Sick, injured and discouraged. How to tune it into positivity

Are you facing sickness or injury? Whether it may be short or long-term, you may be overwhelmed by frustration being out of routine, feeling your body change and not being able to control it. Feeling a sense of loss of what ‘used to be’ and your reality not lining up.

We know that feeling sorry for ourselves and eating for comfort, doing less of what we can to help our situation, can often be the easy option. But don’t let those feelings be the decider of your response.

Despite sickness and injury, you can still help yourself to be healthy. Eat good food: nourish yourself with nutrient rich foods that will give you energy and make you feel alive despite your lack of physical Activity. Eating more comfort foods, less fresh food and more processed junk will only make you feel heavier, more tired and most of all, send you spiralling on the downward with negative thoughts about yourself.

Choosing to take care of yourself when your body is not in it’s best state of health not only means eating well but filling your mind with positivity. If you often look at images of celebrities and fit people wishing you were them, this is not going to help your situation! Building yourself up and creating a positive state of mind will!!! Find things about yourself to celebrate.

Sometimes it takes removing things from our life in order to force us to search for other things we value. Had I not slowed down (due to injury), I would not have taken the time to seek inspiration for this blog- which I hope encourages you and your friends. Does my life look different now than before I was injured? YES! Does if change who I am? No. It just looks different and takes a little more work to pull out the value and worth that has always been there.

At the end of the day, we are not identified by how we look, how much we exercise or don’t, how fit or unfit we are. But how we carry ourselves through our circumstances determines our identity. What will you choose to place your value in through hardship? Lies or truth? False reality, or your reality?

Which response will you choose?

I hope this challenges and encourages you. For more advice or insight, visit my Facebook page, or email me at anna.megan@yahoo.co.nz

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Three Authentic Reasons to Pray

I want to talk about prayer, something that may be seen as a ‘chore’ or some kind of religious act that we do from time to time to tick the box, or so we can say we pray.  I would like to shed some light on this, and would like to keep it simple. Which is why I will outline, 3 reasons to pray… and believe me, I am quickly learning that doing things because we feel we should will only drag us down and suck the life from us.

1. Prayer fuels our inner passions

We all have that something that makes us light up, makes us want to act. It’s the reason we reach out when we see someone in pain, or want to defend the ones we love. We all have gifts that have been given freely, things that make up who we are. But sometimes it isn’t always easy to identify exactly what they are, let alone understand how to use them.

Opening our hearts to pray means to ask the one who put the passions inside of you in the first place, what to pray about. Sometimes just sitting with an open heart and asking what to pray will begin something that ignites something deep within us. Being aware of what makes you who you are is an incredibly powerful tool for living life. Start seeking to understand it through prayer.

2. Prayer reveals God’s plan and our purpose

Whether we realise it or not, we are all seeking purpose for our lives in one way or another. Whether it is through joining a club or team to represent something, or volunteering for a local service, or maybe just looking for something that you can take hold of as a responsibility, something to call your own role. We’re all searching. Once we begin to understand the things that excite us, or make us passionate, we need to understand how we might use these. Again, this is not going by any set of rules or telling you that this is how you ‘should’ live life. It is coming from a place of understanding that when you are seeking to fulfil God’s purpose for your life and operating in the gifts he has given you, you experience a sense of wholeness. Why? Because you are operating in the way you were designed to be. When technology companies sell products, they don’t send customers to naturists to teach them how to use them. That would make no sense at all! The people who know and understand the products teach the customers how to use them. Because they created them and know how they are intended to work. It is the same with humans. When we want to know how we work, or what direction we should go, we ask the one who made us. He knows us best!

3. Prayer releases a love for God that is all-consuming

Like I previously mentioned, if prayer is something that we do just to tick the box- what’s the point? If the only outcome is building a good conscience, I can assure you, this will not bring any long-term comfort. It will only make you grow weary and soon enough you will be searching for another way to fulfil that need. If there is one thing I know about God, it is that he is a living God who desires to have relationship with us. When we reach out to him in prayer, it is an invitation for him to pour out his love on us, which he so longs to do for his children. The amazing thing about God, is that he will never force himself into our lives, he only answers when we invite him. Even if you do not know God, but this sparks a desire to pray. I encourage you to reach out in prayer and ask him to reveal himself as a gentleman to you. Many would be surprised at the response they get, thinking that God would never answer them because they are inadequate. When in fact, his response to us is with open arms, graceful and loving, if only we would offer him the invitation to speak to us.

