Renew your mind, avoid the hole

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost……..I am helpless
It isn’t my fault
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don’t see it
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
But, it isn’t my fault
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It is a habit.
My eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my own fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson

 

I love this poem. Read the poem carefully. Read it as it was written, five different chapters of your life. It is the story of your life, it is the story of my life.

In life chapter 1 we are wandering, lost, alone and helpless. There is a hole we have fallen into through no particular fault of our own. It may be a death, a job loss, a betrayal, any one of a number of unexpected pitfalls that life throws our way. We fall into the hole and there is nothing we can do about it. Our particular hole represents anger, anxiety, worry, grief, etc. It is the darkest hole you have ever experienced, you see no way out and you are there through no fault of your own. This sucks.

You climb out the same way, on your own, with your own sweat and tears. It takes you forever. You are cussing yourself and hitting yourself with negative, critical and judgmental thoughts right and left. You are thinking to yourself how stupid you are and therefore you are right where you deserve to be.

You quickly learn that doing the climbing on your own is hard work and affords little upward motion. Day after day you toil but you stay in the hole much longer than you anticipated. It occurs to you (barely) that God may be able to help you climb a little faster but the job of climbing out takes precedence over anything else and soon the thought of God evaporates in your sweat.
In life chapter 2 you find yourself on the same street with the same hole. You are fully aware the hole is there yet you walk straight towards it. Before long you drop right back into where you were not so long ago. The hole is still deep, dark and scary, it hasn’t changed a bit it is exactly the way you left it. It is becoming familiar.
You are living the same story you always have, you are expecting different results but because your pattern is the same, the results are the same. You fall in the hole yet again. You are thinking to yourself if the other people in your life would grow up and learn to act right your life would go a whole lot better. So now you draw up a plan to fix those around you. It could be that you even enlist God’s help. If God can’t fix your husband, your family, your boss, your friends, (you know, those people who make you fall into the hole) then who can. When God fixes all those people, you can avoid the hole. It really is as simple as that. You are convinced that someone else pushed you over the edge to the hole.

Life chapter 3 finds you on the same familiar street and the deep, scary hole is still where it has always been. It is almost a weird sort of comfort to see it because you count on it to always be where you left it. Yet once again, even though you know the hole intimately, you know if you take the next step you will tumble downward, you do it anyway.

You know you did it and you know you are totally responsible but because of your past experience with your hole, you climb out immediately. Having fallen into this same hole so many times you are awakening to the source of the problem. Maybe it’s time to find a different route, after all it is your fault you are there. Repeating the same mistakes over and over will have the same results over and over. Having come to this conclusion you can begin to change. God is reminding you that He is there to help you with your “hole” problem. There is a nagging in the back of your mind that if you seek Him before you begin your trip down the street with the hole, maybe He will come up with a different answer to the same problem that has always plagued you? As you are jumping (literally) out of the hole this time, you are coming up with a goal to include Him in your “hole” plan. You come to the realization that every trip into the hole has increased your need to ask for God’s help. Yes it was in slow increments because you have always been a slow learner. However, every time you asked Him, He helped you. When you asked Him for little He helped a little. What would happen if you asked Him for a complete solution to this nagging “hole” problem? After emerging from the brief stint in the hole, you head home to open that Bible that is……….somewhere in your house.

Life chapter 4 Is walking down the same street, coming upon the same hole but avoiding the hole. It is a whole new exhilarating experience. You saw it coming, knew what to anticipate from past experiences and you simply walked around it. A talk with God has given you a change of course which gives you a whole new set of possibilities. There really is something to this God thing. He is here to help you dig out of the hole, you are now beginning to have experience of that. But the amazing thing you are learning, is He is here to help you not only climb out of the hole, but to conquer the hole. God has shown you alternate routes and He has given you the gift of the knowledge that you are free to take them.
Life chapter 5 is your new day. It is the day you finally change streets. Life chapter 5 is the marvelous renewing of your mind. It is the time you realize that there will be holes in the street but you now have the courage to walk a different path, around the hole. You know you can because you trust He will do as He promised and give you exactly what you need to take the detour.
Renewing of the mind is happening. When you mind is changed by God, your life changes and the hole no longer consumers you. So when someone asks you to help them climb out of their hole, say, here, let me show you what worked for me!

Dottie
…………and so I rideimage

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We Already Own the Vehicle, turn it on and drive

Do you realize the power you have in Christ? We don’t really give this much thought do we?

“Look, have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and on the full force of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you. Luke 10:19”

There are many scriptures that tell us about the power we have in Christ but I like this one, it is plain, simple and to the point.

