Thursday, January 30, 2014

Live-Chat with Jennie Allen & Register Now for the Upcoming Restless Bible Study


On Tuesday, I chatted with Jennie Allen, founder of IF: Gathering, and author of Stuck, Anything, Chase & Restless.

Join me for the 8-week Restless online Bible Study! Register here on FaithGateway. Every Sunday I'll send you an email leading you through your reading and video-watching and help you prepare for the week. I'll be sharing my personal journey as we go through Restless together and welcoming you to share yours as well.


So, are you ready for Restless? Invite a friend if you'd like. Invite your church group. Invite your Bible study to join in. Let's dream together! Let's figure out what's holding us back and throw it off! Let's run with all of our strength, flat-out for Jesus! Let's give Him all the glory! Will you join me?


Monday, January 20, 2014

But, This Is Not The End!

This article was first published here on FaithGateway! 

Live Chat with The Daniel Plan Co-Authors

Also, don’t forget to join me THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 23rd at 1:00 p.m. EST/ 10:00 a.m. PST for the FaithGateway live chat with Daniel Plan co-authors Dr. Hyman and Dr. Amen! Tweet your questions using hashtag #DanielPlan to @FaithGateway. Here’s the link to the live chat event!

* * *
What?
It’s the official end? But, I’m not done!
How do I write an “End of The Daniel Plan” article when I feel like I’ve just barely begun?..
Truthfully, at the beginning of this adventure I had no idea what I was getting into. Thank God! But, here I am 40 days later, drinking a Perrier, and munching on celery, guacamole and pumpkin seeds (That’s a lot of green.), having wrestled with, learned, gained, and lost a lot and am wrapping this project up feeling sublimely grateful.

I’m thankful for the journey of Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends:

  • Thankful to have walked through this with God because with Him, I truly do have all that I need
  • Thankful that I’m more in love with Him now than I was 6 weeks ago.
  • Honestly, all of our messy stuff really does get healed in relationship with God, so I’m thankful that He pushed me to own up to some junk that had been clogging up my spirit, heart, body, and mind for a long, long, time. Thankful to face and begin to chip away at ways I was medicating heartbreaking realities with food and unhealthy habits. I’m thankful for the beauty of choosing Him instead of clinging onto harmful things that couldn’t in a million years ever satisfy, comfort or help.
  • Thankful that we are called to be holy, “qadosh”. (Ska-dooooosh!) How awesome is it that God wants us for Himself?!
  • Thankful to have some old ways of living, relating, praying, mothering, and eating turned upside-down and inside-out.
  • Thankful to have waged war against Self.
  • Thankful to have begun in December, even though it did mean doing The Daniel Plan through the holidays with all of its buttery, cheesy, bready, sticky-sweet, salty, fudgy, pepperminty foods and drinks.
  • Thankful to have learned heaps and bundles about healthy editing of food choices. (Just say “no” to the word “diet”!)
  • Thankful for the call to repent over the ways I’d been grieving the Lord in not caring for the gift of living life in my body each day I get to have on Planet Earth.
  • I’m thankful to have hijacked this body back from couch potatoness.
  • I’m thankful to have built some muscles in the area of changing what I allow myself to think about. Thankful to fill my mind and mouth with Scripture and uplifting, constructive words. My thoughts are mine. They are not the boss of me. Just as my kids all at some point defiantly said to a sibling “You are not the boss of me!” I say, “Negative thoughts, discouragement, sad history, Enemy, depression, fear, YOU are not the boss of me!”
  • Thankful to be reminded to be a person of radical grace and absurd mercy — even to myself
  • And since, during a very long, bumpy, emotional, unimaginably painful season of chaos and loss (family, house, business, church, friends, husband, son) and walking into walls over the last 5+ years, I also lost my funny, I’m very thankful that slowly but surely, laughter and joy (amidst pain — such is the Christian life!) are returning.
  • Thankful for the call to rejoice, right in the middle of the messy painful
  • Thankful that you and I get to choose what we do with grief, suffering, rejection, hardship, loss, mistreatment, abuse, and every other manner of terribleness! We can “throw a fit, or get fit” and let our mess be used to glorify God and serve others.
  • Thankful to have begun weeding unnecessary stress out of my life. Thankful to be learning more about prayer, meditation and ways to unplug, relax, and destress.
  • Because, just as Jesus’ followers were sent out in twos (Luke 10:1), we also are not meant to live life alone and isolated, I’m thankful for the relationships that were built and those that were strengthened. Yes, people are going to royally mess up. They’re going to hurt us. Really, really badly. We will be broken from time to time. And, we’re going to hurt others, too. But, we still need friends we can do life with. People who know our story, our baggage, our gifts and talents, dreams, hopes, fears, and our quirks and still love us! I’m so beyond thankful for the people who love me  and have stuck around!
  • I’m thankful for energy and excitement. I’m super-excited just to be excited!
  • Thankful for the beach, yoga pants, and Perrier
  • I’m thankful for finishing this not army-crawling across the finish line, exhausted and d.o.n.e. with it! I’m thankful that I’m finishing looking forward to continuing! (Yep! I’m still getting Daniel Strong!)
  • Thankful for the ability to bless my body and mind by getting my sweat on!
  • Thankful that my food kryptonite — butter — was not the victor! Take THAT, Delicious Dairy Product Nemesis!
  • As a messy, mistake-prone, selfish, idol-ridden, semi-normal person on a journey towards offloading the excess and becoming more like Jesus… I’m profoundly thankful He never leaves me as I am. He’s always turning the heat up in one area or another to refine out the junk and the idols that get in the way of living life fully sold-out for Him.
It’s stinking hard and emotional and sometimes it involves hacking off big chunks (friends, things I thought were part of my identity, jobs, groups, habits, routines, etc.) that I thought were supposed to stay attached, but I’ve ended up concluding,
“OK, God, I’m all-in. I’m sitting front row. Wearing the t-shirt. Fully committed. I want to know, see, and hear You more every day. I don’t want to waste another minute on this earth doing anything other than serving You and making You famous. Whatever you need to wreck, wreck it. Send me (Actually “take me” since I’m not going without You.) wherever You want me to go. Remove what You want removed, restore what You want restored. I want You to be proud of Your girl!”
Read My Final Report on FaithGateway here.