 

What is your response to prayer? I would love to hear what God has fuelled in your heart as a result to beginning a conversation of prayer with him.

Learning to Love Yourself: Every Young Woman’s Journey

I encounter girls on a daily basis who struggle with self-image. in New Zealand especially, we are silently told through the media and our social environments, that loving yourself is NOT OK. The “tall poppy syndrome” as we call it, is damaging the mindsets of young females in our generation, who are already struggling to see the good in themselves. As if puberty and womanhood didn’t make it hard enough already!

There is so much that could be spoken to with this topic. I don’t by any stretch have an answer to all of the issues we encounter as young women. But I can share what I have been learning, in the hope it will encourage you in your personal pursuit of identity and acceptance.

I wrestled for many years with a negative mindset; one consumed by thoughts that punishment was the only way to achieve a body I would like or love. Thinking that pushing myself to extremes and eating less than adequate portions of foods was the only way to possibly feel “good” about myself. I do not despise these times in my life for a moment, as they have taught me a lot. Unfortunately, learning what NOT to do can be much easier than learning what TO do!

More recently, I have taken an interest in looking at what my body needs to be healthy. Books like “Beauty from the Inside Out” by DR Libby Williams have been crucial in my latest revelations about Learning to Love Yourself. What I’ve discovered, is that shifting my mindset from what I “shouldn’t” eat, to what I “should” eat, has completely changed my battle from one to punishment and deprivation, to one of enjoyment and satisfaction. You see, there are certain things that your body absolutely needs. And when you give your body these vital nutrients, it begins to love you back. The good foods that your body craves will start to show on the outside. “Love your body and it will love you back” comes to mind, and certainly holds truth here…

Ladies, as much as it is tempting to stop yourself from eating certain foods, skipping meals, binge eating or engaging in harmful behaviours to counteract what you’ve eaten (we all respond to our struggles in different ways- no which way is worse than another); none of these choices lead to having a body that will LOVE you, or a body that YOU WILL LOVE.

Of course, eating is not the only way in which we help our bodies. Regular exercise is also so important for our health and well being. Recently, I have been carrying an injury which has really affected my ability to be physically active- I’m sure many of you can relate. I have learnt that doing what I CAN has still helped me on my journey of Learning to Love Yourself. Even if you can’t attend hard-core gym classes, run, or play sport, there are other ways to be active. It is just about accepting that you may not be able to do as much as you would like to. But the same rule applies; love your body, by respecting your current restraints, and watch your body love you back. For me, walks on the beach and swimming have been extremely therapeutic in throughout my injury-period. Six months after my initial injury occurred, I still can’t work out as intensely as I would like, but I know that when I take time out to walk (and I am feeding myself the good foods my body needs), I feel energetic, more positive and more enthusiastic about continuing my pursuit.

Girls, it’s not easy. I know what you’re thinking. We all have a journey we are walking. Embrace that, knowing that it doesn’t all get better in an instant, but we can commit to a journey together that makes it worth while!

For those of you who this post has spoken to, keep an eye out for my upcoming post- Five steps to Loving yourself: The Practical Guide for Young Women, for some specific tips on how to make this happen. Remember that this is a journey, but we’re all on it too!

Ask yourself, what is stopping you from pursuing what is BEST for you and your body?

Three Questions to ask yourself BEFORE you get Engaged

As an engaged woman, marriage excites me. I look forward to the many incredible years of journeying with my future husband. But the idea of getting married has sparked many thoughts and brought consequent challenges. Some might question one’s readiness to marry being as young as 21 (more discussion on that later). My response to such a challenge has been to look inside and seek for myself the areas that may need ‘preparation’ before I am to commit my heart to someone forever- yes, the commitment is forever!

