Talents

There’s this phrase I like to use to describe myself. It’s well known by many, but also misunderstood I believe:

“Jack of all trades, master of none.”

On the surface, this phrase seems a little poignant. You’re saying to the world: “I’m not really that great at any thing.” and that thought used to make me shy away from it. I was afraid that people would think I was looking down on myself, that I lacked confidence in what I talents I have.

When you start to dig deeper into the meaning though, something beautiful happens.

You see, I used to be jealous of the people out there who were great at something. They had this one thing that drove them further, this one passion, this one desire that kept them on track. They knew what they wanted out of life and they pushed toward that everyday.

And then there was me.

I’ve felt the call of music ministry from the age of 16, “This is it!” I said to myself. But I believe God had something different in mind.
At 19, in response to my love for art, I enrolled in art college for photography.
I kept my options open, I continued to learn what I could in the realm of music (A story for another day), and I continued to pursue the arts. I painted, I taught myself some graphic design and videography, I got involved in performing arts and discovered a love for musical theater, and I started writing. I loved it all. But where was my one passion?

I believe one of the hardest parts of life is choosing what to go after.

In fact, if there is one thing I’m great at, It’s probably self-awareness. The ability to not be able to lie to myself. To be able to see the harsh reality at all times without rose colored lenses. It’s more like a curse, really. 🙂

I look at every single one of those things I love and can truthfully say that I am not great at any of them.
Why? I would ask God over and over. Life would be so much easier if I just knew what I needed to pursue!

I slowly realized that maybe I wasn’t called to be great at any one thing. God began to challenge me… What was so wrong with that?
Did he promise me that ‘my calling’ would be one thing? Why should my calling happen like everyone else’s? Why shouldn’t I have many talents?

I’ve been so caught up in finding my calling, my special talent, seeking my passion, that I missed the point.

— — —

Today, I was thinking about the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.

A master leaves money (talents) with three servants. Each servant knows their master is a certain kind of man. He values profit. Yet, clearly he values his servants enough to entrust them with his money. He gives one 5 talents, another 2 talents, and the last servant he gives one talent. He leaves for a while and comes back to find that the servants who had the 5 and 2 talents invested them and multiplied them. The servant with the one talent was scared that he would lose his money and be punished by his master, so he buried it.
The master returns and he praises the first two servants for taking what he gave them and multiplying it. But the third servant he scolds and throws out into the darkness for not having multiplied his one talent.
I’ll admit this story has always seemed a little harsh to me. I mean, he didn’t lose the talent, he could’ve went and spent it, but he didn’t. Was it so bad that he was scared that he would fail his master?

But I realized today that that’s not the point.
Multiplication of one’s talent is a side effect of one’s view of the master. The first two servants knew their master, knew that they had been given a lot of trust, and they knew the weight of what their task was. The third servant didn’t understand that. He let his misunderstanding of the master cause him to dwell on all the wrong things. He was more worried about the talent than he was worried about his master desires.

— — —

God has been showing me lately that I’ve had that one passion all along. That one passion is, and always should be, Him. He has given me many talents, and has entrusted me to use them for his profit, his kingdom’s profit.
I’ve felt that weight from the very beginning. But it’s so easy to become the servant with one talent. To get caught up in what I have to offer, maybe even comparing what I’ve been given with others, hiding my small abilities because they didn’t measure up.

God’s message in the parable isn’t that some people have more than others for any particular reason, his message is that no matter what abilities he has given us we should love him enough to want to use them for his gain.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that having more than one ability is better than having just one thing you’re good at. It’s all the same. As in the parable, it is not the amount of talents that mattered at all.