How is it that we possess such power but still live as if we are powerless. We have been given the power to cast out those things which seek to destroy us yet we choose to live as if we are completely without control of our own lives. We as followers and believers in Christ are given a precious gift, don’t live like an orphaned child who has never received his inheritance.

We have been given the vehicle of power and authority but we refuse to turn the key and engage the engine. Start that powerful engine, activate the power and authority that you have title to.

A little road map.

Submit to God, not in one or two ways, in all ways. Do that and he will straighten the road He has given you to drive.

Tune out all the distractions, tune in only one station, the one that connects you directly to God.

When you wander off the road, grab the map (Bible), re-focus on the destination and drive. It really is about the consistent progress and not the perfection of the journey. I love Matthew 18:22, Jesus says He will tell us not seven times, but seventy seven. Think about that. Progress, not perfection. God loves you warts and all. Focus on what He has given you, THE POWER TO OVERCOME.

Seek, and activate that which you already own!

Dottie

…………….and so I ride

Unlock and activate what God has for you!

I would like to make changes in my life, health, financial, etc and so on. I think it is probably safe to say I am not alone. We all feel the need to change at some point.

So I buy the book, get all the fancy equipment, whatever it takes to make this change easier I purchase. The commitment to get ready to change was fairly easy if not hard on my pocketbook.

However, the commitment that is harder to make, is the one to actually work on “the change”. The book sits on the shelf, the equipment sits unopened and I sit on the couch doing nothing.

I know that permanent change comes best through small but consistent steps, but I find it hard to make even the smallest increments of change. It takes commitment. It takes an honest desire to put forth the effort it is going to take to make this change. Somehow I don’t feel capable.

God doesn’t want that for us. He wants us happy, healthy, and walking with Him. Given the chance, He is perfectly capable of getting us through the change that is challenging us.

It takes a consistent habit of unlocking and activating the biblical principles that will break the chains of bondage that bind us. Think about it a minute, what would happen in your life if you actually put those principles in place, read your Bible, talk to God, let Him know you need help, receive the help He offers. Try it, it is exhilarating to experience victory, freedom and peace. God has already given you the tools, own them and use them.

Dottie

……………..and so I ride

Thoughts on Challenge Day Three

What If?

There were some valid points made today. In fact, points that made me put down the Fried Taco and say to myself, what in the world are you doing Dottie. Why is it so impossible for you to make a commitment to be healthier and stick with it? This is a 21 day challenge, surely you can give up 21 days in your hunt for health. It seems to me that if I cannot do that then maybe I am not really serious about all this healthy living stuff I spout off all the time. OUCH!

I feel like everyone else is slamming this challenge and here I am, on day three and haven’t even got going yet. I know what is going to happen. We will get to the end of the 21 days and I will either be right where I started or I will be a pound or two heavier. Then I will say to myself, why didn’t you do it, you are such a loser. This part, I have down.

I do not want to get to the end of the 21 days and say “if only”, but even more, I don’t want to take the fast route to severe health problems that I know will plague me if a few years time. Is the momentary pleasure I derive from eating unhealthy food really worth what I am doing to myself?

I don’t want to be like the neglected vase of fresh flowers that we forget to water day after day and one day we look at them and they have died from neglect.

My Father God, I have messed up the first three days of this challenge, I am asking you to strengthen me and to give me the motivation and wisdom to say no to the extra servings of sugar, fat and high calories. Help me Father to see clearly what I am doing to my health. Give me the desire to follow the path to good health. Give me a spirit of commitment to you and not to food. Help me Father to turn to you and let you fight this battle for me, help me to trust you to meet all my needs. Help me Father to change the way I think about eating right, moving more and living healthy.

Help me to be glaringly honest with myself, if I am to lazy to exercise, let me see it, if I eat when I am not hungry, eat unhealthy foods or eat to much, help me to see it. Strike me with the truth of enduring bad health habits. It is only when I can be honest with myself that I can begin to correct these things. Help me to trust the Holy Spirit to guide me through this difficult journey. Let me lose myself so I can be true to you. Give me the strength to endure to my goal and say hello to the new me. Amen

Favorite thought of Challenge Day Three.

“There will be tragedy and triumphs, tests and testimonies, set-backs and successes, mountains and valleys”…….

This is a good reminder that there will be “those days” and I should not be taking them personally, or using them as an excuse to wreck my forward progress. They too shall pass. I strive to be the little engine that could or rather the little engine that did.

Dottie

…………and so I ride

New Weight loss challenge, Day Two- Counting the Cost

Scripture given for the day. Matthew 16:24 If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Ok, so maybe this isn’t going to be so easy. I am to tired to take up a cross, they are heavy.

