Transformation by Truth: Day 2
Excerpts from Transformation by Truth: 30 Days to a Healthy Heart, Mind and Body by Noelle Dey © 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Noelle Dey
Great God in Heaven... Lord we stand in awe of You today. Thank You for continuing to pursue a people who constantly forget about You. Forgive us Father for treating You as something we could do with or without, because Lord it just isn't so. Today, I pray that You would make Your presence know in our lives. Open our ears to hear Your voice. Focus our eyes so that we might see Your face. Stir our hearts that we might feel Your love. Touch our bodies so that we might worship You. In Jesus name, amen.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12:6-7 ESV
Have you ever had an event that rocked your world to the point where the date will be etched in your mind for a lifetime? Wednesday, July 7, 1999 started out with sheer excitement. I had a phone interview first thing in the morning for a promotion at work. Notice I used the words “excitement” and “interview” in the same breath. It’s not that I had an overwhelming amount of self-confidence, but since upper management asked me to apply for the opening, I thought it would be a big day that would change my life.
Wow, was I ever right…. I remember answering questions with ease, and I could literally feel my exaggerated facial expressions throughout my replies. And then, randomly, I felt this pressure in my chest. Lacking a better description or technical expertise, all I can say is I felt a “whoosh” along with the quick burst of heaviness in my chest. After that, I could hear my heart beating in my ears. I pressed the phone closer to the side of my head, struggling to hear the interviewer’s voice on the other end. Thoughts ran through my mind, “Why am I panicking like this? Maybe I am anxious after all.…”
Wednesdays were my Mom’s cancer treatment days. Those were days when I got to my parents’ house at 2:30 in the afternoon and I drove my Mom to her doctor’s office. My sister Lori met us at the infusion room and we both kept our Mom company while she got her chemo and then I would drive my Mom home. We would make dinner for our Dad while we got our Mom settled in bed. At that point, Lori would take over all of the nighttime responsibilities. But it was not a normal day.
I was fatigued. There was a lethargy lingering that I hadn’t felt before. My solution? Caffeine. When that didn’t help, I added food. But nothing was cutting through the cloud around me. Once we arrived at the doctor’s office, one of the nurses shared her concern about the blood banks being low.
Well, my Mom often needed blood transfusions due to the progression of her cancer, so I decided to donate blood downstairs in the hospital. The phlebotomists knew me and my sister well and affectionately called me “Bubba” since I was the bigger (as in larger, heavier) sister who weighed enough to donate blood. Lori clocked in under 110 pounds even with her funky platform shoes. After the routine screening, they found no reason why big 118-pound Bubba couldn’t donate blood that day.
But after that, things went south. I remember telling Lori I wasn’t sure if I could get our Mom home. With all grace she replied, “Go home Noey. Get rest. I’ve got everything covered.” Don’t ask me how I drove home that evening because I don’t remember.
Hey! I have no affiliation with Dionne Warwick and her psychic network of friends (bad 80’s infomercial)… but did you just have an Asian driving joke run through your mind? If so, I hope you feel guilty.
Anyway, by the time I got home, I was struggling to get enough air. It felt like I was breathing through a straw. Panicked, I called a couple of my physician friends and told them I had just donated blood and I was short of breath. I spared them the details of the rest of my day, which was to my detriment. So, they both responded by saying, “Drink water and get rest. You’ll be fine tomorrow.” I did as they said until each breath became so labored, it felt like I was underwater in a pool trying to breathe.
I debated whether or not to call my Dad and ask for help. The last thing I wanted to do was place an extra burden on his shoulders. As it was, he was watching his bride of 38 years slowly lose her fight to stage four colon cancer. After that battle in my head, I called him at 8:00 p.m.
“Hi Dad, it’s Noelle. Are you busy?”
What I didn’t know until months later was, yes he was busy. In fact, he was preparing a very important speech he had to give the next day to a large influential, audience. Had I known this, I never would have troubled my Dad with my problems.
“Why do you ask?”
“Dad, I might be the kid who cried wolf, but I feel really bad.”
“I’m coming to get you right now. We’re going to the emergency room.”
Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today.
It wasn’t only when I was dealing with my Dad… but whenever I approach anyone, I typically take a defensive stance. If I see the tiniest sign that they might have other things on their minds, I apologize and dismiss what I was planning to share. The reason I do this is because I tend to struggle with my self-worth and I don’t want to be a bother.
