The Good and the Bad of being Busy!

woman writing 8_194x188I must admit, I have a need to stay busy all the time! It’s more than a need actually, for years I have equated busyness with power, prestige and value. Fortunately, God has brought about a lot of change in my value system and way of thinking, and these days I’m ready for a slower pace.

However, moving at a snail’s pace without purpose or direction can cause other problems. Let’s have a look:

The Good:

I’ve written in previous posts about the absolute necessity for someone who struggles with food to find again her buried dreams and desires. Those dreams are given to us by God and it makes each one of us unique and our lives worth living. If we don’t follow our purpose and dreams, we will follow something else, even something destructive. So to get busy with your dreams is a GOOD THING!

If you often find yourself bored, not interested in anything, tired, depressed and without purpose, you might have lost vision and purpose for your life. This is not God’s plan for you.

Living in this hopeless state can cause a person to turn to food again and again. In fact, you might pick up many other idols along the way if you don’t find meaning and purpose in your life. Even good Christians who read their Bibles and pray daily can fall prey to idolatry if they don’t find joy in fulfilling the purpose God has for them on this earth.

The Bad:

Unfortunately anything we devout all of our time, energy, and money to can become an idol instead of bringing fulfillment to our lives.
Take for instance this ministry I have for women who struggle with food. I’ve had this yearning to help other ladies for many years, but I wasn’t sure how it should all play out. I’ve asked God to show me what He wants me to do, and when He opened the doors for me to start a website and an online program I was so excited. I had a new zeal for life. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning. I was like a kid with a new toy!

This part was great, but the I started overdoing it. I spent way too much time with my new found purpose. I started putting the needs of others in front of time with God and taking care of my own needs. Last year this time I found myself almost at the point of being burnt out. The “bad” side of busyness was knocking at my door.

I was slipping even with my eating, this shook me out of my denial and I cried out to God to show me how to balance these things. What I learned is that to keep busy from morning to night shuts out the voice of God. We fall back into quick prayers, even quick Bible studies, but nothing seems to get to our hearts.

I felt my heart grew cold and numb, a dangerous place for someone who struggles with food. If there is one thing a food addict knows it is this: If you get too busy, you get out of touch with your body, your needs, and your emotions, and then you start binging mindlessly.

Don’t get so busy that you lose touch with your own self .

These days I don’t go online every weekend, on purpose. I stop working at a certain time in the evening to take a bubble bath, on purpose. I go on hikes to the park with my kids, without a cellphone or a book, on purpose.

All these moments in time creates opportunity to meditate on the Word, think about God, figure out what is going on inside of me and hear Him speak to me in ways I could never imagine!

So where are you with all this?

Do you need to get moving, find your purpose, and live the life God planned for you?

or

Do you need to slow down, smell the roses, experience the people around you and feel the gentle touch of God restoring your soul?

If you need help in finding your purpose and dreams please read this post where I’ve provided some tips and resources:
Stop the nonsense, chase your dream!

If you are in need of some rest, do it now, don’t wait for a vacation!
Get out in the sun or the rain, talk to God. Or just sit in your favorite chair and do nothing. Just wait and listen…
You will unfortunately never grow an intimate relationship with God while running a thousand miles per hour. The Holy Spirit will keep calling and drawing you to that quiet, secret place where you can hear the voice of God. He’s been waiting for you, all you have to do is STOP and LISTEN.

Come on, I challenge you today: Do what you have to do.
Life is too short to waste it on an eating disorder or any other addiction. One of the major steps you can take toward healing is to find out if you need to MOVE or STOP. I’m not going to lie to you, IT’S VERY SCARY either way. However, it could be the thing that turns your life around…you can do it girl!

In His Love
Heleen

 

If you are looking for Christian based eating disorder treatment, you will find a bunch of free material and a very affordable 12 Week Program on my website. Here are some resources for you:

 

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Need more Self-Control?

This past weekend I was reminded that self-control and controlling other people can not co-exist in my life. I was getting anxious about situations in our family and fell back into my old pattern of controlling people and circumstances.

Of course I’m pretty good at “whipping” everything and everybody into shape, but things started unraveling fast inside of me. I was restless. I wanted to eat all sorts of things and I was avoiding God.

Fortunately I’ve learned, through much tears and many heartaches, to recognize these patterns in myself.

So I was back at the drawing board with God:

The Bible clearly says that self-control is part of the Fruit of the Spirit and “should” thus be part of every spirit filled Christian’s life. According to John 15 we will bear much fruit (including self-control) if we are plugged into the vine (Jesus). So having self-control means staying close to God, OBEYING GOD, and daily asking the Holy Spirit to fill us and give us control of ourselves.

However, no where in the Bible will you find any kind of command or even an indication that we are suppose to control other people and circumstances.