There are preparations and plans that have to be made. But instead of buying special diet food, cleaning out cabinets that are loaded with junk food, we are traveling on a different road. Suddenly this seems to be getting more interesting.

We are told to think on the fact that there is a difference in the mindset of those who live a healthy life and are thin and those of us who struggle to lose or maintain their weight. The thin, healthy people make distinct and definite choices every day with regard to food, their health, their bodies, exercise and they probably look at life differently in general.

Maybe it is just me, but doesn’t that seem just a tad bit like a struggle and not a whole lot different than what we do every day. I think about what I eat, I think about exercise and my health. I think about, but avoid looking at my body. However, the difference that the founder of the group is trying to get me to see I believe, is that where I think about these things, those people who have achieved a healthy weight actually DO THOSE things.

If getting healthy and losing weight is really what your plan is, you have to do more than give it lip service or put on an outward show (as written about previously). If this is truly your goal, and mine, then we are going to have to make the changes necessary to do it. There is no magic bullet, we have searched and searched and not found it yet. I am quickly coming to the conclusion that it simply doesn’t exist.

Cathie told us to determine what we were willing to sacrifice to achieve our goals. Because at the end of the day, no matter what diet you are on, no matter who you are listening to, are you willing to accept that you, only you are one hundred percent responsible for your success or failure. I think that if we are honest here, we have simply avoided this fact. It can’t be our fault, we think about food every day, plan what we eat, when we eat it and how we eat it. Maybe it is time to step up and take that responsibility, you know, the one where you are responsible for what you eat, how you eat it, where you eat it, how much exercise you get and even how we think about life in general.

She points out the awesome example that the Bible gives us in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. There are plenty of others also. Gideon, Samson and David, Daniel, Paul, Samuel and all the prophets. Take a look at these examples, they are motivation for what is possible if we only try. If it is going to be successful, the fact is, it is going to be hard work.

This is such a different approach for me however, not so much talking about what to eat or not to eat. Rather, asking if I am looking at the deeper issues of why I gained weight in the first place. Am I underestimating the efforts that are necessary for success? Getting real personal and deep into the. closed off parts of me that no one gets to see, such as do I feel worthy of being my best, am I sabotaging my own efforts? Again, I say, ………………oh……………..wow.

Matthew West says it best, (yes, we were given this also) “There is a way between guilt and grace, they are fighting for a sacred space. And the phrase that I should be looking at more deeply than any other, I AM LIVING PROOF THAT GRACE WINS EVERY TIME. Grace can reach us, it does reach us.

 Hallelujah, be certain that Grace will win every time!!!!

Let’s do this!

Dottie

……………and so I ride

Coasting through yet another weight loss plan. Day One

I decided to participate in another weight loss challenge. I thought to myself that surely one of these days, one diet or another would miraculously make me thin. I saw the Healthy By Design- Weight Loss God’s Way 21 Day Challenge by Cathie Morenzie and I thought, what the heck, I will give it a whirl. Maybe this was my miracle.

 So I signed up, bought the book, (you know, to add to my collection) and settled in to see what happened. Thinking back on the last couple of days, I can see that I wasn’t really committed and not sure I wanted to put forth the effort it would take to give this a go. I guess I wanted to give it a shot to prove that I “was trying” to do something about my health And weight. I needed those around me to see (think) that I was putting forth an effort but I didn’t necessarily actually want to do it. . The fact is that the effort looked a lot more impressive from the outside than it did from the inside.

Quick overview of Day One- We were given Psalm 139:23,24 as our scripture. There was encouragement in the reaffirmation that there are no quick fixes and that change is a process. We were to begin doing the things we wanted to see in our lives, whether or not we felt like it because permanent change best comes through small but consistent steps. Healthy living and a healthy weight isn’t about eating the right foods and exercising, it is about a mindset, it is about behaviors and following healthy patterns.

Yea, yea, yea, I knew all that, had heard it a thousand times. I was still waiting for my miracle, my straight shot to weight loss. I was discouraged and my eating that day reflected that. Cookies for breakfast, deep fried pork sandwich for lunch and Alfredo for supper. Yes, it is true that I tracked my food as promised (another thing I could brag about) but I really had no desire to eat healthy. So far so good with this challenge.

Determined not to drop out of yet another challenge/weight loss plan, I decided to re-read some of the emails for encouragement. There was one short line that grabbed me and has not let me go yet.

