Week Four’s theme is ‘Inexhaustible’ - incapable of being depleted. Running on empty is not a good feeling. Mental exhaustion is just as taxing as physical exhaustion. Spiritually, we internally recognize whether we are maturing in our faith or if we are stagnant. Our goal with Change Your View has always been to shift your perspective on health so that you can sustain wellness in every aspect of your life. Long-term and inexhaustible wellness is built upon a lot of grace and honesty. Engage your thoughts, ask yourself questions, and make time to explore how this week’s initiative will impact your thinking, feeling, and choosing.
Encourage: Mental strength is not easily developed as it takes more than gutsy determination. Developing mental strength takes perseverance, grace, and deep internal evaluation. Statistics show the majority of people are actually scared of being alone with their thoughts, unable to self-regulate their internal dialogue (Think, Learn, Succeed, pg 48). Our deepest secrets, our worst memories are often the source of survival instincts gone askew - lies fueled by fear that have grafted to the core of who we are. If we are brave enough to confront those core lies, we are then able to replace them with truth. Truth sets us free.
Challenge: Have you ever been in a situation that you can’t believe you’re in again? Repeated financial mistakes or broken relationships? You think you deal with your ‘issues’ only to have them resurface at the least convenient time. This happens to all of us. I think of it as peeling back layers of an onion. You can peel the onion, deal with the situation, but once that layer is peeled off; there’s still another layer of ONION. It doesn’t magically turn into a cantaloupe because one layer of the onion is ‘dealt’ with. Life is hard and many of us need to process our thinking, feeling, and choosing one layer at a time. That’s ok; we simply need to accept that an onion is an onion - anger is anger and pain is pain. It isn’t until you get to the core of the issue, the instigating trauma or memory, that the ‘issue’ can be properly addressed.
In Carlos Whittaker’s book, Kill the Spider, instead of comparing lies to smelly vegetables, he labels lies as spiders. These spiders in our lives leave cobwebs. This excerpt from chapter four lists some spiders and their cobwebs:
What lies about myself am I turning into truth? Is it the incredible feeling you got when you walked past that coworker and you felt them looking at you a little longer than your married self has experienced in a long time?
Maybe you walk past their desk an extra three times to keep the feeling alive.
Could it be the little voice in your head that compares your social media following to others and tells you that you’ll never be successful or popular?
Maybe you end up spending a hundred dollars to buy a thousand fake followers on instagram to give yourself a boost.
Are you telling yourself after two beers that this light and free sensation is how you are supposed to feel?
Maybe you end up going for the fourth and fifth beer every night to numb the pain you’re feeling.
Spiders can start small. But the good news is that when they are small, all it takes is keeping your gaze on God to kill them.
Carlos encourages his readers to find the spider and KILL IT. Wellness Collected is encouraging you to do the same thing, find the lies in your life and get rid of them by replacing them with truth.
You may have lived in pain for years because someone hurt you as a child. That hurt - to live through it, to survive it - forged the belief that you deserved to be treated that way. That’s your spider, you’re core lie. Because of that core lie, you have lived a life of self-deprecation. You never go after the best in life because something in you tells you that you don’t deserve it.
You must identify your core lies. You may need to backtrack by identifying your unhealthy behaviors and asking, ‘why do I do this?’ Follow those behaviors back to a moment in your life where you can pinpoint where it all began. For some this is extremely difficult and painful. If you get stuck or feel like backtracking is too painful, please consult a medical health professional.
[Medical Health Professionals are uniquely qualified to help you navigate how and why you think, feel, and choose they way you do. Seeing a therapist or counselor is not a sign of weakness or a red flag in your life. It means you care about your health enough to partner with someone who will advocate for you, someone who will use their professional expertise to help you become a healthier person. At Wellness Collected, we encourage everyone to seek partnership with a Mental Health Professional as regular wellness practise. Finding a Mental Health Professional that’s right for you is as easy as a google search or asking your church for a referral. Most health insurance plans now cover the cost of seeing a licensed therapist.]
