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faith

Mindset Shifts Part 1

The little “t” truth of my experiences has told me I am unworthy of the love of an earthly father.  That I cannot hope for people to change, that I cannot depend on someone I believed would never hurt me.  For 3 years I lived in that little “t” truth.  I let it close me off to the love of my heavenly father.  I felt scared to open my heart only to have it broken all over again.  Living in the sadness of my experiences left me cynical and depressed.   It showed in my interactions, it was evident in my ability to be a good mom and wife. 

In the last couple of years, there are 3 major mindset shifts I made that have allowed me to pursue my passions and find freedom from the depression and bitterness that was taking root in my soul. 

The first shift happened while I was going through a devotional.  The author told of a dream where she was asked by God to remove the figurative “clothing” that was weighing her down.  Mind you this is all figurative, but she removed the clothing of comparison to other moms, she removed the image of perfection she was trying to live up to… you get the picture.  Then He asked her to put on new clothing from His promises. 

So, I did this exercise in my own mind.  God asked me to remove the clothing of abandonment, rejection, unworthiness, and instead put on the garments of chosen, worthy, His.  And with that, I saw a picture of Him placing a crown on my head and telling me I was his adopted child, His chosen child, His princess.  I began seeing myself as His that day in a way I never had before.  It was the first step towards healing.  It was the beginning of my road to freedom.  

“There’s a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts.  One of them asked, “Why on our hearts, and not in them?” The Rabbi answered, “Only God can put Scripture inside.  But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.” – Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

It is like I was walking around for 3 years with a band-aid over my broken heart.  Trying desperately to hold it together.  To not allow it to be vulnerable to anyone, even God.  After all, He let this happen right?  But there was a moment on my yoga mat, lying in the presence of Jesus, where I took the band-aid off.  I left my heart vulnerable and broken and it was like Jesus poured all the scripture I had “on” my heart “in” my heart.  It has taken time to allow these biblical truths to truly sink in, to truly believe it with all I am, and some days I still struggle, but more and more, I am living in this promise instead of the sadness of my experiences.

Shema-
Attention Israel!
God, our God!  God the one and only!
Love God, your God, with your whole heart; love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!
Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts.  Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children.  Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.  Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9, The Message

Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.  (What pleasure he took in planning this!)  He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved son. – Ephesians 1: 5-6, The Message

It is a daily commitment to pursuing the truth of my identity in Christ.  The big “T” truth that I am chosen, redeemed, loved, accepted, adopted, blessed, victorious!!!!

“God is the only one who has the authority to tell you who you are!” – Sarah Mae

For encouragement, listen to this beautiful song by Hillsong Worship: https://binged.it/2JTAglr

The second mindset shift has to do with forgiveness… more on that later.

 

Photo credit – Free photo 91449402 © Publicdomainphotos – Dreamstime.com

Parenthood

Mom, Am I Fat?

How we speak to our kids about food matters.

I will be the first to admit that my kids do not eat a perfect diet.  I try to teach them to eat healthy foods but forcing them to finish their veggies in my opinion won’t necessarily teach them to make healthy choices for themselves.  I tend to lean more towards exposing my children to different types of foods, encouraging them to try at least a lick or a bite and then make their decisions for themselves (within reason).  I know this can be an unpopular point of view.  I guess I didn’t grow up being forced to eat anything.  It didn’t exactly lead to a healthy diet on its own, but it did lead to a healthy relationship with food.  I enjoy my food and have found ways to enjoy healthy food as I have grown. I don’t just tolerate my veggies, I savor them because I have learned to make them taste great.

Here is what I think is more important than forcing a kid to eat their veggies – Ask them how they feel after they eat.  If they indulged in sugary treats at a birthday party and felt sick afterwards, help them connect the dots.  Point out that eating lots of sugar can make you feel this way.  When they feel good after a balanced meal, point out that they ate a healthy meal and their bodies are thanking them for it!  Teach them to eat a balanced plate (if you don’t know what this looks like, I can help! Contact me!).  Explain that we need protein, fat, carbs, veggies… Ask them if there is a way to make the veggies or healthy food more appealing or tasty to them.  I often offer ketchup or ranch dressing with the meal and if they don’t like something, we can try it with a sauce that they like.  Here’s the thing, I would rather my daughter eat a plate full of carrots and cucumbers with a little ranch than to fight her on eating them alone.  This way she enjoys her meal and she develops a healthy relationship with food and eating.