At the end of the story, The master tells the third servant that he doesn’t deserve his one talent, takes it, and gives it to the first servant. Then he says: “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”

I’m finding everyday that if my passion lies in my talents, then I am doomed to fail. But if my passion is for my master, the talents I have are just a tool to please him.
It’s a beautiful thing to be a jack of all trades and master of none. God has richly blessed me with abilities, entrusted me to gain interest for his kingdom. To be a master of nothing isn’t a poignant matter. It means that I’m ever learning, ever growing my abilities. And the truth is, I’ll never become a master of my talents. For my talents are not mine to begin with, they’re his. I am merely holding onto them, using them well, striving to increase them for my master’s hand.

Wishes of a Heart.

You don’t know me… And I don’t know you… Not exactly.

But it’s what I do know about you that makes me wish these things.

I know if you just knew me, both of our lonely existences would be gone. I just have this feeling, this aching in my chest, that you could be the one for me.

I’ve been wrong before. God knows how incredibly wrong I’ve been.

I can’t help but think about all these stories I’ve heard. Not love at first sight… but this gentle urging, this small confidence, that this was it. This person is the one.

I let that keep hope alive.

Hope. That one day, the both of us will overcome the apparent social awkwardness of our personalities… and say hello to one another in a crowded room.

That would only be the beginning.

The next time, we might carry on a short dialogue at a mutual friend’s party.
And the next, sit down in a quiet place with a cup of coffee.

Just thinking of these small steps makes me smile with an inner joy I haven’t felt in so long a time.

Maybe after you know me, you’d admire those traits of mine that so many others find intimidating.
My intelligence and wit would be a comfort to a man as smart as yourself.
My odd sense of humor would make you laugh easily.
My honest opinions would intrigue you and challenge you to think differently.
And my gentle teasing would disarm you in a willing vulnerability.

Then I could find solace in knowing I’m not smarter than the person sitting across from me.
That your gentle voice could sing me to sleep over the phone, or in person when the time is right.
I could be excited to listen to your dreams, or just to listen to you ramble.
And feel comfortable enough to exist in silence, not feeling the necessity to fill the gaps in conversation.

All of this I can now only wish.

One day things will change. I know it’ll happen.

And then I will never have to wish or want for anything again.

Week Fifty-Two.


Starting Weight: 228lbs
Weight Week Fifty-two: 171lbs
Total Weight Lost: 57lbs

Current Measurements:
Hip: 40.5″
Abdomen/Belly: 38″
Waist: 32.5″
Bust: 39″
Upper Arm: 12″
Thigh: 23.5

Total Inches Lost: 40″

September 21, 2010—September 21, 2011

Holy Toledo, Batman! It’s been a year!

Can you believe it!? I can’t half believe it myself.
I used to look at testimonies of other people’s weight loss and cringe at the thought that it took them years to accomplish their goal. Now that it’s been a year for me, I can see how fast a year flies by. It actually slipped up on me. I had just laid down to go to sleep and was thinking about my weight loss and it dawned on me that I started it in the end of September and it’s the end of September now! I got up the next morning and checked the dates only to find that the next day marked a year. Of course that warrants a blog post, right?

All of that said, I must apologize for never having offered you an explanation as to why I stopped writing posts about six months ago. I can assure you that I did try multiple times to post one and just never finished it and soon forgot about it. So yeah, laziness. But I can also assure you that I didn’t once fail to do what I set out to do.
Sure, there were times of doubt when I felt myself being dragged by the heels into the mouth of the sweet tooth monster, but it was never long before I picked myself up, dusted the crumbs off my shirt, and started on my merry way again.

This being a mile stone for me, I wanted to share with you what I feel is on the road ahead for me when it comes to health.

