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Journey Plan: Healthy Balance

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(Note: This season physical health journey will focus on balancing my endocrine system through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. Other Journeys this season include True-Up/Sharp Ax and the Eve & AM Journey. )

Welcome…

I’m excited to start this journey. A little history: I’ve always been pudgy but I wasn’t really unhealthy until I got a high-stress job about ten years ago. About the time I needed to start focusing on my health because of age I let it go almost entirely. It’s been an uphill climb since.

The reality is, even if you don’t struggle with your weight, our western diet and lifestyle don’t lend to health. We fight a two-front battle with our own bad habits/lack of knowledge and our culture’s lack of nutrition and physical activity. In truth, I’m not the only reason I’m fat, but if I don’t take on responsibility then I’m not empowered to change it.

My Goal…

I’m not a fan of traditional goal setting. I don’t find it innately motivating the way some people do. That may come as a shock given that I’m in the self-improvement arena with this blog and the books that are coming. I just know that goals can take my focus off what I really want (abundant life) and make it about one thin aspect of that (dropping x lbs. in x amount of time).

I do find goals helpful as benchmarks to make sure I’m not doing something unhealthy and that I’m still on track.

I’ve lost 70lbs in that last 5 years, then hit a plateau. Last year I broke through and lost another 15 lbs, hurrah! Which I gained back over winter, boo! So my first goal this season is to drop 5lbs a month for June, July, & August.

I can tell you what has worked:

Thrive by Level helped a lot, but was pricey, so I’m searching a for good replacement for it (probiotic/prebiotic/metabolism boost). I focused heavily on the gut when I lost pounds last time and will again.

Sitting less. I was able to add more activity throughout the day, which I will again. I love to “ponder walk” now, and whenever I hit a roadblock at the laptop I get up and walk around the block. I come back with answers and better health.

I worked out in the gym 3 times a week. Again that got expensive and after my initial boost, it leveled off effectiveness. I shifted to home workouts and that’s the direction I’m going to stick with this time. I read somewhere that 7 out of 10 people who lost weight and kept it off worked out at home or within a block of home.

I got sick…by that I mean I literally came down with the flu, pneumonia, then bronchitis during the winter of 2017. It shrank my stomach and I didn’t stretch it out again until the holidays. I’ve been really healthy this year even though my wife and daughter got sick this last winter. I’m going to use portion control & intermittent fasting techniques, described below, to reproduce a smaller appetite.

My Conclusions from Last Years Experiment

It may seem like a disappointing list but I learned two valuable things. First that some of the most significant things we do for our health can be quite simple and obvious. The other thing I learned is that there are saboteurs in the mix that cause failure no matter how hard you try. I think I identified that saboteur.

Although recently you’d think that fad diets were equal to men and women, for decades mainly they were aimed at women. I don’t think we get quite the right balance of nutrition while trying to eliminate everything that could or does cause problems. That combined with our current load of chemicals, stress, and sedentary lifestyle creates a hidden logjam guaranteed to derail our health efforts by running us out of willpower.

My Plan at this Time:

I’ve been pouring over research and testing ideas on myself for the last couple years and we need a two-pronged approach. First, self-control is actually part of God’s nature. It’s listed among the fruits of the Spirit… (Gal 5:22 & 23)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

So we can’t divorce our Spiritual walk from our efforts to become healthy, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need a plan. My friend Chriss Skaggs once said, “God supplies everything you need, like salvation, but if you want something in this world you’ll need to fight for it.

So step two is an effective plan. That means we need a flow of actions that address a wide variety of physical, emotional, and lifestyle needs.

In the past I’ve looked at the areas I need to cover as Sub-Categories:

  1. Diet – What to eat/not eat
  2. Exercise – strength training, aerobic
  3. Lifestyle – Sleep, active habits, etc

It can be helpful to list my research that way since it’s the widely accepted way to do it. I’ll include both my own experience/research and also what I’m learning from Ben Levi’s course on building testosterone without supplements.

