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Being Strong In Spirit

Sunday at church I joined the congregation in high praise singing:

 

Be glorified in the Heavens

Be glorified in the earth

Be glorified in this temple

 

Jesus, Jesus, be thou glorified

Jesus, Jesus, be thou glorified

 

Worship the Lord in the earth

Worship the Lord in this temple

 

Jesus, Jesus, be thou glorified

Jesus, Jesus, be thou glorified

 

And as I sung, “Be glorified in this temple”, I knew the Lord was talking about my physical temple, my body as opposed to the physical church building.

 

My temple, this body of mine…presented as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable unto God.

 

The spirit of the living God takes up residence in this temple and whatsoever I do to my physical body, because my spirit, body and soul are one, impacts another part. To neglect my body, is to neglect my spirit, is to neglect my mind because after all they are one…three yet one.

 

The veil was torn. Jesus gave himself up. He was faithful to send the Advocate who now resides in you. You are the sanctuary that houses the spirit of God living in you.

 

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

 

After service, as I looked out at the sea of the congregants, I thought to myself “Are we as a body glorifying Him in our temples?”

 

And my answer to myself was no. It was and is so grievous to me that the body of Christ isn’t radiating as the salt and light of the earth when it comes to our health. I am nearly in tears as I type this. God has given me a tremendous burden to encourage his people to OBEY Him. I was speaking with Dr. Celeste Owens, Author, Certified Natural Health Professional and friend about the mandate God has given me to call his people to obey. I want to shout from the rooftop “OBEY YE THE WORD OF THE LORD!” And my friend, the good Dr. Celeste said to me, “Tyra in what area are we (the body of Christ) most disobedient? In our health and no one is really confronting it head on.”

 

Oh saints, we’ve got to do better. Oh how I weep for the body of Christ right now. I trust that the Lord has been whispering, nudging, prodding you to honor your temple. I implore you to harden not your heart and obey his voice.

 

Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. Deuteronomy 6:3

 

Those who love him, obey him. For those who have begun making incremental changes, I rejoice with you for each victory and I cheer you on as making the decision to choose well when it comes to consuming whole, nourishing foods is not easy. But by the power of the spirit that resides and works in you, you are more than a conqueror so stay the course.

 

So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.  But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

 

We will purpose to eat well. We will eat in moderation. We will enjoy tasty, nourishing foods yet we will be mindful that the Bread of Life is our unfailing source of nourishment.

 

Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. Proverbs 23:20-21

 

Even if you feel like you “eat right” the mental hold that food has over us can be great. Our fixation to have certain foods at certain times can also be a stronghold. I love, love, love Lindt’s Lindor Truffles, small round decadent individually wrapped balls of chocolate. I’d only eat one a night. Because I exercised moderation in eating just one I thought I was doing good until this one night. I was preparing to go to bed and I needed, just had to have that one Lindor ball. So as I proceeded to make that long walk downstairs to my kitchen, the Lord whispered, “You don’t need that.” To which I replied, ”Um, but I really want it.” He whispered, “Not tonight.” To which I replied, “It’s just one.” To which he responded, “Do you want the candy more than you want me? Find comfort and solace in me.”

 

OUCH! That one nightly piece of candy had become a source of comfort, joy and peace that I treasured and my attachment to it became unhealthy. Not too damaging to my body but interfering with my spirit. Needless to say, I haven’t had my beloved Lindor Truffles in over a year.

 

Our physical appetites warrant as much self-control as our appetites for lust, anger, and greed. We hear preaching from the pulpit on those topics but very little about our relationship with food.

 

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41

 

And food is so deeply rooted in church culture. Even the word fellowship has been watered down and has become synonymous with food. Sunday afternoons across America can find congregants gathering over hams, fried chicken, meat slathered in gravy, biscuits and baked goods galore.

 

Let us embracing being strong in spirit by being strong in body through consuming foods that honor the temple. For assistance in choosing well, check out these posts:

 

In order for us to have optimal wellness, our minds, bodies and spirits must be nurtured and tended; any one area left unkempt tips the scales. Can we truly embrace being strong in spirit yet neglect the body? I venture to say no. So what are we to do?

 

Consume foods that add to not detract from our health

 

Eat appropriate portions

 

Obey the Spirit’s guidance as to what an optimal diet is for you. As my friend Dr. Celeste says, God has a tailor made diet for each individual.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

Honored to be connecting today with my friends at Missional Women

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Who Else Wants To Get Fit?

A sucker punch in the face. That’s what happened as I read the words on the screen. For years I had believed I was doing my body good by being “active” until I came face to face with this starling truth, active and fit are not created equal.

 

I used to say that running around, playing with my children and running errands with my children was my health club membership. I believed I was getting enough exercise. Besides, I did workout from time to time albeit a brisk stroll on my treadmill and lifting 10 lb. weights every now and again.

 

Then a friend invited me to a fitness studio called Fit Like Me Divas. I had watched her metamorphosis, both internal and external as she committed to this new way of life. She invited me and when I could finally get childcare I decided to go.

 

Well initially, I thought, “These ladies are crazy”. “They are working way too hard and it doesn’t take all that.”  Though I had a great workout and pushed my body to perform things I never imagined possible, I was a bit annoyed that my hair was ruined because of all the sweating. Really?! Did it take all that?

 

Nonetheless, the next week, I was right back in there with trainer, Nevie Gray who it turns out isn’t crazy but determined to see women living up to their full potential. Not only was she guiding these ladies in how to get fit, she was guiding internal transformation as well.

 

After a few weeks of attending the Saturday bootycamp class, I received the blog post from Nevie Gray that collided with my foundational truth. My previously held belief that being active was enough was…well…not enough.

 

Being ACTIVE is engaging my body in physical activity i.e. playing with my children, standing while cooking, standing while helping children with their homework. Sure all that standing and movement could help me reach my fitbit goals but would that translate to being fit? And while my weight, stress test and cholesterol numbers may all be good by being active, I don’t want to feel my arms burning from carrying a few bags of groceries or get winded chasing my 2 year-old son or struggle to support the weight of my elderly grandmother.

 

Being FIT is pushing my body to achieve what it’s capable of performing in terms of strength, endurance, flexibility, speed and agility. As we can see, Active & Fit, the two are indeed NOT created equal.

 

I want my body to be able to perform at its peak ability. I can only get there by pushing myself, testing my limits and moving from the active zone to the fit zone. I was able to get into that zone with the PUSH from Nevie. She would say, “Get out of your head”. The head is the active zone. Then I’d be thrust into the fit zone where I felt strong, courageous, healthy and capable. When I operate in the fit zone, I almost feel lighter than air, like I’m walking on water. There is an extra bounce in my step.

 

Now let me back this train up just a bit here to address one more thing. I am no fitness buff. In fact, half the time, I’d rather write, read or clean than exercise. And my favorite forms of working out: African Dance class and Zumba aren’t a possibility with my family dynamic. Despite my schedule, childcare challenges or any other reason I can conjure up, I have a mandate to honor my temple.

 

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

The way that I honor God with my body is by honoring my temple through proper nourishment, rest and exercise.

 

So who else wants to get fit?  If you want to move from the active zone to the fit zone here are a few things you can do:

 

~Get support by joining a fitness community. If you’re in the Metro Washington DC area please check out Fit Like Me Divas

 

~Schedule your exercise just like any other appointment

 

~Make your exercise count i.e. 30 minute treadmill run {active} vs. 30 minute high intensity internal training {fit}

 

~Properly fuel your body. Like any piece of fine machinery you have to properly fuel your body by eating food that is alive and unprocessed

 

~Carry weights, bands, kettle ball, or other equipment in your car and use them

 

What do you do to maintain a fit lifestyle? Please share your comments below.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired to Live Fully!

 

Photo Credit

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For the Rest of My Life

“Excuse me…but…um.  Do you know you have your pants on inside out and backwards?”, he said.  This kind man had pensively approached me while at my son’s Cub Scout meeting to share this news.  I can only imagine his embarrassment at having to break this news to me.  And sure enough, my pants were on inside out and backwards.  And no, I had no idea.  

You see, I had run myself ragged; staying up way too late to tinker, tweak and fine tune the appearance of my soon to be launched website.  Yet my life necessitates that I wake up early so it was a recipe for disaster.

And what would drive an otherwise put together, A-type personality to be out in public with her pants on backward and inside out?

NO REST.

For a moment I had gotten away from properly caring for my temple through rest and I suffered because of it.  I had a headache that lingered for over a week and was out in public looking disheveled (To my defense, I had changed abruptly out of my exercise clothes and hastily grabbed a pair of pants off my closet floor in the dark to race with all 5 children in tow to arrive at Cub Scouts on time).

Proper care of the temple requires nourishment, exercise and REST. Forsaking rest is one of the greatest ways we can sabotage our health.

Rest is defined as: Refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor.  To be free from anxiety or disturbance.

As a mother of 5 young children, I am constantly ‘ON’. I asked God to show me, outside of sleep, what are other ways I can get rest? He answered me saying,” look to these windows of opportunity to turn ‘OFF'”:

~morning quiet time before my family wakes

~peaceful solitude during/after lunch without tv, phone or social media

~a quick snatch early evening even if it’s just gazing out the window or walking slowly to the mailbox and back

~in the evening before bed more peaceful solitude.