Whether with a therapist or within the healthy boundaries of community, you can find the lies and start to recognize them for what they are. Seeing a lie for what it is disarms its power in our lives and we are able to start recognizing truth. In the earlier example of habitual self-deprecation because of childhood traumas, the lie is that you deserve the pain. No one deserves pain, especially a child. The truth is that other’s actions don’t dictate what you deserve.
It’s important to get to a place where you can recall events and memories and they no longer have power over you. Suppressing emotions or memories is toxic for our mind and body, so the quicker you are able to identify the core lies in your life and their associating memories are no longer controlling your behaviors, the better.
[ALARM] Set an alarm for one night this week where you can go on a ‘spider hunt.’ Allocate a decent amount of time to internally investigate what lies you have been believing as truths.
Equip: Vulnerability and openly sharing about your emotions, core beliefs, and childhood memories is a lot for anyone. That’s why we highly encourage you to seek out a healthy relationship with a Mental Health Professional. Talking to a close friend or group of likeminded people can certainly help you get to the core lies you’ve believed and begin to replace them with truth. How do you start that process? How do you begin to kill the spider, peel back the layers of the onion, identify suppressed emotions and memories? There are a few things you need to start:
Find trustworthy people to talk to - even if you’re not a verbal processor, it’s vital to speak truth out loud.
Realize it’s a healing process and it will take time. If you tear your ACL, you need time in physical therapy to recover - maybe even surgery. Most of us have emotional ‘tears’ that need time to recover as well. We have to be patient, embrace the process, and understand that healing takes time.
Before you dive into discovering your core lies, identify people, places, or things that are good for you and surround yourself with them before/after your ‘spider hunt.’ The reason for this is because some of the things you will discover are really heavy. It’s necessary to confront these lies and replace them with truth, and that process requires a lot of emotional energy. Putting a plan together for things that will help lift your mood is not for distractions’ sake, rather it’s to help encourage you and keep you moving forward mentally, physically, and spiritually as you process.
Wear your favorite outfit to your counselling session
Make plans to grab coffee with a close friend after a time of introspection
Create a playlist of dance-worthy songs to listen to in the car to lift your mood
Use mood lifting essential oils like lemon, tangerine, or blends like valor.
Adding on to that last point, our sense of smell throughout times of introspection is actually quite helpful. Your sense of smell is the only sense that translates directly to the emotional center of your brain. Smell stimulates emotion first and then travels to the intellectual part of the brain. Many times smells are directly linked with memories - grandma’s house, high school gym locker room, your dad’s aftershave. Whenever you experience an emotion, the brain takes it and files the memory that caused the emotion (like adding documents to a file folder in your computer) somewhere in your body. In order to recall and access that memory, the emotional brain has to locate the file and bring it back to your consciousness. Emotions and memories we have dealt with are recalled without controlling us, giving us pain, or making us sick. Emotions we have not properly dealt with, stay locked as repressed energy within our body. They can cause pain or illness on mental or physical level (Healing Oils of the Bible, 116-117).
Without going too deep into the chemistry, therapeutic grade essential oils contain the molecular composition to access the emotional part of our brain through our sense of smell. The essential oils are able to trigger repressed memories and/or emotions by releasing the memory and giving our consciousness the opportunity to correctly deal with that emotion/memory. AKA - killing the spider and replacing lies with truth. A great deal of research has been done on a clinical and naturalist scale to affirm emotional release with the use of therapeutic grade essential oils. (Reference Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert, Ph.D. and Feelings Buried Alive Never Die by Karol Truman)
The list of essential oils and their correlating emotions is too extensive to list here, but please contact Ashlee or Kelli to inquire about specific uses for essential oils. For example, if you are battling cobwebs of loneliness and are having trouble identifying the core lie that makes you feel this way, White Angelica Essential Oil is recommended. Lemon Oil is recommended for multiple emotions: entitlement, fear of detachment, fear of being left behind, emptiness, frustration, sadness, and feeling stuck.