And if you have a day where you all didn’t eat great, let it go.  I give you permission (not that you need it) to let yourself off the hook.  I get it, I am in the trenches with you, sweet momma.  Just let it go.  The next day, just start fresh without judging yourself or beating yourself up.  Every new day is a new chance to try again.  Change is hard, kids are hard, just keep doing the hard things!

“But they just don’t like that food.”  I have said this.  Here is the reality, we get all new taste buds every 10-14 days.  What does this mean for the foods we eat?  You may hate something one day and love it a few weeks later.  You have completely new taste buds!! And your kids do too.  So don’t label them picky eaters, don’t say oh you won’t like that.  My kids have amazed me with things that I thought they hated but suddenly they love.  Be open minded with your kids, expose them to new foods as often as you can!

Appearance and food

“a new study from Common Sense Media made headlines by reporting that 80% of 10-year-old girls have been on a diet. Furthermore, this “horrifying new research” found that more than half of girls and one-third of boys ages six to eight want thinner bodies. Indeed, these statistics are horrifying, but they are far from new.” – 2015 article https://www.refinery29.com/2015/01/81288/children-dieting-body-image

My 8-year-old is starting to notice that she has a little belly.  She pointed this out to me the other day.  I explained that she is a growing girl and her body is going to change a lot over the coming years.  That extra little fluff may be in preparation for a growth spurt and it will most likely balance out soon.  I told her she was beautiful and that she was at a healthy weight for her age.  I pointed out that she is strong and active, and her body does so many amazing things for her.  I told her to keep putting good foods in her body and it will keep working well for her.

Finally, and most importantly…

Please don’t tell small children they need to lose weight.  Even if they do.  Talk to them about how food makes them feel.  Teach them to eat more of the good stuff and less of the silly stuff because it will make them feel good, give them energy, help them learn better… not so they can strive toward the unattainable goals the media puts on people.

And tell them they are beautiful/handsome, they are smart, they are kind, caring… because kids can’t hear this enough.

faith, yoga

Can Yoga Be Holy?

“We are born with two broken legs and told to play the Superbowl! We don’t have a shot without Jesus!” – Brooke Boone

Why is Jesus a part of Yoga for me? 

Because without Him, it seems pretty pointless.  Yes, there are the physical benefits and quieting your mind for meditation is good for stress relief.  But if you ask me, without Jesus, it will be minimally effective in causing lasting change in your life. There is so little I am capable of accomplishing in my life without God.  And even if I manage to do it for a while, I will eventually burn out.  What will keep me going?

It is the Word of God that inspires me to keep going.  It is His presence in my life that keeps me coming back to my mat.  When I need to be quiet and listen, I come to my mat and I spend time listening to the Lord in the silence.  When my body needs to move, I can flow on my mat in worship of Him.  He can teach me in the challenge, as I build strength in my body, He can show me strength in my soul.  As I surrender to a pose, I can learn to surrender to Him more fully.  Yes, Jesus is in all of Yoga for me.

But the body is not important.  Why spend time worshipping through Yoga?

If the body is not important, I want to ask you, why does the evil one use it to tempt us?  If it is not important, why did God give us one, why does fasting matter, why did Jesus come in one?  No, the body is not supreme, but it does matter.

Isn’t Yoga a religion?

Yoga is not a religion.  It is a spiritual practice.  Much like fasting, prayer and spending time in the Word.  Other religions use it, just as they use fasting, prayer, and reading of their religious texts.  It is a tool that can be redeemed for the glory of God and used to enhance your spiritual walk.  It may not be a practice for you, just as not every Christian fasts, but I believe with my whole heart that it can be used to worship God.

May Jesus reign over all areas of your life.  May he be in the getting up and lying down, in the work you do and in your rest, in your relationships both easy and challenging, in your heart, mind, soul and strength.

