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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pity... Party of One...

Haven't posted lately because, quite honestly, I was throwing myself a pity party. No balloons, no streamers, but all the whine you can drink!

It all started when I bothered to think about how long the road ahead of me is. I started doing negative math. Have you heard of it? It's not like real math where "0 - 1 = -1". No, this is the emotionally and mentally negative math where "all of your successes + a few negative thoughts = failure mentality and giving up." Yeah, that kind of math.

Oh, how quickly the mighty fall when they lose sight of reality! I mistakenly let my focus fall on two major aspects of this journey over which I have zero control.

1. There are way too many tomorrows between my "goal" and me.

In my negative math, I started to calculate how many little goals I have to set in order to reach the big goal. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't encouraging. It wasn't right around the corner. We're talking binoculars or even a telescope needed to see the end.

2. I feel skinnier than I look.

After a wonderful family celebration this weekend, I rushed home to see the pictures. I hadn't taken a real photo of myself since starting this journey, and I was anxious and excited to see a difference and be happy with what I saw. I wasn't. In fact, looking at that photo made me sad and disappointed in myself.

The result? Pity, Part of One!

Do you know the kind of food served at a pity party? Carbs. Do you know the kind of music played at a pity party? None. You are alone with your thoughts.

So where did I go wrong? How did I end the party? How do I keep from falling into the same situation?

First, I should have looked at the situation and the journey in the "Light" and in His reality. If I had done so, my focus would have looked like this:

1. Yes, there are way too many tomorrows between my "goal" and me. But the reality is, I lived way too many yesterdays in sin and, while forgiven, I still have to deal with the consequences of that sin.

Yes, getting to my "goal" is many tomorrows away. But the reality is, I am not promised even one tomorrow. Today is what matters. What will I do today to bring Him glory.

Yes, the journey is long. But the reality is, I don't walk this journey alone.

Yes, my "goal" looks distant. But the reality is, that "goal" is nothing--absolute nothing--in light of my true goal of making myself--mind, soul, flesh--smaller so that He is bigger in my life. My size, now or in the future, plus-size or average, does not determine His glory, nor does it impact His love for me.

2. Yes, I feel skinnier than I look. But the reality is, He's still working on me.

Yes, I feel thinner than I look. But the reality is, I am thinner than I was. 36 pounds thinner!

Yes, I feel different from what I see. But the reality is I'm living life differently this time because I'm not settling for what I see. Instead, I'm focusing on seeing Him.

Next, I had to end the party. How? I said, "No," to myself.

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus says, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

Instead of the word "deny," the Complete Jewish Bible translation says, "He must say, 'No,' to himself..."

So I did. Believe it or not, we do have a choice.

How do I keep from doing this all over again, time after time? I do just what Jesus said: "...take up his cross and follow me."

Again, the Jewish translation says it more pointedly, "take up his execution stake and keep following me."

In other words, dying to myself, saying no to myself is a process. It does not end. Am I going to stop following Christ just because I mess up along the way? No, I keep following. I keep executing this flesh so that He can be my all.

I love party planning, but I think it's time I start planning to NOT throw a party. That takes a lot more work (or workouts!)... more prayer... more reliance on Jesus for strength... more focus on reality in the light of His Word, rather than the light of my dim flashlight of flesh.

The Light is on! The party is over! Make room for victory!

Faithfully, fluffuly His,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A fluffy girl walks into a gym...

I'm on my third or fourth week of making exercise a consistent part of my life. In Weight Watchers (WW) terms, that's equaled a minimum of 14 Activity Points (AP) a week. In layman terms, I basically shoot for 20 to 30 minutes of steady exercise most days. So far so good.

However, most of that activity has consisted of walking in my neighborhood with my dogs, and it is officially hot  and humid in the Houston area. Therefore, activity outside is not the same appealing option it was a few weeks ago. That means, I need to find options now as alternatives.

I haven't had a gym membership in close to five years. The last time I had one, I only got it because my BFF had one and committed to going with me as a workout buddy.

My insurance sent an email this week about a new Fitness Program for just $25 a month and access to a variety of of gyms. A good deal with gyms in their program are in my neighborhood? SCORE! I was actually excited to sign up AND excited to go workout (in air conditioning). You need only to look back at my previous posts on exercise to know I'm not exactly a fan, so being excited here is completely new to me! Praise the Lord!

I had two meetings at church after work that night, so I rushed home from work, changed into semi-decent workout attire, filled a water bottle, grabbed a sweat towel, and headed to church for my meetings. I was on track for success. It wasn't until I started walking out of the church that I started having doubts.

I started thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to just go drop the paperwork off at the gym and go back in the morning for a workout. I told myself to get in the car and drive over there, but with every block I drove, my insecurity monitor went higher and higher. Excuses started playing in my head. Fears came to the surface. By the time I pulled into the parking lot, I had made up my mind that I would only go in if the parking lot wasn't crowded. It was crowded, but not full by any means. Plus, the gym is in a shopping center, so the cars could have been for any number of businesses there. Then I decided to watch the people traffic to see if anybody looked remotely like me and not some insanely gorgeous skinny chics in tight yoga pants and sports bras or body builder guys in spandex. There were a few guys who could bench press me, but most of the people coming and going were families who had just worked out together and a lot of older white guys with large bellies who looked like they were about to have heart attacks. My kind of exercise buddies.