The Daniel Plan — Laurie McClure Hausam "after" photo

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for this new adventure. Thank You for Your beautiful, gracious, loving, forgiving, healing, fully satisfying presence. Thank You for loving me enough to continue refining and changing me. Thank You for everything I have learned so far and for the junk that with Your help, I have left behind. Help me to be brave and keep going with a joyful, compliant, hopeful, positive, You-centered heart. Thank You for Friends. Thank You for delicious food! May I be grateful and a faithful servant to You with everything I say, all I do, and even with everything I put into my body. I want to glorify You with every breath. I love You, Abba. Amen.

Don't Miss Our Live Chat with The Daniel Plan Co-Authors

Also, don’t forget to join me THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 23rd at 1:00 p.m. EST/ 10:00 a.m. PST for the FaithGateway live chat with Daniel Plan co-authors Dr. Hyman and Dr. Amen! That’s right, we’re going to be talking to the docs and they’ll be answering YOUR questions submitted via Twitter using hashtag #DanielPlan to @FaithGateway. Start getting your questions ready for them! Here’s the link to the live chat event!
Thank you for sharing this journey with me!
The Daniel Plan — Laurie's "After" head shot

daniel plan faith food fitness

Monday, January 13, 2014

Abundance

This article was first published here on FaithGateway. 

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Abundance is my word for 2014.

