Following, even when we can’t see

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We were in Colorado, and came across a big, “fun” mountain.  We were not in the best hiking gear, in fact – both my daughter and I had flip flops on.  We didn’t know that the terrain was full of cactus plants until we were about half way up the mountain.   The four kids did pretty good going up the first part of the hike.  It was fairly flat and grassy.  We were all laughing, and racing, and jumping from rock to rock.  But then we hit that point in every hike with kids, that gets tough.  You know the time when the complaining begins.  The tired factor kicks in, and all of the sudden everything is wrong with everything.

Tired, hot, thirsty, legs hurt….just about anything that feels wrong will be vocalized.  Because I want my kids to be tough and non-complainers(ha) – I tell them, we are almost there, keep going!!!  Even though the mountain still looms in front of us.  They get a new sense of energy and enthusiasm, and we trudge on.   The oldest looks up, and says – “It doesn’t LOOK like we are close”.  I tell her – well, maybe our destination isn’t the very top after all, and maybe we are closer than we think!!  There was a clearing up about 15 more feet that I knew if we could just get there, it would feel like we had climbed a mountain to them!

So, with one child on my back, and holding the hand of the other, my husband and I look identical and we look at each other and just smile.  It wasn’t as “fun” as it seemed looking at it from the car in the eyes of our kids – but to us, we knew some life lessons were being learned!  Keep on, don’t give up, help each other, and be tough even when things aren’t easy… good lessons.

The picture isn’t us, but cool picture!

Once we arrive at our top, we are able to look down and see how far we have come!    Everyone is pleased with themselves.  Then, we start heading down.  We all realize there were a lot more cactus plants than we realized, and soon the ouch factor kicks in!  The little ones are being carried, and my son and husband have good hiking shoes on, but here my daughter and I are in our flimsy $1 flip flops!  She starts to really break down.  My normal tough 8 year old fell apart.  At one point, she just stood on a rock and started crying.  She said, “mommy, I can’t go anymore.  There are pokey plants everywhere!”.  At first I just tell her to keep walking – that it will be okay!  To watch where she is stepping and to avoid them!

But when that doesn’t work, I soon realize that she doesn’t know what direction to go because she doesn’t want to get hurt again.  She doesn’t want to step one more step and get that jab through the flip flop.  I sure don’t blame her!!  So, I turn around and decide she just needs to know WHERE to step.   I tell her to not panic, and instead to just follow directly in my footsteps.  That I will walk ahead of her, and she can step where I am stepping.

As soon as I said those words out loud, I immediately thought about FAITH.  I pictured myself on that rock in my own life, panicked by whatever tough situation I was facing, crying, and unsure of what steps to take next.  Fear of getting hurt, or taking the wrong path, how many times have I just stalled out in life and wanted to quit?  How many times have I thrown my hands up in defeat, and said I just don’t know what to do or where to go?

We don’t want to get hurt as humans.  We don’t like pain.  We typically run from it.  However, pain happens.  The key is learning how to not keep walking straight into that pain each time.  To learn form our past and hopefully avoid painful situations when we have a choice!!

So as I am “leading” my daughter to walk in my footsteps down the cactus filled mountain, I related it to my own life.  God is walking in front of me each day.  He is giving me the footprints to follow.  If and when I will follow those footsteps, He will lead me in a way that brings peace.  His ways.  But when I walk outside of those footprints, I experience more self-inflicted pain and trials.  Now, I don’t believe we can always escape pain, as sometimes the “obstacles” we face are what bring us closer to Him.  But, I do believe that more often than not, if we will follow in the path He has laid out for us, we will find that we can experience a life that is defined differently than when we do it on our own.  God never walks to fast for us, and He always is walking in a way that leads us closer to Him.

So, even when we can’t see what is ahead of us, we need to TRUST in His ways and His steps and walk in them.  A focus this year for me has been to “focus up”.  If you are like me, we get easily distracted by the things around us.  Whether that be situations at work, home, in our relationships…or just day to day life pings.  I call the things that poke at us all day and get to us emotionally – “life pings”.  We  don’t realize it, but these pings can start to really impact us!!  Maybe it is a comment from someone that we keep replaying in our heads, or a post we saw, or a look that we didn’t quite know how to read.  Whatever those pings are in our life, tend to distract us from the main focus we should carry daily.

Focusing up requires our trust in HIM to know that where He is leading us is up to Him.  That when we step in those footprints He has made, that we can rest in full confidence that He is in charge.  He will never lead us astray!

May we all follow, trust, and focus up today – even when we can’t see!

–Rachel Curtis

Founder, P31 Fitness

If you don’t want to get wet…

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People are funny.

