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Volume 09, Issue 38: A Proactive Approach to Health (Part I)

Have you ever noticed how a majority of people don't start taking care of their health until they get sick, until they have a disease or an ailment or some sort of issue that warrants taking care of their health?

What if we decided to take care of ourselves proactively, rather than waiting for illness to strike? We are not talking about things that are out of our control. There are many diseases that we can't control at all. We are talking about things that relate to lifestyle. Things that are related to stress levels or poor nutrition or lack of exercise. If we can take care of those things proactively, we can reduce our risk of a lot of health issues down the line. This is a much better approach than waiting for ourselves to get sick and then starting to take care of ourselves. Let's consider some of the things we can do to take care of our health proactively rather than reactively.

1. Practice safe sun exposure

Sun damage is real. Accumulative damage starts showing in later years. If you are in your twenties, you may think you are immune to sun damage. But the damage is happening, you just don't see it. The sun can also cause pre-mature aging and skin cancer. You don't have to be scared of the sun but avoid and limit sun exposure when the sun is at its strongest. Wear sunscreen, practice safe sun exposure so you are not damaging your skin.

When I was younger I would come back from vacation with my face and other exposed areas of my skin a mess from unsafe sun exposure. Now that I know better, you wouldn't find me basking by the pool or walking on the beach in the hot sun. I either swim in the morning before the sun gets hot or in the evening after the sun has set. I also enjoy my walks on the beach early in the morning before the sun comes out.

2. Eat a healthy diet

Meal planning is one of the keys to consistent healthy eating. When I plan my meals in advance and do grocery shopping accordingly, I am able to stick to a healthy diet consistently. And when I don't plan my meals, things go a little haywire. So if you are struggling with staying consistent with eating well, try meal planning. Just remember that there's no one fits all approach when it comes to healthy eating. Embrace an approach that works for you and do it consistently.

Eating a healthy diet consistently may be hard in the beginning but it grows on you with time. It eventually becomes your lifestyle and unhealthy food options will no longer draw your attention. Just be sure to make it interesting and experiment with different whole food recipes that you enjoy. That way you won't be eyeing your neighbors' food or feel you are missing out. When you start seeing changes in your body and how you feel, and more importantly understand the investment you are making to your future health, you will wish your neighbor knew what you know. Let's stop here so this read isn't too long. Look out for the continuation in Part II of the series.

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 37: Goals Can Become Magnets

Goals are the driving force for achievement. They pull us in the direction of achieving what we want. Listening to one of Jim Rohn's podcast the other day reminded me of the importance of setting goals. Opportunities for advancement are missed in tthe absence of a strong goal. The stronger the goal, the higher the purpose, the more powerful the objective, the stronger is the magnet that pulls you in that direction.

Jim Rohn said that your goals and objectives not only pull you in the direction of their achievement, they also pull you through all kinds of down days and difficult times. Some people get lost in the confusion of the day simply because their goal is not bright enough to pull them through.

Its goals that drive us to take advantage of the spring - the good times. Your economic spring could be your current well paying job or thriving business. A strong goal to own a home debt free in the next 5 years would drive you to save and invest a big chunk of your current earnings in order to realize that dream. In the absence of such a goal, you would probably misuse your good fortune and end up without home ownership at the end of the season.

Rohn advised that in goal setting, start looking into the future - what you would like to accomplish, where you would like to go, who you would like to be. And see if you can get a better picture of the finished objective, see yourself there, see yourself in possession of your dream. He advised to decide what you want, and then act as if you already have it. The reason we can act thinking it's already ours is because not only can we vision the end result, we can also vision the beginning of making it real.

Just because you didn't start well doesn't mean you can't finish strong, says Rohn. Human beings are the only life form on earth that have the incredible capacity to change the course of their lives. No other life form can do that. Every other life form except humans seems to operate simply by instinct or genetic code. Human beings can alter the course of their lives. A man can live one way for 5 years, tear up that script and live a totally different way the next five years.

You don't have to do the second five years the way you did the first five. You can use all the information and all the advise you have received, repair all your mistakes and adopt a new and refined philosophy so that the next 5 years can be totally different from the last five. You can greatly alter the course of your life.

I like how Rohn put it. He said, five years from now you will arrive. The question is, where? If you keep up your present disciplines and keep up the present pace that you are on, where would you be in 5 years? In five years, here's the probability. You will either arrive at a well designed destination or an undersigned destination.

Five years from now, you really don't want to arrive at an undersigned destination. Because you may very well end up looking the way you don't want to look, living where you don't want to live, maybe doing what you don't want to do. Simply because you didn't design a better destination.