I was reading my first post yesterday, This Is It, where I had spoken of some things I wanted my more fit self to be able to do, and then realized that some of those goals have been reached and some have not. One in particular talked of going on a hike, toting my own gear in a backpack.
This was a big dream at the time. In the back of my mind rested the thought of going on the big daddy of all hikes: A thru-hike of  The Appalachian Trail. It was so unobtainable and so ridiculous of a goal that I often put it away as something I will never be able to do. Over the past year, along with my brother who has also lost 50 some odd pounds, we began picking up the pieces of our hiking dreams again.
I know what you’re thinking, “THE  A.T.!? You’re insane.” And yes, you might be right. We are not being naive about this. We know how insane of a goal this is, but what the last year has brought us is a confidence that we can actually do this. Can we do it tomorrow? Heck no. THAT’S insane. Can we set realistic goals and plan until we’re brain dead and do this in the next couple of years? Absolutely.
It requires relentless amounts of training and planning and training and planning and training and planning…. but having seen what we can set our minds to and accomplish in a year has showed us how truly obtainable this goal is. The next problem is freeing up the 6 months required to do it in. 😉

Which brings me to my next point for the future.
Exercise regimen!  If you know me personally, or have read my past posts, you know that finding my exercising niche has been the toughest part for me. To start off the next year of health betterment, and preparing myself for the training I will need for the A.T. … I will be doing something I didn’t think I would ever want to do. P90X.
My other brother has been doing this on and off for about a year as well, and I’ve even done a few of the videos with him. I used to think that I could never do the entire workout regimen of 90 days and pull it off, but once again, my confidence levels for my entire life have been given a huge boost and I can look at it and realistically know that I could, in fact, pull it off.
This is not an easy goal, but I think it’s necessary for the level of fitness I need to achieve for the A.T.. And now that I’m 50 something pounds lighter, my body can handle the stress a whole lot better.
You’d better believe when this starts I will be blogging more results posts. I promise. =)
Looking back a year ago, if you had told me that in a year I would have these ridiculous goals in my head, I would’ve laughed in your face. My image of ‘what I wanted’ was just to be more healthy. When people would ask me what my weight loss goal was or what size clothes I wanted to wear, I didn’t have an answer. I could only say that I would know when I got there.
Bottom line is: I am still not there yet.  I have never had it in my head to look like a supermodel, or never wanted to have bulging muscles, because frankly, I think both of those images are extremely disgusting.

Now, I have a clearer image in my head of what I want out of my health. It was never what I wanted to look like, but what I wanted to accomplish with having a healthier lifestyle.
I don’t know exactly what the future holds for me, but I know that whenever I think of all that is possible for me now, I get the most relentless fire-breathing dragons flapping around in my stomach.

God has undoubtedly helped me through all of this last year, and I know that he will continue to help me reach these goals I have laid before him. That’s another post I have planned to write though. 😉

Thanks for reading and for being such a huge support for me. I love you all!

Brights.

I’m one of those people who loves to drive with their brights on. My car has old headlights, and they are consequently quite dim when it comes to driving at night. So I drive with one hand firmly on the wheel, the other hand freeing my index and middle fingers to rest on the switch that turns my headlights from a dim glow into a glorious beam of light. I toggle in between bright and dim as I meet drivers in the oncoming lane, so much so that I don’t even have to think about it anymore, it’s second nature.
It’s so much more comforting to be able to see a half a mile down the road, or at least to the next curve, instead of only about a hundred feet in front of me. Knowing what’s coming up further down the road makes it easier for me to drive, it makes it more safe to drive, to not have to depend on just what I can see with my dim headlights edging through the darkness.

I find that most of the time in our lives, we’re driving with our spiritual brights on. We want to know what’s ahead so badly we flick them on out of instinct and drive, desperately seeking what’s next, whether it be a destination or just to keep ourselves out of danger.