One thing I certainly have learnt is that there is no such thing as being completely “ready” for marriage. Marriage will throw a whole lot of things at you that you couldn’t possibly prepare yourself for. But what you CAN prepare is your heart and mind to be the best possible you in your season of singleness. After all, what you are bringing to the marriage is YOU– All of you.

Here are some questions that have been extremely helpful on my journey as a woman, and leading up to marriage…

 

1. Do you Love yourself?

I am not talking about an obnoxious or boastful love of self. I am talking about what you see when you look at yourself. How you describe yourself to others. When you look inside, do you see a beautiful being created in the image of God? Yes, we all have our flaws- none of us are perfect! But, we must learn to love ourselves before we are able to love our spouse.

The standard with which you love yourself will become the measure with which you love your husband or wife.

 

2. How do you respond to situations of stress or hurt?

Have you ever known someone who you thought was absolutely wonderful, and then been shocked when they responded completely out of character when something in their life went wrong?

The good things we see in others lure us. But it also so significant to assess the downfalls we may have. These make up our character too. Some ways of truthfully discovering where some of these weaknesses are is by stopping to observe our behaviour when we have a season of stress or hardship. Sometimes asking someone we trust to tell us when we act in ways that are not respectful towards others, and ourselves is really important. I have given certain people in my life permission to challenge me on my behaviour and attitudes throughout my life. While it may have been hard to hear at the time, I am so thankful today for the people who have challenged my ‘warts’ because it has enabled me to grow in positive ways and let go of the harmful attitudes that could have been damaging to my future marriage.

As long as this criticism is done out of love, and the person on the receiving end has given that person permission to speak criticism into their lives, this is completely HEALTHY and I believe will absolutely encourage positive growth!

When the honeymoon phase of your relationship is over, your filters for unhelpful attitudes and behaviours are lessened and we begin to unleash the reactions we may have been holding back. It is so important to challenge our response to stress and hurt, so that our future spouse does not become the target of our hurtful reactions.

 

3. Who are you when nobody is watching?

Going into marriage, your partner needs to be affirmed that they are marrying someone with INTEGRITY. In the same way, you would hope that the person you are marrying is who you think they are!

How do we know if we have integrity? A key question I have asked myself, (in my head of course) is, “would I speak in this way if my partner was present?” or, “would I be behaving this way if my partner was a fly on the wall?” Now, I know we all have our little inside jokes and outrageous craziness when we are surrounded by close friends in safe environments. This is not what I am referring to here. What I mean is that we need to be sure that we are not acting in ways that we would want to HIDE from our significant other. We do not want to depict a certain character, but then be something else when they are not around. Once we enter marriage, we are bound to one another. This covenant means bringing all of ourselves- that means the warts too!

For a woman, knowing the man you are with is truthful and integral in all things brings a deep sense of security. However, in order to enable ourselves to have this trust, we must first ensure that our own characters display integrity.

When a woman knows who she is, she gives her husband permission to be himself in his fullness too. When both a husband and wife are sure of each other’s integrity, the foundation is built on trust and will grow in strength without battling through the unnecessary doubts about the other.

If we want this for our marriages, we must begin pursuing characters of integrity in our own lives, before we make the commitment to get married.

 

Granted, growing our characters is a journey that does not end when we get married. In fact, it is accelerated because we are hopefully marrying someone who will continue to challenge us to grow and flourish. Asking these questions before we get there (and addressing the things we find out about ourselves) will only make for MORE growth when we reach marriage.

 

I Am “That Sinner”

Openness, vulnerability and experiencing God’s grace.

Forte E Bello

That moment… when after 29 years of living you realize the absolute miracle of grace… That moment when you truly understand for the first time what God meant when He said, “I make everything new.” That moment… when you look at yourself in the mirror and see a sinner, simultaneously forgiven, freed and loved. ….When you realize that before this day you never fully understood grace the way God intended. And you feel like you’ve just discovered the world’s best kept secret.

All I know to do is ask, “Do you know what you have when you have grace?” I ask because for 29 years I didn’t. I knew in theory. I knew the christianize and I knew all the words and scriptures repeated over. and over. But I never REALLY knew. I grew up the model child. Missionary kid. Straight A student. Volunteer in every organization and extra curricular activity I could…

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Lets Talk about Love Languages

Recently I have been learning about Love Languages.

