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Week Three’s theme is ‘Involve’ - including something as a necessary part or result. This week consider who or what you must consistently involve in your life to sustain your health. Whether you are focusing on one or more aspects of your health for Change Your View, we encourage you to be honest with yourself. Engage your thoughts, ask yourself how does who/what you involve with impact your thinking, feeling, and choosing?

MIND:

Encourage: As you continue to gain mental strength and heal mentally, you have been encouraged to look within yourself and observe how you relate to the world around you. This is the week we identify the things we are involved with and how they affect us. Sometimes the most difficult part of healing is remaining or lingering aspects of our environment (relationships, work spaces, financial restrictions) that hinder the healing process. There’s no need to brace yourself for conflict. Anticipate freedom and reconciliation.

Challenge: Creating boundaries are very important as you become mentally healthy. Why? It’s very difficult to sustain healthy mindsets if your mind, body, or spirit are not being respected or guarded appropriately. Any environment that’s not conducive to helping you heal is keeping you at a stand-still for growth. So what are those aspects of your environment that need established boundaries?

According to the IPFW/Parkview Student Assistance Program, “a boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends … [t]he purpose of setting a healthy boundary is, of course, to protect and take good care of you”.

So ask yourself, in what areas of my life do I feel like I give too much of myself away? Do I feel responsible for others’ happiness? Do I feel an inability to say no? In what situations do I feel disempowered?

It’s quite a challenge to even identify areas where boundaries are needed. For example, it may be hard to admit a boundary needs to be established in the way a co-worker or parent treats you. There are lies you have accepted over time that justify their behavior toward you. But here’s what you have to remember: your mental health is worth protecting and in order to protect yourself you need to establish boundaries.

Good boundaries enable the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23), poor boundaries give authority to the enemy (Ephesians 4:21-32).

“God stills you, Satan rushes you

God leads you, Satan pushes you

God reassures you, Satan frightens you

God enlightens you, Satan confuses you

God encourages you, Satan discourages you

God comforts you, Satan worries you

God calms you, Satan obsesses you

God convicts you, Satan condemns you”

(author unknown)

[ALARM] Set an alarm for one night this week where you can devote 30 minutes to identifying aspects of your life that require better boundaries. Write a list of those areas and begin to write what a healthy boundary in that area would look like.

Equip: How to set boundaries. First: Identify the symptoms of your boundaries currently being or having been violated or ignored. Second: Identify the irrational or unhealthy thinking and beliefs by which you allow your boundaries to be ignored or violated. Third: Identify new, more rational, healthy thinking and beliefs which will encourage you to change your behaviors so that you build healthy boundaries between you and others. Fourth: Identify new behaviors you need to add to your healthy boundary building behaviors repertoire in order to sustain healthy boundaries between you and others. Fifth: Implement the healthy boundary building beliefs and behaviors in your life so that your space, privacy and rights are no longer ignored or violated.

Example: I feel belittled when my friend Noah repeatedly reminds me that he earns more money than I do. He doesn’t seem to respect my job or the passion I have for my line of work. He suggests going to restaurants and other places I cannot afford, then points it out to our friend group. This embarrasses me.

I have never confronted him about this because he does earn more than me and I feel bad asking my friends to limit their choices in activities because of my budget. However, I am not a bad friend or a bad person because I steward my finances wisely. I can sit out on activities that I cannot afford and still have good friendships.

I need to let Noah know that I do not want him to comment on my finances. I also want him to support my decisions whether or not I choose to participate in an activity and he needs to respect my reason and not shame me for it. ‘Noah, please take my feelings into consideration and not just my financial status when suggesting things to do or places to eat. If you cannot support me without shaming me, I will no longer be able to go out with you or anyone else who does not respect me enough to consider how I feel.’

Boundaries.me is an affordable monthly subscription ($9/month) by Dr. Henry Cloud that gives you access to a growing library of videos and tools to help you set boundaries in every area of your life. Courses focus on:

- Teaching you how to say no while preserving love in relationships.

