Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Single Life Part 3: Love Yourself

One thing I have been working on as a single person is learning to love myself and who God created me to be.  How can we truly love others when we don't love ourselves?  I don't think that is possible.  My hope is that this post will be an encouragement to you, and will help you to recognize how wonderful you truly are!

God both tells and shows us who we are all throughout the Bible.  He begins in the very first chapter in the very first book!

Genesis 1:27 ~ "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

We are not exactly like God, but we are a reflection of His glory.  We can find our worth in Him.  Because we were created in His image, we should love ourselves as He loves us.

Luke 12:7 ~ "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Don't be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows."

God knows us so well that He knows exactly how many hairs are on our heads.  He determines our worth.  By finding our own worth and loving ourselves, we can have a closer relationship with God and better live out His plan for us.

Jeremiah 1:4-5 ~ "The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.'"

Psalm 139:13-16 ~ "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

God knew both Jeremiah and David before they were even conceived, and He had a plan and purpose for both of them.  The same goes for you and I.  God knew you before you were even conceived.  He planned you.  He created you exactly as He wanted you to be.  He has a plan and purpose for you.

John 3:16 ~ "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 15:16 ~ "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit - fruit that will last - and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you."

God chose YOU!  He loves you!  He loves you so much that He gave his one and only Son for you!  Jesus chose to love you, and He chose to die for you.  You were chosen for a purpose, to bear fruit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galations 5:22-23)

Ephesians 2:10 ~ "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Ephesians 4:22-24 ~ "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

God considers us to be his handiwork or masterpiece.  How dare we treat ourselves any other way?  He loves us as we are, and created us as we are for a purpose.  He has prepared that purpose for us in advance.  So put off your old self, and put on your new self.  See yourself as God sees you.  Love yourself as God loves you, and BE who God has created you to be.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Goals for the Week 8/24-8/30

I didn't complete all of my goals last week, but I think I still did pretty darn good.  Getting my sleep, eating, and exercise habits back in order is tough!  So if I can get those things taken care of, I am happy!

Last Week's Goals:
  • Get on a consistent sleep schedule (Go to bed at 9:30, get up at 6:30)
  • Continue with healthy eating 80/20 plan
  • Keep track of eating on My Fitness Pal
  • Start Bikini Body Mommy
  • Exercise 6 days per week
  • Finish You are Loved Bible study
  • Finish church craigslist ads

This Week's Goals:

  • Be intentional and truly enjoy my last week of nannying
  • Make curtains for laundry room
  • Keep track of eating on My Fitness Pal
  • Exercise 6 days this week
  • Keep consistent sleep schedule (Bed at 9:30, up at 6:00)
  • Finish "You are Loved" study
  • Prepare Esther study
  • Edit blog

What are your goals for the week?  How did you do on your goals for last week?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Rise and Shine Challenge Days 4 and 5

I didn't get around to blogging yesterday, and the assignment for the day seemed redundant for me, because the only schedule I have is for myself.  So, I decided to just do two days in the same post.

The Day 4 assignment was to create a nightly checklist to prepare for the following day.  I feel like I've already gone through that, as I prefer to do much of what might be on a nightly checklist (prepare lunch, pack bags, pick out clothes, etc) in the morning.  The earlier I get up the morning, the more prepared and alert I feel once work starts.  So, my plan is to keep those things in my morning routine, for now.  If I later decide to start working out in the morning again, I may have to readjust.

The Day 5 assignment is to think about what starts your day off well.  For me, having a "schedule" in the morning before work starts my day off well.  I do things in a certain order, and I get thrown off when that gets changed.  Spending at least 30 minute chunk of time every morning in God's Word, along with praying and/or reading a passage before I even get out of bed help me especially with my attitude as I go about my day.

The Abundant Mama (host of this challenge) hosted a live Q&A session yesterday, and has it recorded for those of us who missed it here.  I personally haven't watched it yet, but wanted to put it out there for anyone following this challenge, and for myself to watch later.

So, back to the day 5 assignment.  What starts your day off well?

Read Through the Bible with Good Morning Girls

I have been leading Good Morning Girls studies for the past 2 years.  GMG has recently changed.  The old GMG has now become Love God Greatly, and Good Morning Girls is forging ahead in a different direction, going back to the original creator, Courtney at Women Living Well.  I have already posted on Love God Greatly, as I will be leading the Esther study through them beginning September 1.