Encourage: Making it through week three of physical challenges is a triumph! The third Monday of January is known as ‘blue Monday’ for being the saddest day of the year. That’s because most people are feeling sad or guilty about failing their New Year’s resolutions. But Change Your View, isn’t about resolutions! It’s about shifting your perspective on health so that you can sustain a healthy lifestyle. Maybe the last three weeks have brought a lot of difficult change - you’re trying to eat better and work out more - so be kind to yourself. As you are making changes that will impact your lifestyle, you need to accept that some days will feel like a win and some days will feel like a fight to the death! It’s ok to feel this way, just keep going!
Challenge: Great motivators for creating mindsets and establishing inexhaustible habits are seeing how far you’ve come and remembering why you started. Find something you can use as a visual reminder - a piece of artwork, a keychain, anything you will see on a daily basis - to anchor yourself to your ‘why.’ There are pineapples in every room of my home. I have a pineapple coat hook, pineapple coasters, pineapple pencil holder. These pineapples remind me to always find the good in every situation. Know your ‘why’ and make sure to attach it to something you see every single day.
It’s also great to track your progress. Knowing how far you’ve come can be a great way to keep motivated when you feel like you’ve plateaued or want to give up. There are a lot of great fitness tracking apps to help you do this. You can always take pictures of yourself as a ‘before’ reminder. Be cautious about the ‘after’ mentality. ‘After’ implies that something is done being worked on. If you truly want a lifestyle of wellness, you don’t take ‘after’ photos. You can take ‘in progress’ photos to measure where you’re at and see how far you’ve come.
[ALARM] Set an alarm for one point in your day to stop and repeat your why. Do this every day for at least 7 days in a row.
Equip: Any plan too rigid is sure to fail, because humans are imperfect beings. There needs to be room for grace. You need to create a safe space where you can “fail” and not beat yourself up about it. The 80/20 guideline is a great way to create a place for grace in your routines. This guideline simply means that you should aim for 100% but expect 80% of the time to stay on track and meet your goals. That means 20% of the time, you can mess-up, fail, have a cheat day, or binge netflix and not beat yourself up about it!
Now, realize that this is a guideline, not a rule. If you were to associate 80/20 as a rule, as soon as you go 79/21 you’re back to rigidity. Do your best, aim for 100% success, AND realize that hitting an 80% success rate is absolutely incredible. Give yourself permission to be guilt free for the 20% you don’t follow through with.
If you’re focus is to eat healthier, you can still indulge every once and a while and not feel bad about it. A great way to keep disciplined with healthy eating while following the 80/20 guideline is to create a meal punch card. The typical person eats three meals a day, which means that 20% of monthly meals come out to 18 meals/ month. On a debit-sized card, create 18 circles and write the name of the month at the top of the card. Each circle represents a meal that doesn’t have to follow your healthy eating habits. To indulge, punch or mark a circle. You can track where you’re at within the 80/20 guideline by noting how many circles you’ve punched!
Encourage: You’ve heard the catchphrase ‘practice makes perfect,’ right? When it comes to maturing your faith, religious practices can be used to develop your relationship with Jesus Christ, God the Father, and Holy Spirit. But obligation and legalistic views on religious practices can also leave a stale taste in your mouth. So how do you authentically develop a life that is worship unto God (Romans 12:1), while disciplining ourselves for the sake of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7)?
Spiritual disciplines are things like praying, fasting, reading the bible, tithing, serving - they are things we do to learn how to be. Honestly, it’s hard to find the desire to do those things consistently. The Apostle Paul admits, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:14-25). Paul continues to declare that Christ sets us free from obligation and says that those whose minds are set on the Spirit will desire what Spirit desires, and “the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
We are no longer obligated to sacrifice animals and we are not obligated to read the Bible, BUT we should have our minds (our thinking, feeling, and choosing) determined to follow God. The Bible says that when our minds are set on the Spirit, we desire what Spirit desires. The Spirit of God within us breaks the vicious cycle of ‘I want to but I can’t follow through.’ Seeking God doesn’t just add to our spiritual maturity, it supernaturally multiplies it!
