Motivation Modification

We are approaching that time of year. New Year’s resolutions are coming. Many of us will commit to exercise and calorie restriction – the dreaded “diet”. Some of us could stand to lose a little or even a lot of weight but instead of jumping on the diet and exercise wagon with the only goal being weight loss, I propose that we be motivated by things that are life changing, not just scale changing.

Commit yourself to changes that are realistic. These changes should be able to be maintained for a lifetime under normal living conditions. A diet can generally only be maintained for short periods of time because they are restrictive and complicated. We are too busy in our lives to maintain high maintenance eating and exercise. Your health plan should easily fit into your life – not the other way around. Besides, we all need an occasional restaurant cheeseburger and if your exercise program is too strenuous, you run the risk of injury which could potentially end your ability to get and stay physically fit. Think long term – in order to succeed, you must be able to maintain this calorie and exercise level for life.

Some of the long-term benefits to a healthier lifestyle are:

>More energy to enjoy your life and your loved ones.
>More energy to exercise again.
>When you start looking better – you will start feeling better about yourself. This will motivate you to stay on course.
>Better overall health. You will notice a stronger immune system once you start getting some of the extra pounds off. You will also see your blood, urine and liver numbers improve over the long term.
>Less joint pain. I recently read that every 4 pounds of extra weight acts like 20 pounds of extra weight on our joints.
>Eventually, your physician may be able to take you off of some medications.
>You will be more confident which allows you to reach out and love other people.
>There will be a dramatic reduction of the risk of serious disease such as hormonal imbalances, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Many in the health industry believe that inflammation is the root of disease. Excess weight is known to cause inflammation in the body.

Yes, you will have to exercise but you might grow to appreciate it or even love it. Yes, you will probably have to cut down on the amount of food or drink that you consume but most of us consume way more than our bodies actually need. The payoffs are the feeling of accomplishment, more confidence, higher energy levels and better health.

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Sunday Short & Sweet – The Beautiful Glory of God

So God created people in His own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female He created them – Genesis 1:27. It amazes me that God would create man and woman to display His beautiful image.

In studying biblical femininity, the image of a puzzle and all of the little pieces often comes to mind. Each little piece is unique and yet they fit together perfectly and when complete, a beautiful image is on display. They don’t compete with each-other and try to fit into each other’s spot. They each have their own unique shape and colors that add to the beauty of the final masterpiece.

No matter what station or season of life that we are in, we are called to be obedient to God. Part of this obedience is living out our God given gender characteristics. When we choose to not be obedient, we are in rebellion against our Creator. How might we rebel in this way? Well for example, every time that a wife attempts to rule over her husband, she is blurring the gender roles in their home and therefore being disobedient. Every time a husband is selfish and does not sacrificially love his wife, he is disobedient. Let us look at the characteristics that define a man and a woman.

A man is strong.
A man is the protector.
A man is the provider.
A man loves.
A man is self-sacrificing.
A man is to display the image of Christ.
A woman is nurturing.
A woman is soft and gentle.
A woman is responsive and relational.
A woman is grace extending.
A woman is to display the image of the bride of Christ.

This isn’t about tasks, for example who handles the finances or who does the vacuuming. This life is all about displaying the glory of God. We have each been given an important piece to the puzzle – no need to compete. Let us complete instead.

Strength Under Control

A gentle quiet spirit – which in God’s sight is very precious. This is how God describes His kind of woman in 1 Peter 3:4. Let’s see what this looks like in a modern woman’s life.

To be gentle, it doesn’t matter what she does for her work or hobbies. She can be a nurse tending to the needs of others or even a construction worker. She could be a homemaker or she could be powerful in the corporate world. She could grow beautiful flowers or ride a Harley. She might even sew or play the drums. These tasks don’t define her. What defines her are characteristics like, is she gentle, kind, amenable, respectful or is she rude, aggressive or argumentative? Are her motives stemming out of purity and putting others first or does she have a wily heart with no concern for the consequences? Do others look forward to interactions with her or do they dread them? Does she bring fresh air into a room or does she suck the oxygen out of the room?

I would like to clarify that a gentle woman has respect for herself as well as others. She is created in the image of God. She is not a mat to be trampled on. Too often, a woman might allow others to walk all over her in the name of kindness. This is not healthy for either person involved.

Now we’ll talk about quietness. This is less about the noise that comes out of her mouth and more about a peacefulness that comes from her heart. Do you resemble a calm mirror like lake or the churning at the bottom of a waterfall? This calm, quiet spirited woman is trusting that God is working all things out and that He is firmly on His throne – sovereign over everything. In the middle of the turmoil of relationship or financial problems, she is certain that God has allowed these things for the good of her and others. She doesn’t panic and begin to take over. She exudes inner strength which is under control.

God says that these qualities are precious to Him. This is the woman that I want to be – one that God looks at and says precious.

Sunday Short & Sweet -The Perfect Fit

I’m sure that you are familiar with the term “what do you bring to the table”?

