Strive for Progress – not Perfection

imperfectpersonperfectgodI think we would all like to strive for perfection.  Some feel like that is what they live for – to be perfect in something in their life – maybe sports, maybe attitude, or maybe just in general.  Well, I am here to tell you – I am a perfectionist that is greatly flawed.  I think it is ok to strive to do things perfect but we are humans – we are not Jesus – so we make mistakes.  The definition of PERFECTION is:

1: the quality or state of being perfect: as

a: freedom from fault or defect : flawlessness

b: maturity

c: the quality or state of being saintly

2 a: an exemplification of supreme excellence

b: an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence

3: the act or process of perfecting

I like #3 – the act or process of perfecting – it doesn’t say – is perfect.  I think we should all strive to do things perfect knowing that it is almost an impossible goal, but it making progress towards our goal.  I realized that I had allowed myself not to do things because I wouldn’t be perfect or in some cases, even good.  I really like being the best at what I do or if I am in charge – I want things to go smoothly and I want to be the best.  I did not exercise for health reasons (or so I said) but I realized that it was because I didn’t want to be awkward or struggle to complete something.  I have learned that you just have to get out there and get started…I am still a VERY long way from perfection but it sures is closer than when I wasn’t even getting off the couch.  I am making HUGE progress!

With our perfect God, it is sometimes imtimidating to serve him because I just didn’t feel worthy – do you ever feel that way?  I make so many mistakes – and will never ever be perfect in my service to God.  I can strive for perfection though – I can keep going forward, keep improving and keep progressing. That is what God wants. God wants our best but he knows it is flawed.  He also don’t want us to get to prideful and bragging about ourselves.  He wants us to work hard, give our best and be humble.  So get out there and make progress!

Proverbs 29:23  The Message (MSG)

23 Pride lands you flat on your face;     humility prepares you for honors.

strive-for-progress-not-perfection

Physical Fitness – 5 perfect form push-ups – really focus on how you are doing your push ups – make progress.

Mental Fitness – Read current events – get relevant with what is going on in our world.  It is important that you stay current and know how things effect you!

Spiritual Fitness –  Matthew 5:48  New International Version (NIV)

48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Even the Bible encourages us to be perfect.  Here is a great link to a message about being perfect.  I hope you will read it.  http://www.albatrus.org/english/living/kingdom/be_ye_perfect.htm

Prayers for you as you strive for perfection but are making progress. Practice makes perfect….be consistent, persistent and continue every day!

Pray for me as I strive for perfection but understand that making progress is certainly better than not performing or even trying and pray as I continue this awesome journey of physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

Love ya!

Leigh

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Surround yourself with family and friends

iron

Proverbs 27:17    New International Version (NIV)

17 As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.

So I recently heard a verse in the Bible and it really didn’t mean alot to me until I read a little more about it.  I heard that an upcoming conference for Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) that this is the theme.  I didn’t get it at first and then I began to understand.  Surround yourself with similar people – people that are good, people that work hard, strive to do good and especially Christians.  Open your minds, share your thoughts, hold each other accountable.  This will help you both to become sharper, better and even stronger.

I have always said one of my favorite sayings is, “Surround yourself with good people – it makes you look good!” There are so many sayings about surrounding yourself with the right kind of people – Oprah Wynfrey once said this…

higher-ground

I agree with this – make sure that you are around people that are going to lift you up!  It is so easy in this world to be around negative people and people that always find the negative things – try too avoid these people!  Being around positive happy people will change your own perspective.  Eliminate the naysayers, the lazy and the people that stress you out.  (Well I don’t mean eliminate them physically – I know some of you went there….I meant just don’t spend time or effort on people that just bring you down.)

The phrase “iron sharpens iron” means “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” There is mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together; the edges become sharper, making the knives sharper and more accurate to cut and slice.  We are to sharpen one another—in times of friendships, meetings, church, or any other time we see each other.  God wants us to fellowship with other Christians so find a small group, a Sunday School Class, a ministry that you can serve in, a devotional group or something that will allow you to be with other Christians and allow you to be surrounded with love from them and most of all God.  It is a means of grace that the Lord promised in Matthew 18:20 New International Version (NIV)

20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

When we sharpen one another in real Christian fellowship, the Lord bends an ear from heaven and is pleased. Not one word about Him which brings Him glory escapes His notice.