In this situation when I approached my Dad, I could have looked at this from his perspective. He was my DAD! I was his little girl. His heart for me was beyond description. He loved me more than words could explain. Of course I wasn’t bothering him. If anything, he would have been heartbroken had I not run to him, my Daddy, first.
This is a perfect illustration on how we approach our Heavenly Father.
Have you ever withheld your burdens from God because you think He has bigger things to deal with?
Take the time to comprehend that God intentionally chose you… above all nations. YOU! Grasp His immense love and affection. You are important, and you matter to Him! Resist the urge to compare your situation to someone else’s. God cares deeply about you. He doesn’t have anything more important to tend to above you. Understanding this is an essential foundation of your transformation.
In your quiet time, ask God why He chose you… ask Him what is so special about you. Take the time to be still and wait upon His answers.
My husband taught me early in our relationship that God “speaks” by weighing feelings on our hearts, or putting thoughts in our minds. If we’re not sure if those thoughts are from Him, we can search the Bible to see if the messages are consistent with God’s character.
Write these revelations in your journal.
You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
I think we can all agree that the most valuable gift we can give someone is the gift of our time. But in today’s world, it’s sadly becoming more elusive. How would you reply if someone asked you, “Are you busy?” on a day when your tasks were as steep as Mount Everest? Are you someone who, like my Dad, would question, “Why do you ask?” Or could you have possibly dismissed the opportunity at hand by saying, “Yes, I’m so busy. You have no idea how much I have on my plate right now!”
This has certainly convicted me. It showed me just how much I have me on my mind! The moment I get in front of my computer seems to be the exact time when my daughter needs to ask me a question. I’ve gotten to the point where I have started to pray when this happens because everything in me wants to tell her to go do something else. But I want to be the kind of person who follows in my Dad’s footsteps and I want to realize that every time I give her my full attention, I’m giving her an invaluable gift which she will never have to pay back. I’m making deposits into her memory bank which are far more precious than any amount of money.
What can you do today to make sure that your mind is not consumed by yourself?
Since you are taking actions on your heart, mind and body… and since you are taking these actions while believing that God loves you with abandon… you are now able to free up your mind. You know that you matter, and now you can let those around us know that they matter too.
Consider your lonely neighbor, a grandparent, an outcast at work and of course your family and close friends. Journal the action you can take today to show one person that they matter. Do this out of pure generosity and release them from the obligation of ever having to repay you.
Has your body given you any warning signs?
They don’t need to be as drastic as the warning signs I had that day.
Are you lacking the energy you should have through your day?
Is your weight making you physically uncomfortable?
Maybe you’re someone who would have more self-confidence with a stronger, leaner body. Whatever it is, commit to take action immediately.
Add a minimum of 30 minutes (but an hour would be nice) of intentional physical activity into your calendar five days per week, including today.
For at least two of those days, add in strength (weight) training as a non-breakable appointment.
When you look at your calendar, certainly you can find 30 minutes of spare time… don’t pretend that you can’t. Check out Appendix A for ideas.
For me, I workout before my day begins. This way, I don’t have to try and fit it into the middle of a chaotic day. My workouts also give my morning the energy boost that I need to conquer my day. There is convincing data which shows that people who exercise in the morning sleep better at night.
I teach boot camp at 5:30 a.m. At the beginning of every four-week session, I typically have one or two people who swear they are not morning people. By the end of the four weeks, they usually convert.
Here are some of their tips:
- Get to bed earlier! Even if you are not used to it, create a relaxing pre-bedtime routine and enjoy the luxury of rest.
- Sleep in your workout clothes. Crazy, I know—but it has worked for several boot campers. Others lay out their clothes the night before, right next to their bed.
- Set an alarm clock to give you a few minutes of non-hurried time to drink water (8-20 oz) and get something in your stomach such as a banana or blend up a quick smoothie that is carb-based.
- I also have a cup of coffee, but it’s certainly not a necessity (although it is for my mood).
- Try a workout where you get used to seeing others for camaraderie and accountability such as a class at the gym or join a walking or running group.
- If this doesn’t work for you, take a good look at your schedule and find a pocket of 30 minutes to an hour where you can schedule your workouts in as a nonnegotiable appointment with yourself!
Precious Heavenly Father, thank You for being who You are. Thank You for proving Your worth. Lord, as we continue with this difficult journey, please give us the strength to pursue You with a healthier heart, mind and body. Allow us to prioritize our time so that we would have the time to complete our homework. And for those of us who are struggling to get up and get going… give us a desire to workout… to eat well… to indulge in Your word… and to trust You to keep us full and fueled. I ask these things in Jesus’ name amen.
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