Be Consistent and Win!

consistency

Lately I’ve been thinking about the importance of consistency.  For the past 4 months I have consistently gone to the gym and actually worked out for at least 4 days a week each week.  During those months I have consistently followed various workout programs and completed from beginning to end.  I have shocked myself!  I have never been that consistent, of my own accord, with exercising.  Is it easy to get up at 4:30 am to kick my own butt with weight training or to sweat my hair out doing cardio?  Absolutely not!  But what keeps me going back is results.  I’m seeing muscles that I didn’t know I had and fitting back into clothes I had already packed up to give away because I had outgrown them.  For me, those are serious results.

Funny thing is, results (or at least desirable results) are only achieved through consistency.  A quote on Bodybuilding.com says it all.  What had previously been there was “Start Something,” but they’ve replaced it with the words “Finish Something.”  Truth of the matter is we all start a lot of things, but never finish:  degree programs, home renovations, business opportunities, and of course workout programs.  What is the missing ingredient?  I would argue that it is consistency.  I believe the saying that it’s not how you start that matters, it’s how you finish.  And in order to finish you have to be consistent.  Moreover, if you fail to be consistent, you will consistently fail.

Through this experience I have learned a few things about myself.  That I CAN be consistent.  That I HAVE what it takes to accomplish my goals no matter what they are.  And that I WILL experience success if I persevere.  That makes me feel pretty darn good.  If I had to narrow it down to five keys that have helped me reach this point, they would be the following…

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1. Never quit, no matter how hard it gets.  There are people who are watching you try what they want to do, but are hesitant to do.  They need to see you push through the hard times to know that they can too.  Since I’ve been committed to changing my lifestyle, my mom has started working out also, and she’s beginning to see results.  Again, early morning wake-ups are a killer, but I’d rather push myself to do that than have my workout interrupted by a large crowd of people all trying to use the same equipment during peak gym hours.  So, I make the sacrifice.  Sore, achy muscles are no joy to have either, but now that I know what the end of those sore muscles will be, I’m willing to endure the temporary pain.

2. Visualize your goal.  In order to perceive you must first conceive.  That means establish your goal and then see yourself obtaining it.  I actually found a set of abs in a picture (on someone else of course) that I want mine to resemble.  In my mind, I visualize having those abs, and that’s one of the things I’m working towards.  If your goal is to finish your degree, see yourself making good grades, graduating, and snagging that dream job in your field.  If your goal is to remodel your house, see yourself with the finished project and the new furnishings to go along with it. These pleasant visions will serve as motivation through the tough times and remind you that it’s all worth it.

3. Engage in some healthy competition and accountability.  My husband and I have a little abdominal competition going on to see who will have the best looking abs the fastest.  Of course he teases me about how many more crunches he does than me, and I tease him about how much more healthy my eating habits are than his, but it’s all in good fun.  I’m somewhat of a competitor by nature, so this is right up my alley.  I can’t wait to win.  Maybe you’re different and don’t desire a competitor.  Having an accountability partner is just as good.  This person should help keep you on track to accomplish your goals with friendly reminders and reality checks.

4. Make time, not excuses.  I hate to miss a workout due to a scheduling conflict because I feel like my whole schedule is thrown off.  However, I don’t just throw the whole week away.  I make the necessary adjustments to fit it in, which requires thinking ahead and planning for the activity in mind. When other things come up (and they will) carve out time elsewhere to make up what you missed on your personal project.  Remember, excuses are for those who need them.  If you have a plan then excuses won’t be necessary.

5. Invest in your success.  If I was truly going to make working out a lifestyle I had to start looking the part.  So, I bought some new work out clothes, weight lifting gloves, and I even had to buy different types of foods for healthier eating.  I never wanted to spend more than a few dollars on active wear because it wasn’t a priority in the past, but now I’m willing to pay more for something I know that I will use.  It can get expensive, but I consider it an investment into a new way of living.  Investing in your own success is vital, because at ti mes you might find that you’re the only one who is.  Not to worry though,  soon enough everyone will be able to see the fruit of your labor and the hefty return on your investment.

Now if I could just apply this same level of consistency to a few other areas in my life I’ll be good to go.  Pray for me. 🙂

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Aside

To Date or Not to Date…That is the Question

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I was listening to a very popular Christian morning radio show this morning and was taken aback by comments made in response to the topic for the day–Why do Christians date non-believers?  One caller said that it’s because they feel that the person will convert to Christianity.  Another caller said that they are being led by the flesh in their decision to date non-believers.  One other caller said that it’s because they don’t trust God and are unwilling to wait on God to send them their mate.  And yet another caller said that 95% of the married couples in the United States did not wait on God and are suffering the consequences.  While herassertion and statistics were totally unsupported, I understood her point.  I was cool with the  other responses too, but what really got under my skin was what the radio announcer said.  It went something like this…some people misinterpret the Bible.  (I’m assuming that she was referring to 2 Cor. 6:14, the scripture on being unequally yoked.)  We’re not talking about marriage here, we’re talking about dating.  Hold up, wait a minute.  Isn’t dating supposed to lead to marriage for the believer? Of course you will not marry everyone you date, but that should be your ultimate purpose.  She went on to say that the first thing that draws you to a person is the way they look, not whether or not they are saved.  It might not be the first thing you see and it may not be the first thing you ask, but it sure as heck better not be the last.  Within the first few hours of conversation you should find out that brother’ssalvation status.  In my opinion, his answer should determine if and how you spend your next date (probably at a church service where an invitation to salvation will be given or somewhere that you can lead him to Christ yourself).