Returning to the analogy, if a knife is dull, it still continues to be a knife, although it is less effective:  just like a Christian may still be a Christian but not fully walking with God like he should. Let us therefore be encouraged to spend more time together, encouraging, praying,  each other accountable, studying and sharing God’s Word, praying for others and the needs of our  church, that we become sharper, more cutting in the ministry that the Lord has assigned to each of us. So often people assume that fellowship is more about food and fun, not on sharpening one another with the Word of God. In far too many instances, the only knives being sharpened are the ones used at meals.

Finally, a knife that has been sharpened will also shine more because all the dullness has been rubbed off its surface. We will shine brighter and better for our Lord if we continue to sharpen each other.

It is important to find others that can sharpen you!  You will shine, and you will be strong, accurate, and sharper because you have that great sharpening from your support group.

Physical Fitness – Sharpen your body by lifting weights.  Start small and continue to build up.  I keep 10 lb. weights around and try to lift them daily.  I think I am ready for great weight.

Mental Fitness – Sharpen your mind and read this sermon by Brad Rigney

http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/as-iron-sharpens-iron-brad-rigney-sermon-on-call-of-the-disciples-88053.asp

Spiritual Fitness – This is a great Youtube video that discusses the importance of Iron Sharpens Iron

Prayers for you as find who your “iron” will be and make plans together for Bible Study, Prayer, devotions, working out together, etc.

Pray for me that I will continue to meet with my small group, my trainer and take time with friends and allow them to sharpen me and allow me to accept it!   Also, pray as I continue this awesome journey of physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

Love ya!

Leigh

A Dozen a Day

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So when I took piano lessons, I remember having these practice skills that were so boring but I had to do them every day.  It was very simple chords or finger exercises on the piano.  Funny thing is that even when I could play some great songs – I had to play those same old exercises.  Boring.  Little did I know that I was exercising my fingers, applying great technique and improving my skills.  Sometimes it is simple things done over and over that helps us get better.

Michael Jordan – my favorite basketball player practiced free throws every day.  He would do at least 100 a day.  He would also practice layups over and over – we all know he could do that but he practiced these simple things every day.  I once heard that he said he didn’t practice to get it right, he practiced so that he would never get it wrong. 

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So I wanted to give you ideas for your dozen a day improvement skills

1.  Eat an apple around 10:00 am

2.  Drink 64 oz. cold water

3.  Pray throughout the day.  Find times that you always pray…(before you get out of bed, before you walk into the office, before meals, before you go to sleep)

4.  Do 25 pushups and 25 situps

5.  Learn something new everyday – read it, write it, study it, search on internet

6.  Journal your thoughts and feelings.  Write down prayer requests, quotes, Bible verses that inspire you.

7.  Read your Bible daily

8.  Do 25 squats

9.  Make time for 15 minutes of meditation and relaxation – take some chill time

10.  Read a devotional – find one you like from Bible Gateway, or internet search or go to a bookstore and find what you can relate too

11.  Smile, and do something nice every day.  Surprise someone with a little gift, pay for someone’s coffee in the line behind you, think about how you can brighten someone else’s day and you will be surprised how yours will be even brighter.

12.  Reflect.  Review the day in your mind and think how you did and how you could do better.  Learn from your own self every day.  Make changes to make you better.

Physical Fitness – 25 Jumping jacks can get your body going.

 Mental Fitness – Close your eyes, focus on how you see yourself in 5 years…what are you doing, where will you be, who will you be there? 

 Spiritual Fitness – James 5:16-18

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.  James 5:15-17

 Prayers for you as you do these dozen things every day.  Practice makes perfect….be consistent, persistent and continue every day!

 Pray for me continue to do my dozen a day even when it may be boring, I don’t have time and I just don’t want too and pray as I continue this awesome journey of physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

 Love ya!

 Leigh

 

KARMA

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The word Karma literally means action. It may appear that Karma is happening to us, as if some outside force is causing good things or bad things to come to us. However, it is really our own inner conditionings and processes that are leading us to experience outer effects or consequences in relation to our own actions.

People are always saying to me that I am super lucky.  I don’t really see it that way.  I think that what goes around, comes around.  I also think that I need to be positive.  There are so many saying and thoughts but it is all about – how you look at things.  You can say…why am I single and everyone else is happily married….or you could say – I am so glad God gave me this time to really find him, to focus on myself and to determine what I want from life.  You could be frustrated that you gain weight every time that you even look at food, or you could be so thankful that you can taste the food and that you have more than enough to eat.  You can always find a negative side or a positive side to every situation.  I try very hard to focus on the positive things.  People often say to me that I have a dream life and I certainly do but I could complain about my weight, my health, my lack of ability to say no, feeling like I have no time to do everything that I need to do…I choose not too!

