Consistency

ConsistencyIt is without a doubt the biggest key to success. It will out perform talent, luck, social standing, or any other quality you can think of.  You can have the worst possible odds stacked against you, and still come out ahead if you have this one quality going for you.  Consistency!

It’s something many of us struggle with. It’s easy to get excited about something… a new idea, a new job, a new workout program… but when the “new” wears off, where does that leave you?

Unless you are consistent, you just won’t see the results you are hoping for.

I would like to say that I’m super consistent. And sometimes I am! When I started my fitness journey, I worked out almost every day for 3 1/2 years. The only days I took off were scheduled rest days. The payoff was amazing progress. I lost weight, I developed muscle, I looked younger than I had in years, my blood pressure dropped down to the level of an athlete. I had to buy new clothes because my old ones were too big. It was great! I even entered a bikini contest. I didn’t win, but that was okay. I shouldn’t have. The winners were far more fit and muscular than I was. And it was an amazing experience just being on stage to celebrate what I had achieved.

Then I took the advice of everyone… family, friends, acquaintances — even professional body builders — and I took a month off, that became six weeks, and then eight weeks… I had the hardest time finding momentum again to be consistent. I thought maybe a new workout program would do it. It didn’t. I thought maybe a new goal altogether would do it. So, I signed up for the Little Rock Marathon. I ran the marathon, but training for that was a struggle as well, and I didn’t do anything after the marathon.

Not that I didn’t “try”. I started, stopped, had a bunch of excuses why I couldn’t do it.

Then I had to start wearing size 8’s because my size 6 jeans didn’t fit anymore.

The hardest thing to get into shape is the first to go when you stop working out. Click To Tweet

Let me tell you a little secret about fitness. The hardest thing to get into shape (abs for me), the thing that takes the longest, is the first to go when you stop working out.

Maybe taking a break would be the right thing for you to do. Apparently it was the right thing for the body builders who recommended I do that. But, for me, it was wrong, wrong, wrong!

One full year after I was in the best shape of my life, I am happy to say that I am in Week 3 of consistently working out again… every day. If I miss my morning workout, I get it done before I go to bed that night. If it’s a rest day, I work on flexibility. Three weeks in, I’m starting to get back that familiar feeling of not wanting to miss my workout — and, I’m starting to see results again. My clothes aren’t as tight as they were. My muscles are becoming more defined. I’m hopeful that I’ll get back to where I was much faster this time around.

You will never achieve what you were created and designed to do without consistency. Click To Tweet

So, why am I telling you this? Because there is something you want to be, do or have in your life. There is something that is important to you, and you’ve just been dabbling in it. It’s time to commit and become consistent. You will never achieve everything you were created and designed to do until you learn to become consistent.

There is not a single human activity that doesn’t require consistency for excellence. Relationships require it. Occupations require it. Artistic endeavors require it. Physical fitness requires it.

Sometimes we have too much going on to be able to be consistent. That’s what I’ve been struggling with. Your job, then, is to simplify your life. Find things that you don’t need to do that are taking precious time away from what you have to do in order to succeed. Hire someone if necessary to free up your time. But find a way to be consistent.

You will never succeed without consistency. With consistency, you will outshine the brightest star in your field.

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Faith, Prayer and Health

girl-15599_1920I was raised in a church that seemed like it was focused more on the law than on grace. At 18, I decided to leave the church and make my own way. Still, having been raised in church and on God’s Word, it seemed as though something was missing in my life.

I then stumbled on New Thought and thought that was my answer.  Where the church I grew up in made me feel a great deal of personal responsibility for my life, it also made me feel as though I was powerless.  With New Thought, I understood that not only was I responsible, but I also had the power to change my circumstances. It didn’t deal with the law, except for the law of cause and effect, but it also didn’t deal with grace or with the hereafter. God was depersonalized into a “Universal Mind”, and spirituality was held up as a science, a formula for success in the here and now. It was based on the teachings of Jesus, but only as an example, not as a savior.

After I moved to Arkansas, I found a non-denominational, full-gospel church. What does “full-gospel” mean? Many Christians believe the gospel is that Jesus died for your sins so that you could have eternal life. And that is the gospel… or at least part of it. The “full gospel” is that salvation is complete. Not only did he provide for spiritual salvation, bringing us into right relationship with the Father again, but he also provided salvation from temporal evils – the three-fold curse of the law. He destroyed the power of the enemy, and through faith in his works, we can be free of sickness and disease and poverty as well as eternal death.

One of the most difficult parts of this teaching is that God has done everything he is going to do for us. Scripture tells us that we aren’t supposed to call Jesus down here to do anything else. He has already done everything he can. Our salvation is complete. To think he needs to come and do something else, would be like saying his death, burial and resurrection wasn’t enough.

We can see that healing is for everyone, because scripture clearly states that he healed everyone who came to him. You can’t find a single instance in God’s Word that says Jesus shook his head and told someone they just had to bear that cross, or that God was trying to teach them something. He went about doing good and healing the sick and freeing those oppressed by the enemy.

If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, then I have to accept that his will hasn’t changed and healing is for everyone.

The other important thing to recognize in scripture is that in most cases, Jesus said “Your faith has made you whole.”  Especially in the case of the woman with the issue of blood, he didn’t even know who had touched him, but she was made whole because of her faith.

runnersNow that the preamble is out of the way, let me tell you one of the things that hurts my heart. It hurts to see Christians, the body of Christ, suffer with sickness when healing has been provided for us. But, it’s important to not “mingle” our seed. If we want health, we need to accept it, but we also need to act as if.