I didn’t anticipate how much doing The Daniel Plan would deepen my spiritual journey. I thought it would be a healthy, new beginning in changing my mindset and patterns about food and it would help get all that extra behind off of my behind… which it has, thank You, Jesus.
But, wow, my relationship with food has had some seriously messy, emotional, spiritual garbage attached.
The Daniel Plan Lysa TerKeurst quote
As I’ve “cleaned out the junk and made room for abundance,” God has brought stuff up that I didn’t expect – that I didn’t know was there. Or, maybe I did know, but I just didn’t want to deal with it.
Stuff that needed to be turned upside-down and inside-out.
Stuff I was holding onto with a death-grip.
Ways I was medicating or numbing out hurt, anger, and disappointment (old & new) with food and bad habits.
Ways that I was choosing Self over God.
Ways that I was choosing my little go-to gods (my idols) over the one true, living, righteous, loving, omnipotent, relationship-seeking, fully satisfying God.
“We want to teach you how to treat your body with respect and kindness. We will teach you what foods to choose to nourish yourself and which ones to avoid. Most of all, we will show you how to create a nurturing, peaceful relationship with food and cooking that will automatically lead to weight loss, radiant health, and an overall sense of well-being.” (The Daniel Plan, pg 73)
God loves us too much to let us stay the same.
Luke 12:7 is one of my life verses:
What is the price of five sparrows — two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. — Luke 12:6-7
A gold refiner’s job is to heat up the metal with flames exceeding 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and agitate it, stir it up, allowing the dross (impurities) to rise to the surface. Then he can skim it off.  God does the same thing in us (Zechariah 13:91 Peter 1:7, Job 23:10)! He heats our lives up (with trials, struggles, challenges, traumas, natural consequences, difficult circumstances and difficult people) to bring the dross (the junk) in our hearts to the surface so we can face it with Him, clean it up, and be purified (changed).
The Daniel Plan transforming love meme
It’s honestly such a relief that it’s God’s job to change me from the inside out. I can’t do it. I don’t even really want to do it since it’s uncomfortable and frustrating! I’d rather say,“I have enough character, thanks!” and stay the same ol’ messy, selfish, cranky, controlling, extreme, slightly unhinged me. But, it’s my job in this partnership with God to continue to choose a convictable heart when I’d rather make excuses and blame-shift and to cooperate when everything within me is thrashing and screaming for what I want! I want! I want! Or I don’t want! I don’t want! I don’t want! (Thus the need for the Rebel Yell Against Self!)
…Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in or der to fulfill His good purpose. — Philippians 2:12b-13
“Notice two phrases: work out and work in. We are commanded to work outwhile God works in us! That’s the cooperation required for change.” (The Daniel Plan, pg 55)
Do you love idols like I do? Are you an idolater, too?
It’s true. I am an idolater. I like my idols. Give me a choice between God and my idols, and I turn to idols way more than I would like to admit. Usually without really even thinking about it. I obsess about certain things, mull on them over and over and over. I let stuff take over my life. My heart. My time. And I let that junk wreak havoc in my heart, life, body, mothering, relationships, ministry, service, etc.
I can make an idol out of anything. Seriously. I’m great at it! (I thought about going pro, but the pay is not good.)
I hate the old habit of spinning and spinning on the stupid things I think will satisfy me instead of choosing God! Foolishness! I have rarely questioned: then what?
 “So, what if you could learn the two most important words in the English language when it comes to your health: then what.
Then what will happen if I eat this? Then what will happen if I say this impulsive thing to my wife? Then what will happen if I stay up at night on the computer and don’t get good sleep for tomorrow? (The Daniel Plan, pg 42)
Here are a few of the many things I have had a habit of turning to during times of stress, disappointment, challenges, and grief:
  • Carl’s Jr.’s Charbroiled Santa Fe Chicken sandwich with Crisscut fries and ranch
  • Wine
  • Zoning out on TV
  • Gossip (unloading on a girlfriend instead of giving a painful relationship to God and letting love cover the offense — 1 Peter 4:8)
  • Criticism (including relentless self-criticism)
  • Obsessing on how I could fix my broken marriage and relationship with my prodigal son
  • Filling my days being busy, busy, busy — too busy to stop and quietly listen to God

Finish reading here!

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Prayer

God, help me to choose You. Abba, help me to seek You first. When I’m hurting, lonely, worried, bored and my tendency is to wander on over to my idols for comfort or entertainment, remind my spirit that what I’m really thirsty, hungry, and in need of is You. Remind me of the price You paid for my freedom. Soften my heart so that it’s convictable and strengthen me so that I choose to change my mind (to repent) and obey You wholeheartedly, immediately, and permanently. And, Lord, help me to be that  “grace-filled snow cone on a hot, judgmental day” when I blow it. Thank You, Jesus, for never giving up on me, for loving me so dearly that it blows my heart away. I love You. Amen.