The thing is, we can’t always know what’s going to happen next. God asks us to have faith in him and in what he has planned for us. Faith is like driving with your headlights on dim in a ’94 Honda Civic. It’s pretty unnerving, let me tell ya. When I have my headlights on dim I have to place my trust elsewhere. I can no longer trust my own instincts. I can no longer make decisions based on what I see because, well, I can’t see much of anything.
This concept raises a red flag immediately in our minds. Why? Because we, as humans, have an incessant need to know about our future. Think about it this way for a moment though. If you’ve driven for any number of years, you have without a doubt hit some sort of animal. If not, you might have had a wreck trying to dodge something in the road. Most of the time, the safer thing to do would’ve been to just hit the animal or obstacle, instead of swerving madly out of the path to try and miss it. Because when you try to miss it, you’re putting yourself and those on the road around you in danger. It’s ridiculous to have the mentality that a squirrel or piece of debris in the road is worth possibly ending your life or the lives of those around you.
How do we see these obstacles at night? Most likely, it’s because we’re prepared for the brave armadillo to jump onto the blacktop and make a run for it. But that’s not always how we’re supposed to operate spiritually. Faith sometimes means that we have to hit the obstacles in front of us, because trying to dodge them could be more fatal than if we took them head on. Driving with our dimly lit headlights would cause us to meet the obstacles God has placed in our lives. To travel the path he has chosen for us, without fail or falter.

However, It’s both a fleshly and Godly instinct that wants to swerve us away from danger, or heartbreak, or illness. We can’t always live our lives without regard, making haphazard decisions based in knowing that God’s got our back. He gave us brains for a reason. Yes, we are to always have faith in him, but he also expects us to be wise enough to make our way back to his path when we find ourselves making detours that weren’t in the plan. That’s what he gave us the brights for.
I recently finished reading Andy Stanley’s “The Principle of the Path”. It talks about how the seemingly meaningless decisions we make everyday will undoubtedly decide our future. That the wise and simple alike will see the danger ahead on the path they’re on, only the wise react to what’s ahead and take precautions to avoid it right then instead of meeting the obstacle and suffering for it later. The principle of the path is like driving with your lights on bright. You are able to see what’s ahead of you, regardless of how far ahead. In your mind’s eye, you can know that the choices you make today will be the habits you have tomorrow.
Everyone has a general path God has placed them on. In this path we find our calling and purpose, or who we should marry and what our family dynamic will be, or even illness that God placed to prove his glory, and tragedy that affects us because of the intersection with the paths of others that can’t be helped. But within this path we have multiple routes and detours we can chose to take to get to where God is leading us. We call this learning the hard way or the easy way. We can even drive off the path completely and forge our own road in a completely different direction. That’s what free will is. God prepares us a path that will lead us to him and all he has for us, but he loves us enough to not control us like a gigantic puppeteer. “If you love something, let it go, and if it returns…” — That’s what our lives are.

Yes, driving with your lights on bright is the wise thing to do, but it’s not always how God wants us to operate. Sometimes we meet things in our path that are harmed by our lights being on bright, like a car coming to meet us in the oncoming lane. As stated before, certain obstacles aren’t supposed to be avoided. God places this different type of obstacle in our life to help us put our trust back in him. Sometimes God purposefully puts our lights back to a dim setting to help us to focus on what lies more closely in the future and in turn put our focus back on letting God guide us through near darkness, and at times, complete darkness.
It’s when we are making the decision on which side path to take, a crossroads of choice, that we must turn our brights on to see what’s ahead and judge accordingly. It’s then that God wants us to use our wisdom and the right counsel around us to our advantage and travel down the path that most fits where we need to go. Some of these side paths might lead us back to the main path, and others might lead to a completely unordained path. It is when we return to the path that God has preordained for us that our lights must go back on dim and we must put our trust and faith fully in God to lead us through the indiscernible times of our lives.

The headlights you drive with is your knowledge and understanding, and your knowledge and understanding can only get you so far. So, in the end, it is the art of knowing when to use your brights and when to rely on those old, fading headlights that guides you through the paths we all know as life. Don’t be addicted to having the comfort of using your brights. Instead, drive with one hand on the wheel, and one hand on the switch, ready to be a vessel for God to use to get you through your path and to intersect with the path of those around you in a positive manner.

