Week 17

Faith: It Doesn't Matter What They Think

OK, so here’s a trap I think many of us fall into, we fear human rejection more than we crave praise from God. John 12:43 says this, "For they loved human praise more than the praise of God." How many things do you do or don't do because of what people will think of you. Really, stop and think about that - how does your concern about what people think  influence the way you live? 

When I turned 40 (also when I became a believer) one of the biggest changes I noticed was that I was freed for being too concerned with what people thought. Not that I don't fall back to old ways, but for the most part I do not worry what people think of me. What a difference it makes when you don't have to make decisions based off of what others will think. This is when life really becomes fun!

If you feel there is some area of your life where you are struggling to be obedient to God, could it be that what people will think  of you is holding you back from obedience? Could it be, your concern for what what people will think, is keeping real, consistent peace out of reach? 

Here’s one think I can promise you -  you will never make everyone happy - and that’s OK. . The world will have different expectations for you. One person wants you to live this way the other has a different path in mind for you. Focusing only on God's path frees you from all the confusion. 

You might be thinking , “well I can't just disregard what people think because I don’t want to hurt people's feelings”. I believe, if we really try to follow God's ways, He will guide us in ways that show love and mercy. 

I know there are people out there who think I talk about Jesus too much and don’t workout enough and others who think I workout too much and don’t talk about Jesus enough - but here’s the truth, I know I’ll never make them all happy so I listen to what they have to say, check my actions and motives against God’s word, pray and then either change or keep doing what I’m doing based on how I feel God is guiding me. I appreciate feedback and love to hear your thoughts but I will always turn to God, He’s got the final say. 

I am not saying we shouldn’t turn to others for wise counsel, in fact the Bible tells us just the opposite Proverbs 12:15. Allow others to guide and encourage you, but if you feel God is calling you to act in a certain way then don’t let others stand in your way. 

When it comes to exercise and nutrition, everyone is full of ideas. The world often tells us to exercise and diet so we can win the approval of others. They say if we look a certain way we will be more lovable. Do not try and impress people because of your outward appearance. There is nothing wrong with having a strong, healthy looking body but we should not hope to win love and approval because of how we look. 

If you struggle with this, like so many of us do, please put to memory the following verses. They helped me break free from worrying about people's opinions of me and I hope that help you. 

Galatians 1:10: Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant (live this!)

1 Thessalonians 2:4: Our purpose it to please God, not people. He is the one who examines the motives of our hearts.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14: Be on guard. Be true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be Strong. And everything you do must be done with love.  (what a verse to live by!!)

I hope this helps you have more peace and joy!

Food: Antioxidants

You’ve probably all heard the word “antioxidants” and know they are beneficial in some way but are a bit uncertain as to how they affect your health. Here’s what Mayo Clinic has to say about the best source for antioxidants: “Research indicates that simply taking antioxidant supplements is not the best way to go about getting what your body needs. In fact, it's possible that some of these supplements could be harmful. Fortunately, research is also increasingly showing that you can reap the potential health benefits of antioxidant intake by eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods.”

So often we want to take a shortcut to better health but once again research shows you need to take the time to carefully plan your menu to include foods high in antioxidants. Popping a pill is not going to do it.  

Here’s how antioxidants play a role in overall health. Many chronic diseases are associated with oxidation, which is a chemical reaction that occurs naturally throughout your body and in the oxygen-filled outside world (it’s what turns metal rusty and a slice of apple brown). Through oxidation, an oxidizing agent removes electrons from another substance, which can produce molecules called free radicals. In the body, free radicals are created when we’re exposed to hazards like too much sunlight, cigarette smoke and psychological stress and they can damage cells through a process called oxidative stress. In a healthy body, free radicals are kept in check by molecules called antioxidants. If there aren’t enough antioxidants around, the cells can suffer. 

Many herbs are powerful antioxidants, meaning they can hold back the damaging and disease-producing effects of oxidative stress. In fact, research has shown people who consume lots of antioxidant-rich plants have lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants interfere with the free radicals’ ability to attach themselves to cells, working as sort of an internal, cellular suit of armor.

Perhaps the best-known antioxidants are the vitamins A, C and E, plus the mineral selenium. You’ll find vitamin A in carrots, broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes and spinach; C in citrus fruits, cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum) and walnuts; E in sunflower and flax seeds (and oils); and selenium in nuts and grains.

Antioxidants show up in plants that you’d eat as whole foods, plus a few are in beverages and seasonings. For example, flavonoids are found in citrus fruits, chocolate (from cocoa beans), and tea; carrots and spinach are rich in carotenoids; and resveratrol. Another, polyphenol, occurs in blueberries, grapes, and peanuts.

Here are some of the top antioxidants from the Mayo Clinic Website:

  • Berries — Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries are among the top sources of antioxidants.
  • Beans — Small red beans and kidney, pinto and black beans are all choices rich in antioxidants.
  • Fruits — Many apple varieties (with peel) are high in antioxidants, as are avocados, cherries, green and red pears, fresh or dried plums, pineapple, kiwi and others.
  • Vegetables — Those with the highest antioxidant content include artichokes, spinach, red cabbage, red and white potatoes (with peel), sweet potatoes and broccoli. Although the effect of cooking on antioxidant levels varies by cooking method and vegetable, one study showed that cooking generally increased levels among select vegetables.
  • Beverages — Green tea may come to mind as a good source of antioxidants, but other beverages have high levels, too, including coffee, red wine and many fruit juices such as pomegranate.
  • Nuts — Walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds are some of the top nuts for antioxidant content.
  • Herbs — These may be unexpected suppliers of antioxidants, but ground cloves, cinnamon, ginger, dried oregano leaf, cumin and turmeric powder are all good sources.
  • Grains — In general, oat-based products are higher in antioxidants than are those derived from other grain sources.
  • And for dessert — Don’t forget that a piece of dark chocolate ranks as high or higher than most fruits and vegetables in terms of antioxidant content. A small piece of dark chocolate, with a high percentage of cocoa can actually be good for you (I did say small piece!!)

Weekly Goals

Each week you will be asked to set goals. Your goals can be about faith, fitness or food (or all 3). I highly recommend that you write them down and post them on your mirror or someplace you will see them often. When setting goals make them action oriented goals, not result goals.  Stay focused on doing the next right thing and be patient with the results.