- Rejecting toxic behaviors from other who drain you of time, energy and resources

- Finding safe and life-giving relationships.

- Techniques to manage anxiety

- Having difficult conversations about boundaries-related issues

 

If you have a family member struggling to understand the changes you are making in your life, equip them with the Mental Health Resource Guide for Individuals and Families. This resource, written by Saddleback Church, can give your loved ones some insight into the challenges you face as well as open up avenues of communication.

BODY:

Encourage: Staying active is a huge part of body health. The best way to stay physically active is to find something you love doing and make it a priority in your schedule. Maybe you already have a great workout routine established… great! If not, use this next week to be curious and open to trying new things! You may have certain physical limitations that restrict you from certain activities, but all of us have the ability to move and stay active. Don’t let the season you’re in discourage you from finding something that will immensely support your health.

Challenge: Regardless of whether or not you have a solid workout routine, here are some ways to get in a little extra cardio in your daily routine:

  • Park in the back of the parking lot and briskly walk to the entrance

  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator

  • Every time you use the restroom (even in public) do 5 squats (preferably after you go) or 10 counter-top push ups

  • Play with kids! From babies to pre-teens, you will definitely get a good workout from running around with littles!


Consider involving yourself in the following activities:

  • Take a class! Kickboxing, Pilates, Zumba, Cross-Training… the options are nearly endless. Grab a friend and go to your nearest gym or even find a great video online. There are even classes for mommas with their babies or back strengthening exercises for those who work at a desk all day!

  • Sign-Up for a 5k! A great motivator is to commit your workouts to a larger goal. Maybe you want to raise money for a great cause or maybe you just want the ability to say ‘I DID IT!’

  • Join a team! Many churches and community centers have intramural sports that you can join. Basketball, Softball, Frisbee Golf, even Hockey - get moving and be involved with your community at the same time.

  • Be a kid again! This, I think, is especially easy if you have children. Take them to the park, to paintball, to laser tag, or a trampoline center and JOIN THEM.

  • Make a home gym! “Between homework-helping, diaper-changing, dinner-making and career-juggling, finding time to get to the gym may not always be a viable option. If you set up a customized workout space in your house (or backyard), you can workout as late or early as you want, or even find time out between tasks and chores. And yes, a treadmill and shiny Bowflex might sound nice, but all you really need is a space to call your own, a couple of dumbbells, a jump rope, a workout mat and mp3 player (activekids.com).”

 

[ALARM] Set alarms on your phone, smart watch, or fitbit to monitor your daily activities as well as let you know when your workouts should begin.

Equip: Pessimism hinders progress. It is never easy following through with a work-out plan. That’s why it’s great to find something you enjoy! Also, you can’t allow yourself to be pessimistic about it. I am THE QUEEN of talking myself out of going to the gym. I don’t feel like driving all the way there. I don’t want to get all sweaty. I don’t want to be nice and smile at people I run into today. *Sheesh.* Train yourself, the moment you start poo-ing on your commitment, to tell yourself, ‘this is what is good for me and I will do what’s good for me. It’s worth the time. It’s worth the energy. I am worth taking care of.’

The Mayo Clinic has created an at-home fitness assessment. This assessment can be completed on your own to determine your level of physical health. You will be walked through everything you need and every activity has step-by-step instructions. Need a little more accountability? Most gyms or fitness centers provide physical health assessments. You most likely will receive this as part of your membership or you can inquire about the cost of being evaluated as a guest.