Week Twenty-Four ~ Twenty-Six

[Sorry, no pictures this week! 😦 ]

Starting Weight: 228lbs
Weight For Week 24-26: 185lbs
Total Weight Lost: 43lbs

Measurements:
Hip: 42″ (-.5″)
Abdomen/Belly: 39″ (+2″)
Waist: 34″ (+1″)
Bust: 39″
Upper Arm: 13″
Thigh: 24″

Inches Lost/Gained This Week(s): 2.5″ Gain
Total Inches Lost: 34.5″

March 1st — March 22nd

A week late! Ah!
Last week I was sick and really didn’t feel like posting. So yeah, sorry ’bout that.
First off, Thank God it’s spring! I got out in the sun and played tennis on Friday. I Love winter, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something so invigorating about nature coming back to life after so many months of being bare.
I started my weight loss journey in October, so this spring is my first at this weight and this motivation level since… I don’t even know when.
My newest goal is to be comfortable in short sleeves this summer. Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? Not for me! I’ve always had chunky arms that I’m self-conscious of. So many overweight people have decent arms and I never did. So… I wore long sleeves year ’round. The shortest sleeves I ever wore were to my elbows, unless I felt comfortable around the people I was with enough to have them be shorter than that. I’m determined to have smaller arms by this summer. And if not, I am determined not to be self-conscious of them anymore. It’s too hot to wear long sleeves and I’m tired of sweating it out because of something stupid like that.
Anywho… I’m not freaking out about only losing one pound and gain a few inches in the last three weeks. The key for me is to make this permanent, not to lose it quickly. Yes, I could lose a lot faster if I kicked things up a notch, but I’m not going to push myself too far and burn myself out. That’s what I’ve always done in every diet I’ve ever been on. I’m finally past the point of needing to see it come off fast in order to have the motivation I need to keep going. Now, I’d rather have it come off slowly so I have more time to adjust to the change and make it permanent. That being said, I have slacked quite a bit lately, and will push myself to exercise more. That’s what I’ve struggled with the most is keeping up a regular schedule of physical activity.
I’m excited for what the future holds… This is IT!

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Week Twenty-Two/Twenty-Three.

Total Weight Lost: 42lbs

Measurements:
Hip: 42.5″ (-1″)
Abdomen/Belly: 37″ (-.5″)
Waist: 33″
Bust: 39″ (+1″)
Upper Arm: 13″ (-.5″)
Thigh: 24″ (-1″)

Inches Lost This Week(s): 2″
Total Inches Lost: 37″

February 15th — March 1st

Glory! I’ve finally dropped a few more pounds. 😀 It seems like forever since I’ve been able to say that, albeit only a month or so. It’s been a struggle to continue losing because of, once again, budgeting for the correct foods to eat. Very soon, I pray, that will change. My family recently had our offer accepted to purchase a home… in which the payments will be lower than the rent we are paying now, so that means more money for other things… Like healthy food! Yay! 🙂
I didn’t see any weight loss in the last month because I was doing my best to stay under the ‘maintain weight’ carb limit and not necessarily under the ‘lose weight’ carb limit. It sounds pretty ridiculous to say, “I don’t have the right foods to eat, so I’m just going to eat what’s here.” That’s not it at all. It’s more like, “I don’t have the right foods to eat, so instead of starving myself, I’m going to make wise decisions about eating what’s here.”
For instance: smaller portioning, excessive nutrition label reading, standing in the kitchen weighing options for fifteen minutes… Stuff like that. It’s much MUCH harder to eat healthy when you have to get creative with what you’re feeding yourself. It’s safe to say that I’ll be elated when I have the opportunity to run in the kitchen and know exactly what I’m going to eat and not feel guilty about it.

I used my ankle and wrist weights for the first time! They are great. They’re exactly what I needed to kick things up a notch in the exercise department. I felt much more resistance during the workout and soreness the next day, but not to where it was incapacitating.
It’s a tad odd to say this, but I like the way that twinge of soreness feels. It’s like when you have a crick in your neck, but instead of babying it, you continue to turn your head in the direction that brings the pain, to get it to loosen or sometimes just to see if it’s still there. Haha. I don’t know how else to describe it.