  • Diet – What to eat/not eat
    • Basically paleo (+ legumes & relume grains)
    • Eat Brazil nuts before bed
    • Supplements: Creatine & Magnesium (Probiotics, Prebiotics & Digestive Enzymes)
  • Exercise – strength training, aerobic
    • Basically CrossFit (eventually)
    • Starting with Home workouts, resistance, and isometrics
  • Lifestyle – healthy habits
    • Sleep,
    • Active habits, (Don’t sit so much)
    • Stretching, balanced (tai chi)
    • Stress reduction

I have a new take on the categories this time based on a balanced approach. Since I’m amazed by the mileage I’ve gotten from simple changes, I believe we need to conquer this incrementally. So I’m going to break things up into stages as you’ll see below.

 

The List So Far:

Lifestyle – Start here if you want to have success

Sleep – when your body repairs and builds hormones

Sleep in a dark, quiet, cool room. (Red light okay, Blue light is bad). Eliminate electronics an hour before bed. Get at least four 90-minute increments (6 hrs) 7.5 hours is best. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning (even weekends). Train your body.

Ponder walking – (Stop being sedentary)

Get up and move, look into standing desks, park farther from the door, find a fun activity like hiking, swimming, or bike riding that you can do with friends and family. Get one of those watches that reminds you to get up and move.

Stretching – Not what you’re thinking

We need a full range of motion. Static stretching is good too, and I will start doing it every night before bed. But the big need here is activities that require us to work the support muscles. I’m eager to find a good tai chi (or hsing ha), teacher. This way I can de-stress at the same time.

Stress Reduction – Live inside out, and loved

We need to a balanced approach to handling both the urgent needs of the day and making progress toward our life goals. I’m writing a book later this summer on ways to be more organized.

Frankly, there are seasons in life when we need to just survive, or work our way out of a corner. This doesn’t mean we aren’t loved by God. I’m writing a book to address this concept right now.

For the purposes of this journey plan, we need daily devotionals before bed and first thing in the morning. I recommend Graham Cooke’s audio teaching on rest and the Daily Battle section of my book, “Primacy of God.”

Drinking – (Reduce liquid calories, add water)

Increase water intake by having some on hand at all times. I’m allowing bullet coffee every morning (occasional red wine in the evening).

I’m supplementing my food with a morning smoothie of almond milk, protein powder cinnamon & turmeric. I’ll add more on this later.

Things in moderation: Alcohol (Mainly red wine) & caffeine (coffee once a day, never pop).

Eating – (Basic diet is my take on Paleo which I call the caveman diet)

Portion Control – The toughest thing I’m going to do by far. I’m going to eat from a smaller plate, take home half of any restaurant meal, reduce protein size and add veggies to lunch & dinner.

What I don’t eat: No processed sugar or artificial sweetener, pre-prepared foods with more than five ingredients, gluten, MSG, or things I’ve learned I’m sensitive to (milk). For now, I’m giving up mint (anti-testosterone).

I can’t worry about everything all the time, so I’m not stressing about sodium or fats.

What I do now eat: I’m not strictly low carb; to paleo, I add,  dried fruits until lunch, rye bread or ancient grains or steel cut oats during breakfast okay.

I specifically try to eat fish & avocado! Salads or veggies with lunch & dinner. Eat more garlic, onions & basil. Brazil Nuts before bed snack! (Contains selenium, vital, but only eat 3 or 4 nuts)

I take supplemental vitamin D3/K2, Creatine, Magnesium,

Things in moderation: Dark chocolate.

Core – Balanced Health begins in the gut

Diet –

I’m supplementing my food with probiotics (kombucha/kevita/pills/fermented foods). Digestive enzymes capsules.

Work out –

Squats (Ti Lo Han), Sit-ups, Push-ups, front & mule kicks (while balancing)

Intensity – (to be added in phase three)

Diet – supplement with EGCG (green tea extract) sometimes.

The big add here is intermittent fasting. There are several ways to accomplish this, but the method I favor is skipping breakfast a few times part of the week. There’s good research to support the benefits of fasting on insulin sensitivity, but the big goal here is to shrink my stomach and keep my body in it’s place.

I’m going to skip breakfast on Tuesday/Thursday.

Work out- Break a sweat and lose your breath

In addition to the other maintenance workouts I’m doing, I need to break a sweat at least three times a week. Rip a little muscle and raise your heart rate. This triggers my metabolism to burn and my endocrine system to balance. It’s also true that having more muscle results in burning more fat. Men need to labor, it’s in our DNA.