God said that He would make the man a helper fit for him. The phrase “fit for him” can also be translated as suitable or matching but not matching as in the same. A beautiful china salt and pepper shaker can be a matched set but they each have a very different function. Man and woman are human and created in the image of God but each have very different functions. Women shouldn’t be in competition with men but women should perfectly complement men instead. A biblical woman makes the men around her even better. Did you read that? She makes them better! This is an honor – helping to make other human beings better is an honor and a privilege.

A woman should help men, not hinder any of the men in her life. I write a lot about husbands and wives but a woman is also accountable for how she lives out femininity with all of the men in her life. She should be a blessing and not a curse to men. Please take some time and examine whether or not this is an area in your life that needs some work. Do you allow the men in your life to lead? Do you purposely stumble men sexually? Do you willingly help and support men? Do you treat your marriage and other marriages as sacred?

When a woman is living out femininity, she is a blessing to others and she brings the perfect fit to the table.

A Husband’s Need for Appreciation

Too often, a husband will work at a job that he feels mostly unhappy in. He might feel unchallenged or even persecuted by having to work under a harsh or unfair boss or with difficult coworkers. He might be under enormous pressure to perform or be forced to endure the loneliness and hassles of travel. A wife might be so busy and tired from taking care of the mundane tasks of running a home and raising children, that she hasn’t even realized this about her husband. Both people in a marriage need to feel appreciated by their spouse but for this post we will focus on men.

Why would a man go to a job every day that he doesn’t love? Is he too lazy to find a better job? Does he lack motivation and drive? Does he just have a bad attitude? These are possible reasons but most likely, he goes to that job because God designed him to provide for you and your family. You see, he is being obedient by doing what God designed him to do but this is not where it ends. God also designed your man to be a conqueror. He has dreams and desires but if he cannot provide for you and your family, by pursuing these dreams and desires, he will put them aside and go to that job because he is a man and this is what a real man does. He does this because he loves his family dearly.

Do you feel helpless? Don’t – a biblical woman has great power. There is a tremendous amount that you can do to make his job more tolerable and you can start today.

>Leave a note for him to find at work. Tell him how much you appreciate what he does for your family.
>When he walks through the door, be a pleasant woman with a kiss and a smile. Don’t immediately dump your day on him. Give him some time to unwind and reboot.
>Tell him thank you for what he does. If he doesn’t enjoy his job, acknowledge this and tell him how much you appreciate his sacrifices. Assure him that you are there to non-judgmentally listen to him but do not pressure him.
>Talk to him about his dreams. See if there is a way that he can pursue them while providing for your family.
>Desire and pursue him sexually. Make him feel like a desired man.
>Make his favorite dinners and desserts.
>Serve him by bringing him a drink or a plate of food and pour on the feminine charm while doing so.
>When he does things around the house, don’t criticize him but show him your appreciation. Tell him that he does a fine job.
>Put some time and effort into your appearance for him.
>Respect your financial limitations. Don’t put pressure on him to provide things that he can’t afford within his current income.
As a woman, you need appreciation too but this doesn’t mean that you should withhold your appreciation and kindness toward your husband. Go ahead and put your needs aside for now and give your husband the shot in the arm that he so desperately needs. Doing the right thing will always encourage your heart.

Femininity Lived Out

I write about biblical femininity. This is what I do. I believe in the importance, value and benefits of living this way but sometimes, no actually all of the time – it is not easy. This blog post is sort of therapeutic for me. It is my confession post. I am about to share with you my biggest struggles of living out this calling of being a biblical woman, wife, mother and friend.

I need to be the helper. I don’t get to slay my own dragons. I go find the sword where he misplaced it and bring it to him for proper dragon slaying. I am pleased when others congratulate him. I always know when we have run out of something and I quickly run to the store to replace it because I am Super Wonderful Woman. I know where everything is located even if it is behind that jar which is in front of that jug. I do all of these things without complaining or grumbling.

I need to be the supporter. Years of endless encouragement throughout my husband’s journey of career changes, life disasters and hobbies only to hear “I sure hope that you appreciate him because he is awesome at everything”. Eighteen hours a day and seven days a week of parenting, years of cooking, cleaning, laundering, shopping, taking the garbage out, handling the finances so that my husband would have down time and be able to pursue the hobby that he loves. Years of driving children to music lessons, Bible club, various community activities, enforcing practice times, helping them with their projects and homeschooling so that my children can use their gifts. Endless amounts of encouragement to others even though I am in desperate need of some support and encouragement.

I need to be selfless. Years of pep talks with a child or coming to help my husband when I had something else that I had planned to do with my time. Even though I would love to meet my friend for coffee, I don’t because my friend is a man and I would never want to cause him or others to stumble. Putting the feelings of others before my own because their happiness and comfort comes first. Accepting when I hear “can we talk about this later” from my husband, because he is too busy or not in the right frame of mind.

Biblical femininity is a high calling – not an easy one. I don’t write this in a complaining tone. I write this to encourage myself and you. When you grow weary or tired, remember that the endless gestures of being a biblical woman will pale in comparison to hearing “well done good and faithful servant”.