I have the most awesome pleasure this past weekend to spend time with my cheerleading family.  Wait – what?  My daughter participates in competitive cheer and we travel and they compete.  All of the coaches, cheerleaders and our parents, families, etc. all come together and travel and spend time supporting each other – we are family.  This was the biggest competition – Supernationals!  All of our teams were in the top 8 of the country – pretty amazing I would say!  More amazing after I tell you all that happened.  This year has been tough – we have had injuries, people have moved, many cheerleaders cheer at school and they have seemed to want to have practice when we do, etc. We have other competitive cheerleading gyms that would love to see us fail, there are people that are not a part that like to be negative about us and there are just those that are mean and shallow that don’t understand the love and support we have as a cheerleading family…and there are even those that are jealous.

I mention Karma as the title of my blog today because that is the name of one of our teams – KARMA.  Some of our best cheerleaders have had knee problems, health issues and it just seems like everything that could go wrong has.  The day before we were going to leave – our most dedicated cheerleader got hurt (Four teeth knocked out – ouch!!)  This cheerleader has such heart and such loyalty, dedication, commitment and love for our cheerleading gym and she always does her best.  She is a true leader and a great inspiration for everyone.  So she was not going to be able to cheer…wait – one of our key team members can’t participate – how do you fix that a day before Supernationals?  Ok so we have extra practice – make changes and just do it!  Then it becomes almost impossible that we have practice because we have snow in Alabama – well if you have ever been in Alabama – you know it is complete panic time.  Schools close, roads ice over, traffic jams, complete chaos.  (plus people are knocking each other over to get bread, milk and eggs – why do people crave french toast when it snows?   just saying…)  Ok back to the replacement of our great cheerleader.  She deserves to get lots of attention and recognition and how could something like this happen to her of all people?  Why God?  These teams have all worked so hard, she is such a great inspiration and this just can’t be happening…God – why?  I know the answer – KARMA…but not why you think.  This team especially had just seemed down and out – they needed something to pull them together – as a team.  There was nothing but this one incident that could have done more to make them a team than their inspirational team member getting hurt.  They came together  – they practiced with their changes the night before we left and I have never ever seen them do better.  They did this for their friend, their team member – their sister!  This team with all of the injuries and all the issues – got heart!  They got a new sense of pride and teamwork.  They were amazing and won third place – of course 1st would be great but we all know what they had come through and how Karma really did do something for them!  It was payback for the inspiration and commitment from each person! Congratulations – wow KARMA is a great thing and you all deserve good things for working so hard.  Your devotion and love to honor your team mate was awesome.

Well there were other teams effected too and each one of them came together and just did all they could to show the respect – it was an awesome time and each one of our teams were amazing!  Each team did their best performance during the weekend and I personally think that whether we won first place or not – we are the winners!  We had family time at dinner at Buca DiPeppa and Joes Crab Shack and watching drama outside our hotel room, we laughed, we cheered, we supported and we LOVED! 

Karma – is doing something and getting back something because of what you did.  Our cheerleaders, cheerleading gym and our parents and supporters – just get ready because I know something even greater and better is on its way. 

Galatians 6:7
Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
Galatians 6:6-8  The Message Bible
 

Physical Fitness – Stand up and sit down 50 times

 

Mental Fitness – Cheer on someone – encourage someone and smile at every one – this will do you great good but it also make other people feel great!

 

Spiritual FitnessLuke 6:31Do to others as you would have them do to you.  Pray for your enemies.

 

Prayers for you as you let “Karma” guide you and look at more things positive and focus on the good things and not how bad things are!

 

Pray for me continue to see the bright side and to continue this awesome journey of physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

 

Love ya!

 

Leigh

 

The Plateau

ImageAs you can see from this picture a plateau can be a very beautiful place.  It can be a great place to stand on the edge of and look out and see how far you have come but how far you still have to go.  I have hit a plateau in my journey, but it is only a plateau for me to look at where I have come from and remember all the good things that have happened and be proud of what I have accomplished.  Even God did this, each day when he was creating the world, he would reflect as shown in Genesis 1:31God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”  We need to do the same.

