Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Discipline is Not Enough

Psalm 73:25-26
I don't have anyone in heaven but you.
I don't want anything on earth besides you. 
My body and my heart may grow weak.
God, you give strength to my heart.
You are everything I will ever need.   

I've always been somewhat of a disciplined person.  If I feel convicted to do something, then I intentionally think of ways that I can accomplish the task and I set about accomplishing it. Of course there are times that I may cheat (ex. eating something unhealthy, not going to the gym, etc), but I know that in order to accomplish a task, it takes self-control and discipline. While it's good to be self-controlled and disciplined, God is showing me that I can't just make a "check list" and expect my heart to magically be in the right place.

Recently I have noticed that my attitude has been a little less than stellar (to put it nicely).  So, I began to think of ways I could fix this.  I started developing my check list:

  • I'll get up earlier and spend more time reading my Bible
  • I'll post Bible verses everywhere 
  • I'll try to do thing for others throughout the day
  • And the list goes on...

Of course, none of the things on this list is bad.  It's good to spend more time reading my Bible and memorizing other verses.  But, a check list cannot change my heart.  I so wish it could. I wish that I could just write "love Jesus with all my heart" on a list and it would be taken care of.   I can't just make a list of things I need to work on without first asking God to search my heart and forgive me for the sinful way that it is.  God is showing me that I need to repent more often.  Repentance is not fun. It takes time and it can get messy.  If I'm really being honest, sometimes I don't want to take time to really look at my heart because I don't want to know what all is there.  It's a lot easier to not deal with it and just pretend that my heart is in pretty good condition. But, if I sit still before the Lord and ask Him to reveal to me sin that is in my heart, He might show me some stuff that I didn't know was there (or tried to pretend wasn't there).  He might remind me of some bitterness in my life or reveal to me my pride, my fear, my insecurities.

Sometimes it's just easier to keep going through the motions, keep reading my Bible and singing the praise songs but not dealing with the state of my heart.  When we do this, it's so easy to compare ourselves to others. We feel a nudge that God wants us to come before Him and search our heart, but we begin to become filled with pride as we look at others. We begin to list off all of the things we are doing for God, trying to justify the fact that we are doing so much for Him.  But that's the most tragic part of all because I'll never do enough...I can never make a good enough to do list.  Why? Because I'm a sinner and because my heart is deceitful and because each day I am facing a battle against my flesh.  And, I need Jesus.  I need Him to reveal to me where I am weak and I need His help to show me where I am not like Him. If I don't take time to come before Him and repent of my sins, then I am only relying on my own strength to cross items off of my to do list.  See what Paul has to say about the power of sin in our lives:
But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?  Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. Romans 7:23-25
I want to rely on Christ's strength and be filled with a new heart as I see a new sin surfaces in my life.  I don't want to rely on my own strength because then I will never really overcome it.  And, as easy as it is to do sometimes, I don't want to just pretend sin is not in my life.  In order to become more like Christ, I must repent and ask Him to help me turn from my sinful ways with His strength.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139: 23-24
Instead of making a to-do-list, my prayer is that I will ask God to search my heart first and help me rely on His strength.  Then, I will rely on His power instead of my power.  I love this quote by Matt Chandler about how we can be a great wife and mom:
You don't have to be a perfect wife to be a great wife. You don't have to be a perfect mom to be a great mom. 'Where's that line?' That line is confession, repentance, and getting back up and staying moving. We take on the perfection made available to us in Jesus Christ, his righteousness, not my righteousness, not a false veneer righteousness of my own. Not my strength, his strength. Not my perfection, his perfection. We rest in that. Then we walk as best we can every day.
Repentance takes time. It will probably be messy because it's when we see how evil our heart's desires truly are.  But, when we repent of these sins, we are agreeing with God that we hate them, that we want to turn from them. And, when we come before Him with a humble heart, He. will. hear. us.  So, why would I not repent?
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:14-15

Sunday, February 1, 2015

2-Week Menu Plan

I am putting together our family's menu for the next few weeks and thought I would post it here for my own reference and in case anyone else wanted some meal ideas.  Some of these recipes are mine and many of them came from other healthy blogs. I have made all of them and they have turned out great!  I have included the links to them if I got it elsewhere. To print your own weekly planner, see here.


Notes: For the roasted potatoes, I just chop potatoes and combine them with a little olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and paprika.  I put them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and lightly sprayed and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Notes: I used a spiralizer to make the zucchini pasta.  After I spiralize it, I put it in a skillet over high heat with some oil and salt and whatever spices I have on hand.  I let it cook for about 5 minutes and then serve the meatballs over it.  I love my spiralizer!  See it here.
Notes: For the apple muffins, instead of grating my apples, I just diced them.  I also added 1/4 cup of raisins.
Notes: I have several substitutions/additions for this recipe. I use 3 sweet potatoes, but I bake them instead of boiling them.  I also add 3 cooked chicken breasts to this.  I use a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh ones. I also add sauted fresh spinach to this as well.  You can't even taste it and it's a great way to get in some extra veggies.  I use 6 peppers for this recipe.
Notes: I actually have not made these rolls yet, but everything I have made from this site is delicious, so I can't wait to try these!


Notes: I make a homemade salad dressing that consists of 2 oz. balsalmic vinegar, 6 oz. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. Honey
Notes: I used a gf flour for the heatlhy sweet potato casserole, or you can just leave it out altogether.  
Notes: I added 1 Tbsp of Almond Flour to the pizza crust to make it hold together a little better. I like to top my "pizza" with lots of veggies and some fruit: spinach, peppers, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, pineapple, etc.


Grain Free Cobbler (made with Coconut Flour)
Notes: This cobbler is so good!  I used 2 1/2 cups of frozen berries (raspberry, strawberry and blueberry blend with two chopped apples). It did take a lot longer for mine to cook- about 55 mintues instead of the 35 minutes that the recipe says.  This makes a great breakfast for the kids too!

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Banana Bites

Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (made with coconut oil)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (made with Coconut Oil)

This fudge is so yummy, it's hard to believe there is almost no sugar in it!  It's great to satisfy a craving without feeling guilty!

1/2 cup coconut oil (softened)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

Place all ingredients in an electric mixer and mix on low-medium speed until well combined. Line a small pan or baking dish with parchment paper (this step is important)! Pour into the lined pan and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Cut into small pieces and put in a sealed container and store in fridge.  So yummy!

Oven-Baked Green Beans

We eat green beans a lot.  It is one of the vegetables our kids enjoy, so I try to take advantage of that. This is a great way to change up the taste a bit. My husband and I can almost eat a whole pan by ourselves because they taste so good!

  • One Bag of Fresh Green Beans (washed and trimmed)
  • 2-4 Tbsp Oil of Choice (avocado, olive, or coconut are great)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine oil and spices in a large bowl.  
  • Add green beans to bowl and toss to coat.  
  • Arrange green beans on a baking sheet that is covered in parchment paper or foil.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on how well-done you want them to be.