Yesterday we were at a splash pad in a nearby town.  The kind of splash pad with the guns that shoot water and buckets that dump on you at any given time, plus random water shooting out of the ground. Fun, right?

I had the 4 kids in swimsuits, towels packed, sunscreen…on half of the kids 🙂  We were ready!!

We pull up and the 2 big kids run out of the car and start playing.  While we get the 2 little ones out of their car seats, and get over there, we see another family under a little pavilion on the edge of the splash pad.

As I am finishing getting sunscreen on the other 2 kids, I hear this lady saying, “Seriously?  You did that on purpose!” And I look and she is yelling this at my 5 year old!  Well, if you have kids, the mama bear feeling can come out when someone else is correcting or yelling at your kids! Especially when it seems unmerited.

So, I stop what I am doing and say, “excuse me ma’am – what happened?”  She said – “HE SPRAYED ME WITH THE WATER ON PURPOSE!”.  I slowly say , “No, he is a kind boy, and he is simply playing at a water park.  The gun happened to be pointed at you and you were standing where it sprayed when it went off, he did not do this on purpose”.  Then I tell my son – “Jaxon – go apologize to her”.

When he goes over there, and says sorry to her, she says – “oh, it’s okay honey.”

At this point – I am super confused.

This lady is at a water park.

She has just screamed at me and my son.

Now we are all supposed to act like nothing happened.

Let me remind you, we were at a water park!

Well, this incident, like many that happen, got me thinking about our spiritual life.  How many times do we get “sprayed with the water” by life, and we are shocked when bad things hit us?

What I mean is that we often put ourselves in situations that are not good, or situations that are hard, and then we are upset or surprised when we things don’t go our way.

How often do I set myself up to be hurt and then get mad when I am hurt?

How many times do I keep going back to….. a bad habit, or an unhealthy friendship, or turning to food when I am stressed, or spending an unhealthy amount of time on social media, or a choosing to be involved in a work situation that isn’t good?  How many times do I eat way too much of something that I know will make me feel yucky the next day?

Each of these things can leave us feeling inadequate, frustrated, or not good enough.  

However, each time I face these things, I hope things will be different.  But they aren’t.  I still leave feeling bad or negative, and basically like I have been sprayed in the face with water!!

It shouldn’t surprise us like it does, but here is the funny part…I am surprised EVERY time it happens!!  Sadly, I find myself continuing to go back and open myself up to get hurt!!  Why?

I started to realize that I had a choice.  I could continue to do the same things, expecting a different result, OR I could change something, and avoid the situation that was causing me so much harm, and try something NEW!  What? I could spend some time in prayer and change some actions to hope for a different result!

Lesson:  Don’t stand in the way of a water sprayer and expect not to get sprayed!

I am not saying we can avoid every bad thing that comes our way.  But what I am saying, is we can take some action steps to not set ourselves up to get hurt or frustrated or feel like a failure quite as easily!!  And if we do get sprayed by a life situation, we can not get mad at the situation that is spraying us,  if we had a choice to stand there in the first place!

There is power in choice, and we are capable of making choices that benefit us and those around us, rather than hurt us and frustrate us.  Sometimes we just need to move.

Maybe, just maybe if we move out of the way, or stand in a new spot, or try a new path, or adopt a new habit, we can stay dry!!

I think I will try this today…

–Rachel Curtis

Founder of P31 Fitness

It’s not working!

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How many of us have started a fitness or weight loss program, and after a few days or weeks of HARD WORK, we find ourselves saying these words…”It’s not working!”

Maybe we have dedicated ourselves to a new way of eating and working out.  We have planned, prepped, cleaned out, set everything out exactly as we are told.  Then for a few days we do really well with our new “diet” plan.  We are eating what we were “supposed” to eat, we are drinking our water, we are exercising regularly, and THEN we get on the scale……

The number staring back at us is NOT what we imagined it to be!  It didn’t drop!  Or at least it didn’t drop as much as we thought it would be at this point!

We put in the work, we followed the “rules” and now all we feel is that it just isn’t working.  We feel defeated.  We feel sad.  We feel frustrated.  We feel like we want to give up….again.

If you have ever been in this cycle – it’s time we change the way we are thinking, or we may just continue to be disappointed again and again.  This is no way to live.  Believe me, I have been there, I have done that, and it is frustrating!! Many times I have said those words out loud – “It is just not working!”.

Maybe it’s not with working out or our weight loss – but maybe it is with something in our jobs, or our home, or a relationship…we want to throw up our hands and say “it’s just not working!   We have all said it, thought it, or may be thinking it right now.