Now if you are immediately thinking  “I’m not a control-freak” you might want to first read the following to make sure:

Controlling can be blatant or subtle. Trying to please people and keep everybody happy doesn’t seem like control, but by always pleasing others we actually try to control the way they see us, or even what they think of us.

Controlling others has a nasty side affect: It robs us of our self-control. If we learn to give the people and things that we can not really control over to God, we have enough peace to build and work on our relationship with God and as a result we see the fruit of the Spirit show up in our lives..

You girls know me by now: I want to know how it works in real life!
I’m seeing how every time I choose to give control over to God, I have more peace, more time (by not obsessing about others) and more self control.

Try it…next time you feel like controlling or pleasing someone else, ask God what you’re suppose to do. Something like this “Am I suppose to control/please this person Lord? Which part of this is my job and which is Your job?”

Okay, so I know it’s not that easy: What do you do with the anxiety, the pain and the stress surrounding the relationships you are currently trying to control?
Women have so much more stress that’s related to relationships than men. We want to fix everyone’s problems and keep everybody happy. But at what price? We loose control of our own lives!

capture16One of the things I found that works wonders for this kind of stress: Girl friend time!
Get into a group or ask God to help you find friends with whom you can be real. I found that it’s easier to join a woman’s Bible study or a support group. The kind of”realness” that we all desperately need usually starts in these kind of groups, and lots of times it flows over into lifetime friendships.

God gave us each other, and nobody understands the needs, stress and worries of a woman like another woman. Please find a place where you can talk about the stress in your relationships.

Most women I know constantly put their own needs and wants on the back burner. So I guess it’s almost “normal”, but it doesn’t mean that we can keep doing it without damage to our lives. Our anxiety sometimes reach such high levels that we start looking around for a crutch such as food, alcohol, pornography or drugs.

Do you feel that you have little or no self-control left?
Please have a look at your relationships and circumstances. You might have the best of intentions in controlling people and circumstances, but it still robs you from the ability to control your own self.

Find a quiet place today where you can think and talk to God about control. If you give the control back to God you will feel peace come back to your life. In the light of that peace, you will be able to talk to Him more openly, and He will tell you why He created you in the first place

Don’t think for one minute that this is selfish. The most wonderful gift you can give your family and friends is to start taking care of your own wants and needs (spiritual, emotional and physical). If you do that, you will regain your self-control and will be able to sow love into their lives without controlling them.

I don’t say this lightly. I have to remind myself daily that by controlling others I am robbing myself of self-control. I need all nine parts of the fruit of the Spirit desperately in my life, so I keep giving the control that belongs to God back to Him…

From a ex control-freak

Heleen

Your words can change a Life!

IMGP0766_250x188I can not my believe my little girl turned 3 last week! Her brother will be 10 this week, and I can still clearly remember when he was only 3 with the little chubby arms and legs! I attached a picture of the two little rascals:)

While icing some pink cupcakes on Christie’s birthday, I was again reminded of how far God has brought me. Here I was planning her party with, yes cake, but also hummus, wheat thins, carrots, celery and home made pizza (with healthy toppings)

Don’t think for one minute that I’m priding myself in all of this! I still have too many parties from my past that haunts me. I am seriously trying to do a better job with my two younger children, but I’m afraid their brothers have had a total different life. They observed the roller coaster ride of my eating disorder for a big part of their lives. Fortunately they don’t have any visible signs of food issues, but I’m always praying and talking to them about it.

I still have to stand against the enemy’s voice of accusation some days . He likes to tell me that I have failed when it comes to my older children, and that never mind how I’ve changed I will never make up for the past. The truth: There is no more condemnation for me (or you)! God loves my kids and He will use even my brokenness and the scars it might have left in their lives for His glory. I will keep praying and believing for that…

Now, I totally got off track here, but maybe some of you amazing mothers out there needed to be reminded of this. What I really wanted to get to was and incident that happened a few weeks back in the nursery, and that I thought of today while battling with some “after-birthday-tantrums”…

A few weeks back I was working in the nursery with a very adequate young mother. She has an amazing ability to just quiet the little 2 year olds down. They actually come and sit all around her and listen to her in amazement. I was amazed too. I also teach in that class once a month, and I’m telling you, I come away every time sweating and utterly exhausted.

Somehow I just can’t get them to calm down, at least not for more than two minutes. I bring in puppet shows and all kinds of gimmicks, but they stay restless and keep running around. When I finally round-up the little cuties, they don’t look interested in what I have to say at all, and sure enough minutes later they are running off to bigger and better things.

I was staring at this young mother in astonishment. She has only one child! I am supposed to be the expert after raising 4 munchkins. She was just sitting down with a Bible story book and all thirteen two-year-olds were hanging on her every word! I felt, to say the least, inadequate and inferior.

I caught myself glaring at the poor young mother, not on purpose, but due to all the puzzling thoughts in my mind. At this point the Holy Spirit was kind enough to shake me out of my pity-party, and I just blurted it out “You are simply wonderful with these kids. I can not believe how you do it. They are NEVER this good for me. Seriously, I can learn so much from you!”