Courtney at Women Living Well/Good Morning Girls has a great study coming up.  Her plan is to read through the Bible, a chapter per day.  This will take a few years, but it gives us an opportunity to really take in what we are reading.  She, along with other bloggers, will be blogging as we are reading through God's Word.  You can join an accountability group if you'd like, or comment on the blog posts and find accountability that way.  If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, take a look at the website, and specifically the Good Morning Girls posts here.

Let me know if you plan on joining in!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rise and Shine Challenge Day 3

Well, apparently I got a little ahead of myself yesterday.  I should have just focused on sleep cycles and getting quality sleep, and today focused on routines.

My only real routine so far is shutting off my computer and phone, and praying before bed.  Some people clean up the house, write a to-do list, drink some tea, read a book, or something else.  Typically by the time I realize I should be heading to bed, I just want to get there.  I don't want to have a long routine of things to do.  So, ideally, this is what my routine would look like:

  • Put away whatever I am doing
  • Brush teeth, wash face, take out contacts, etc
  • Turn off electronics
  • Climb into bed, read the Bible and/or a devotion, Pray.
What does your ideal bedtime routine look like?

IF: Equip

I came across this really wonderful (and simple!) Bible study earlier this week, and I just had to share it!  It is called IF:Equip, which was founded by Jennie Allen, one of my favorite authors.  Check out Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul and Restless: Because You Were Made for More if you are looking for something to read.  Even if you aren't looking for something to read, check them out!  They are worth your time!

IF:Equip is actually the website where the Bible study takes place.  Currently, they are studying Galations.  This study just started on Monday, and I will post the links below for the past 3 days so that you can catch up if you'd like!  Each day, Monday through Friday, a small passage from Galations is posted, along with a short video and 3 questions:

If you believe this is true, what does this mean about:
The World?

It is so simple!  Because there is just a short passage, you can focus more on processing than reading.  The questions are the same every day, so that helps as well!  If you subscribe to the IF: Equip blog, you get the study automatically in your email.  How easy is that!?  For those that are looking for more interaction or discussion, the comments section at the end of each day's post is used for that.  Here are the links to the study for the past few days....

Galations 1:1-5
Galations 1:6-9
Galations 1:10-24

Let me know if you decide to do this study!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rise and Shine Challenge Day 2

I am officially caught up!  It's kind of sad that I was behind on this challenge, since the challenge is about getting up early and being productive!  Day 2 was better, and I am excited to see what Day 3 brings, but I better stick with today, and take it one day at a time!

The assignment for today is to consider sleep cycles and bedtime routines, for yourself and your family.  I just have myself to think about right now, and that is enough for me!

I'm working on making a habit of shutting off my phone and computer at 9:30 pm, so that I can be in bed by 10:00 pm.  I think I not only get to bed at a better time, but have more quality sleep as well.  Keeping up with an exercise routine helps me to sleep better too.

I don't have much of a bedtime routine.  I like to have an intentional prayer time before bed, and like to pray as I'm trying to fall asleep as well.  I would like to get into the habit of reading the Bible or devotional, either before or within my prayer time.

What helps you to have quality sleep?  What bedtime routine do you have in place?

The Single Life: Part 2

1 Corinthians 7:26-35 ~ "Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.  Are you pledged to a woman?  Do not seek to be released.  Are you free from such a commitment?  Do not look for a wife.  But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned.  But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.  

What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short.  From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them.  For this world in its present form is passing away.  

I would like you to be free from concern.  An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs - how he can please the Lord.  But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world - how he can please his wife - and his interests are divided.  An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.  But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world - how she can please her husband."

In these verses, Paul is saying to stay where you are.  If you are committed, stay that way.  If you are not, don't look for a husband or wife.  Stay as you are.  Time is short.  Live this life to the fullest, and focus on eternity.  Those who are unmarried can focus on the Lord's affairs and devote their lives to Him.  Paul recognized the urgency in sharing the Good News, and he was looking to single people to reach out to those who haven't yet heard.

So what does that mean for us?  What do we do with this?  First, ask yourself a couple of questions.

How am I currently spending my time?

How should I be spending my time?

Do a little self-evaluation.  Think about how you are currently spending your time.  What should stay, and what should you get rid of?  Then think about how you should be spending your time.  What should you add?

If you aren't sure about how you should be spending your time, think about what strengths and gifts God has given you.  What desires has He placed on your heart?  Spend some time getting closer to our Lord, through prayer, reading, studying, worship, and fellowship with others.  Let Him speak to you and lead you to the things He wants for you.

Remember that even if you are doing good things, they may not be the best things.  This is one thing that I really needed to evaluate in my life.  I was doing things that were good or helpful to other people, but they just weren't the best that God had planned for me.  I wasn't using my strengths and gifts.  I was at a point in my life where I was just saying "yes" to everything, and just wanted to help people, without asking God if it was something I should do.