Did you know that 70% of chronic illness is preventable?

Do I believe that the power of God is available to heal us? Yes! His Word says that it is. I also believe we have to do our part. If we aren’t eating right and getting exercise, how can we expect to be healthy?

And yes, God can anything.  But he won’t over ride our will.

In the Old Testament, I believe we used to see more divine intervention than we see today. The flood of Noah, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the earth opening up and swallowing people.  Clearly, these are examples of God stepping in and taking control. But, these events were before our salvation was complete and, I believe, they were necessary steps to protect God’s plan. He was watching over his word to perform it, and making sure it didn’t return to him void. Once Jesus became the word made flesh and provided salvation for us, his work was done. It’s now up to us to be his hands and feet in the earth.

So, if you’re sitting around stuffing yourself with greasy hamburgers, chips and sodas, watching Netflix and wondering why you are overweight and unhealthy and God isn’t answering your prayers…

God can only do for us what he can do through us. Click To Tweet

The fact is, God can only do for us what he can do through us. And it’s difficult to have faith for health if we know we are ignoring the simple things we can do in the natural to be healthy.

Faith, prayer and health. I think they are all important. But your body is physical. Don’t you think you might need to do something in the physical to improve it?

BB ClassicOne year ago today, I was in the best health of my life. I was at the Beach Body summit in Nashville, TN, getting ready for the Classic Swim Suit Competition.  I’m sorry to say that I have lost a lot of ground. I listened to people who advised me to take some time off. I won’t do that again.

I’ve started working out daily again; even though I work insane hours (typically 60+ hours a week). For three years, I had a “No Excuse” mentality, and my physical transformation was amazing. If you are ready to get off the couch and start getting yourself into the best shape of your life, but don’t know where to start, or just want some support on the journey, comment below, or send me a message. I’d love to help you on your journey. And I’d love to have some accountability partners to make sure I stay on track! If you wear a Fitbit and want a challenge partner, look for Cheree, but be forewarned:  I’m pretty competitive!

Freedom

At the risk of being clflag saluteiche…

Freedom isn’t free.

For those of us born in freedom who have never lived through a world war, it is sometimes difficult to really understand this. We throw that sentence around because we’ve heard it so many times, and it sounds so patriotic and, well, the right thing to say — especially on Memorial Day.

Today is the day many Americans (OK, technically United States Citizens — the Americas include other countries) have a day off work and spend it with family, barbecuing, relaxing and having fun. We fly flags and throw out sentiments of patriotism and gratitude for our armed services. Most people honestly don’t even know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and end up thanking “all who have served”. While that’s very nice, that isn’t what today is about.

Today is about remembering those who have served, and gave their lives serving. Today is about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice — their lives. Today is the day we honor those who died in battle, and the families who go on every day without them because of their sacrifice.

Today we remember our beginnings… a fledgling nation of rebels fighting for the freedom to live under a democracy and a key reason for that fight, was to gain religious freedom. Freedom of religion, not from religion. These men and women were willing to die to earn the right to worship God in their own way, not the way the country dictated. That is what separation of church and state is all about. It doesn’t mean that you can’t worship, it means that the government can’t tell you how to worship. We have somehow lost sight of that.

We haven’t come full circle, our government doesn’t tell us how we have to worship, nor does it demand that we all do… but we are getting very close to having a government that tells us how we cannot worship.

What does the first amendment actually say?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The government is prohibited from establishing a religion that everyone must follow, but it cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion, or the right of people to peaceably assemble. This is a battle that is still being fought every day in the court system. Our children are being told they cannot pray on the ball field or on school grounds, or have a banner with a scriptural reference, or talk to their classmates about God.

The second amendment gives us the right to own guns.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Again, this is another freedom that many in Washington would like to take away. Should gun ownership be regulated? Absolutely! But the government does not have a right to take away my ability to defend myself and my family. History has shown that a country that takes weapons out of the hands of its citizens often turns weapons against its citizens.

I won’t bore you by going through each amendment to the United States Constitution, but I do encourage you to read it and know what your rights as a citizen are. This is what those soldiers fought and died for.

There was another sacrifice made for your freedom. Two thousand years ago, Jesus died to set you free from bondage. He died not just to give you spiritual freedom — which is important — but freedom from spiritual death. He died to give you eternal life and to restore your relationship with your Father. His death gave you life. His blood washed you clean. Even more important than fighting for your constitutional freedoms, you need exercise the freedom Jesus won for you over the circumstances of your life.

For every need you have, provision has been made. You will find seed in God’s word for any harvest you desire to have in your life. Read it. Speak it. Meditate it. Live it. Be truly free.

Have a blessed Memorial Day.

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Don’t Go With the Flow

On the surface, go with tDon't Follow the Crowdhe flow seems like great advice. Don’t stress. Relax. Goosfraba. But, if you think about it, how many successful people do you know of who have “gone with the flow”? Did the Wright Brothers go with the flow? Did Rosa Parks go with the flow? Did Nelson Mandela go with the flow? Did Jesus of Nazareth go with the flow?

There are countless examples of people who would have faded into obscurity if they had gone with the flow. Instead, they chose to buck the system, swim upstream, and make a difference.

Even salmon know that survival depends on them swimming against the current.

I propose that if you do not swim against the current you will never achieve the dream that God has placed in your heart.

Think about it. Where does the flow lead? Don’t let your dreams be dashed against the stones. Swim upstream. Yes, it’s more difficult, but it’s worth it!

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