Take heart and let’s look to see what IS working in our lives!!  There is probably a lot more that IS working than isn’t working.

But here is what I have found in my own struggles, I usually need to look to see what may be going on at a deeper level!  Usually my “issue” I am trying to fix or work through is caused by another thing that I have got to work through!  Example – “I want to get in shape or lose weight or eat better”.  Therefore I start to workout, change how I am eating, clean out my pantry, and do all the “right” things.  However, a stressful situation happens, I stop going to workout, feel the need to want to stuff my face when I am stressed, etc and I proceed to self-sabotage and fall off my get in shape wagon.   Been there?  Now, if I will figure out the WHY behind wanting to stuff my face or run away and hide, or whatever it might be – I find that often there is a deeper emotional reason, then I can get somewhere.

I have to stop trying to bandage the problem, and instead I need to start to deal with the tough stuff!!  THAT is not always fun or easy, but I am telling you that it is the ONLY way to fix an “outside” problem.

So, what does this look like?  It looks like asking myself questions like:

“If I don’t go to workout, will I feel better or worse?”

“What is overeating food really doing for me?”

“What am I trying to accomplish by eating too much?”

“What am I feeling inside that is causing me to want to self-destruct?”

“Who am I and who do I want to be?”

“What is driving me to eat when I know I am not hungry?”

“Is this path of life working for me?”

“What am I focusing on that is causing me to get off track?”

“What can I do to make a new path instead of running into the same brick wall all of the time?”

Write down your answers, and think through what is really going on!  If you are like me – you may find that the answers to these questions can help you to fix some of the outside things you are trying to accomplish.

These things I mentioned are things that I have done in my life to find freedom in many of the areas I have struggled with in the past.  I am not a psychologist, but I will tell you that my struggles were REAL and this was the only way that I could get out of the pattern and bad cycles I found myself in for years!!!!  I can now feel freedom from learning more about myself and making better choices because I am seeing things differently!! Focusing up on Him instead of at the problem! 

So, if you are feeling like things aren’t “working” in your life, (whether it be your workout program, your weight loss, your food intake, or anything), instead of continuing to try things and getting frustrated when they aren’t working or bringing the results we want, let’s see if we can get a little deeper so that we can gladly say -“IT IS WORKING”!  Sound nice?  I think so!!!

–Rachel Curtis

P31 Fitness founder

 

Worth more than a number

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Have you ever had an AWFUL day because of a number on a scale?
Are you one of those women that weighs herself faithfully every day, wearing the same thing, weighing at the same time, and hoping for a different number every day?  If you are, you are not alone!

However, I need to ask you one question – what are you trying to prove?  What would happen if you hit that “magic” number that is floating around in your head?  Will you all of the sudden be satisfied?  Will that prove you are finally “it”?  Take a minute and re-evaluate.

The scale is just a number!  Sometimes we need to hear this because of our obsessive tendencies to do all we can to make that number different.

Start to think about other things:

1) Are you eating good quality foods?

2) How are your portions?
3) Are you eating for the right reasons?
4) Are you working out to improve your levels of fitness and health?
5) Are you sleeping enough?
6) Are you taking care of your emotional health?

7) How are your relationships in life?
These are the things we need to spend time focusing on each day!
So…we challenge you, STAY OFF THE SCALES…
You are WORTH more than a number!  

Do we REALLY need to take care of ourselves?

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Why is it important that we take care of ourselves?  Does it really matter?

As women, we tend to be givers.  Whatever we set our minds to, we usually try to give our best:  jobs, family, daily tasks, and much more.  However, sometimes, we don’t do the same for ourselves.
Maybe when it comes to your own health – you may just feel burned out, tired, or like you don’t want to give your best in this area. You may even feel that you want to quit, give up, stop in your tracks, and throw your hands in the air in surrender.  At some point, all women struggle with this battle inside.
The good news is there is always hope.  Hope in God, and in the life He has given to us. Hope that if we will take care of our “temples”, that it will be a blessing in the end.
Satan knows that if he can attack women in the area of their own health and wellness, we won’t be able to be who we need to be for others.
However, we have a DAILY CHOICE to fight, to be strong, and stand against the lies that sometimes creep in our minds.
Repeat after me, “I will be the best I can be for God’s purposes, and His ways.  I am here to live for Him, and be a blessing to others.  I am not going to sink into those feelings.  I will take care of myself and give 100% so as I can be 100%!”
Only when we are placing ourselves as a priority, can we be the best for those around us each day!
YOU ARE WORTH IT! 

