Hunger in Your Belly

I met a dancer once. The fittest person I’ve ever met in my life. Part of her job and livelihood meant staying fit and keeping in the best shape she possibly could. As a basic American girl who has long been exposed to the false narrative that beautiful boils down to skinnier…plain and simple, I wanted to know some of her secrets. And she gave me advice I’ll never forget.

She didn’t tell me what all the diet plans and fitness routines will tell you…move more, eat less. No, instead she told me she goes to bed every night with a hunger in her belly. I think about that advice a lot.

I don’t think she meant “don’t eat before bed” like a lot of fitness gurus will tell you, although it’s good advice. I don’t think she meant “stop eating after a certain time at night” or “no midnight snacks” which is also advice you’ll read about on fitness blogs and in health magazines. So maybe that’s all decent advice for staying fit or losing weight. But that’s not what she meant.

Even though she was talking about a biological need like “hunger” I think she meant something far more emotional and philosophical than the act of eating or not eating. Think about times when you have been well and truly fed. I mean full to the bottom of your heels.

Picture a Thanksgiving day…maybe it’s the evening and you’ve just had all the things at the holiday buffet. The turkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the brussels sprouts, the salad, the bread, the cranberry sauce, the pie…all of it. You know the feeling I’m coming to next…it’s not just being content. It’s being absolutely stuffed. You feel lethargic. You feel lazy. Maybe you lie around for the rest of the night in a state of light coma with the rest of your clan.

We’ve all been there. And it’s not even a bad experience on occasions like Thanksgiving. Holidays are meant to be treated with a little looser fist, giving yourself more grace and allowing yourself an extra helping of Granny’s apple pie, after all Granny may not be around to make it much longer. So eat that pie!

But still, it’s not even the physical act of being hungry that she was talking about. When you’re hungry, truly hungry, you have something to fight for. There is a primal instinct inside of us when we have a basic need like hunger that comes out. Some cave person imperative that we didn’t even know we had. And this is what she meant.

When this dancer friend told me she goes to bed with a hunger in her belly every night, she meant that she keeps that instinct alive. She doesn’t kill it off with complacency and comfort and a full Thanksgiving stomach. She doesn’t appease the dragon inside of her giving it what it wants till it goes to sleep and stops breathing fire. No, she keeps the dragon hungry so the dragon has something to fight for. Something to live for.

Dragon Fire Health and Fitness blog

I believe this is the best health advice I’ve ever gotten in my life. And there have been seasons in my life when I’ve followed this advice to the letter. I’ve never been as fit or as healthy as I was during the times when I actively went to bed with a hunger in my belly every single night. I had a poorly fed dragon in my belly and that was motivation to get out for a run every single morning. It was motivation to pursue dreams like starting my own blog or a side hustle or a web series. Those are times in my life that I can look back on and see that the hunger was there in my belly and it made me better.

I wish I could tap into that every single day for ever and ever. There are people who do a good job of going to bed with a hunger in their belly more nights than they go to bed with a well fed dragon in there. There are people who are paid to keep the hunger in their belly and that is a powerful motivator, for sure. There are people, like my dancer friend, who have taught themselves that there is no other way to live than to have the hunger in their belly.

This doesn’t mean that the people with a hunger in their belly are all skinny and perfectly fit and walking around with the flawless bodies on the planet or the most perfect lives. Not even my dancer friend is free of flaws. We are all human. And we all have to be ok with that!

But, for my dancer friend, her hunger translated into fitness and physical movement, which led to a very physically fit body. For others that can translate into health and fitness of a different kind. Healthy careers, healthy parenting, healthy relationships, healthy whatever. There are all kinds of ways the hungry dragon in your belly can motivate you and make you want to get up and fight for something bigger every single day.

Lately, my dragon has been overfed…he’s fat and he’s lazy and he sits around all day dreaming of things he’ll never actually do unless something changes.

Well, dragon…little buddy…I feel a change in the wind, says I and I think it’s time to stop feeding you so many times a day.

That 5 Talent Life

A couple weeks ago, I heard the story of the talents, from the Bible. A story I’ve heard countless times in the past. But for some reason, this time…it hit me differently than it had before. Perhaps you’ve heard this story…

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Graphic from TremendousLifeBooks.com

A master gives each of his 3 servants a number of talents. The first man is given 5 talents. The second man is given 2 talents and the third man is given 1 talent. They each take them and later on the master comes back to get an accounting from the 3 men…he comes to settle debts. The first man returns with the 5 original talents given and has doubled his talents. He took what was given and used it to the fullest. Full stop! This is where it hit me.

Every other time I’ve heard this parable, I’ve focused on the 1 talent man who brought back only the 1 talent he was originally given. He’d buried it out of fear and therefore had nothing to show for the master’s investment, but the initial 1 talent. The parable is about faith over fear. The parable is about living out the best life you can with the talents you’ve been given! But for some reason it’s this five talent man that got me trippin’. The speaker asked if we’d ever known a 5 talent person. He asked if we felt we were a 5 talent person. And I had to answer…no. I’m not a 5 talent person. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have many talents, maybe even 5 talents to speak of. It means that I often choose to watch 3 episodes of Seinfeld over pursuing my dreams. It means that I may put something in my calendar that I really want to do, but when the day comes to do it, sometimes I chicken out.