Hymn of St. Patrick
Christ be with me and within me
Christ behind me and before
Christ beside me and to win me
Christ to comfort and restore
Christ beneath me and above me
Christ in quiet and in danger
Christ in hearts of all that love me
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”  Genesis 28:15

God Bless!

Lindsey Morales

 

 

Lifestyle, Faith, God, Jesus, Relationships, Marriage

Post-its and Perfection

                I was having a conversation the other day about office supply stores and how addictive they can be.  Why is that?  I believe it is because when walking through an office supply store, we tend too think we can do anything!  “If I just had those post-its, that calendar, that planner… I would be so much more organized and better with my time-management!”  Can I just say that the difference between being productive and not being productive isn’t something you can buy at an office supply store?  Productivity is not perfection.  We tend to think, I just can’t let a single ball drop.  I have to be perfect, I have to do it all!  But do we?  Do we have to do it all? 

I believe that productivity is a state of mind!  It takes a mindset shift, it means doing the hard things when the easy/fun things are right there and available instead.  It’s about deciding what is truly important in your life and spending your time there. 

I am going to quote Matt Evans again.  He is the pastor at Rock Bridge Community Church here in Dalton, GA and on May 13 he talked about Time and love.  He said,

“You can say with your mouth ‘I love you.’ They may hear your words, but they feel your schedule.” 

I was so challenged by this statement.  I am in a very busy phase of life right now and I must ask myself regularly where my time is going.  I must ask where I am sleeping through life and ask God for forgiveness, grace, mercy, in “waking up” in that area.

Autumn Calabrese says often in her fitness programs,

“If you want something you never had, you need to do something you’ve never done.” 

So, let’s talk about habits.  What habits do you have in your life currently?  Good, bad, neither?  Take stock today.  Nadia Bolz-Weber said in a video titled “No One Has It All” on the Have A Little Faith FaceBook page that during a busy time of life, she realized that her good habits were merely “a list of habits I adopted to over-function.”  What habits in your life did you adopt to simply help you over-function?  Here’s the thing, take time to figure out what is truly important in your life and then look at your time.  Keep a journal of how you spend your time.  What does it say about what you find important? 

Do something you’ve never done before.  Do something that will help you work towards a more purposeful life.  Hear me.  I am not saying to do more.  I am saying to rethink your time and do something new. 

I along with you will be looking at my schedule with new eyes today. 

Blessings!!

Lindsey Morales

faith

Just Be Held

“A broken world can never fix a broken person.” – Matt Evans

Almost 5 years ago, I thought my world was falling apart.  I was pregnant with my son.  I should have been hopeful, excited about adding a second child to our family.  I was only a couple of months from my due date and planning my daughter’s 4th birthday party.  What should have been a beautiful time of anticipation and celebration quickly turned into a time of sorrow.  Someone very dear to me decided to walk out of my life.  It was unexpected, it broke my heart and it felt like my world was crumbling all around me.  It was the beginning of what was the darkest days of my life.  I closed myself off from God and in doing so, I closed myself off from hope.  Over the 4 years that followed I went through a process. 

Romans 5:1-5 says:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, if you had told me then that God would use such a heart-breaking event to shape me into the person I am today, I would not have believed you.  I could not believe any good could come from such darkness.  And it took about 4 years for me to hope again.  It took 4 years for me to open my heart to the Holy Spirit and accept the hope offered.  It took forgiveness to break the chains between me and this person who broke me.  It took God’s grace for me during the process for me to learn to offer grace to others.  You see this person is broken.  This person is beloved by God just as much as I am and through the Holy Spirit I hope with a hope that is not of me that this person will reconcile someday. 

I had to forgive myself for the person I was during that dark time.  I had to ask forgiveness from God and from some of the people I hurt during that time.  And I pray that God’s love covers all of that.  That He is so much bigger than me and my brokenness. 

Today, I feel whole in a way I never have, because God’s love has taught me perseverance, character and most of all hope.

The song “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns says:

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
 Just be held, just be held
If your eyes are on the storm, you’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross, You’ll know I always have and always will.
And not a tear is wasted, In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes, your life is in My hands

So if you’re in the dark times, and you don’t see how God could possibly make beauty from these ashes.  I encourage you to remember that God is always on the throne, even in the darkest of times.  I believe this more today than ever because God did the impossible, He took what felt like “my world falling apart” and made it all “fall into place.”

