a child of the Most High God. You are saved. You are priceless. There is nobody else quite like you. God has a purpose for your life that matches no one else's. 

The only real way for these promises to sink into your mind and melt into who you are on the inside is for you to make time to consume God's Word. Whether it's on a Bible app, a YouTube video, a church sermon or a praise song, fill your thoughts up with these things, and I promise you, I guarantee you, you will see change.

Pair that kind of spiritual training with some barbell squats and jump rope and you'll have a serious case of butt-kicked syndrome. I promise it's worth it. I'm more aware of the craziness of my marriage, my family, my job and everything else than I ever have been before, but I know that God is in it because I've put him there.

Today, I hope to inspire you to focus on the good in your life. Instead of worrying about your future, be thankful for what you have today. Choose to see the good in people. Praise your spouse for what he or she does right. Forgive yourself for negative thinking and fill your mind with thoughts that are clean and pure and uplifting.

Download the YouVersion Bible app here >>

Check out my favorite worship music here >>

Subscribe to MarriageToday YouTube channel here >>

Check out Gateway Church here >> 

PS: I'd LOVE for you to go to church with me. Email me if you ever want a buddy to go with!

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