For a very sad example: One time I went to a party in New York. There were going to be “people” there. Important “people”…”people” that I could meet and network with. That party had the potential to be a banner moment. I got dressed up…took a cab to the location…paid the cab driver…walked to the door of the restaurant…looked inside at the all the “people” and turned around and went home. Hating myself every minute I didn’t turn back around and use those talents to the fullest. This is one example, but there are countless times when I’ve buried my talents.

I want to be a 5 talent person. The speaker who was telling this whole story talked about meeting Billy Graham, a 5 talent man. No matter what you think of Billy Graham…the man used what was given to him. He spent his life using his talents. And when the speaker met Billy Graham, he knew he was in the presence of a 5 talent man. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t days when Billy Graham walked to the window of the party, looked inside and turned around. Every single one of us have days like that, no matter how many talents we have or how successful we are at using them to the fullest.

But the days you let fear win cannot outweigh the days you kick fear’s ass to the curb.

I want to be a 5 talent person. I want someone to meet me one day and say…”Damn, she’s 5 talent!”

So…how do I do that? How can I become a 5 talent person?

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2014: A Year in Review

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It’s funny how fast things can change. January 2014 started out hopeful. I was on the verge of starting some new projects. I had finally abandoned making resolutions that I was never going to live up to. I had accepted New York as my home (which was a very big deal.) I had a new hairdo (picture above.) And overall I felt really good about the year. I’d chosen the word Bold to start my year off and I was already on track to make that word a reality!
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But things change. I was in a blind spot and I couldn’t see what was about to happen. After an entire year to process these events, I won’t rehash them now. I’ll only tell you what came out of this very dark time in my life. And after these things happened, I didn’t think I could ever be Bold again.

Prior to what I can only describe as a life-changing moment, I had begun to rely on myself and my own ideas and dreams. Which can be big and beautiful and wonderful. But nothing I dream up comes from me. It all comes from God. And I had forgotten that. And when we forget such important things, God will take any opportunity to make sure we remember. He took my pride and allowed it to be torn away. He took the things I thought were true and allowed them to be turned upside down. He stripped away the people I had always trusted and turned to for everything and instead reminded me to turn to Him first and foremost!! And I am better for it.

After January, I sought out a Christian counselor and got some wonderful help. It was not the lowest I’d ever been, but I was pretty low. And I just have to say that if you are facing a challenging season of your life… go get some outside help. You cannot do it alone. Turn to God and then turn to the leaders you know and get the help you may need!
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8 weeks of counseling helped me to clarify a whole lot of things. 8 weeks of counseling helped me find out what it means to be truly Bold. 8 weeks of counseling taught me that I can’t do it alone, I can only do life with God at my side. My pride was overwhelming before that. And after that, I knew that it’s only in my weaknesses that true strength can be found.

I started writing more music. I started working on the scripts to what is now my fun and awesome web series. I started writing children’s books again and coming up with a million more ideas for my future. But all with the confidence that “I can do all through Christ who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:13) Something I knew long ago and only had forgotten.

I wrote a song last year that I was able to share with some friends. Up until that point, I had written hundreds of songs that I never shared with anyone. But Christ allowed me to find my Boldness. God laid these lyrics on my heart and I want to share them with you all. And if you ever want to hear what it sounds like, I’d be happy to sing it for you.

Bring Me to My Knees

Bring me to my knees. Cause in my strength I fall.

It’s only in my weaknesses. That I give You my all

When I stand up on this mountain top I lift my eyes in praise

But the valley is where I learned to pray

When the water’s rising over me My soul is all but lost

That’s the time when I turn to you the most.

(Chorus)

When I bow my head to praise Your Name, Your grace, it covers me

When I step outside that grace I cannot breathe

But You reach Your hand back down for me

And pull me to Your love

And You whisper, “Child, I am enough”

(Chorus)

Jesus, Majesty! I bring my offering

Only to You I sing.

Jesus, Majesty! I stand on the mountaintop

My heart is Yours, Lord I lift You up.

2015 is starting out beautifully so far. But I know that nothing lasts forever (except Christ’s love, of course.) Tomorrow, things could fall apart. Tomorrow, tragedy could strike. But no matter what happens, I know my faith in Christ will see me through. I have been blessed with people who watch and enjoy my web series (if you aren’t watching yet, Click Here.People who read and enjoy my blog (if you aren’t reading yet, Click Here.) I’ve been blessed with a bevy of new ideas for the year to come and have chosen the word Today for my word of the year. As in “Seize the day” “No day but Today!” “Give thanks for this is the day the Lord has made.” And I can’t wait to see how God blesses this word for my life as well as this year! So stay tuned, cause I am determined to love life even more than I love it right now!!!
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So… what’s your word?