Tag Archives: how can I have a new life?

What is Spiritual Health?

As I thought about last week’s post, I realized I should have started with the spiritual, because once you “get” that, everything else is easier.

Two things get in your way, however: First is that we all want our own way. Even when we’ve realized that we make bad choices, if things go better for awhile we want to try it our way again. That’s because our whole point in growing up is to be autonomous. That is how we develop. We start out helpless and learn skills.

First skill is communication. Not very sophisticated, I’m hungry or uncomfortable, I cry. If someone comes, it works, and I repeat it. Later we learn recognition, and then interaction.

Language gives us a huge jump in communication and getting our needs met, and continually we are adding power year by year. But there is always a power struggle. Sometimes we want to feel taken care of and safe. Other times we fight for our independence.

My eight-year-old grandson said it well when he wasn’t listening and got in trouble. Big tears welled up in frustration as he wailed,  “When am I ever going to get to make my own decisions and do what I want?”

“Oh honey,” I said, “You’ve got ten years to go! But you can start practicing with the choices you are given, and as you make them well, you’ll get more.”

The thing is, we finally reach autonomy only to discover that there is always a boss or a government or somebody we have to listen to. And finally we grasp that there are laws which simply describe the way things work, and you can defy them, but they will break you. Like gravity. You can get mad at it or use it, it doesn’t care. It will still operate the same.

Then begins the real growth. How will I relate to this dilemma? Am I really free? Can I really do whatever I want?

And God says, “Yep. But you might want to know what the rules are.”

“Rules?” you say. “Then I’m not free! When will I be able to do what I want?”

He answers, “When your wants agree with how you were made. If you love living in love, no problem. You can do what you want. But if you prefer living in hate or fear, those laws will break you. Their nature is destruction. Just thought you might want to know that.”

“That’s not fair!” you rail. “What if I want to live in fear and hate?”

And God smiles sadly and says, “Sorry, that’s just the way life works. I love life and love. But you can still do it your way as long as you last.”

That takes us to the other problem– we don’t trust. And in tandem with that, for many of us, we don’t believe we are lovable, or at least don’t believe we are loved. Others believe they are loved but can’t feel it because they can’t receive.

It’s complicated–so much programming, so many words we heard that we took in and believed. Sometimes the words were even innocent, and we twisted them, hurting ourselves, like, “Oh what a beautiful baby!” And we are standing there thinking, “I must be ugly. That’s why nobody likes me anymore.”

Believe it or not, that sticks, and we build more lies on it and reinforce it, until we believe we aren’t possible to love.

If we are fortunate, we tell someone how we feel, and they don’t blow us off but lovingly help us get it straightened out.

If not, we may go through life emotionally crippled, unable to take in and believe God’s love, unable to experience it. We build up all kinds of defenses like walls around us trying to protect ourselves. We think we are keeping out hurt, and we do to an extent, but mostly we are keeping out love.

God says He is love, and He loves us wildly, enough to become human (That is HUGE!) and be treated like the worst human of all time! (more HUGE!)

But it won’t do us any good if we don’t believe and receive–live in it. He Helps. Just ask.

 

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I want a new Life

 

Talking about new life is great, and wanting it is better, but it requires new choices.

Are you ready?

Focusing on the negative gives you more negative. We get like what we focus on. What gets our focus grows.

So how do we change our focus?

Nothing changes until it becomes real. You may have heard that before. First you have to look at your life and actually admit that it needs some work.

Define the area where you need it most: is it physical, emotional, spiritual, or intellectual? There will be overlap because they are all connected. But which one comes up first?

Since I don’t have your immediate input, I’m going to go with the first one–physical–and maybe I’ll make it a four-part series. Physical is easy to write about, because I’m writing a book about it, Love Losing, hopefully out next month.

Are you taking care of your body?

I know you want to. Here’s some incentive: you have to feel good to be happy. Your body has to feel good. You have to be treating it right, using it well, for it to feel good. When your body feels good, it is so-o-o much easier for your head to work well, your emotions and spiritual self to be healthy.