She continued with this…it’s okay to go out with an unbeliever because you never know what the future will hold.  Then she used Dr. Fred Price as an example.  Apparently he wasn’t saved when he married his wife.  No disrespect, but if I’m not mistaken Dr. Price is a very, very, very mature man age-wise.  Things were a lot different back in his younger days.  There is too much going on and too much satan is doing to kill, steal, and destroy believers, which makes it an unwise thing to do.   She’s right that you never know though.  You never know if he will get saved or NOT.  You never know if he will resent or respect your faith.  You never know if he will treat you like you deserve to be treated because he can’t do it according to God’s instructions if he doesn’t believe them.  You never know if you will influence him or if he will influence you.  It sounds like too much is being left to chance to me.  One thing is for sure–one person will definitely influence the other.  If you are not a strong believer yourself walking fully in the Word, you may end up on his side of the fence when it’s all said and done.  And that ain’t nothin’ to play with.

Neither is satan.  The Bible says in 1 Cor. 15:33, “Do not be deceived:  evil communications corrupt good manners.”  The NIV breaks it down like this, “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.”  It is crucial for a believer to watch the company they keep.  Some people may think this is harsh or judgmental.  I just believe the Word of God is true.  I believe that it is relevant and applicable to our daily lives.  God did not say this to make Christians feel that they are better than unbelievers. He said it for our protection because he knows that interaction with those of unlike faith can contaminate ours and be detrimental to our spiritual development.  How can two walk together unless they agree? (Amos 3:3) If we don’t believe the same things how can we agree on anything?  If God uses your good looks to draw others to Him even though they got saved just to impress you, then glory to God!  He can take someone’s wrong intentions and turn it around for their good.  That doesn’t mean though that you should make it a habit to go on missionary dates.  It’s not your job to try and change other people.  That’s between them and God, and God’s not even forcing anyone to change because of free will.

I know it can be tempting to go along with what a celebrity promotes, but don’t believe everything you hear.  Rather, try everything by the Word of God.  If it doesn’t line up with what it teaches, trash it.  That’s what I did.

I’m just sayin’.

What are your thoughts?

Grieving for Grandma

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My grandma and I when I was about 9 years old.

In all of my 33 years on this earth, I’ve never known how it truly feels to grieve until now.  My father died in a head-on collision when I was 8 months old, but I was too young to understand.  As I got older and saw my friends with their fathers, I would cry and plead for him to my mother.  She comforted me as best she could, and those moments would pass.  But those times don’t compare to the loss of my grandmother a few months ago.

She had been in and out of the hospital for a few months.  I always expected her to come out as she had all the other times, but this time was different.  My grandma had been saying things in the months leading up to her passing that foreshadowed it.  She told me what song she wanted sung at her home going, and she kept saying that she thought she was leaving this world the last time she was in the hospital.  My words to her were, “Grandma, you’re not going anywhere until you and God are good and ready for you to go.”  What I didn’t know was that she was.

That was my prayer for her also–that she’d be ready when it was time.  I didn’t expect for it to happen for a long while though.  She was only 81 years old and was full of spunk and laughter and most importantly the Word of God.  Surely that was enough to sustain her for many more years.  Although that was what I wanted for her, that was not what she desired.

When I got the call that she had gone back to the hospital a day before she passed, I did not go visit her.  In my mind, if I had rushed up there to see her, it would seem like I was expected the worst.  So I just prayed that she would be fine as usual.  A part of me felt deep down inside that no matter how hard I prayed, if her will was not in agreement, it wouldn’t matter.

The next evening my mom got a call from my aunt saying that my grandma had coded 4 times.  The doctors revived her, but they would not do it anymore if her heart stopped again.  My mom and I took the trip to Columbia to see her, both of us in silence, whispering prayers.  I didn’t speed, even though my mom wanted me to.  As soon as we got there my cousin met us in the lobby with the news that grandma didn’t make it.  She had actually been gone when we got the call.  They just didn’t want to tell us over the phone (which I appreciated).

Man, that next hour with my family and my grandma lying in the hospital bed was rough.  Calls started coming in from friends and family, tears started pouring down my face, guilt started creeping in over all the things I didn’t do for her while she was still alive, and thoughts of a future without her started invading my mind.  I was relieved to find out that she had been making preparations all along–making peace with old foes, contacting those with whom she had lost contact, and focusing on her relationship with God instead of worrying about her children.  Yet I was angry that she decided to leave us behind.  So many emotions.  So many changes.

And 3 months later, I still feel these changes.  When I go somewhere that reminds me of her, it hurts.  When I dream of her, it hurts.  When I think about spending the upcoming holidays without her, it hurts.  I know that she is still with me and that her legacy lives on in me–her loud laugh, her love for shopping, and her thick hair are a few of the things we share.  I miss her dearly and I know that even now if she had a choice, she wouldn’t come back here, for she is rejoicing in Heaven with the angels.

Grandma, I love you and will never forget your love for me.

Has anyone else experienced grief in this way?  Feel free to share your experience.

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“Wait on God” Needs Publishing

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Have you ever wanted something so badly that it became an obsession? If you’re anything like I once was as a single woman, you’ve probably at some point or another battled the obsession to be married. Here’s help. The soon-to-be published book entitled “Wait on God: What Every Single Woman Should Know to Receive God’s Best” offers spiritual and practical strategies to help you transition from singleness to marriage with a level head, a clear conscience and an in-tact heart. This book, which is an extension of the blog I posted with the same title, has been in my spirit for a long time, and I can’t wait to share it with you in hopes that it will encourage and uplift you or someone you know who is waiting on God to bring His best into their lives. But I need your help to make publishing it a reality. Please click on the link below to give your support. Every donation, no matter the amount, is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your kind deed, and remember that what good thing you make happen for others God will make happen for you!

Briana G. Whitaker

http://www.gofundme.com/waitongod_whitaker