Fri., May 11, 2018
Romans 15:4 – For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
I began 2018 determined to take better care of myself. Generally speaking, I am healthy. Hubby and I consistently remind ourselves that we are so fortunate to be in such great health at our ages.
However, last fall, my doctor was rather direct with me. I am at the age where increasing my weight would not be a good choice. For the last few years, he has told me losing 10 pounds must be a priority. Twenty would be even better.
Fall was busy as I made some significant decisions about my future. I decided to begin the New Year with new eating habits. I have always been a fan of salads, fruits and veggies. I also know the amount of food (i.e. – calories) has been a problem. I am also a huge emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy, I eat when I’m challenged. I eat for no reason at all. To help change my habits, I began the year by limiting the foods I ate for 21 days. The first 10 days were the most stringent. The next 11 days allowed for some foods to be added back in.
During this 21-day period is also when my Mom died. I spent many of these days at the nursing home and my sister’s house. I was determined to follow the plan and took food with me to keep on track. Day 22 was my mother’s funeral. I celebrated by eating ice cream and a couple desserts. The next day, I got back on track with my eating. While I do not have hard and fast “rules,” I do follow certain guidelines.
What have I stopped eating? Sugar. About once a week, I do allow myself a little treat. But only once a week. I have cut back significantly on the amount of carbs I eat. I have not eliminated all gluten from my diet but am very mindful about when I choose to eat gluten. I have increased the amount of protein I eat. I eat fresh fruits and veggies every day.
My friend Pam was visiting at the beginning of the year. I shared with her my decision to improve my health and try to finally loose the ten pounds my doctor has highly encouraged me to lose. Pam stayed at our house for a few days while I was with my Mom. When I returned home, I began to find little notes scattered around the house. In the fridge. On the mirror. In the sugar container. In the pocket of my robe. It took me a few weeks to discover them all because they were in such unique spots.
These little notes of encouragement brought many smiles to my face. Some were very poignant: Breathe. Breathe again. Calm yourself – and get your hand off that no-no food. Others were encouraging: Add some spice to your life – and that bowl of vegetables you’re enjoying right now! (Yes, this one was in the spice rack.) Others helped me focus on why I have changed my eating habits: You’re doing this for you – and your health!
I collected all these little notes of encouragement and put them in a little crock which sits on my desk. When I need a little pick-me-up, I randomly pull out one of the notes and read it. And smile.
The New Testament is chock full of notes of encouragement. Letters, many written by the Apostle Paul, to groups of Christian believers or individuals he knew well. Sometimes his letters were in response to a letter he had received. He’s trying to help people sort through some mess. Other notes were written simply to encourage.
When those letters were written, I doubt Paul ever envisioned people reading and re-reading them nearly 2,000 years later. But we do. Why? Sometimes, we just need a note of encouragement to help get through the day. To help us sort through some challenge that might have drawn us off track. Notes of encouragement we can turn to and be inspired.
Paul’s notes are no different from the notes of encouragement Pam scattered in my life: in my running shoes, next to the “good” food, underneath a roll of toilet paper. Little slips that have brought many smiles to my face as I have read and re-read them.
It has been over five months since I changed my eating habits. While the scale has moved soooo slowly, I am trying not to focus on a number. I consider how I feel and my energy levels. When I just want to eat something off-limits, sometimes I just grab one of those notes from the crock and try to fill myself with these words.
Who is someone that could use a little note of encouragement in your life right now? Take three minutes and write one. On a real piece of paper. Stick it in a special spot or drop it in the mail to them. They will be grateful for a note of encouragement, just like I have been.
For these notes of encouragement, I am grateful.
Blessed Lord – thank you for inspiring people to write down special words that we find in our Bibles today. Words that are there to encourage us. I pray we use opportunities placed before us to share notes of encouragement with those around us. Amen.
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