"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV, emphasis added).
These verse from the book of Lamentations are some of my favorites to dwell on for several reasons, but one reason I'll share with you now is that God's mercies are new every morning. Let's break that down a little bit.
First, God gives us new mercies--not day old, not half spent ones (I admit this is how I often feel)--new mercies. Second, these new mercies are not new when I'm faithfully praying, when I'm at church each week, when I've met my nutrition and exercise goals for the day. No, these mercies are new EVERY morning regardless of what I've done. What a relief! No matter how badly yesterday went or how much you have to tackle today, our Lord blesses us with mercy every morning.
I need that mercy every day.
I need God's mercy every day so that I can start over, start fresh.
For those of you that don't know me personally, I've had to make drastic changes to my nutrition over the past 5 years. As a result of different health issues that have come up during the past 5 years, I've had to remove all corn, gluten, and soy from my diet and minimize the amount of all others grains I consume. Those changes now feel so normal because I live them everyday, but with each new food removed, it felt like a whirlwind of chaos. I often think how the mother of my childhood best friend might barely recognize me if she just looked at what I'm eating now compared to what I ate when I was younger. From Dinty Moore Stew and Campbell's Chunky Soup (Sirloin Burger flavor only, remove the peas please) to enchilada stuffed sweet potatoes or homemade lentil pasta mac and "cheese" (recipe available here!). My diet has had lots of new beginnings.
When Ashley's new book Living Wellness for Growth Groups came out in February, I felt convicted that though I've done a really good job working on my nutrition regime over the past several years, my physical exercise regime, or as Ashley calls them "happy movements," has been significantly lacking.
As some of you know Ashley is my older sister. For as long as I really can remember Ashley has been passionate about being active. I was content watching her be active...from the sidelines or more often from the couch. My dear sister though wanted to get everyone jazzed up about exercise, and she needed someone else to practice her latest cardio kickboxing routine with her. She would gently (or not so gently at times ) get me off the couch to exercise with her. I begrudgingly followed her through the motions.
As this patterned continued, I began shaping my perception of exercise as one not of enjoyment or a desire to nourish my body, but one of expectation and just forcing myself do it. Now this was not Ashley's fault; instead, this was how I was allowing myself to think and approach physical activity.
How about you? Are you bringing some baggage into your fitness routine? Dread? Discomfort? Shame?
It's time to throw off that baggage. Analyze our mindset toward exercise. And find something that we enjoy doing that allows us to nourish our bodies with physical activity.
As we age, the types of exercise we do changes based on our fitness level, what we find enjoyable, our health needs, etc. In high school and early college, I enjoyed kickboxing and water aerobics, but now, being a working mom with limited time to exercise, limited space for equipment, and a physical need for lower impact, I find myself often looking for something I can complete while caring for my son and in the comfort of my home.
Another reason our exercise habits might change is our internal motivation for doing it. I'm slowly learning that I want to exercise to nourish my body, strengthen to keep up with my busy toddler, and lose the last of the baby weight. For me it's not about being a certain number, I just want to feel comfortable in my own skin (and comfortable in my clothing too!).
Remember how I said I need God's mercy every day so that I can start over and start fresh?
I'm excited to announce something new! The Living Wellness Journal is now available here!! After looking through the journal, I know this will help me to jumpstart my fitness routine. This journal is what I need to move from contemplation to preparation to action in the Stages of Change listed on p. 18 of Living Wellness for Growth Groups. The journal coupled with the new Living Wellness for Growth Groups book will keep me accountable to my goals and provide me with fun, new ideas I can do by myself or with others. I've already started doing some of the strength exercises, sometimes while folding laundry!
The new beginnings aren't over yet!
One more new thing that I'm going to clue you in on: the Living Wellness team has been working hard on something special. Coming soon to a computer, tablet, or smart phone near you will be a redesigned Living Wellness website!! Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell the mail carrier! You'll get to see our hard work soon.
Blessings on your health journey. You are worth more than mediocre. You are worth exceptional health!
Caitlyn J. Hanson
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