Have you ever wondered why the things you do for your partner are not always received with as much excitement as you might anticipate? Or why your partner doesn’t show love to you in the same way that you may show it to them?

Each of us have our own preferred way of giving and receiving Love. And not surprisingly, we do not often share the same preferred Love Language as our partner!

The book, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman gives great insight into this topic. It certainly gave me some great understanding as to how to Love my fiance in the way he will feel most loved. And how to communicate to him, how he might do the same for me!

Check out this resource here

If you want to look a little further, this is a great tool for you to do that too…

The Five Love Languages Book Study {Link-up}

via Life With Amberly & Joe: Your Love Languages Can Shift.

I am very interested to know how many of you are aware of this topic and how important it is to you. I would love to share more insights into this area as I believe that having an awareness of Love Languages in your relationships will dramatically change the way you interact, communicate and LOVE! Who doesn’t want to know how to give and receive love in the best way possible?!

A Smooth Sea Never Made a Skilled Sailor. 3 Truths to remember in our relationships

When we think about being in a relationship, many wonderful things come to mind… How special that person will make us feel, how happy we will be, how we will always be smiling because what’s not to smile about when you have found someone so amazing?

I know I thought that way…

Unfortunately, the reality of being in a relationship is that it takes work. What? Yes, that’s right! It is not all smooth sailing, but that is the beauty of it.

Here are some truths to remember about being in a relationship…

1. A Relationship is a Commitment

Changing your relationship status from ‘single’ to ‘dating’ or ‘in a relationship’, is not just a label you adopt. Stepping into a relationship is a commitment made to another. A commitment to no longer walk as an individual but to journey with another. No matter how casual or easy-going you feel your relationship might be, it is inevitable that you will hit snags that cause you to choose whether you ‘walk’ or whether you ‘work’.

A relationship that is committed will choose to work through the obstacles in order to grow as a couple. Please note that this advice is not applicable to those in abusive relationships, or those of the likes.

2. Love is not a Feeling

We see it every day in movies, on television and in the media. The “in love” buzz is something that seems so real and something we can all have just the way they have it. I am absolutely not suggesting that being “in love” is a bad thing, what I am saying is that the messages we receive in the media are not often realistic or applicable to our own lives.

The feelings that come with being in a relationship can influence our perception on everything around us. And we often jump into things based on this. We give of our trust, we give our money and our time, and often too, we give of our bodies (more on this in an upcoming post). What it is important to note though, is that these feelings are not what will sustain us through the tests and trials of our relationships. When your significant other is in the worst mood and seems completely unlovable, it is then you must CHOOSE to love them, despite the way they just spoke to you.

Being in a relationship, especially a marriage, means making a daily choice to love, despite how you may feel

3. Turning a Blind Eye Does not Make your Problems Disappear

When little things happen that upset us, it can be so easy to just brush them under the mat and not deal with them. Maybe we are too busy, maybe too afraid or maybe vulnerable discussions are an event of the past in your relationship. What ever the reason, I would like to challenge you to find out.

WHY? When talking about how things make us feel in our relationships becomes a normality, you are committing to grow together (guys, this is for you too!). Ignoring discussions about feelings only allows space for unnecessary hurt and resentment to have a place in your relationship, leading down a path of harmful (or complete lack of) communication.

Open those channels with your partner today and create a safe environment to have calm discussions about how certain actions or words make you feel. Making sure you stay away from ways of talking that “shame” and “blame” will make this communication all the more effective!

Well, if you are reading this and haven’t yet committed to a relationship- this was not meant to scare you! This is only to encourage you that going into a relationship with the knowledge AND the willingness to work at it, will only prepare you well for the journey ahead!

For those of you in relationships, like myself, I’m sure you will agree that working through things together (if done so in the right way) brings you out stronger and more effective as a “team”.

Can you relate? Let us know your thoughts on the journey of becoming a “skilled sailor” in your relationships!

For more tips and ideas on dating, please click here!

Anna Megan
Follow me on Blog Lovin!

The team at www.in-arelationship.com