Thanks for checking in!

The Faucet Romantic.

Valentines Day… Single’s Awareness Day… Whatever you want to call it. It’s coming up, in case you haven’t noticed.

Every year, no matter how hard I try, I get sucked into the greeting card section like a fat kid to the smell of brownies cooking in the oven. I can’t stay away. Why? First of all, I love greeting cards. Second, I love cheesiness. Third, I always imagine buying this card for my future someone or imagine it’s being said to me in order to make myself feel better.
It feels so good to read them and yet so depressing at the same time. The idea that the other people in the aisle are thinking the same thing I am about them… “I wonder who she has to love? Look at how happy she is.” makes me get a tad gushy and turn on the faucet of romanticism I keep carefully tucked away in my brain. Before I know it, it’s flooded every rational thought I’ve ever had and all I can feel is bitter and angry because it’s better than feeling isolated on such a day as this.

I stopped beating myself up about not having a valentine probably back in high school. That was when I made my first rebellious move on V-Day. I made a gigantic heart and colored it black, with scratched inky letters that spelled ‘ANTI’ (emo much?). But there’s still that little twinge of loneliness that tugs at your heartstrings when you see a couple holding hands, whispering sweet nothings. (What does that phrase even mean? If you’re saying something sweet, it can’t very well be nothing too can it?)

So what can one do?
If you read my blogs regularly, which I know you don’t, you’d know that this year I made a covenant to not ask for anything in the subject of intimate relationships (Christianly intimate for what it’s worth 😉 ). Let me tell you, I’ve never been so tested about the subject until I promised not to ask. So V-Day is an automatic no-go when it comes to swooning and drowning and all that nonsense.
I’ve never put too much emphasis on this day anyhow, considering how ridiculously commercialized it’s become. It’s still a nice thing though.

The truth is… This year I don’t feel depressed about it. I don’t feel like I have to make a big deal and go out of my way to be bitter or obnoxious to those who have someone. I don’t want people to tell me that it’ll be me next year.
Instead, I feel peace about it. I’m looking forward to the 99¢ box of chocolates (5 to be exact) my mom buys me every year. I’m even looking forward to seeing couples be happy in their coupledom. How grown-up of me, eh?

I think it’s because I’ve finally started to understand where I truly am when it comes to the subject of love. I know I’ve never felt it on this earth and wouldn’t know the extent until I’m there… but I do know the steadfast love that Christ bestows upon me. This past year or so has taught me so much about God’s love. You hear that everywhere, about how God is love and he will love you no matter what… I think we’ve heard it so much that we become desensitized to it. Have we forgotten what it’s like to truly be loved?

I haven’t. In fact, I feel it more now than ever. It’s his love that’s changed my attitude about V-Day and all it’s affiliates this year. I don’t know when his love will be extended through someone here on earth… If ever. It would be great to have that, but I know it’s not what’s most important in life.

So if you’re out there, single for another year like me, I encourage you to not wallow in self-pity and enjoy being single while you can. Don’t be bitter towards a love you don’t fully understand, instead make it a point to discover what love really is. Beyond a day out of the year that makes you feel like crap, beyond a friend who makes it a point to exclaim his/her excitement for their established coupledom. Beyond that empty tug at your heartstrings.
Look beyond and soon enough you’ll find the love you’ve always wanted.

Cheers

Week Seventeen/Eighteen/Nineteen.

Total Weight Lost: 39lbs

Measurements:
Hip: 44″ (-2″)
Abdomen/Belly: 39″ (-6″)
Waist: 32.5″ (-3.5″)
Bust: 37.5″ (-3.5″)
Upper Arm: 13.5″ (-.5″)
Thigh: 25.5″ (-.5″)

Inches Lost This Week(s): 16″
Total Inches Lost: 33.5″

January 11th — February 1st

Okay okay… I’ve been a serious slacker when it comes to writing these posts lately. I missed last week’s entry and so this post must cover three weeks instead of two.
It’s been the hardest thing for me to keep up this shenanigans of excruciating honesty. It would be so easy to just stop right now and not be accountable and not go through all the trouble, but I know it’s not the right decision. I need this blog to show my failure just as much as my success.