I concur with Rohn that upfront decisions are easy. It's certainly easier to start exercising before you become overweight than start after the weight has caught up with you. Sometimes after we have lived a certain way for a few years, to repair our mistakes and get back on track may seem like a tough job. If you have messed up your health for 10 years, it takes more than 10 days to get it back. If you start early, the fortune belongs to you. If you start early, the promise looms large and the odds are heavy in your favour.

Yes, it's possible to do some radical things starting late and still arrive with some good treasures, but it's better to start early. We have the time over the next 10, 20, 30 years to make some repairs now in our errors of the past and set up some new disciplines. That's going to change everything, says Rohn.

Five years from now, I wish for you to arrive at a well designed place. A place of productivity. A place that will make you feel good about yourself. A place that will give you honor and respect. A place that will give influence over many more people than you have today.

Where will you be in 5 years? We go the direction we face. And we face the direction we design. Direction determines destination. Destination is not determined by hope, it's not determined by wish. Destination is determined by direction.

You cannot change destination overnight. Which means you can't arrive at a 5 years from now place tomorrow. Here is what you can change today and overnight. You can change direction. It's so fascinating what a little small change of direction would do. A few decisions in discipline, a few decisions in learning, a few decisions in change of behavior, change of habit, a few decisions in setting goals that you sort of let drift away. Take that small journey to a new direction. The key is just to start. Set those goals and they will pull you towards their achievements as you constantly ponder over them and take the necessary actions.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

Volume 09, Issue 36: Stick With A Routine

Earlier this year, we talked about routines being a means to an end. I have been listening to podcasts by Eric Thomas and Mel Robbins that have stirred up new zeal in me about the importance of sticking to a routine and keeping a schedule. I have found that for me, the only way I show up and do the things I said I would is by sticking to a routine. I fail miserably when I ease off my schedule. I really liked how Eric Thomas and Mel Robbins nailed the point that I couldn't wait to lay it out for your benefit.

Most of us don't get up each day without an intent. If you are a young aspiring sportsman like my son, your goal may be to play in the NBA. Students want to pass their exams and most of them have good plans of how to do that. But in the absence of a step by step execution strategy, a good intention may well remain just an intention at the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of the month, even at the end of the year or a lifetime.

Eric Thomas emphasized having a schedule. You don't go to war without a plan. We need to be strategic. We may not want to admit it, but the truth is, we are not as strong as we thought we were. We are not as intelligent as we thought we were. We don't want it as bad as we thought we wanted it. It's our routines - it's what we do every day repeatedly that gets us to our desired destinations.

When you realize that your strength is in your routine, you stick with the program. You don't hope or wish your way to your dream, you routinely work your way to it. You don't wait to feel like it to take the actions you said you would, you follow through irrespective of mood or season.

Eric Thomas reiterated that the DNA of your success is in your routine. You are not as deep as you think you are. You have to find a routine and stick with it. Granted, out of 365 days you are going to have a few bad days, but the strength is in the routine. Find a routine and stick with it.

Mel Robbins alluded to the importance of having a morning routine that we also talked about earlier in the year. You must come up with a morning routine that you do every single morning, or at least more mornings than not, that puts you in control of yourself and in control of your day. You will be amazed by the power that you get from starting your day off right and being bigger than your excuses and being in control.

First and foremost, wake up on time. When that alarm goes off, get yourself out of bed. Why is that important? For persistence, says Mel Robbins. This is because the first decision that you are making of the day is to actually get up and get moving. That means you are persistently bigger than your excuses. You are persistently bigger than feeling lazy. And you are persistently beating the feelings that typically stop you.

Secondly, figure out your priorities for the day and then get to work on them. These are the things that matter to you. Whether it's sharpening your skills on a certain subject, or getting your reports ready for a meeting; or whether it's changing how you treat your spouse or your kids, or getting some exercise going because you said you would.

Start your day by getting up on time, figuring out your priorities and getting to work on them. Have the focus and the discipline to start your day off with you in control and with your priorities front and center. Find a routine and stick with it day in day out and don't allow your excuses to stop you. Refuse to let other people's priorities hijack your day by laying out your priorities on a schedule to make sure you get them done first.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 35: Seeking God Through Fasting (Part V)

Breaking your fast successfully

Every fast gets broken at some point. If you mess up on your fast and you eat the thing you were giving up, that's one kind of "breaking your fast." But, if you finish the entire time period you planned to fast without eating or doing the thing you gave up, you still have to "break your fast." So how do you do that? Here are some keys Jamie gave to successfully breaking a fast:

If you break your fast early:

If you find yourself breaking your fast before you planned to, don't beat yourself up. However, if God called you to fast for that original time period, jump right back onto your fast. Repent and rededicate yourself and your fast back to the Lord and get right back on that fast! The Bible continually reminds us to pay our vows to the Lord. So, go ahead and finish all the days you originally promised God. You will be glad you did.

