Monday, October 4, 2010

Let the Journey Begin!

Whoa, Monday has come and gone already. I am trying hard to be more intentional about my days here and how I spend them. I often find myself just getting sucked into cleaning and doing that “just this one more thing before I…” mindset and thus never really being very productive outside of having the house look spotless. Life is about SOOO much more than having a clean home and I know God has me in Australia for much bigger things (such as investing in lives!)than just cleaning the house! So I have made a “goals” list for the week that I would like to work on, just short term goals to have accomplished by next Sunday. The goals have to do with a variety of parts of my life from my faith, exploring my new surroundings, improving my health, being intentional about relationships in my life (no matter where in the world the other person is!), employment fun, etc. Believe me it didn’t take long and my list was HUGE –but also realistic (I hope!).

Recently I was chatting to a friend and she was telling me of a book she was reading. She had mentioned the book to me prior to my travels to the other side of the world and I remembered I was interested in it then but had pushed that thought to the side. Most of you who know me know I love a good book but I often don’t prioritize reading over other hobbies or tasks in my life so it takes me ages to actually finish one. I am the queen of reading multiple books at the same time thus causing it to take even longer to them. Have no fear; this is a goal on my week’s goal list! Read a chapter from each of the books I am currently reading (2 books at the moment soon to be 3)! So any who, I got the book and have started to read it, the book is called, “Women, Food and God,” interesting enough hey! We will see how I go. My friend told me it was really good, not a diet book or something you read to lose 10 pounds in a week and a half or anything like that but rather seeks to look at the reasons behind your eating and how that ties into your world views, etc. well that is my understanding of it anyways. We will see how it goes.

On my list this week are related to living out a healthier lifestyle I have two goals. One goal is to start my workout routine and the other is to create a week menu of our meals in the house! Although losing weight is desired it is not the purpose of these goals. I don’t want to do these things to lose a magic number of pounds but more to make healthier life style choices, feel physically better, to be a healthier person in general-ultimately the goal is respect my body as the temple that it is.

So let the journey begin to a life style change! Not a diet and not a situation of this is what I did when I was in Australia but a change that will have an impact and follow me through life! I am not saying it is going to be an easy one but it is one I must be choose to be intentional about. So today I started my journey. Today I started something I like to refer to as “Dates with Jillian!” It was my plan to use two of Jillian’s work out videos (no gym needed and a onetime only fee!) alternating them every other day, however one is in DVD format so I will only be able to use the one I purchased on iTunes (bugger!). To be honest with you the first time I did the video wanted so badly to give up on the whole process within 10 minutes of the first video…Jillian is tough! I have read blogs and other reviews and have found encouragement in the fact that if you make it through the first 3-4 days your body will be okay! I did my first session with Jillian today and I was quite proud of how well I did…we will see what I feel like in the morning!

Instead of alternating the videos as I was going to do I am now going to use a beginners training schedule to prepare for a 5K run! I had told a few friends that when I return to the states I would like to participate in a 5K and one of my friends response was why are you waiting? Good question! No reason really. Today I found a few 5K runs that are nearby that I can potentially participate in…however they are in December and January…that’s not far away! We will see how I go and if perhaps I might find a friend along the way that wants to do a 5K with me.

The other plus is that I am in a situation where I am responsible for much of the food that is eaten in this house! Therefore, I have the opportunity to make healthy food choices and can’t use the excuse of living in someone else’s as a reason to eat poorly. So I will be making weekly menus for dinners and my lunches. This was something I used to do in Colorado and find it fun to plan the meals as well as a good way to not just grab something easy (and typically much more unhealthy) to pop on the stove. If you have any suggestions of recipes I would be more than happy if you would be willing to share them (especially crock pot recipes)!!

So that is why I am writing this all on here! If I make it public I hopefully will have some accountability! (I hope to post about how I am going.) I hope perhaps this will be used to encourage someone else in their journey! If you have any tips or suggestions in making the journey to a living out a healthier life style I would love to hear them!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ramblings on Identity

Below are some rough, not very fluid thoughts. I am finding quite difficult to fully explain what I want to say but perhaps someone will understand just a glimpse of what I am trying to say.

Have you ever pondered the following questions?

What is my true identity?

Where do I honestly look to find my identity?

Really if someone asked you who you are what would you say? How do you respond when someone asks you tell them about yourself-who you truly are? I am positive I have been asked this question in a variety of ways throughout my life and I am even more certain as seasons have changed in my life the answer has changed as well. However, I am not so certain that I have ever provided anyone with an absolute honest answer.

Even if you think of the different social networking sites and what one writes in the “about me” portion of those…do the words written there truly describe who you are? Do they give an authentic picture of who you are or rather are they meant there meant to impress or illustrate the person you want to be or do they simply describe what you do for an occupation or identify you according to your location on this earth verses who you are at the core?

Reflecting back during my time in Colorado I remember thinking to myself if anyone asked me today who I am I would say I am a teacher, that would be the first thing that would come out of my mouth and quite frankly often still is. Back then I might have added something to the effect that I am a friend, a sister and daughter from a distance and I am a Christian. Thinking back now I remember how that bothered me that I would say I am a teacher and that would be the first thing…not that there is anything wrong with being a teacher…but I desired for my life to be more than just a teacher.

I have always been known as the mother hen of the family and always known I would be a teacher. Honestly thinking about other occupations I have no idea what I would do if I wasn’t a teacher. But am I really just one dimensional, a teacher and only a teacher? So often I have allowed all of who I am to be wrapped around what I have chosen as my professional career, what I do, what I say, how I act and interact with others, etc.

Obviously, I didn’t really deal with God’s prodding on my heart while in Colorado but have felt him continuing to pull back the layers and soften my heart the idea of where my identity truly lies throughout for some time. I found my entire life has been wrapped up in the process of becoming and being a teacher and the fact that it was what people expected of me. However, at this present time I want so badly to get out of the “typical” teaching world and use my education in a related way, however, every time I search the possibilities I return back to the classroom.

I am currently experiencing a state of disequilibrium in the direction of where my life is going. There is a strong desire to push myself out of my comfort zone and a stirring in my heart into to get out of traditional teaching and find a job where I can use my education background in a variety of other ways (working with the homeless, refugees, conducting trainings, etc) while still having balance in my life between work and life, relationships outside of work. But more so than any other desire is the desire to find what God has planned for me and not to follow my own selfish ambitions. However, I continually find myself left feeling frustrated and defeated as feel like I just am going around and around in circles. As I search for even just a casual part time job I always land back in the “education” section, while feeling prompted to set it aside for some time as I allow it to consume my life. I find myself missing the classroom as I love to teach but hate what it means for all other aspects of my life. It is my belief that part of God’s purpose of having me here, in Australia at this time, is to find my identity in HIM and at some point he will shed a bit more light on the path for the next step.

Over the past few months God has gently been speaking to me and asking me to allow him to help me discover the deeper depths of my identity far beyond a career choice, physical location, denomination of the church I am attending, relationship status or my favorite food or color. He has been softening my heart to open up to him and allow me to honestly look at my life, to go back to the basics to discover what my life looks like as His daughter, loved and desired by the Father! What does it truly look like to be the daughter of the King of Kings, what does it mean to live waking each morning knowing that the God that created everything in all of creation is on my side and how does that change who I am and how I live. How does that change where I place my identity? How does truly placing my identity in Christ instead of my career choice, physical location, relationship status, etc. change how I act and think from moment to the next?