Still, I drove around the parking lot for a full 10 minutes trying to convince myself that I shouldn't go in. Why?! I was scared of how others would stare at me or judge me as too fat to be there or just plain laugh at me. Then it hit me... I'm a funny gal who loves to laugh. I spend most days at work making people laugh and enjoying people's good humor. If the worst thing that happens is that I make someone else laugh today by going in that gym, is it really so bad? Plus, if I go home now, I have an entire evening ahead of me with zero items on my to-do list. That means I will literally end up on the couch for the next four hours. Is it really worth skipping a workout to be who I used to be, Couch Potato Kerri? No. And to boot, that Kerri does NOT glorify God.

So you may have heard this joke before. A fluffy girl walks into a gym... And guess what... The punchline didn't change. She still just worked out and life went on.

That's right. I pulled up my big girl panties, grabbed my ipod and exercise necessities and walked into the gym. Nobody looked my way. Nobody told me that I didn't belong there. Nobody rolled their eyes when they saw me approaching the treadmills next to them. Nobody cared! I was just another person doing my thing.

That's when I realized that every fear and excuse I had told myself in the parking lot wasn't just Satan trying to defeat me; I was trying to defeat myself. My flesh. Every pound of this fluffy flesh that I've earned bite by fattening bite does not want me to succeed. So it's up to the fluffy child of God inside me to take the lead and push through.


Because I'm worth way more than that. I am worthy of fearlessness. I am able to do ALL things. And I have the scars of a Savior who overcame death itself to prove it.

I walked out of that gym a little sweatier and with my head held a lot higher. No fear. And all I could say was, "Praise you, Lord. All things really ARE possible in Christ!"

What's keeping you in the proverbial "parking lot" instead of inside doing the work, whatever that may be? If it's fear or insecurity, you deserve better. Go get it!

Faithfully, fluffully His,

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Stars, Whales, and a Fluffy Girl

(The following post is also provided as this week's "Fluffy Verse" and is posted under the verse tab as well.)

"Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens' praise him in the heights!... Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars... Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps... Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven..." Psalm 148 (paraphrase mine)

For the last few "verses of the week," I was tempted to use a praise verse. When I thought about which verse to pick, the first thing that came to my mind each week was to pick something from Psalms. For some weird reason, I chose instead verses that helped me work on me.

In so doing, I lost all sight of why I'm doing this. I'm not doing this to be skinny or lose weight. I'm doing this to turn my focus away from something insignificant and put my focus on the Significant One. Oh, how I failed so short of that! Forgive me, Father!

My sweet friend, Julia, emailed me a link to a YouTube video on Monday, and I didn't find the time to watch it until just this morning. Thank you, Lord, for your sweet and perfect timing! In the video, Louie Giglio explains the sounds that we've recorded of stars light years away as well as whale songs from the oceans. He speaks of them in the light of Psalm 148, which I paraphrased above for you for quick reading. I encourage you to look it up on your own and speak it aloud to the Lord!

Giglio then splices those songs together to give us a mere hint of the praise that God must hear every second from His throne. I can honestly say, I've heard the most beautiful praise song on earth this morning! I can only image how amplified it must be on the throne!

Then it hit me, there is praise from nature taking place every second, yet we cannot hear it because we, in our self-centered world, have added in so much noisy into our lives that such beauty is drowned out. And with it is drowned opportunities to join in the singing.

Well, not today, Lord! Today, I sing! Today, I want my very heartbeat to join in! You alone are God and worthy of my focus! May you be exalted in me today. May your name and renown be the desire of my heart.

...and all else fades away but my Savior and me.

(Thus, my sign-off is officially changed to...)
Faithfully, fluffully HIS,

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WWMD (What Would MacGyver Do?)

If you could invite 10 people to dinner, dead, alive or imaginary, who would you choose?

I have to say, one of my guests would definitely be MacGyver. He is one of the reasons I keep bobby-pins in my purse, and car, and desk, and in random places around my house. I truly believe that, next to duct tape, a bobby-pin is one of the most valuable tools in a person's life. All because of MacGyver. He's the only man I'll ever forgive for wearing a mullet.

I didn't get home tonight in time to go for a walk and ended up on the couch for a bit. I decided to take a look online at Shape magazine to see what's new. I came across some 2-for-1 exercises that worked by using hand weight exercises/reps along with some leg work to tone arms and legs at the same time. Most of the pictures looked easy enough, so I decided to dig out my hand weights.

That led to a full 10 minutes tearing up the house looking for the long lost weights, which haven't been used in years. When I finally gave up the search, I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to get in a low-impact workout like I had hoped. I wasn't in the mood for cardio, of which I have plenty of exercise DVDs. About to give up and settle into my old routine of TV+couch=norm, I thought to myself, "What would MacGyver do?"


Surely, there's something around this house that is light enough and small enough to serve as a temporary "hand weight." It's not like I need heavy weights to help me bulk up. I just need something small and light, right?

The only thing I could think of was to look in my pantry. I had two cans of broth that were just the right size. And so commenced my toning workout. Guess what... my improvised gym equipment worked just fine! My arms are tired and I worked up a nice little sweat. Mission accomplished!

So what did this little experiment prove? I proved to myself that I don't really have any excuse not to do SOMETHING. I don't have to do an elaborate workout or even put on my shoes to help meet my exercise/Activity Point goals for the week.

MacGyver would be proud.

If you're interested in the Shape magazine article, here it is:

Faithfully, fluffully yours,