If you finish your fast:

But if you finish all your fasting days successfully, you still must be careful breaking your fast. If you have abstained from all food, take great care when you begin eating again. Eat only light foods that are easy on your stomach - nothing heavy or fatty at first. Eating heavy foods too soon can hurt you and send your body into a tailspin.

It's good to bring your fast to a spiritual conclusion as well. When your fast is over, sit down with the Lord and talk to Him about how it went. Talk with Him (pray) about what you learned, what He did, and what He taught you during the fast. Additionally, don't be like the lepers who got healed but never turned around to thank Jesus. Be sure to thank the Lord for everything you can think of, and write down what He did on your journal as a memorial to His work!

Jamie concludes the study by reiterating that fasting can be easy, fun and glorious. It doesn't have to be hard. She reminds us that the keys to victorious fasting are simply to:

  • Keep our minds on Jesus at all times
  • Seek God first
  • Prepare for our fast in advance, and
  • Cast all our cares upon the Lord - even our cares about the fast itself

If we will do these things, we will see the Lord use our fasts to take us into a whole new experience with Him! I am grateful to Jamie Rohrbaugh for providing this study in the YouVersion Bible App. I hope that you too are inspired as I am to take your fasting to the next level.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 34: Seeking God Through Fasting (Part IV)

Thwart the enemy's attack

Some of the fasting failures we have had are as a result of falling prey to the enemy's attack on our fasts and we didn't even know it. Now that we are aware that the enemy may attempt to distract us from our fasts by tossing darts at us, we need to learn how to thwart the enemy's attack against our fasts. Here is what Jamie had to say;

As you move through your fast, it is possible - indeed, likely - that you will notice spiritual warfare against your fast. The devil loves to send darts against anyone who is seeking God.

The good news is that we don't have to give in to any of the evil darts the enemy sends against us. Satan and his minions are defeated foes, for Jesus Christ defeated them all with His life, death and resurrection. All we have to do is stay hidden in Jesus and wear the armor of God, and we will defeat the devil every time.

Examples of enemy darts you may see launched against you during your fast include;

  • Abnormal, crazy, even ludicrous demand on your time from outside sources (sometimes in ways that appear fun like parties or dinners).
  • People around you becoming grumpy towards you for no apparent reason
  • Temptation to violate your fast everywhere you turn (free snacks at your office, lunch or dinner invitations, more food commercials on TV than you have ever seen in your life, etc)

These types of things can often be the devil's attempt to rob you of your prayer/Bible study time; to get your mind off Jesus and get you responding/talking out of your flesh; or even trying to divert you from your fast completely.

When these things happen, what can we do? Jamie recommends that we anticipate these things and proactively thwart each dart before it gets to us. Here's how?

1. Purposefully clear your schedule of as many things as you can

The enemy would love to distract you with busyness to rob you of your prayer/Bible study time as you fast. Counteract this by putting your time alone with the Lord on your calendar. Do what it takes to safeguard your time with the Lord. Honour the Lord and honour your fast. This is a precious time!

2. Use hunger as a reminder to pray

When you feel hungry, stop and pray for awhile. Pray to draw closer to Jesus. Ask God to accept your hunger as an offering to Him, a sweet fragrance in His nostrils. Ask Him to take your hunger for food away, and give you a hunger for Jesus instead. Pray for grace to fast, and pray through your prayer list. When you use hunger and cravings as a reminder to  pray, the enemy often quits tempting you with hunger. But even if he doesn't, you can thwart those darts by simply turning them around and using them as prayer reminders.

3. Help keep your emotions in check by thanking God often and giving generously

Hunger sometimes plays on our emotions. If you get hungry, it can be easy to get grumpy too. That's exactly what the enemy wants: he wants you to take your mind off Jesus so he can ravage your life. To counteract these darts of the enemy, be aggressive about blessing God during your fast. Focus on your many blessings and thank God for them all. Help somebody every day during your fast. Offer up both your thanksgiving and your generous acts of service to others as a love offering to God. This beats the enemy at his own game, and it is part of what  makes fasting acceptable to the Lord. Above all else, remember fasting is about seeking God and aligning our hearts with His.

Psalms 91 says that if we dwell in the "secret place" of God's presence, we will be safely hidden under his shadow. No evil can befall us there, and nothing evil can even approach our house. So, let's remember to seek Him first and foremost during our fasts, and we will be completely protected. Next, we will finalize with how to break our fasts successfully.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi