Category Archives: Steps To Seeking God

Why You’ll Never Have The Perfect Body

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Summer is fast approaching which means summer bodies are on the horizon, y’aaaall. It’s soon about to be that time of the year where everyone can shamelessly unveil all the hours they have been putting in the gym since January (OH, is it just me planning to do this??). I am the queen of fitness regimes, the starting them- not necessarily the completion of them. I regularly ask my little sister to take ‘before’ pictures of me but because I never actually complete the fitness regime, I can never take an ‘after’ picture to post on Instagram which means no one can ‘like’ my progress and validate my weight loss (I joke, I joke) (okay, I’m not really joking, I have hundreds of ‘before’ pictures). I have bought Davina’s fitness DVD, Coleen Rooney’s fitness DVD, I even tried ‘Insanity’ with the almighty Shaun T. At the moment I’m trying out different gym classes. I kinda die every session, my screams are often drowned out by the blaring techno music and I usually spend most of my sessions wondering why I came, telling God that I am going to die and him responding that I’m not going to die just yet; I think it’s become our thing.

I used to run. I used to jog twice a week, every single week, one mile there, one mile back, in the rain (yes, some black women are unafraid to get their hair wet..…okay, it was a weave) in the wind, and even in the dark. I was simultaneously losing weight and self-medicating. Feeling both stressed and powerless, running allowed me to establish a sense of control; I could control my speed, my route and my level of determination. Outside of those minutes spent running, my life was out of my control as my health continued to spiral downward with no medical explanation. After a while, I could barely walk to the bus stop and running soon became a thing of the past, a favourite thing and a thing that I sorely missed. As soon as I felt well enough, I went back out there and I began to run again. After about the third run, I realised something:

 

I hated running.

 

Not a cute hate i.e. I hated the thought of running but as soon as I was out there, I loved every moment. No, I hated the thought of running AND the moments I spent outside. I hated pounding my heavy feet against the unforgiving pavement, I hated the way my calves felt like they were going to expand and split in two, I hated the taste of blood in my mouth and the stares I received from strange men who looked like they were imagining I was running towards them…

 

I hated running.

 

So why did I keep running after I realised I loathed it? My rocky weight loss path is a blog post in itself, which I hope to share one day but in short, I wasn’t enough. Every time I became satisfied with one aspect of my body, another flaw would rear its ugly head, my low self-esteem would magnify it and off I would go trying to change myself in order to become the perfect version of myself I so desperately longed to be. Before you start feeling sorry for me and  (virtually) begin to pat my arm, let’s be clear – this isn’t a sob story. I am pretty sure every single one of us has had a moment where we’ve looked in the mirror and thought ‘ugh, what is that?!’ It’s weird how hard we workout in the gym and push our bodies to the limit in order to achieve an unattainable standard of beauty.

Whether we actively jog or not,  we all spend a lot of our time running. We devote the majority of our lives to running from our fears and chasing the things we hope will fill the voids in our lives. We chase degrees because we hope that they will, in some way, validate our intelligence. We chase the opposite sex because we believe in them we will achieve the completion our souls were built to crave. We chase particular jobs because we crave status and we are tired of sitting on the floor whilst watching our counterparts rise to the top.

I quit jogging months ago but I’m still running. This week I asked myself when I would stop running. I asked myself when I would take a minute, look around and realise that God had given me everything I needed to survive? I asked myself if what I had would ever be enough or whether I would spend the rest of my life desiring and wishing for more. You see the pursuit of the above isn’t futile or negative but these things will never truly satisfy us. That body you crave? Yeah, you’ll find a fault with it. That job you so desperately desire? Your boss will probably end up being a sadistic dictator. That person you feel will complete you? Yeah, love is beautiful but love also hurts and no amount of love can heal you if you don’t take the time to nurse your own wounds.

So why do we keep running? What are we running towards? Is it Him or the earthly treasures that are so easily destroyed (Matthew 6:19)? I think we need to get to a place where we can say God, if you are all I ever have, you are enough. The car, the dream house, that amazing job and even that marriage and kids thing, those are all luxuries when compared to the joy and fulfilment I have in you. If my life consisted of you and I on a desert island, that’s cool coz you are everything I’ll ever need; you are all I need to get by. You are it for me and I will run towards you only, remembering Matthew 6:33:

 

 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

 

 

All my love and have a beautiful weekend,

Joy xxxx

How To Find Your Way To The Promised Land Of Peace

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Psalm 29:11

The Lord gives strength to his people and blesses his people with peace. 

Psalm 34:14

Turn from evil and do good seek peace and pursue it

Psalm 37:37

Consider the blameless, observe the upright, a future awaits those who seek peace 

Sometimes we look at life and all we can see is all types of crazy. You know when you feel like you’re rushing around but nothing seems to get done, and you’re telling God to order your steps but you’ve been walking around for ages and now you can’t even tell if you’ve been moving forward. It’s not always as bad as one step forward, two steps back, but sometimes it’s one step, for..or was it back.. no maybe it was sideways, that gets you feeling dizzy. Things need to happen but you don’t know ‘what first?’ And even if you figure that out, you’re then met with ‘what next?’

So you can picture it, you’re stressed and to make matters worse all your friends keep telling you is; ‘take deep breaths,’ or, ‘sleep on it,’ or, ‘tomorrow will be better than today.’ And you nod and you smile all the while thinking: why? Why will it be better? What’s going to make tomorrow glorious when today has just been abysmal?!

We serve a God who calls himself the Prince of Peace. Now if you’re #Team-Jesus that makes you his child, so you may not be a prince or princess of peace but you’re at least in the royal lineage of the peace family. Psalm 29:11 says that The Lord gives strength to his people and blesses them with peace. Simple addition tells us that you’re not only in the royal peace family, but God has given his word that you’re blessed with peace. At this point you’ve really got to take two seconds out to think…all this peace related ish, and yet all I can feel is the stress of the storm. Where is my peace at?!?!

We easily get caught up in all the good things God is saying he’s going to do for us and forget what part we’re supposed to be playing. Both Psalm 34 and Psalm 37 tell us to seek peace. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news for all my fellow #Team-wishing-we-weren’t-so-lazy, but receiving this peace really requires an action. It’s no mistake that both versus say we should do good and not evil and consider the upright (those living the right way), before telling us to seek peace.

How can we calm down the crazy?…by acting sane. And not in that earthly ‘seems like the right thing to do,’ way. Act in a way that shows you have some God-sanity. Cut out the sin.You claim to be insane about Christ but your actions would give all the angels an excuse to give you side-eye and say ‘you know [insert name] be acting cray these days.’

The good thing about sanity is that it’s simple. It makes sense to revise before you take an exam. It makes sense to pray before you start your day. Sometimes the whole ‘what would Jesus do?’ sounds a bit daunting, but how about, what would you do if you could see Jesus watching out of the corner of your eye. I don’t need to break it to you that God watches your every move, not because he’s bored of preeing the rest of the population but because it’s part of the package of him dwelling on the inside of you.

If you want peace you’re going up have to go looking. Insane for God=acting with God-sanity. Just living right can cause your stresses to melt away. You know the good thing about God…ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find. Amen.

Love Dani xxx

Praying To Persevere

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James 1:12

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that The Lord has promised to those who love him.

So it’s the day of rest and we’re all living off that weekend buzz, with a whole week yet to be conquered. Everything is possible and everything can be achieved. We all love a new beginning, a fresh start, and an opportunity to do something great. That’s how I feel every Monday. I know for most people it’s the dreaded, go back to work, go back to school day, but for me, Monday is joyous and I spend it hyped about the week that lies ahead. Monday follows Sunday, and Sunday is a good day for me. It’s reconnect with Jesus day, go to church and leave all the troubles at the altar day. No matter what’s happened earlier in the week, on Sunday the slate gets wiped clean and I’m back to where I want to be with Jesus. Hence Monday is fab. I can still remember the message that was preached from the day before and I can still feel the Holy Spirit walking close by. Needless to say, Mondays are great.

So God is great, I’m great, and I’m ready to face what lies ahead. My outlook changes when the trials and tribulations of the week commence. I’ve stayed up too late to wake up early enough to spend time with God before I start my day. I quickly read my bible app on my travels but the scripture doesn’t hit home, and by Thursday not only have I forgotten Sunday’s message, I’ve forgotten the strength I’d set out with at the beginning of the week. By Friday I don’t want to read my bible and by Saturday I’m ready to take the day off from ‘being a Christian.’ Cycle sound familiar?

We need to have an action plan in place for when the ‘new beginning’ feeling wears off and the ‘hard work’ feeling sets in. I can literally vouch for Nehemiah 8:10 that says, ‘The joy of The Lord is your strength’. There is no other way to persevere than with joy, because seriously how long can you grit your teeth and bear the pain, and quite frankly, why should you have to? Matthew 11:30, Christ says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Really, in essence, it’s not supposed to feel hard. ‘BUT HOW?’ I hear you say. How can it not feel hard when you’re going through trials?… The joy of The Lord is your strength, and in the presence of The Lord there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11.)

Word of advice, and only giving it because I’ve learnt the hard way: stick with it.

Trials will come and that Monday feeling will wear off. If you want to feel like a Sunday Christian (close to God and excited about his presence) even when it reaches Thursday, you’re going to have to stick with it. Read your bible. Don’t let the sun go down and you haven’t spent time with God. It’s literally the only way to get through the week. You won’t have to pray for perseverance when you’re constantly praying.

It’s the gaps in our worship and the breaks we take from dwelling in His presence that lead us astray. Don’t allow yourself to feel distant when the storm hits. Easier to not drown when you’re already sitting in the boat than when you have to swim to reach it.

God bless.

Dani xxx