Don’t feel guilty about taking time to exercise if you’re a mom with little children. Preferably something you enjoy–walking at sunrise, jumping on a trampoline in the moonlight (mini ones start at $20), swimming, biking or golfing. Anything to get started. Starting is the hardest part. Once you’ve made the decision, don’t talk to yourself about it, just do it, otherwise you’ll talk yourself out of it. Start with a short time (5 minutes on a trampoline) or something gentle, if you aren’t used to exercise.

And PLEASE don’t feel guilty about saying “No” to yourself or your children when they want something their body doesn’t want.

Do you know what your body doesn’t want?

It would love you for quitting sugar. I’m not saying all sweets, just refined white sugar and anything that has sugar in it. It is toxic to your body with no redeeming value. If you need incentive here and you have children, get my book, Tommy Tortoise Gets the Sugar Blues, and read it to your kids every day for a week. They love repetition and you may benefit from it.

Sodas are one of the things it would love for you to quit. Diet sodas are as bad or worse. Aspartame has been linked to many diseases. But your body loves water! So put some fruit in your water, or put a drop of stevia in it to make the transition. My favorite is Vanilla Creme.

Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change everything at once. Start with one thing, and when you are comfortable with it try giving up another.

But one thing you can do to really help your body is add some things: fresh fruit and vegetables. Start simple. Add fresh fruit to your breakfast. If you or your kids get hungry in between meals give them a piece of fruit. That will digest before dinner and not take their appetite. (Candy loads them with sugar and chemicals and steals their appetite.)

Add salad to your dinner, make it different every night but go to deeper colors in your greens. We love spinach or romaine and strawberry-goat cheese salad.

The most important thing is listen to your body, because everyone is different. Notice what makes you feel more energized, lighter, feel good, and what makes you bloated and headachey or sluggish and fatigued.

My clients tell me that the first three days of change are hardest. After that feeling good makes it easier.

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Life with a Twist

Don’t you love this time of year?

New leaves are coming out. Everything is blooming, splashing color everywhere. Wherever I look in my back yard there are flowers. The fragrance of Jasmine has given way to the heavenly smell of Orange blossoms, and the Honeysuckle this week in my office (my gazebo) has been amazing. Everything is waking up to new life–exploding with it.

It seems strange to encounter death in this season of life, but so it happens. Just yesterday it interrupted life again for one of my friends whose father died. Another friend had the second anniversary of her husband’s sudden death, her young children’s father. I left messages for them and was blessed to get responses of praise. I know these people and they were not pretending. They “…have learned to walk in the Presence of Life and are happy” even in their pain.*

That is quite a feat, quite an accomplishment. And it doesn’t come without pain. It’s the learning to choose joy that makes you rise above it to a bigger perspective. And there is a bigger perspective to be had. Part of the life we experience this time of year comes from the anniversary of the Lifegiver giving us freedom to choose life and joy. And lets face it, with the spector of death dogging us, joy is not always easy to choose.

Can we really choose joy? Yes!

If you aren’t familiar with scripture, it is full of places that say we can.

It comes in the presence of the Lifegiver. He is the source of life and joy. One of my favorite quotes is from David the psalmist who says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. “*

How do we get into His presence?

Simply ask and then become aware. Gratitude is one of the doorways to His presence. Just noticing the beauty and fragrance all around you can remind you of the Source of beauty and joy and love.

Another doorway is your need. Again you have choice. All you have to do is ask. Hope is readily available. Part of the beauty of spring is the hope of newness coming.

Need more than just encouragement to choose?

Absorb that God delights in you. That He sings over you, rejoices in you.* That He wants you in His presence–wants to be in your presence.

This morning He said to me, “If you love being in My presence, you can love every moment, because I am always with you.”*

It’s my choice to see Him everywhere, or not. I can notice the flowers, the fragrance, or not. I can spend the 10-30 seconds it takes to anchor joy in my brain or I can move on in one or two, and not notice His love of beauty and me. It’s all my choice, but He’s here.

 

*my paraphrase of Psalm 89:15,  Psalm 16:11,  Zephaniah 3:17,  Matthew 28:20

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