I can't tell you exactly how you should be using your time, as we are all different.  However, I can tell you that your time should be spent in a way that honors God, and that you should be continuously doing things to bring yourself closer to Him.  Some things in my life that God has been calling me to do most recently are: working on friendships/fellowship, being hospitable, hosting/leading Bible studies, serving in my church and community, and taking care of myself - spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  Let God lead, and He will lead you right to the best things for your life.  Even better, you will find that you enjoy the things He has planned!  God wants good things for us.  He loves us!

One thing recently that has helped me prioritize and decide what belongs and what doesn't belong in my life is creating a life purpose statement.  I had the opportunity to create my life purpose statement while participating in a workshop put on by a friend and her mother, who happened to be a life coach.  It was definitely worth my time!  Now I can take my life purpose statement and use it to determine whether a certain opportunity is for me or not.  If it doesn't line up with my life purpose, then it probably isn't priority.

Consider creating your own life purpose statement.  Check out Think Simple Now for help in discovering and creating your life purpose statement.  There are 15 questions to really help you dig deep and learn more about yourself.  I recommend going through the questions, even if you don't get to creating your own life purpose statement right now.  It will definitely be worth your time!

My life purpose is to reach and connect with women and children on a spiritual level.  I want to share with them Christ's love, and empower, motivate, and encourage them to become who God has called them to be.  I want to nurture them and give them the resources and support to be a true follower of Christ.

Rise and Shine Challenge Day 1

I am starting the Rise and Shine Challenge from The Abundant Mama.  Technically I started it yesterday, but I am just blogging about it today.  I definitely am a morning person, but lately I have been struggling with getting up early, probably because I've been struggling with getting to bed on time!  My work schedule will be changing again in two weeks, so I need to make sure I am ready for it!

I have decided on a 6:00 wake up time, for now.  I may decide to bring that back to 5:30 once school starts.  I have also decided to not work out in the mornings anymore.  I will be working out or heading to the gym as soon as I get home each day.  I feel great when I work out in the mornings, but I don't have as much time, don't push myself as hard, and sometimes don't get out of bed on time because I don't want to work out.  I go back and forth on what works best for me, so we will see!

What does a good morning look like?
The assignment for day 1 is to describe what my ideal morning would look and feel like, and how it would flow.

My ideal morning:

  • Wake up by 6:00am (maybe 5:30 once school starts in two weeks)
  • Start my day in God's word and prayer, before I even get out of bed
  • Get showered, dressed, etc
  • Complete daily Bible study
  • Catch up on social media, email, messages, etc
  • Make breakfast and pack lunch
  • Clean up kitchen
  • Head out the door by 8:35 (7:30 once school starts)
My day seems to go so much better when I have my ideal morning!  What does your ideal morning look like?

Weight Loss Goals/Update

Yesterday I took another step in my re-commitment to weight loss.  I started a 90 day challenge called the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge.  Check out the website or facebook page. I have thought about starting this challenge for a few weeks now, but have quickly become discouraged, as I have started this challenge before, but never completed it.  My original plan was to start it when school started, but then I thought, why wait?  Why not start it now, and get on a good schedule again BEFORE school starts?  Then I can start school and be on a great schedule right away!

So I want to encourage you to stop putting off whatever it is that you could be doing to become a healthier version of yourself!  Why wait?  Don't look back 30 days from now and regret not starting today.  Think of how far you could go in the next 30 days!

My plan:
~ 80/20 healthy eating plan (whole healthy food 80% of the time, small indulgences 20% of the time)
~ Use My Fitness Pal to keep track of food, water, exercise, weight, and measurements (Username: amunson123)
~ Follow Bikini Body Mommy Challenge
~ Continue with gym membership

My SMART goal I made a few weeks ago:
I will lose 20 pounds by Christmas by working out 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes and keeping within my calorie limit and eating completely whole, nutritious foods at least 5 days a week.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.  I would really encourage you to read more into exactly what SMART goals are, and make a SMART goal yourself!  Maybe I will have to do a whole post on them myself!

Tips for starting your own weight loss journey:
1. Make goals ~ What do you want?
2. Plan ~ How are you going to get there?
3. Keep track ~ How are you doing on your goals? (pictures, weight, measurements)
4. Small steps ~ Take small steps as this is a lifestyle change, and you want it to last!
5. Accountability Partner ~ Who is going to keep you on track?  Who can you go to for encouragement, motivation, or help?

Who is ready to commit with me!?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Esther Study Starts Sept 1 ~ Enrollment Open!

