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July 2018

Lessons from the Puzzle….focus UP!

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I was doing a puzzle with my 4 year old – you know, the kind that doesn’t really have “notches” and is just where you have to place them together and hope no one bumps your table!!  As we were doing this puzzle, I sat back and realized how many life lessons were being brought to my mind:

Lesson 1 – Strong foundation:   As with any puzzle, it’s important that we do the outside boarders first.  That represents our foundation in life.  We need to set a strong foundation on the Lord, or the rest of the puzzle (of life) just won’t make much sense.  There will be nothing to hold us together if our boarders aren’t set.

Lesson 2 – Turn them over:  If we can’t see the pieces, it can be very difficult to know what we have to work with.  This goes for our lives as well. We have to have a good perspective on things and have a clear picture of everything in order to know how to best deal with situations.  Good and bad.

Lesson 3 – Look at the box:  This was the recurring theme of doing this puzzle.  Because there are not really “notches” it was a HARD puzzle.  The only way a 4 year old would know where the states belong is to look at a guide.  To have a plan in front of her and to follow that plan.  As much as she wanted to put California over on the East coast – I had to remind her to look at the box, and see where it belonged!  Isn’t that life?  We often want to put our plans where WE think they should go instead of looking to God and His word for the clear placement.  Or we think we know better, or we guess at how things should go  – but if we would simply FOCUS up and “look at the box” – look to HIM – we will be able to work in our lives with less frustration!

Lesson 4 – Support matters:  I felt my role during this puzzle putting activity was to redirect her, but more importantly to support her and cheer her on with every piece she got correct!  When we are surrounded by people who cheer us on and support us in life – we are much more apt to continue on our path and feel confident in our journey!  Support matters!

Lesson 5 – The missing piece:  As with most puzzles at our house, we got to the end and there was ONE piece missing.  One.  Yes, that can be a bit frustrating!!  Especially when you are 4 years old and you have worked really hard on the puzzle!  We looked in the box, we looked on the ground, and it was no where to be found!  At that moment by 8 year old came in and said – oh, I know where that piece is!  And she looks in the drawer to pull it out!! Yippiee!!  It had been found.  Isn’t that like our lives?  We can have it nearly all together, but sometimes still feel like we are missing something!!  Usually that is our focus on the Lord – when we feel like something is missing….let’s focus UP!

Lesson 6 – Destroying the puzzle:  So, my 2 year old felt the need to jump on the finished puzzle!!  As you can imagine – that didn’t go well with my 4 year old.  But it also brought me to realize that sometimes our lives are rocking along just fine and here comes something bad, or hard, or difficult and it feels like someone is jumping on our puzzle of life!!  Satan likes to work in these situations and he wants to destroy the good things that are built in our lives.  We have a choice – we can either give up and stall out.  Or we can decide to rebuild the puzzle of our lives by “looking at the box” and focusing UP on the Lord to help us through!!

So, wherever you are in the building of your puzzle of life, I pray that these lessons bless you as they did me as I applied them to my own life!!  Keep building, keep focusing UP, keep remembering that YOU are worth it!

–Rachel Curtis

P31 Fitness Founder

First…put on your mask

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Have you been on an airplane ride?

You know how it goes – before the flight can take off – the stewardess stands in the front and walks you through the safety procedures.  From how to put on your seatbelt, to how to do the life vest, and finally she talks about the air mask.

What do you notice about this part of the talk?

What does she say?  “If you are traveling with a child, FIRST secure YOUR mask, and then assist the child”.

Well as a mom – that always feels wrong.  When I hear that I think – no way!! I need to help them first!!   THEN I can help myself.

We do that in our lives, don’t we?  Often we find that we feed our kids first before serving our own plate, we let them go before us, and in general, we take care of their needs first!  That’s just what we do.  And serving is something we enjoy!

However, it is so very interesting to think about the air mask.   WHY should we do our mask first?  Here is the truth – if we don’t, and we end up not getting air and then there is no possible way we can then take care of those we love.  Without self preservation on that air plane first, we won’t be of any good to others.

Yes, we should serve others, and yes we should look out for the needs of others.  We should be self-less and love with our whole heart, and find out others’ needs and help them, etc.

But it is very tough to do that if we are not okay ourselves. 

We can’t serve and love others well if we have no air.  We can’t be much good to those around us if we are grasping for our own breath. Truth!

Have you ever been at a place where you have given and given, and you are just worn out?  And then what often happens at that point?  We don’t take care of ourselves.  We are too tired.  Again – I am not saying not to serve others.  I am not saying we should be selfish.

A huge premise of P31 Fitness is that we need to take care of our selves as women, so that we can be the best for those in our lives.  We need to take care of all 4 parts of our health – yes, our physical by working out and eating healthy foods, but also our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.  I am sure we have all been in a place where we were emotionally unstable, or maybe our spiritual life wasn’t where we know it can be with the Lord.  Maybe we feel scattered mentally and unable to focus.  We have all been there.  And when we are at that point in our lives, we find it difficult to function, much less take care of others!!  We need to know this…..

It is NOT selfish to take care of yourself ladies – in fact – it is selfish if we don’t.  When we are not operating at our optimal health – spiritual, mental, emotional and physical – we may also find ourselves struggling in taking care of those in our lives that we love.

As a mother of 4 small kids, I get it.  Between the diapers, and sippy cups, and bedtime, and the awesome (and sometimes messy) things we get to do daily for our kids, you may think there just isn’t time in the day to also take care of ourselves.  However ladies…it is a must.  I know from my own experience, if I don’t find the things that bring me joy, and if I don’t take a few minutes to journal my thoughts, or go for a run, pray, or even just sit for a moment with my coffee – my day and my service to others looks different than when I do.

Stop for a moment and think on this concept.

Put on your mask.  Get some air.

So, I encourage you today – to take some time to reflect, journal, rest, do healthy actions that allow you to be your best YOU.

When you are at your best, you can serve best!!

Put on that mask and get some air today – YOU are worth it!!

Rachel Curtis

Founder, P31 Fitness