We can’t fix a food issue with a food solution

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I often think about how we try to fix our “food” issues with another “food” solution.
It doesn’t work. 
What I mean is that if we are not happy with our weight or our food choices, we turn to another diet.  We try to control the food.  We then think about what we can and can’t eat all day long.  We log everything, we focus on what we can and can’t eat…all day long.
Is it working?  It didn’t for me!!  Oh, I tried….
I was a diet pro!  I had every book, every program, every food list…and guess what?
It didn’t work. 
I put 100% of my strength into fixing my food issue on my own – but it still didn’t work.  So…
  • I realized I couldn’t fix my food problem with food.
  • I needed to LOOK UP!
  • I needed to look elsewhere.
  • I needed to look at my emotional connection to what food was doing for me.
  • I needed a DIFFERENT solution.
The result?  Freedom!  Freedom from the guilt and the rules that I couldn’t follow for 10 years.  Instead, I started THINKING differently:
  • I would ask myself things like:
  • What is this food doing for me?
  • How is this food I am about to eat going to make me feel?
  • If I eat one of these (or 10) – will I feel guilt in an hour?
  • WHY am I wanting to stuff my face at this moment?
  • What is really going on that is driving me to want to eat the whole pantry and fridge and anything else I can find?
When I started being honest with those questions AND my answers – I started healing.  I realized my emotions were driving me to overeat or make crazy choices.  Therefore, when I started looking deeply into my emotions and working to fix those – I didn’t want to turn to food.  Because food didn’t work.
I believe that every woman has some sort of “food issue”.  We all think about it, we all work to control it, and we all want a fix.   I am here to tell you – our STRENGTH needs to be directed UP on HIM and on finding what is really behind the food struggle.
We can’t fix our food problem with a food solution. 
 
God can and will help us fix our food problem with focusing up on Him, and answering the tough questions that have gotten us where we are today.  Trust me.   It works.  It’s not a quick fix.  It can be tough to sort through some of the emotions.
However, the FREEDOM it brings is worth it.  

We can be the same in a year, or better – it is our decision!   We need to look for a new solution.   A solution NOT involving food!!

 
Read more about our Listen and Lose system on our website and various YouTube vidoes!!

Contentment in our very own boots….

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Tonight I watched my little girl try to put on my husband’s boots.  A cute and precious moment that quickly turned into a moment of frustration for her!  She would get one on, and then try to figure out how to lift her other foot high enough to get it in the other boot.

Then, she would attempt to lift her foot up and that would cause her to fall.  She started crying in frustration.  Now, before you think I am some bad mom watching this without helping, I wanted to see how this 19 month old would handle this situation.  Next, she decided to get back up and this time she set up the boots, scooted them over to the wall, grabbed onto the wall, and figured out how to get the boots on correctly.  Perseverance.   Now to attempt to walk.

She shuffled a few steps before falling yet again, and then she tried to get up.  Finally, she had had enough.  She got her feet out of the boots, she looked up at her daddy and I (who were watching her), and she RAN into her daddy’s arms!  It was like she felt so much freedom in her own feet.

This all got me thinking about how so many times we try to fit into someone else’s shoes (or boots).  We often step out of our own nice fitting shoes and we attempt to MAKE our feet fit somewhere else.  Somewhere they were never intended to fit.  We try, we push, we shove, we fall, and many times we keep up this pattern over and over again.

Do we ever do this?  Do we often try so hard to be like someone else or have what some has, that we end up in a heap of frustration?  Or maybe we just want to be different than we are.  Why?  Why do we sometimes go there?   Well… I think sometimes it is a lack of contentment that drives us to try to fit into another’s shoes, another’s job, another’s personality, another’s life.  Maybe we think that by trying on another’s “life” or a different life, that we will magically gain more peace with our current situation.

The problem with this thinking is that it is false.   Getting into someone else’s boots almost always leads to tears, frustration, and maybe even a fall or two.

The answer?

We need to get our feet out of the boots of others around us, and run free on our very own feet.

We need to stop trying to not be ourselves, and start appreciating the person we are!

We need to get back to finding out who we are, and being content with that person…all parts of her!

We need to be thankful for the boots we have, that fit us well, and wear those with confidence.

We need to remember that God made each of us unique and special.  From our personalities, to our appearances, to our situations…He is right in the center of it all.  He made us, and He loves us.  When we can start to acknowledge and appreciate that fact, we will stop trying to wear another person’s boots.  Hopefully this means we will not fall quite as often, not get quite as frustrated with how things may be in our lives, and hopefully, we will run this life with a bit more peace and freedom!!

Thankful for my sweet Reagan so vividly showing me this lesson today!!

Our boots fit us for a reason.  May we wear them with contentment and thankfulness today!