Join the Conversation

What’s your word for 2014? Do you have an unhealthy relationship with food like I do? Have you taken stock of your idols and asked the Lord for help in kicking them to the curb?
Hey, Daniel Buddies, have you made some wonderful recipes? What’s your favorite so far? Have you put together your “food emergency” bags? Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you! If you haven’t already jumped on The Daniel Plan bandwagon, join me! Be sure to let me know you’re getting Daniel Strong!
Also, don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram! We can share food & exercise ideas and encourage each other!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

El Plan Daniel on the Road in Mexico — What's the Spanish Word for Stress?

This post was originally published on FaithGateway here on January 6, 2014.

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Hola! This week two darling girlfriends whisked me away to beautiful Mexico along the Sea of Cortez! A lovely surprise!

A second surprise came once we got here to this gorgeous resort out in the boondocks of Baja and the internet went completely down — no phone, no email, no texting — because someone in the tiny town 30 minutes away crashed into the one pole that knocked out service for everyone for 75 miles. No biggie, except that it never came back up completely.
All of which left me wondering, “How am I going to get the Daniel Plan update done?” I’d assumed my girlfriends and I would sit poolside or on the beach for three days straight and I’d have lots of time to think, pray, research, and write in front of a gorgeous view of palm trees and blue ocean. I thought, “OK, I’m not the first human to be out in the middle of magnificently gorgeous nowheresville without internet but needing to get work done online” but no solution presented itself. It turns out there was plenty of time for thinking and praying, but, I was left with a pen and notepad for heaven’s sake preparing to fax this in to Jaime, my editor! Talk about hilarious yet stressful!
I’ve had to repeatedly remind myself not to overreact (panic) and not to stress about something I have no control over. Then, after two days of not being able to get online, the power went out, too... Yes, it really did. Baja without limited electricity (only emergency lights from the generator), with a deadline, and non-functioning internet es no bueno. I could feel myself wanting to traipse into familiar old territory, a mode I call “FREAKING OUT”.
After a while it occurred to me what I’ve been writing about… Stress! Oh, the irony!
My delightful notes said cheery things like:
  • Don’t worry about it — Pray about it!
  • “The first step in change is usually discomfort.” — Rick Warren
  • Ephesians 3:20 says God can do absolutely anything, way more than anything I can ask or even imagine — so why stress?
  • I only have control over what I choose to do. Nothing else. — God is in control of my circumstances.
  • God is always, always good — Fling yourself into prayer and trust in Him.
  • God uses circumstances to change me. He will use it ALL for good if I cooperate! (p57)
  • What you think determines the way you feel. What you feel determines the way you act.
  • Psalm 1:1-3 Meditate on the Word. Instead of chewing on troubles, chew on the Word!
  • Biblical meditation is truth digestion!
  • You know your wheelhouse is Control Freak — Expect troubles and say, “With God’s help, I am unflappable. I hardly ever get upset about anything.”

I know. That last one made me snort-laugh today.

Look to the world and you will be distressed, look within and you will be depressed, but look to Christ and you will be at rest. — Corrie Ten Boom
Stress! In The Daniel Plan, one of the examples that really stuck with me was the a million dollar racehorse analogy. You’d never make an investment like that and then just feed it junk and stick it in a stall never training it. You’d never over-stress it damaging it that way either. You’d keep this beautiful animal in tip-top condition, hire the best trainers, and offer the best food. You’d take excellent care of it, right? Our bodies are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19) and it’s practically a crime to damage it with garbage food, sedentary living, too little sleep, too much stress, and general failure to take care of it. WOW, that hits home for me! I never realized how much I must have offended the Lord by taking such poor care of my body and living under chronic (sometimes self-imposed) stress!
I remember seeing a stress test in Reader’s Digest several years ago (similar to the short list on page 186) and realizing as I read it that I was mentally checking “yes, yes, yes, yes” to nearly every one of the top stressors you might experience in a five year span, both the bad stressors and the good stressors. Supposedly, if you had more than five you were at risk for a heart attack or death! Not good news for me...
  • Financial strain — yes
  • Family struggles — yes
  • Change in friendships — yes
  • Marital separation — yes
  • Problems with children — yes
  • Church issues — yes
  • Having a child leave the home — yes, times 2
  • Business failure — yes
  • Birth of a child — yes
  • Adoption of a child — yes
  • International travel — yes
  • Moving — yes, times 2
  • Change in school — yes, times 3
  • Legal issues — yes

