You might be thinking - “Why is she bringing up forgiveness when I want to learn how to improve my health???”
Our ability to forgive ourselves and others greatly effects our health. Listen to the findings of a Mayo Clinic study:
When we remove or reduce unforgiveness we have:
Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
Less anxiety, stress and hostility
Lower blood pressure
Fewer symptoms of depression
Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse.
You will never achieve optimal health if you hang onto unforgiveness.
Not only does unforgiveness effect your physical health, it also stands in the way of your spiritual health. In Matthew 6:14-15 God clearly tells us, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
That’s pretty clear, if you want God to forgive you, you need to forgive others. You might think, “I was really mad at my brother, but I told him I forgave him”, but here’s where the challenge comes in, Matthew 18:35 tells us we can’t just throw out out the words “I forgive you”, we have to forgive “from our heart”
Really, saying it isn’t enough??
You have to truly forgive the person who harmed you - this requires more than just saying the words. God knows our heart. In Jeremiah 17:10 we are told, "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind,” He cares much more about what is going on in your heart and mind, then he does in your actions.
Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Dig deep and don’t answer “no” too quickly. If someone comes to mind, the first thing you need to do is forgive them in your heart. In some circumstances you might also have to go and reconcile with the person (Matthew 5:24), but it starts in your own heart.
Often, we refuse to forgive because we think they don’t deserve it, they should be punished.
“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies”
You are the one who is hurt by the unforgiveness. So often we think our chronic headaches, stomach discomfort, nagging neck pain…. is caused by something we did when it actually could stem from the unforgiveness in your heart.
Many of us don't struggle to forgive others, our challenge is forgiving ourselves. There are things in my past that I deeply regret. For years I would go to God and ask for His forgiveness. What I finally realized was God had forgiven me a long time ago but I hadn't forgiven myself. Is there something you haven't forgiven yourself from? I have talked to quite a few women who feel God can't forgive them because they had an abortion. They feel their sin is too great. I try and comfort them with the truth of God's Word,
"He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven."
1 John 1:9
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
No matter what you've done, if you have talked to God about it, asked for His forgiveness and then tried to turn away from that sin,
You Are Forgiven
Please, if you still refuse to forgive someone or if you can't forgive yourself, meditate on Matthew 6:14-15 and ask God to help you.
Entertaining Made Easy
One of my favorite ways to spend an evening is sharing a meal with family and friends. So many of my greatest conversations have been over a meal in my home, or someone else’s. When you are in a home, it seems more intimate and personal. You feel more freedom to talk about the real issues, the things that really matter.
I am so thankful I love to cook and it doesn’t stress me out. I know that is not the case for a lot of you. I hear my friends talk about the anxiety they feel when having people over. If you are one that stresses about entertaining, here is my first piece of advice – let any perfectionism you have go away. I know that is harder to do than say.
Maybe this will help: When you go to someone’s home and everything isn’t perfect how does it make you feel? For me, I am so glad they didn’t feel like everything needed to be perfect in order to have me over. It also reminds me that my home, my meal and everything else doesn’t have to be perfect.
Another way to make entertaining more enjoyable is to get your kids involved. If you still have children at home who are old enough to help, ask them to chip in. They can set the table or help you do some of the dicing and chopping. I find it can be a great time to catch up with my kids when we are cooking together. It’s also a great, hands on, way to teach them about healthy nutrition.
You can also get your spouse involved. When entertaining, I typically prepare a menu that includes something my husband can grill. This spreads the work load out and frees up my oven. Guys seem to love to hang around the grill so I’m actually helping him connect with others!
When I entertain I almost always have people bring a dish. I ask someone to do an appetizer, salad or dessert. I even let them help clean up the dishes with me! (Love to cook, hate to clean). When I go to someone else’s home, I offer to bring something to ease their load.
Try to keep most of the items simple to prepare. I usually pick one or two things that are a bit more involved and exciting and keep the rest simple. Here is one of my favorite meals to prepare:
Appetizer: Fresh Vegetables with Hummus, Cheese Platter with grapes, sliced apple and pears (basic but everyone loves it, especially with unique cheeses, squeeze some lemon juice on the apples and pears if you don’t want them to brown)
Roasted Asparagus: Preheat oven to 375, cut off bottom ¼ of asparagus stem and discard, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt cook for about 20 minutes
Rice with Lime and Cilantro: (I have a rice cooker that makes cooking rice so simple)–Just cook your favorite rice, when it is cooked stir in some fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro.
Grilled Pork Roast with Red Pepper Sauce: My husband grills the meat and I make the sauce in advance. The recipe is in Month 1 cooking video.
Dark chocolate for dessert: It’s fun to get some good quality dark chocolate, (I love it with dried cherries or orange peel), break it into squares, put it on a fancy platter and pass it around.
So invite someone over to share a meal with you. Remember, your house and your meal does not need to be perfect. The more relaxed you are the more enjoyable the evening will be!
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.