I totally meant it, and she was so truly grateful for my words of encouragement that I could not believe that I didn’t tell her before. Now, I am in no way indicating that my words changed her life, but I know I made her smile!

Do you need some words of encouragement in your life today? Actually we all need it desperately. Life is hard and sometimes our gifts and hard work go unnoticed by others. Sometimes it’s due to the fact that they are so occupied with their own lives, and other times they might feel inferior or even envious (as I did for a few minutes)

Whatever you’re feeling next time you see somebody do something amazing, especially if it’s for the glory of God, tell them! Keep telling as many people as you can and sow some of the love and light of God in other peoples lives.

Yes, negative words can cut deep and hurt for a long time, but encouraging words are like balm on our broken hearts, guarding us from the harsh winters of life. Go ahead, give someone a compliment, and put a smile on their face. The best part, it will bless you too, and I can bet you that your heavenly Father will be smiling as well.

And then maybe, one day, when you least expect it… at sweet word of encouragement will come your way…

Actually you’re already doing it. By reading this post you are blessing and honoring me and bringing joy to my heart:) Thanks for tuning in to my blog, I am so blessed…

Love, Heleen

Who said Exercise would be Easy?

couple joggingNowhere else do I get so much resistance! I’m serious! When it comes to exercise, I have to fight the enemy off with a stick. Of course it confirms that it’s REALLY IMPORTANT, but knowing this doesn’t exactly help with the fact that it’s really difficult !

Yesterday, on labor day, I had one of those famous fights with my own flesh, my family, the enemy, and of course; negative thoughts.

I slept in a little because it was a holiday, I wanted to eat pancakes, because it was a holiday and I didn’t want to exercise, you know it…because it was a holiday.

On top of that, my husband didn’t want to watch the little kids so I could go to the gym, because it was a holiday, and nobody wanted to give me a hand with the laundry, because it was a holiday… GOOD TIMES!

Now on holidays or special occasions these things merely come under the spotlight, but truth be told; it’s a daily battle. Every morning, from the moment I commit to exercise, the enemy will try every trick in the book, and use all the people I know to block me. Seriously; my family, my friends, and even acquaintances! If this doesn’t work he will throw in finances, crisis, sickness, weather, celebrations, discouragement, the list goes on…

The worst part: I don’t even need all of the above excuses to take off my sneakers and quit. No, most mornings I already have a fight going on in my head, and just a little push can make me quit on the spot.

Maybe you don’t have such a big battle when it comes to exercise, but I tell you, as soon as I open my eyes in the morning, I know that I DO NOT WANT TO EXERCISE! Even in my car on the way to the gym I have to grip the steering wheel very tightly, and focus on not turning left to Safeway instead. Even once I’m on that treadmill or bicycle I’m still telling myself that I don’t need to do more than 10 minutes today because I can go for a walk with the kids later (knowing very well that it’s going to rain). I’m not kidding, even after 35 minutes of sweating on the elliptic machine, I will still try and talk myself out of the last five minutes!

Now don’t give up on me just yet:  I know that it’s a mind thing, because I NEVER regret the exercise afterward, but I ALWAYS regret it if I don’t go!!

Also, even though I have gone through the whole spectrum of figuring out which exercise I enjoy the most, what time of day is the best for me, and how I can work my exercise time around most of my family’s emergencies and needs, I still have the negative thoughts.

This is proof to me that there’s a very real battle going on every time I try to be consistent in this area. The reason: Consistent exercise and time with God  plays a HUGE ROLE in overcoming food struggles and staying free!

So PLEASE don’t give up when spending time with God becomes challenging or exercise seems excruciating. It’s only so very difficult, because it’s so very important. The good news: In James 4:7 the Bible says that if we surrender to God and resist the enemy He WILL FLEE FROM US. He will of course not give up the first time you surrender, but if you keep surrendering and keep resisting, I will promise you that he will back off. It will get easier to just sit down with your Bible, or lace up those running shoes.

Of course there will be other temptations and attacks on your freedom, but every time you flex that “resistance-muscle” you will grow stronger and it will grow easier (both physical and spiritual actually:)

Come on girl, fight the battle with me, it is so worth it. Next time you don’t feel like getting up to go to the gym, or resist getting on that treadmill in the basement, or want to give up when the kids interrupt your exercise video, or think it’s too cold to go for a run, or want to call your friend to cancel your afternoon game of tennis, remember that you are most definitely NOT ALONE. In that very moment when you are having that fight with your flesh, the enemy, and people, know for sure that other ladies are fighting off the same stuff, and you too CAN BE VICTORIOUS.

I will be thinking of you next time I fight for my freedom. Please remember to shoot up a little prayer for me as well:)

Love you ladies!
Heleen