Sound familiar to you? I used to feel like my life was a runaway train. That’s not good stress, my friends! Here’s the thing: bad stress or good stress — It’s still stress! A certain amount of stress is necessary and healthy (p187), but after a point, it leads to serious health issues, namely BRAIN issues!
You can have solid faith, healthy food choices, and plenty of exercise and still sabotage your health. The potential saboteur? Your brain. Your mental health is vital for your overall health. Negative thoughts, positive thoughts, or lack of thought can consume you. Depending on which one consumes the most of your mind, you could make or break your health before you even get started. Whatever gets the most of your mind’s attention will direct many other areas of your life. When your brain works right, you work right. When your brain is healthy, your ability to focus increases and you make better decisions. (The Daniel Plan, p39)
After at least a decade of over-the-top chronic stress, which led to depression, and 4-5 years of daily really, really bad stress, I can tell you my brain was toast. I remember after separating from my husband getting into the car to go to the grocery store and I honest-to-goodness couldn’t decide: 1) which store to go to, or 2) which way to drive there. You’ve heard people joke that when the kids are with a babysitter they don’t know what to do with themselves, right? When I got a break from my kids, I literally didn’t now what to do with myself. I’ve sat in a parking lot for an hour trying to decide what I needed or wanted to do. Remember when you were a kid and you’d eat your ice cream too fast and you’d get a brain freeze? Yeeeowch! This was total brain freeze.
I called it walking into walls. My brain just didn’t work the way it was supposed to. I wrote a note and stuck it on my bedside table that said:
  • Get out of bed
  • Get in the Word
  • Take a shower
  • Eat real food
  • Exercise
  • Do something for someone else
  • Laugh
  • Go to bed at a decent hour

I needed this note because otherwise I’d just walk into walls.
I remember saying, “I can’t brain anymore. I have no braining left.”
It's important to remember: My thoughts are mine! They’re not the boss of me! I can mull on something scary or negative like a champ, but doing so hurts me and those around me. If something negative is going on, instead of chewing on it for days, weeks, and months (or years!), pray about it and then choose to replace that thought with others. Seriously, think about something else.
Don’t worry more than you pray.
Page 190 of The Daniel Plan lists some common signs and symptoms of stress. I checked off almost all of them as symptoms I’ve either struggled with in the past or still do. I didn’t see whining, or needing excessive amounts of Perrier, or obsessing over Downton Abbey on the list, but otherwise I was totally tracking. Understanding those will help you understand why you need to get healthy.
When I was younger, I definitely wanted to be healthy to feel better and look prettier/sexier for my husband (The Daniel Plan p187), but my motivation now is much more about a longer, more productive life, and to be able to do everything God has for me to do. Looking great is hopefully a happy bonus byproduct! Reducing stress isn't just the byproduct of health, it's part of the process of getting there!

What are some of the ways you reduce your stress-level?
Read the rest of this article here!

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Prayer

Dear Lord, I love You. Thank You, Jesus, for the wonderful grace you show for me when I don’t take care of myself the way I should, since my body is Your temple. Thank You for having mercy on me when I “flipando” and worry instead of trusting You fully. Help me to fully rely on You, God, and to encourage those around me to let go of stress and let You be God. I can’t do anything in my own strength. I’ll fail. But, with Your help, I can be transformed from the inside out and learn to live differently, cooperating with You no matter what my circumstances. I’m Yours, God. Thanks for never letting me remain as I am, but continuing to work on me. Help me to be flexible to Your ways of changing me. I love You. Amen.

Join the Conversation

Are you stressing out? Do you relate with freaking out instead of trusting God for the solution? Please leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you! My Daniel Plan buddies, how are you doing? If you haven’t already, join me! Be sure to let me know you’re getting Daniel Strong! I’ll be a cheerleader!
Also, don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, where I’m posting updates on food, exercise, and progress! Your encouragement helps and I’d love to be an encouragement to you as well!