Finding Joy at Christmas

By Julie Morris –

Philippians 4:4 tells us to rejoice always. Ironically, that’s sometimes hardest to do at Christmas.

God understands this, so in Philippians 4:5-6 (NIV) He gives us steps to take that help us find joy when we’re feeling stressed out, experiencing pain, or grieving a loss during the holidays: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

#1 Step to Joy “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”

Gentleness doesn’t imply weakness. It means to show kindness and consideration for everyone–even in the midst of frantic Christmas shoppers in the mall or the chaos of holiday traffic.

#2 Step to Joy Remember that “the Lord is near.”

He will help us to find joy if we focus on Him and rely on Him to help us.

#3 Step to Joy “Do not be anxious about anything.”

This doesn’t mean that if we are worried, we need to deny it or be ashamed of it. It means that worry is not in God’s plan for us—and He will help us to let go of our anxious thoughts if we bring our fears to Him.

#4 Step to Joy “In everything, by prayer and petition….”

Petition is a more formal way of communicating. When a petition is presented, it’s always done in writing. This verse encourages us to write down everything that causes us stress and pray about each one.

#5 Step to Joy “Present your requests to God…”

We do this by pouring out our hearts to God—giving Him our requests (not demands).

#6 Step to Joy Present our requests to God… “with thanksgiving.”

We take this step by writing a list of things we have to be thankful for and spending time thanking God for each one.

When we work through the steps to joy in Philippians 4:5-6, we find that we not only begin to experience His joy, but His peace as well.

Every day between now and Christmas—starting today—take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to follow these steps and rejoice in the Lord. If it helps you as much as it has helped me, continue to do this daily in 2012. If you do, I’ll bet that you will find joy during the holidays and throughout the new year, and you’ll be surprised to discover that peace will come along with it too!

Thanksgiving—the Antidote to Stress

March 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

Stress makes us sick. There’s no doubt about it. When we couple stress and negative emotions with poor nutrition and other unhealthy habits, we have a recipe for sickness and disease. Lots of us are stressed out. In the United States we consume five billion tranquilizers, five billion barbiturates, three billion amphetamines and sixteen tons of aspirin every year

Are you suffering from stress? Want to learn the antidote that I discovered years ago?

It’s thanksgiving! Let me tell you how to give thanks even when you’re all stressed out.

In Isaiah 40, God gives us 6 reasons to thank Him. Go through the 6 P’s, thanking God for each one. By the time you get to the last P, you will feel better. This really works so give it a try!

1. Thank God for His PRESENCE.

God the Father is over us–Isaiah 40:22 NIV “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.”

God the Son is next to us–Isaiah 40:11 NIV “He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

God the Holy Spirit is inside of us–Isaiah 40:29 NIV “He gives strength to the weary.”

Thank God that He is with you as you face your stressful circumstances.

2. Thank God for His POWER.

Isaiah 40:10 NIV “See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him.”

“Sovereign” means that God is King of kings and Lord of lords. Everything that happens to us passes through His fingers first. He has all power so thank Him that He has the power to help you.

3. Thank God for His PLAN.

Isaiah 40:13 NIV “Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor.”

God knows what He is doing even if we don’t understand His plan. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV tells us what His plant is: ‘“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

God has good plans for you so thank Him!

4. Thank God for His PURPOSE.

Isaiah 40:5 NIV “And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.”

No pain is wasted in God’s economy. When we endure trials by relying on the Lord, His glory is revealed in us. That means that our trials can work out to be a good thing. There are advantages of adversity, for example, adversity helps us to…

  • Seek God.
  • Help others.
  • Experience God’s power.
  • Mature in our faith.
  • Be disciplined (not spoiled children).
  • Bring glory to God (when we tell others how He is helping us).

5. Thank God for His PRIZE.

Isaiah 40:10 NIV “See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.”

God will reward us! Sometimes we have to wait until heaven for our reward, but we can be certain that we will receive it!

6. Thank God for His PROMISES.

Isaiah 40:8 NIV “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”

God’s Word is true. Memorize the promises that encourage you most. Put them on your mirror, refrigerator and the dashboard of your car. Thank God for His promises to you, but be sure not to ignore the commands that come with them! 