“The results of your fitness assessment can help you set goals for staying active and improving

fitness outcomes. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends one of the

following activity levels for adult fitness and health benefits:

  1. 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity weekly plus muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week

  2. 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly plus muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week

  3. An equivalent mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity plus muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week

Moderate aerobic activity includes:

  • Walking fast

  • Water aerobics

  • Bicycling on mostly level ground

  • Pushing a lawn mower

Vigorous aerobic activity includes:

  • Running

  • Swimming laps

  • Fast bicycling or biking hills

  • Playing basketball or soccer

  • Playing singles tennis

Muscle-strengthening exercises include:

  • Lifting weights or using resistance bands

  • Calisthenics that use body weight for resistance

  • Heavy gardening or yard work”

SPIRIT

Encourage: Right now, even as you are reading the words on this screen, I ask that any ill-conceived thoughts limiting you from prayer would be identified as lies and that you would reject those thoughts. Prayer is like breathing within the Christian faith, and the Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing (Philippians 4:6-7). Many people are too intimidated to pray, believing the lies that prayer must be eloquent or follow a specific formula. Prayer should not be used in Church as a measuring stick for comparing religious worthiness. Prayer is an internal and verbal way to communicate with God, and as we pray God searches our hearts (Romans 8:26-27). Anyone who confesses that Jesus is their Lord and Savior should have confidence that prayer, not only matters, but is essential to spiritual maturity.


Challenge: Starting as simply and truthfully as possible, the best time to pray is when you first wake up! Brennan Manning, author and theologian, suggests that we can pray with every breath we take. It’s called the ‘Abba’ prayer and can begin the moment you wake up. Everytime you inhale call to God, ‘Abba,’ which means ‘Father’ in Hebrew. When you exhale pray, ‘I belong to you.’  Personally, my prayer changes depending on what season I’m in… “God, thank you for my life” or “Abba, I trust you.”

You can pray with every breath. Saying prayers internally throughout the day is a great way to stay connected to the Spirit of God. Developing your confidence with prayer will only come by doing two things; reading the Bible and spending time getting to know Spirit. The book of Romans tells us that Spirit searches our hearts and will intercede (pray over us) the Will of God the Father. This means, that even when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray we can trust that Spirit is praying over us all the right things. We can’t mess it up!!

“We live in the bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. And if we have no doubt that He hears our voices, we can be assured that He moves in response to our call.” 1 John 5:14-15

We pray to acknowledge God, to confess our sins and seek forgiveness, that His Will would be done, for understanding and wisdom, to thank God for all His faithfulness, to intercede for others, and we pray to worship Him! All of this can be honestly communicated to God the Father. The Spirit guides us in truth (John 16:13) and the more time we spend in God’s presence the more familiar we become with His ‘voice.’ I know it’s Spirit prompting me to say or do something when all my intuition along with my logic confirms it’s the right thing to do before my mind had the chance to process it. For you, you may recognize Spirit differently and that’s OK. Just remember, the Spirit of God will never contradict His Word.

[ALARM] Set an alarm for 5:05pm and label it ‘ABBA.’ When it goes off, speak an ‘Abba’ prayer either internally or vocally. If you are able, expand on that prayer by thanking God for events in your day.

Equip: Practically, there are many resources available to you to help you develop spiritual maturity within your prayers. Like mentioned above, Brennan Manning has several books on prayer and Dear Abba is highly recommended. Also, if you’ve been around the Creative Collected community for very long, you’ve probably heard Kelli mention Prayers That Avail Much by Germain Copeland. This book’s index is filled with topics like ‘finances’ and ‘anxiety’ to ‘marriage’ and ‘humility’ and provides prayers you can speak over yourself and loved ones.

Frankincense and other essential oils were used during times of prayer in the temple of God (Exodus 30:34-36) and essential oils were also used to anoint during times of prayer* (listed below).

Healing Oils of the Bible by Dr. David Stewart states, “...essential oils are special creations of God, infused with his Word. (Genesis 1:11-12; John 1:1) Being the products of God’s words and thoughts, they respond to our words and thoughts. Essential oils magnify intent. ...when our intent is expressed as prayer, oils amplify that intent and increase the effectiveness of the prayer. Prayer works without oils, but when both are used together, each increases the power of the other such that their combined ability is greater than the sum of the two. This is no coincidence. It was programmed into the oils by God from their creation. Prayer and oils were meant to be used together.” (Stewart, 93)


Not only did God provide plants with medicinal purposes, He gave them spiritual purpose as well. Oils were requirements in the Old Testament for cleansing and anointing. While essential oils are not necessary during prayer, we encourage you to consider essential oils as a means of using every available resource God provides.