I can review the past four months and see that I have made so many changes. Spiritually –  I read several devotions every day and I read my Bible every day.  I pray – I mean I really pray and I can see my prayers being felt and answered.  I am engaging in church activities and have been writing in a journal and of course this blog.  I have become a much more open Christian.  I used to be quiet and not ruffle feathers.  I don’t care who knows that I am a CHRISTian and am so happy to love my Jesus!  I went on my Emmaus Walk – a spiritual renewal retreat and it changed my life.  I have a small group that I study and pray with and love so dearly.  I have a best friend that I can feel very comfortable to talk about God too and I am witnessing and sharing the message of God’s love every day!  I still have a long way to go but I am really proud that I have made so many improvements!  I am so much happier.  I feel so much closer to God and I am excited to be on this journey he has given me.  I felt led to do something for him – just figuring it out every day.  Maybe write curriculum, or a Christian book or my blog, submit devotions… lead small groups, continue in Kids Ministry.  Pray as I figure it out!

Reviewing mentally – I have really made great progress – I am talking more about my stressors and striving to correct many of them.  It is still hard for me to put myself as a bigger priority but I am.  I am improving my reading and communication activities, I am meeting with a counselor and I am focused more at work.  I see many improvements but I know that I have a long ways to go to work through my co-dependent ways and my savior complex.  Yes – I want to help anyone in need and sometimes I am mistreated or used but I don’t care – that is who I am!  I am trying to get my finances in good order and I am trying to open up more and ask for help – but it is still really hard.  It is hard to admit you are a failure in anything you do and that is how I feel about myself.  Mentally – I am much better but I am ready to continue to improve!

Physically – I have lost 40 pounds and that is great news, but the biggie is that I am eating healthier, enjoying my food and eating more!  I haven’t lost any weight in the last few weeks and I have been a little discouraged but I know that it is just a time where I need to reflect and see that it was good.  I need to focus on exercising a little harder and make sure I am eating my healthy snacks more often and of course have my 8 glasses of water+ each day.  I haven’t been as faithful to do that lately and I can tell.

The plateau is a good place to be but I am ready to continue on my journey of change.  Here is the definition of plateau.

pla·teau

noun
1. a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons.
2. a period or state of little or no growth or decline: to reach a plateau in one’s career.
3. Psychology . a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual’s learning, marked by an inability to  increase speed, reduce number of errors, etc., and indicated by a horizontal stretch in a learning curve or graph.
4. a flat stand, as for a centerpiece, sometimes extending the full length of a table.

verb (used without object)

5. to reach a state or level of little or no growth or decline, especially to stop increasing or progressing; remain at a stable level of achievement; level off: After a period of uninterrupted growth, sales began to plateau.

Fortunately – the plateau for me has seen no growth (in size or my weight) so it is good.  It is time to continue moving forward and going until I can’t stop!  It is a good place to review and to move on.  I am focused and ready for more on my exciting journey.

Physical Fitness – Get passed your plateau – drink more water, eat more healthy snacks and don’t cheat – not even one bite.  (I mean it!)

Mental Fitness – Seek counsel from friend, professional, pastor, and share with them what you are doing and where you are going!

Spiritual Fitness – Pray to get passed your plateau.  God puts you there to reflect but he also set the example of seeing that what he had done was good and you should do that too!

Prayers for you as you get passed that plateau and begin your journey again and go stronger and further than you could have dreamed!

Pray for me to get passed my plateau and to continue this awesome journey of physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

Love ya!

Leigh

A Time for Everything

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Ecclesiastes 3 1There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

This is absolutely one of my favorite passages in the Bible!  In fact, I loved it so much when I was a senior and co-editor of our yearbook – we used this as our theme.  Time – wow I don’t know if I have “time” to even talk about all the things I want to say.  They say “Time heals all wounds”…and I agree; but it does sometimes leave a scar – that reminder…when a song comes on or when a smell reminds you of something that you had forgiven and tried to forget.

Time is something we all wish we had more of but we would only try to cram more things into it!  We make time for what is important to us.  We need to manage our time better.  I am always double booking myself, saying yes when I don’t know how I can do something, and I just continue to push myself too hard.  I have NO time for me!  This morning at church, Pastor John discussed that God took a day of rest and we need to also!

Genesis 2:2-3  New International Version (NIV)

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

We need to take time and rest.  Time is ours and we need to use it wisely.  We need to follow God’s example and take time for ourselves!

Physical Fitness – REST – meditate, relax, just chill

Mental Fitness – Clear your mind, focus on yourself and write in journal or blog

Spiritual Fitness – Read Ecclesiastes 3 and think about how you can find more time for God!

Prayers for you as you make time to REST.

Pray for me to rest and make time for myself and even more for God.

Love ya!

Leigh