I have been leading Bible studies through Good Morning Girls (now Love God Greatly) for going on two years now!  We've had a short break for the past few weeks, and in exactly two weeks from today, we will be ready to go with Esther!

We will be covering all 10 chapters of Esther over an 8 week period, beginning September 1.  These studies require a commitment, primarily Monday through Friday.  Each day, there will be a passage to read and study.  Much of the Love God Greatly community, including myself, uses the SOAP method.  SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer.  You can use a journal, or print off journal pages, to write these down each day.  Learn more about the SOAP method here.  You do not have to use this method, but I personally enjoy it and think I get more out of my studies by using it.

The study can be done on your own, or with a group.  My current group is through facebook, with women all over the country.  Because it is done online, you do not have to be anywhere near myself or the other group members.  You don't even have to leave your home!

All that is required is a Bible and a journal/paper.  There is no book that goes with the study.  Each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the ladies at Love God Greatly will create a new blog post regarding the study.  There is typically a weekly memory verse, a weekly challenge, and discussion or application questions.  You can participate in as little or as much as you'd like.

If this study sounds like something that would interest you, request to join my facebook group.  If you'd rather read into the study before joining a group, check it out on the Love God Greatly website.

Goal Setting and Goals for the Week 8/17-8/23

I think it is so important to always have goals.  I make goals for everything, as otherwise nothing would get done.  I really started creating goals when I first came across another blog, Money Saving Mom.  She creates weekly, monthly, and yearly goals, and shares them on her blog.  I just love it!

Here are some great links on goal setting:
How to Change Your Life by Setting Goals
Why You Should Write Your Goals Down on Paper

I'm keeping it simple this week.  There is more that I would like to get done, but these are the most important.
  • Get on a consistent sleep schedule (Go to bed at 9:30, get up at 6:30)
  • Continue with healthy eating 80/20 plan
  • Keep track of eating on My Fitness Pal
  • Start Bikini Body Mommy
  • Exercise 6 days per week
  • Finish You are Loved Bible study
  • Finish church craigslist ads

What are your goals for the week?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

First Blog Post ~ The Single Life: Part 1

I want to start with what the Bible says about being single.  Not much is said about singles, but what the Bible does say is so important and so clear.

We can find what is said about singles in 1 Corinthians 7.  Paul is responding to questions the Corinthians asked regarding Christian life and marriage.  Verses 7-9 are specifically for the unmarried.

1 Corinthians 7:7-9 “But I wish everyone were single, just as I am.  Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.  So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows - it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am.  But if they can’t control themselves, then they should go ahead and marry.  It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.”

Why would Paul want everyone to be single?  Why would he say it is better to stay unmarried?  Paul saw something in singleness that others weren’t seeing.  He saw what we often don’t even see today.  He saw singleness as a gift.  He knew there was a purpose in single life.  He knew that as a single person, he had more time to devote to ministry, without the distractions and responsibilities that marriage and family bring.  

Paul wasn’t just saying he wanted them to be single.  He was saying he wanted them to be intentional with their time and devoted to ministry as he was.  It is completely possible, and maybe even probable, that singles then, like today, were more focused on their own selfish desires, than truly using the gift of singleness God has given them.

Paul was not criticizing marriage though.  He was simply pointing out that we, as singles, can be used to accomplish God’s plan and perfect will.  We need to be focused more on that than finding a mate.  Some would be better off just getting married because the lust or desire of finding a husband or wife is more of a distraction than marriage itself.  However, he was not saying to go out and marry whoever either.  He was referring to those who were already engaged, but not yet married at that time.

God has a plan for you, whether you are single or married.  He can always use you right where you are.  Keep your focus on Him, and live your life to honor and glorify Him.  

Don’t be discouraged!  Don’t spend your life waiting for a husband.  Live your life now!  If God has a husband planned for you, it will happen regardless of what you are doing!  
He will bring you the happiness you desire, in his perfect timing!  God wants great things for you!

I think there is so much that God has planned for us and can do with us while we are single, so let's open our hands and our hearts and let Him give and take from us as He sees fit, and let Him use us now, right where we are.

Know that even as I am writing this, I am struggling.  It is easy to say these words, but hard to live it out.  I pray that this will both be an encouragement to you, but also help me to be intentional and live out what God has placed on my heart.

My intention is for The Single Life to be a series of posts, as I do think there is so much to it, and so much that nobody talks about. I want to talk about it! What would be an encouragement to you? What are you looking for as a single person right now? What would you like to read about or hear about from me?

If you are reading this, thank you. I love you. God loves you!

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”