On Sunday mornings, I apply a blend of Frankincense, Orange (compared to Calamus), Myrrh, and Cinnamon. For more information on how to try essential oils click here.

  • “*Cassia: Unlike the herb senna, whose proper name begins with Cassia, the cassia of the Bible resembled our cinnamon more than anything. According to an etymology breakdown by BibleHub online, cassia is likely “the inner bark of Cinnamomum cassia, a plant growing in eastern Asia closely allied to that which yields the cinnamon of commerce. It is a fragrant, aromatic bark and was probably used in a powdered form.” The Bible lists cassia as:

    • An anointing oil (Exodus 30:24)

    • A perfume (Psalm 45:8)

    • Precious commodities (Ezekiel 27:19)

    • Like cinnamon, Cinnamomum cassia is rich in cinnamaldehyde when derived from the bark. If C. cassia is not available, cinnamon essential healing oil would be a fair switch.

  • Frankincense: If you know me at all, you know this is one of favorite oils because of all the research support its used as a natural healer. And if you know the Christmas story, you already know at least one place where frankincense is mentioned in the Bible. Elsewhere, in Exodus 30:34 and Revelation 18:13, frankincense is mentioned as part of incense for a priestly rite and as indication of wealth and prosperity in spice trade. The Bible lists frankincense as:

    • A part of ceremonial offerings (Referenced several times in Leviticus 2, 5, 6, 24; Numbers 5, 1 Chronicles 9, Nehemiah 13)

    • A holy ceremonial perfume (Exodus 30:34)

    • A perfume (Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:6)

    • A precious commodity – potential currency (Isaiah 60:6; Jeremiah 6:20; Revelations 18:13)

    • The gifts of the Magi to the Christ child (Matthew 2:11)

    • As a healing remedy, frankincense oil is not only antimicrobial but also an immunostimulant. Could God have been protecting His priests (and Son!) through the use of frankincense?

  • Myrrh With well documented use throughout the ages, myrrh is easy to identify and enjoy. It by far, the most decorated oil in the Bible being listed as:

    • A precious commodity – potential currency (Genesis 37:25)

    • Anointing oil (Exodus 30:23)

    • An ointment (Song of Solomon 5:5)

    • A perfume (Psalm 45:8, Proverbs 7:17, Song of Solomon 1:13, 4:14, 5:13)

    • An incense (Song of Solomon 3:6, 4:6)

    • A with mixed edible spices to be eaten (Song of Solomon 5:1)

    • The gifts of the Magi to the Christ child (Matthew 2:11)

    • Mixed with wine and given to Jesus on the cross (Mark 15:23)

    • Burial preparations Nicodemus used for Jesus' in the tomb (John 19:39)

    • Unlike other products from trees, it isn't the wood that is used but the resin that comes from it. Once exposed to air, it hardens and can be powdered, used as-is, or now, distilled for a healing oil. Interestingly, myrrh and frankincense essential healing oils have a synergistic effect when combined, each improving the others' antimicrobial benefits.

  • Spikenard: First introduced in the Old Testament, spikenard is probably most well known as one of the expensive perfumes that the woman anointed Jesus with in Bethany. Spikenard – Nardostachys jatamansi – was highly prized as a perfume and very precious. It's still used in some beauty treatments to this day.  The Bible lists spikenard as:

    • A royal fragrant aroma A symbol (Song of Solomon 1:2)

    • A prized, desired plant (Song of Solomon 4:13-14)

    • An costly ointment/perfume used to anoint Christ (Mark 14:3; John 12:3)

    • Although there isn't much available yet on the benefits of spikenard (beyond perfumery) as an essential healing oil, an isolated compound has shown promising effects as an anti-inflammatory. (Natural Living Family)”

Make sure you set your alarms for this week and start building healthy habits! Ashlee will be going live Thursday January 17th on the Wellness Collected Page to share and discuss Week Three’s Initiative. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and share encouragement with others on the facebook page!