I won’t lie, I’m pretty super stoked about having almost lost 40lbs in 19 weeks! How insane is that? The 16 inches are based on the last measurements I took at the end of week twelve, so there’s a 7 week difference there, meaning I lost an average of 2 inches a week. Still pretty amazing in my book.
(side note: Yes, I realize I’m dressed almost identical to my last pictures… they aren’t the same, I promise. 😉 My side picture isn’t in a normal stance. I wasn’t ready when the shutter went off, but this frame looked, well, better than the others… yeah.)

Eating the right foods is still very hard for me, because of not being able to always have the right foods on hand. It’s annoying, but I feel I’ve still done very well considering.
Last weekend, inspired by a beautiful Saturday, I walked/jogged a walking track near my house that follows a hill into a valley and back out, so the strain on your muscles is twice as much. It felt so good to get back out into the fresh air. I love winter, but spring will be a lovely little gift.

It’s certainly time for me to take things up a notch in all areas.
I’ve been wanting to buy ankle and wrist weights for a long time to add to my dance exercises to build more muscle and burn more fat. Unfortunately, the weights I need will put me back about $30. A $30 I don’t have. So I’m still waiting for that.
More than anything, I have to keep my mind strong. It’s so easy for me to default back to junk food. I have to keep myself aware of it and not let it surprise me in the attack of temptation.

Thanks for your support!

Week Fifteen/Sixteen.

Total Weight Lost: 35lbs

December 28th — January 11th

Biggest news: I have completely stopped taking phentermine.
I gave the remaining medication to someone who’s already been taking it. I feel great. You really don’t understand how much it affects you until you’ve been on it and then went off it. I described most of it in the last health post, but it’s so much more than that. I feel like myself again… and I’m proud that the weight I lose now is by my own hard work and not the work of a pill.
As you have noticed (or not) I didn’t list measurements this week. I do apologize. Time and a misplacement of my tape measure force me to give up. Next time I promise to have found it. =)
I lost my holiday weight plus one pound and that is quite a victory for me. A reassurance that I CAN do this without a crutch.
I’ve been exercising more than usual and sticking to the rules as much as possible, but because of snow and being out of gas and work… I’ve been stuck at home a lot. It doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything productive in the last couple of weeks, and that messes a lot with my motivation.
We’re still fighting it!

Twenty Eleven.

I think of this year as a boat being tossed in a storm.
It came in a whirlwind of forced responsibility and stressful scheduling… but as a new year always does, I had a hopeful outlook. I experienced many things in the past year, the most important one is that of desperation. I have never felt so desperate in my life, only it wasn’t always a bad thing. It started my health journey and kept me fighting. However, the one sentence that comes to mind when I think about my spiritual walk is this: I’ve never truly been angry at God before this year. It hurts to know I was there, it hurts to know that I neglected my relationship because of my surroundings and situations.
There are times when we must stop trying to fix things… That is, we must stop trying to stop leaks from springing and the boards of the deck from peeling back. There’s a time when even the sail can’t be saved from being torn into shreds. There was a point in the storm when I had to put all of my effort into holding on for dear life. I had to forget about what was falling apart around me. I had to make sure I stayed alive.
But I knew within those dark moments that I wasn’t going to give up. I made a decision a long time ago that no matter what happened, I wasn’t ever going back to living my life without Christ guiding me. I had to give myself some time to step back and look at my life, look at what I was doing and where I was going to go if I continued to let my life run me. One of the only things that kept me going was a small hope for a better future. In fact, I found myself dwelling so much on the future, I ended up finding the one thing I needed most for the future… A renewed desire to seek God. I held on to the tattered rags of promises I had managed to keep with me and finally began to put my life back into action 9/12 (nine-twelveths) of the way through the year.