Challenge: I remember being maybe 12 years old at church summer camp. It was the early 2000’s in a spirit-filled church so you know the preacher was fiery. As he was spitting all over the front row with veins popping to the point of combustion he yelled out, “stand up if you read your Bible.” Well, all of us were good-church-goin’ kids so practically all 200 students stood to their feet.
“Now, stay standing if you read your Bible on days other than Sunday.” A handful bravely sat down, but I could honestly admit I cracked open the good book on other days of the week.
“Now, stay standing if you read your Bible every day!” I had a choice here, I could sit down and feel like a spiritual reject or lie and bask in religious achievement.
As I slowly and begrudgingly sat down the preacher shrieked,“You few standing are the ones who know the heart of God better than anyone else! Good for YOU!” My heart sank and my stomach churned with guilt. I thought I had a good relationship with God, at least I really wanted a good relationship with God. But according to the guy in front of me and his standards, I didn’t know God as well as I should.
So I went home and for about 16 days read the Bible every single day. And ya know what happened? I could say with pride that I had read the Bible every single day for 16 days straight, but I didn’t know God any better. I actually didn’t even want to read the Bible that 17th day. I was chasing after a religious obligation, not Jesus Himself.
It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to bring conviction into our lives (John 16:8). Conviction is not meant to bring shame, yet a desire to become more like Christ. There are a lot of religious obligations that we feel pressured to pursuing because someone told us we needed to. The truth is, if your desire to take up spiritual disciplines is motivated by man, they discipline may give you knowledge but it will not provide you with transformation. This was the problem of the Pharisees. They knew the Law of God, yet did not seek Him. So when Jesus, their promised Messiah, stood right in front of them they didn’t believe him.
Pharisees were no slouch to spiritual disciplines, yet both Jesus and Paul deliberately call them out for approaching God and His Kingdom the wrong way. The reasons my summer camp experience couldn’t sustain my Bible-reading habits are because 1) guilt perpetuated my religious striving and 2) I had no revelation of the Kingdom of God. Matthew 13:44 says, “The Kingdom of God is like a treasure.” In fact, this treasure is so precious that once the treasure is seen you would do anything to possess it! The Kingdom must be experienced, otherwise obedience to God will feel forced or unnatural.
Jesus repeatedly states that “the Kingdom of God is at hand,” and He advances the Kingdom through those of us who say yes to Him (AKA, Salvation). Experiencing the kindness of God and salvation through Jesus Christ motivates us to seek Him, and when we seek Him we shall find Him (1 Chronicles 7:14, Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 6:33, Acts 17:27, Hebrews 11:6, James 4:8).
So what Spiritual Discipline is difficult for you? What feels forced and unnatural? Internally investigate and ask if that area is motivated by man or by the Kingdom of God. Pray that a revelation of the Kingdom would be revealed over that area(s).
[ALARM] Set an alarm to remind yourself to read through Matthew chapters 5-7. This is Jesus’ sermon on the mount, His proclamation of the Kingdom of God.
Equip: Throughout Change Your View, we have referenced Romans 12:1-2 several times. The Apostle Paul is speaking about worship in these verses. Worship is known to many as the three or four songs played before the sermon on a Sunday morning. While worship can be expressed through music, it’s so much more than that. Worship should be the constant aspect of our spiritual lives that cannot be depleted. Here’s what worship means in the original language, “to bow, to be reverent, or to fall down flat.
Thinking of that definition, read Romans 12:1-2 again, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)
Maybe it will be easier for you to grasp in The Message version: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Simply put: everything in your life must bow low before God.
Churches play songs and call it ‘worship’ because it is an expression of worship. It’s an opportunity to ease distraction and focus our attention back to God. Worship, however, extends beyond a 30 minute music set on a Sunday morning. It’s a way of positioning God within our thinking, feeling, and choosing. Deciding to trust God rather than give in to fear is worship. Holding your tongue when you want to lash out at someone is worship. Combating negativity and accepting your identity in Christ is worship.
Make sure you set your alarms for this week and start building healthy habits! Kelli will be going live Thursday January 24th on the Wellness Collected Page to discuss Week Four’s Initiative. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and share encouragement with others on the facebook page!