“The answer to lasting weight loss lies in unlocking and ACTIVATING biblical principles and breaking the chains of bondage that bind us.” …………..oh…………….wow. Let that little phrase soak in a moment or two.

God has given us principles to govern our lives. What would happen if we actually put them in place and activate the authority and power that we possess as children of God? You know what? I want to experience victory, freedom and peace. God has already given me the tools, let’s see what happens if I own those things I already possess and use them in this weight loss/healthy living journey.

Dottie

…………and so I ride

CMA is in the midst of our annual Labor Day Campout. Breakfast this morning was provided by fellow campers. The hospitality was amazing and the biscuits and gravy were wonderful and nourished our bodies. However, it was the conversation that nourished my soul. A comment was made that started me thinking about truth and how society perceives it. 
“Truth is still truth even if no one believes it, a lie is still a lie, even if everyone believes it.”
If asked what the truth is in our world today, you would likely get many different answers. The concept of truth is highly distorted in the world we live in. Something I read recently best describes to me the state of truth in our society. “To some, truth is subjective, the truth is highly dependent on unique and personal preferences and opinions. Others believe truth is a collective judgement, a cultural consensus and some even deny the concept of truth altogether.” 

Is it any wonder we are a world in chaos and decline? It seems the idea of absolute truth (defined as something that is true at all times, in all places and has relevance for our lives) does not exist. Confusion and chaos are the results of living by the world’s standard of truth. 
Ours is a society that treats truth like a made up story or more to the point, a story we make up ourselves. We hear from others, “ believe what makes sense to you, live for what brings you pleasure and for gosh sakes, don’t have a fit when someone else’s “truth” doesn’t fit your version of “truth”. Make moral and ethical decisions on what seems best to you and hope for the best. We are unique and incredible individuals and God created us to be that way. So because God puts us first, we need to put ourselves first also….. correct? 
Somehow we have forgotten that we are to make decisions based on what God thinks, not on Mother Earth or our inner desires, not on our thoughts, feelings,popular opinion, personal reasonings, scientific suppositions or anything associated with the physical world in which we live. We are not so quick to ask What would Jesus do any longer. As long as we are tolerant of others and live by the golden rule, we are good, right?
So I kept digging and came up with a definition written from what the Bible teaches. “Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory and being of God. In short, truth is the self expression of God.” 
There is good, and bad, dark and light in the world, but there is only one truth. Truth cannot have any true meaning apart from God, God embodies the very definition of truth. 
 Truth is not a principle, truth is a person. Truth is Jesus Christ. 

John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life…………..No one comes to the Father except through me. 

Come home to the one and only truth you need, the one and only absolute truth there is. It is an issue of eternal significance. Truth will bring you life. 
Dottie
…………….and so I ride
“Truth is still truth even if no one believes it, a lie is still a lie, even if everyone believes it.”

If asked what the truth is in our world today, you would likely get many different answers. The concept of truth is highly distorted in the world we live in. Something I read recently best describes to me the state of truth in our society. “To some, truth is subjective, the truth is highly dependent on unique and personal preferences and opinions. Others believe truth is a collective judgement, a cultural consensus and some even deny the concept of truth altogether.”

Is it any wonder we are a world in chaos and decline? It seems the idea of absolute truth (defined as something that is true at all times, in all places and has relevance for our lives) does not exist. Confusion and chaos are the results of living by the world’s standard of truth.

Ours is a society that treats truth like a made up story or more to the point, a story we make up ourselves. We hear from others, “ believe what makes sense to you, live for what brings you pleasure and for gosh sakes, don’t have a fit when someone else’s “truth” doesn’t fit your version of “truth”. Make moral and ethical decisions on what seems best to you and hope for the best. We are unique and incredible individuals and God created us to be that way. So because God puts us first, we need to put ourselves first also….. correct?

Somehow we have forgotten that we are to make decisions based on what God thinks, not on what Mother Earth or our inner desires, thoughts, feelings,popular opinion, personal reasonings, scientific suppositions or anything associated with the physical world in which we live. We are not so quick to ask What would Jesus do any longer. As long as we are tolerant of other and live by the golden rule, we are good, right?

So I kept digging and came up with a definition written from what the Bible teaches. “Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory and being of God. In short, truth is the self expression of God.”

There is good, and bad, dark and light in the world, but there is only one truth. Truth cannot have any true meaning apart from God, God embodies the very definition of truth.

 Truth is not a principle, truth is a person. Truth is Jesus Christ.

John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life…………..No one comes to the Father except through me.

Come home to the one and only truth you need, the one and only absolute truth there is. It is an issue of eternal significance. Truth will bring you life.

Dottie

…………….and so I ride