    As I said before, it hasn’t been all bad.

I created this blog in 2010, which has helped my writing and become a major outlet to emotions.
This year I graduated from college. What was a source of a lot of stress during the process turned into an amazing feeling of accomplishment and good memories.
I also went to Washington D.C. on a much-needed vacation after graduation. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the awesome time I spent with my Dad and brother. It sounds so small, but when you dreamed of running away from life so many times in one year, a small vacation becomes a lifeline of sanity.
Of course, you can’t ignore what I started in the beginning of October. My health improvement. That in itself has changed me more than I could ask for. I am so thankful for that jump-start.
Then there was December… I was in charge of conceptualizing, directing, and finalizing the Christmas Eve service at church. It was the first time I’d ever been given such a great responsibility or trusted that much by any leaders in my life. I learned so much about myself and feel it’s the beginning of things to come. I loved doing it, and I loved being done with it. Haha.

    So what’s going to happen in 2011, you ask?

I have no idea! To tell the truth, I’ve been quite apprehensive about it. I wouldn’t call it scared, but I would call it gun-shy. Even with the last few month’s success, I can’t help but look at the year ahead and think, “What trial is coming next? Why was this past year so hard? Could it be that it was only in preparation of the even bigger storm around the corner?”
My boat is still sailing, but the repairs from the last storm aren’t finished yet. I don’t think I’ll ever have this boat looking the way it did prior to the storm and I don’t really want it to be. I want it to leave evidence of my journey so I never forget the lessons I learned, but I know that my boat is going to come out looking better than it did before.
Even though I don’t have any of my questions answered, I do have this feeling in the pit of my stomach.
This year will change my life.
I’ve already committed myself to more work for His Kingdom than I’ve ever undertaken. I’ve already received a word from the Lord that my main focus this year needs to be on ministry and not on furthering my career or finding a job. I feel a deep conviction every time I send in a job application… it says: “A 9 to 5 job will never work for what I have for you.” …I have student loans to pay off and a bill from the State of TN for damaging the guard rail that saved my life two years ago. These things need money. For my future to get started off on the right foot, I can’t take these debts lightly. It makes tears well up in my eyes to think about it. But I know God will help me make these payments. I know because he has already shown me through different situations that he’s got my back.
Also, this year our new church will be finished and I will say goodbye to the only building I’ve ever described as being ‘my home church’. It’s bittersweet, and entirely exciting. I can’t wait to see what God is holding for us there and what he’ll do in our lives to get us there!
I can only tell you one thing: This year will take everything I have and push it to the brink of greatness and beyond.

    With all of that said, Here are my 2011 resolutions:

I will reach my weight loss goal. I can’t tell you exactly what that goal is, but I know that I’ll know when I get there. For me, it’s not about pounds, inches, or dress sizes. Those are all relative factors. I am already happy with myself, I don’t need a number to tell me when I’m finished.

I will give everything I have to God. Spiritual increase has always been on my list, but this year is going to be different. The goal this year in our church is about spreading the gospel, and I’ve come to realize that a passion for souls has been lying dormant in my spirit since about 15 and only now am I letting it rise up in me. I am going to give everything I have to this and push myself further in other ministries I am passionate about as well. I also plan to amp up my prayer, fasting, and studying life. I do these things, but a step up is never a bad thing.

• I will not ask God for anything in the category of relationships. This one is kind of hard to explain, but I feel it’s another time when I should stop focusing on fixing the boat and focus on keeping myself alive. This isn’t one of those typical ‘I’m focusing on me’ times. This is about is focusing on what God is doing through me instead of what God is doing for me. Oddly enough, I see this one as the most challenging one. You really don’t realize how often you ask God for something until you make it a point not to ask anymore. I do pray that God honors this covenant.

All in all, This year promises to be the most challenging, most fruitful, and most change-filled year I’ve had yet. May your 2011 be the same for you.

Thanks for reading!