Maximizing on these rest opportunities fills me with peace, helps me remain calm and keeps me balanced. It gives my brain an opportunity to give thanks, file my thoughts, and refocus if necessary. These mini siestas are crucial to overall health and wellbeing.  And while they are short snatches of time, they are enough to create room for me to BREATHE.

In her latest book, Breathe, Priscilla Shirer digs into the concept of the Sabbath rest.  She says, “The Sabbath is a pause, a stopping point, a decision to take a break from buying or gathering or producing or accruing or doing or working. It’s the Spirit empowered choice to stop and enjoy God.”

Jesus Himself urges us to CEASE activity and REST.  In Mark 6:31 He says, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while”.

So what can you do today to ensure you come aside by yourself and rest a while? Tell me by commenting below.IMG_5448.JPG

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Energy, Strength & Stamina: A Mother of 5 Reveals

Sitting across from Rae Lynn and Audra, I listened to the cacophony of chatter emanating from my peers; a bunch of 9th and 10th grade students maximizing on one of the free moments in the day, lunch time. In between the babble, they took bites of beefy macaroni as I nibbled on a tempeh sandwich. Needless to say, being an African-American vegan child in the 80’s & 90’s wasn’t so easy.

Thus were the early years on my health & wellness journey. My father has been a vegan since 1976. I was raised by my mother as a meat eater but went to live with my vegan father when I was 14. The transition was quite jarring. To go from ham, greens, and mac & cheese for Sunday dinner to brown rice, lentils and steamed broccoli: to go from a gallon of cow milk in the fridge regularly to homemade almond milk prepared freshly right before I left for school was a transition indeed. I was already ‘different’. My dad is Jamaican with floor length dread locks and I dressed differently. I wanted to be the social butterfly and be liked which led me to talk A LOT often brash and loud but really I was a bookworm. So the food was yet another thing that set me apart.

In college I did what many college females do, I gained weight. Coupled with the fact that my mother died suddenly two months into my freshman year in college, I ate late and ate lots of prepared foods, which I almost never did when at home with dad. And it was not until my early-twenties, suffering from hyperthyroidism, high cholesterol and weighing 178 lbs. that I realized I was far removed from the healthy, nourishing, plant based diet that I experience when with my dad. I expressed my concerns to my then boyfriend (now my husband) and he committed to helping me get my health under control. With his help, I learned to manage my thyroid disease, manage my cholesterol and lose weight by eating differently and exercising regularly.

After I became pregnant with my 1st child, the desire to nourish my body grew stronger. I wanted to provide the best conditions I could for the growing baby. I read and read and finally began to know and understand some of the food decisions my father made. I finally knew for myself why we had eaten bee pollen, umiboshi plums and miso soup.

For over ten years now, I have been on this amazing journey of health and wellness. In a year, I consume hundreds of books, articles, documentaries, demos and the like, teaching myself to honor my temple through proper nourishment, rest and exercise. While my name is Tyra, I’m no food tyrant. I simply seek to make choices that are God honoring and since He has taught me how to care for my temple, following through on that is the least I can do. Furthermore, His word says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Wednesdays here on the blog are Wellness Wednesdays. Each Wednesday, I will share a nugget with you that I have learned along my journey with the hope that you will be inspired to implement the suggestions so that you are living fully. And to live fully and feel alive, you must be intentional about caring for your temple. I want to come alongside you to inspire you as you walk out your journey of health and wellness. And the journey requires not only proper nourishment but also adequate rest and exercise and we will tackle all of these here on Wellness Wednesdays too. Thank you for allowing me to partner with you on your journey.

I look forward to sharing some of the best practices that have worked for me. Here are just a few that I’ve implemented which have helped me remain energetic, youthful, strong, and focused.

~ I eat whole, unprocessed, unrefined, plant based foods 85% of the time.
The other 15%…well, I give myself room for a little indulgence.

~I meal plan. Every other Sunday I sit down with my coupons, grocery list
and menu-planning sheet to create a plan for the next two weeks.

~I have a green smoothie for breakfast, a raw salad with some type of protein for lunch and a nutrient dense dinner almost everyday.

~I’ve nearly eliminated dairy from my diet. When I did I immediately noticed all mucus and sinus problems were gone…like instantly!

~I exercise at least 3 days a week. In my ideal world, I would go to Zumba or African dance but since that doesn’t fit into my schedule and family dynamic, I make use of my treadmill, on demand videos, YouTube videos and an occasional boot camp class when I can get there. I also keep my resistance bands in my car for impromptu working out.

These are just a few of the best practices that have enabled me to honor my temple, manage my weight and nourish not only myself but my family as well.

I look forward to our continued journey. So where are you on your health and wellness journey? Let me know because I want to support you.

As always it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully. If you’ve been inspired, please comment and share.