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What Has Changed? Why Is This Time Different?

As I looked through some older posts and photos this week, I was struck by how often I’ve gone on health kicks over the years. Every one has felt like THE TIME that I’m really getting fit and healthy. Why have I lost the momentum every single time and gone right back to my old ways?

The answer has become so clear to me recently: I didn’t have a clear “why” that lined up with the deepest place in my soul.

What has changed?

When my goal was to achieve an outward appearance of having it all together, while inwardly my soul could be starving, I could not maintain it.

As I look back, I see the chaos of what was going on in my heart and how that was a reflection of how I treated my body. I was hurting and in need of healing. I was in need of unconditional love and acceptance.

Here’s the problem with that though: unconditional love and acceptance is tricky. Even when I try to unconditionally love and accept others, I struggle with a critical spirit. That’s why the unconditional love and acceptance of God is such a miracle! It’s impossible for another human being to unconditionally love and accept us, but it is God’s very nature.

We can certainly learn to reflect God’s perfect love to the world, full of the fruit of the Spirit, and do a much better job seeking the health and wholeness of others by learning who they are and cherishing them. We can decide that we will love someone, no matter what, and fiercely defend that love against all attacks. But true, unconditional love and acceptance is a gift that comes only from God.

What changed in me is that I have sought healing for my soul on the deepest levels. I have persisted in relentless efforts to get to the root of the disorder in my soul, to pull it out, and to plant good things there instead. Boundaries have been established and protected. As I’ve rebuilt on a firm foundation, things that once felt chaotic and terrifying have started to make sense.

My “why” has become clear: I want to bring glory to God’s name. He has been calling me all of my life, and the things He asks of me have always felt impossible and out of reach. I see now that if the calling is from Him, it is only a matter of stepping out of the boat and keeping my eyes locked on His. If I look around, I will surely fail. So, I lock eyes with Him and take step after step – moving forward as the storm rages around me.

I must have the physical and emotional stamina that only comes when a person takes excellent care of their physical body. As a writer, much of my day can easily be spent in a chair, staring at a screen. I have to make an effort to get up, clear out the brain fog, and move my body. I have to make an effort to strengthen my muscles. If I eat convenience food all day, I feel sluggish and get a headache. My blood sugar is too high, and exercise brings it down beautifully. How can I be ready to go where God sends me if my physical body is sickly and my mind isn’t sharp?

There’s one other thing that I have struggled with mightily: the idea that if it’s of God, I won’t have to do anything. It will just happen “naturally”. It’s an odd idea, really. If God called me to be an architect and I didn’t go to school or apply for a job, but just drew buildings in my notebook and waited for someone to discover me and pay me to design their building, it would be laughable. When an entrepreneur starts a new business, they seek funding through a small business loan. They research and write business plans. They set up an office and order business cards. They network and advertise, work long hours creating something and fulfilling orders. If they are Christians, they smile when they write their first tithe check based on the profit from that business. No one accuses them of pride for thinking that’s something they can do.

I went to a writer’s conference in 2013, so newly pregnant with Charlie that I didn’t know it. I went to workshops for three days and took copious notes. I learned that writing is a job, just like anything else, and people who make a career out of it have an office, and office hours, and write business plans, and seek out opportunities. It took me until recently to accept that if I was going to take my calling seriously, I would have to do serious things. Take some risks.

This year, in the middle of total chaos in our world, I have established some discipline in my life. I got a small business loan. I set up a home office, and I go there four to five days a week. I have researched what it takes to step into my calling and set goals. I worked with a website designer to create a website that reflects my ministry and partnered with a social media manager. I brought on a personal assistant to take care of all the little things that drain my time and keep me from doing what only I can do. I signed on as an event sponsor for a large event to raise brand awareness. Overcoming massive anxiety, I even began advertising.

While I worked on these things, I also set up a real estate investment company, partnered with a skilled handyman, purchased a house in disrepair, and had it completely renovated. It increased property values in the little town, improved the community, employed 18 other small business owners, and it is gorgeous! It’s currently on the market, ready to be a blessing to a new family. The funds from the profit of that sale will go to offset the cost of setting up everything else and be a blessing to my husband’s farm business.

And I partnered with Fusion Fitness Training Center, locally owned by a woman also committed to bringing glory to God’s name, to learn how to take care of the temple God has given me in which to do all these things. They have an excellent facility and amazing trainers, plus a caring staff, and I thoroughly enjoy going there.

We have a nanny who cares for the children and our home three to four days a week, and that allows me to focus on work while still being present and available. Her days off are my days off, and on those days, I try very hard to put work aside and delight in the joy of these precious children God has given me.

These are things I have never done before because the chaos in my heart blinded me from the ability to see a clear path ahead. I have received God’s unconditional love and acceptance, learned to trust that if He has called me to do it, my job is obedience. The results are up to Him.

That is why this time is different.

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