I would love to help you to give thanks this Thanksgiving. Comment below if you want personal help.

Is Overeating Harming You Emotionally?

March 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris – 

Everybody knows that overeating harms us physically, but it harms us emotionally as well. Look at this list to see emotional harm that overeating often does. Check any items that pertain to you.

  1. Overeating encourages procrastination. We turn to food instead of facing unwanted tasks.
  2. We eat to numb our stress. This keeps our problems from getting solved and adds additional ones.
  3. Being overweight makes us feel self-conscious and insecure. Often we overeat in order to feel better and vicious cycles take over.
  4. We often have unrealistic, happily-ever-after thoughts about dieting. This type of magical thinking will keep us on the diet merry-go-round permanently.
  5. Overeating causes irritability. Some of us get irritable when we eat a lot of sugar while others find that they are more irritable when dieting because they miss their “best friend,” food.
  6. Many of us are jealous of those who don’t have a problem with their weight. Jealousy leads to harmed relationships, self-pity and a lifetime of misery.
  7. When we fall off our diet, we fall into shame. Shame causes us to feel worthless. It encourages us to treat ourselves badly and do destructive things to our bodies, such as eating in an unhealthy way and not exercising.
  8. We miss out on many of the joys in life. We may be too busy focusing on eating or worrying about how much we weigh to enjoy the blessings we have.
  9. We get into the habit of making excuses. This leads to a very unproductive lifestyle because we stay stuck in the same destructive patterns.
  10. Some of us give up on ourselves. We quit trying to grow or change because we believe the lie that we are hopeless.

Don’t get depressed if you have a lot of checks! Instead look at these encouraging words from the Bible to remind yourself of the hope you have in Christ.

 “You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed” (Joel 2:26 NIV). God probably didn’t have weight-loss in mind when he wrote this, but it is very applicable. When we draw closer to God and begin to cooperate with Him in our eating and other areas, the promises in Joel 2:26 are ours. We don’t have to be at goal weight or eat perfectly to receive them; we just need to be headed in the right direction to experience these awesome promises:

  • We will have plenty to eat until we are full! (We will be satisfied when we eat the amount of food that our bodies need.)
  • We will praise the name of the Lord who has worked wonders for us! (We’ll know God has done a wonderful thing in us by helping us to lose weight and keep it off.)
  • Never again will we be shamed! (We won’t be ashamed because we will be making progress toward becoming the people we want to be.) 

Please leave a comment below and let us know about the emotional harm that overeating is causing in your life. If you can think of other things that aren’t on the list, tell us about them too!

Do You Have An Eating Disability or Eating Disorder?

January 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

Tommy’s parents were so relieved.

This sweet, red-headed fourth-grader was doing terribly in school. His teacher said he wasn’t trying. Some of the kids in his class called him “stupid.” His parents were beginning to fear he was slow. That is, until they tested him and found that he has dyslexia. Tommy has a learning disability. It’s not that he won’t ever be able to read, he just has to be taught in a different way. It’s not his fault. It’s just a fact. Tommy is different, but with extra work, he’ll be fine. What a relief!

You may have an eating disability 

Just as it was a blessing for Tommy to find out why he was having problems reading, so it is for us to find out why we’ve had problems losing weight and keeping it off. No one likes to have a problem, but when we have one, we are relieved to find out what it is and what we can do about it.

Do you think that you might have an eating disability? Here’s my definition:

Anyone who can’t lose weight and keep it off has an eating disability.

Eating disabilities get more pronounced as time goes by. If they are ignored, they may turn into eating disorders.

Here’s my definition of an eating disorder:

Anyone who experiences serious health or emotional problems as a result of eating in a harmful way, yet continues that behavior, has an eating disorder.

When I found out that I had an eating disorder, I was relieved. (Since I alternated between bingeing and starving myself, I was classified as bulimic.) Now I could quit asking myself this question: 

“Why can’t I, a well-educated, in-control sort of person, quit overeating?