Just be held.

Blessings!

Lindsey

faith

Auto-Pilot

“Busy is the state of your calendar, hurried is the state of your mind.” -Kimberly Mervyn 

I wrote this down at my Holy Yoga Immersion Experience.  This week, it has popped back up as my calendar has filled up.  I kept making a wrong turn on my way to teach a yoga class.  My daughter was in the car and was laughing at me.  I said, “sorry, I was on autopilot.”  Realizing she didn’t know what that meant, I explained how sometimes our brains take over and proceed with the most common course of action.  I was hurried, my soul was anxious, I am starting a new business and with that comes the fears of failing, the stress of fitting it all in, the financial anxieties… you get it. 

So yesterday I decided that while my calendar is full, that does not mean I need to feel hurried.  That does not give me permission to snap at people or be short with them.  That does not mean that I can’t find the time on said calendar to slow down and just be.  Be in the presence of my maker and be thankful to him for the many blessings that are filling my calendar right now.

In my yoga classes this week, I talked about stepping out of the boat in faith.

Matthew 14:22-33 (NIV) says

                22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

I am so much like Peter in this passage.  I doubt; I begin to sink and I cry out to God to help!  He never disappoints but I imagine he often says “you of little faith, why do you doubt?”  Why would he call me out onto the water if I was going to sink?  The reality is I begin to sink when I take my eyes off Him.  This last week, I felt that hurried state in my soul and felt like I was sinking.  Today, I choose to look up at my maker and trust.  Having faith doesn’t mean I don’t have spreadsheets, it doesn’t mean I don’t do my best to manage my business, but what it does mean is that I do my best and forget the rest!!!  He’s got me.  He will not let me sink, I just have to keep my eyes fixed.

Psalm 20:6-8 (NIV) says

6 Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 8 They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm

 In Holy Yoga we talk about rooting down to rise up.  Today, let’s root down in the Lord and rise up victorious.

Lifestyle, Faith, God, Jesus, Relationships, Marriage

Beauty From Ashes

This week I prepared for my Holy Yoga classes and it never ceases to amaze me how God shows up and changes my message as the class goes on.  I walked in with “A cheerful heart is good medicine!” – Proverbs 17:22. As I began talking I felt God leading me toward the idea of Wabi Sabi.

Wikipedia defines Wabi Sabi as

Wabisabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

The visual representation of this is broken pottery repaired with gold. 

In a world where we watch other people’s lives through the scope of social media, we get accustomed to seeing people’s highlight reels.  This begins to distort our view of what beauty truly is.  As a Yoga instructor I post exciting new poses or pictures of me doing Yoga that I feel are beautiful, but my Instagram highlight reel is not my process.  It leaves out the many times I fell or failed in that pose before I eventually found it!  When I teach, I want people to see the beauty in the process.  When we wobble and fall in a balance pose or struggle and shake in a strength building pose.  When we get nowhere near reaching our toes or feel that our bodies just don’t twist that way.  These are examples of the process.  They are beautiful because when we try something new for our bodies, we are going to struggle.  It is in the consistency, the persistence, the hard things, that we find God’s beauty!  In these moments, we learn not only to strive, but also to surrender.

A quote by Eyse Murphy says “Growing closer to God is not the result of ‘trying harder’ but of surrendering more.”  I love the beautiful parallels between my Yoga practice and my faith.  In any pose, there are muscles that are working and muscles that must surrender, in our faith there is a certain amount of work that we must do but there is also surrendering to God’s beautiful, grace-filled love.  And when we fall and fail, we get back up, dust ourselves off, learn and grow.  In this we are like the broken pots being filled with God’s beauty (gold). 

Isaiah 61:3 NIV

    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

To you who feels you are not strong enough to practice yoga – come and let God teach you something about strength.

To you who feels you are not flexible enough to practice yoga – come and let God teach you something about surrender.

To you who feels you are not enough or less than – come and let God show you His eternal, unfailing love.

God bless you, beautiful children of the most high!!!

Lindsey Morales