The Facade

That beautiful Facebook family. That perfect spiritual couple at church. That strong Christian family at extended family gatherings. Are you putting up window dressing for everyone else but living in a tormented, miserable, hopeless reality?

Many marriages, families and ministries are on the edge of disaster. Many spouses are caught in a marriage where they must coddle or pacify a difficult spouse in order to have peace in their life. Some will try to get through the holiday season and then separate and file for divorce in the early part of the coming year. Some are just together until the children are out of the home. Some will be the downfall of a ministry. These window dressing couples and families just try to hold their perfect image together during this blessed time of the year.

If this is you, I’m begging you to get to work today. Confront yourself – look in the “mirror” and stop lying to yourself and others. Don’t allow others to coddle you. Where do you need to deal with hidden sin or hypocrisy in your life? There is hope. You, your marriage and family can be healed. Stepping aside can save a ministry. Get biblical counseling. Find a mentor couple that can help you as you work your way back. Be willing to hear hard things about yourself, your marriage, your parenting and your children.

If you have been trying to hide your marital condition from your children – chances are that they already realize the dire condition of your marriage and that they fear the word divorce. Talk to them and assure them that you are dedicated to saving the marriage and getting the help that you need. They will feel much safer if they know that the two of you are committed to doing the work. If you have been asking your children to hide your secret sin or hypocrisy, please stop. This is damaging to the next generation. Hypocrisy at home can lead to young adults that fall away from the Church. Children watch their parents and other adults and if they don’t see a genuine faith in your life – they have no use for it in their life.

This could be the most important holiday season that you have ever experienced. Stop playing the image game and get real. The hard work and selflessness is worth the reward.

Separate and Together

Do you feel threatened when your spouse desires time away from you? I would like to encourage you to realize two things. First, when your spouse wants to spend time away alone or with others, this is not necessarily communicating that they don’t cherish their time with you. Second, there may be an unhealthy reason that they look forward to time away from you.

Examine yourself – and be honest. Have you made yourself fun and interesting to be with? Are you trying to control your spouse? Are you disrespecting them as a human being? Do you have a critical spirit? If needed, change the way that you have been treating your spouse. Now, if your relationship with your spouse is healthy, a little time away, can make it even better. Spending time with appropriate friends or family doing appropriate activities can make you happier and more interesting. It demonstrates a serving attitude to your spouse when you allow your spouse to have this freedom and it is a must that you never ever make them feel guilty or hold it over the head.

Now, I would like to talk about spending time together. Does your spouse have an interest that you don’t really love? If they want you with them – go. It may seem like they are ignoring you but chances are, they really value you being there with them. Show support for their interest even if you really just don’t get it. Do they request your company during chores or errands? Be there because they just want your support and company. If you have children, make sure that you make time to be alone with your spouse. If you have small children, this can even be after you have put them to bed. Too many children run the home and are expending too much of their parent’s energy just getting them to bed. Remember, you are the parent. You set the bedtime and rules. A little training investment will pay off big-time. Your spouse needs to know that you are prioritizing them over the children.

I hope that this is helpful to someone out there. Your marriage partner is a blessing to you. Choose to cherish them and see the good things about them. Your time together is precious.

Let Boys be Boys and Girls be Girls

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails? Sugar and spice and everything nice? We are a mystery to each other, aren’t we?

There is so much irony in the male/female dynamic. Women don’t want a feminine man but yet many women try to feminize their husbands and sons. Men don’t want a butch woman but some men get annoyed at their wives when they spend time and yes a little money on taking care of themselves and the home.

Some of the ways that we do this to each other are:

>Wives trying to lead in the home or be their husband’s spiritual leader.
>Wives talking to their husbands in method and amount as if he was their girlfriend.
>Wives forcing or guilting their husbands into doing girl stuff.
>Wives expecting their husbands to have a female sex drive.
>Wives labeling their husbands as sex maniacs just because they look at them or touch them a certain way.
>Wives not allowing husbands to fix stuff or not showing that you have confidence in him to fix stuff.
>Wives not allowing husbands to relate to the children in a masculine way.
>Husbands trying to control the woman’s domain in the home.
>Husbands making fun of their wife because she needs six times as many shoes as he does.
>Husbands not respecting their wife’s need for order, neatness and cleanliness. Guys, I’m not just talking about the house.
>Husbands ridiculing wives for taking more time getting ready or spending time on appearance.
>Husbands not looking his wife in the eye when they are speaking to each other.
>Husbands only showing affection during sex and forgetting that she needs it at other times too.
>Husbands only making love to the major parts and forgetting the rest of her body.
>Husbands only being concerned with his own sexual satisfaction.
>Husbands diminishing their wives efforts to make things pretty or nice.

This is all very basic love and respect. Yes, the opposite sex is very different. They are cool. Let’s all make an effort to serve each other by letting us be who we were intended and designed to be.