No matter how hard I tried not to, I found myself eating too much. I constantly beat myself up for my lack of self-control. But when I finally began to understand the reasons for my actions, I was able to discard the “stupid” label–like Tommy did–and start doing what needed to be done to get better. 

Take this little quiz to see if you have an eating disability or disorder:

(Circle the answer that more accurately describes you.)

1. I have trouble sticking to a healthy food plan…

A. Even though I know I need to.

B. Even though my doctor or my medical symptoms say I need to.

2. Often I find myself overeating…

A. Though I feel guilty when I do.

B. Though I feel so ashamed of myself I don’t know what to do.

3. If certain foods are around, I…

A. Eat more of them than I intend to.

B. Eat them until they are gone or until I feel too uncomfortable to continue eating.

4. I overeat…

A. Two or three times a week when I’m busy or under stress.

B. Almost daily, no matter what’s going on in my life.

5. My health…

A. May someday be affected by my eating.

B. Is affected by my eating.

6. I am ashamed of the way I look…

A. But that doesn’t interfere with my activities much.

B. So I frequently don’t do things I’d do if I were thinner.

7. If I were thinner…

A. I would look more attractive.

B. I would be happier.

8.  When something is wrong…

A. I concentrate on fixing the problem, but I may be more tempted to overeat.

B. I am usually not able to face the problem without overeating. 

Count the number of “A” responses and then count “B” responses. If you had more “A” responses, you have an eating disability that has not progressed to an eating disorder yet.  If you have more “B” responses, you have an eating disorder–according to our definition–since eating has brought disorder to your life.

Don’t get upset if you recognize that you have an eating disability or disorder. It may be harder for you to lose weight, but you can do it! Reach out for help today!

Life’s Too Hard Right Now…Or Is It?

December 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

“I can’t lose weight. Life’s just too hard right now. Maybe later when things settle down,” Susanne said dejectedly.

She had come to me the week before, ready to take her first step toward healthy living, but after trying a few days to make a few simple changes, she had already given up.

She was clinging to food as if it were a life raft that was her only hope in a turbulent sea.

I encouraged Susanne not to rely on food to numb her worries, but the Lord as her only hope in these troubled times. And I told her what she already had discovered: there will always be troubles. Life is never easy, and if we put off making needed changes until that perfect time, things will just go from bad to worse.

Susanne and I had a long talk about baby steps she could take to start on her journey toward healthy living. We mapped out a simple strategy that would help her to stay on track with her eating, exercising and quiet time goals.

Here’s what Suzanne said she would do:

  1. I will have a quiet time every morning for just a few minutes to write a prayer about my eating, asking God for the willingness to make healthier choices and the ability to cast my cares on Him—not the refrigerator.
  2. I will listen to my Bible CD in the car on the way to work.
  3. I will write down on a little tablet what I eat during the day.

She was able to do these things for two weeks, so she decided to add two more goals:

  1. I will limit trigger foods that make my cravings worse. (For Suzanne these were things with sugar.)
  2. After eating a sandwich and fruit during my lunch break, I will walk up and down the stairs in my office building.

A few weeks later, after success with those goals, she added another one.

  1. Every time I eat, I will make the healthiest choice possible.

Finally a week or two later, she heard about a Christian weight-loss group and decided to join them. She made going to that group a final goal that helped her to learn how to rely on God’s power to eat right and make other healthy lifestyle changes… instead of her shaky willpower.

During our last counseling session, a thinner Suzanne told me that she felt so much better, and even though her challenges hadn’t changed, her ability to cope with them had. She said, “All of the things I’ve been able to do wouldn’t have been possible without my quiet time every morning. Those 10-15 minutes have made all the difference! And it’s also such a big help to have my Christian weight-loss group to encourage me!”

Then she added something that so many people need to understand: “I’m really glad I didn’t wait until things were easier to try to lose weight. I thought that overeating was making my life easier, but it was really making it harder. Carrying around all of those extra pounds and experiencing those sugar highs and lows made me too exhausted to deal with my problems. And thinking about food all the time distracted me from the Lord and the helping hand He was holding out to me.”

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