I’m going to try to find productive ways to get this workout Monday/Wednesday/Friday, like yard work, but I’m willing to hit a gym sometimes with a focus on my arms and shoulders.

Cheat Days –

Might sound crazy to include this here instead of the lifestyle section, but really it’s just dealers choice. The idea here is to increase willpower by giving yourself a break once in a while.

I’m going to combine this with a weekly date night. Want to reduce the feeling of being deprived by knowing there is a day when I can enjoy what I’m craving. It’s not gone forever, it just has to wait until I decide to do it.

An added bonus here is that if I screw up early in the week, I simply need to count that as my cheat day. The other big advantage here is we often discover that eating that thing you thought you wanted wasn’t worth it compared to how your body feels later.

 

 

Any resources I’m leaning on God to help with

All of it! I wish I had someone to tackle this with me, but I’ll manage.

Specific places I predict challenge (prayer requests)

I’m concerned because when I take on something big like this it often derails something else I’m working on…and I can’t let the other journey’s I’m on fall off my plate. I’m trusting that if I go moment by moment God is faithful to take care of things.

Estimated Start Date: June 10th (the day after my birthday)

 

Journey Plan: True-Up/Sharp Ax

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(Note: This Journey Plan addresses this Seasons plan to clean up loose ends and gain effectiveness. )

Welcome…

Not unlike the HouseFix Journey, this will list a lot of things I need to do. I’m also hoping that by explaining my reasoning you might get insight into my organizing system, which will be a subject of a journey and ebook in 2019. Sharp Ax/True-Up might seem a strange name for a journey, but it’s one of those cool combined action efforts, like the Eve & AM Journey. It’s actually short for four concepts that fit together so interconnectedly that it’s easier to track them together.

Sub-Categories:

  1. Sharp Ax – things I do to automate or improve efficiency
  2. LEARN – seeking out more understanding, more skills, better ways
  3. True-Up – Leftover or undone items needed to finish a project
  4. Finish Strong – The other 1/5th of the project that’s hard to do

What it is:

We can’t just do things to improve our lives, we need to also improve our methods of improving ourselves. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying something like, “if I had three hours to chop down a tree I’d spend the first two hours sharpening my ax.” That’s what inspired the name of that sub-category. If you take a course on speed reading, for example, you’d save time on everything you do every day, especially the process of learning. (I intend to take a course by Ben Levi on Udemy called, Become a Super Learner very soon.)

LEARN is actually one of my strengths and also a lifelong addiction of mine. I simply don’t feel right if I’m not ingesting new information.

The Big Difference between True-Up and Strong Finish…is nuanced. True-up is something God has put on my heart this season. I tend to get frustrated with a lack of progress and complain to God that I’m not making progress. God asks if I’m really out of actions I can take. It’s humbling to realize that I’m begging God for step 5 and 6, actually throwing a tantrum and refusing to take steps 1 thru 4 until He shows me the whole plan. Well, this category is for things the steps I can take.

Strong Finish relates to a core concept/desire I have for the Cleric Path. It’s something Mike Q. Pink calls spontaneous wealth. Most creative types get what I’m about to say, but I’ll try to explain. When you get a flash of brilliance that transcends what you could do in your own power. Most of us live our lives in a way that is too busy to even record those epiphanies much less take action on them. I call them Blessons, (Blessings + lessons) and I’m determined to take advantage of them.

What I’ve learned in trying to set aside time for these Blessons is that I tend to capture and use about 80% (4/5ths) of it before life rends me away. Finish strong is about being faithful to complete the remaining 1/5th in order to really receive what God is handing out.

 

The List So Far:

Sharp Ax – things I do to automate or improve efficiency

Laptop Clean up (renew virus protection, clean up junk files, esp pics in DBox etc)

Mobile office: incorporate my tablet so office/writing functions are more portable

LEARN – seeking out more understanding, more skills, better ways

Udemy class on balancing the endocrine system – current (link for more info)

 

True-Up – Leftover or undone items needed to finish a project

Laptop Clean up, delete old desktop notes & add new–(mission/vision/values/battle/message, etc. )

Finish Strong – The other 1/5th of the project that’s hard to do

Pea Gravel project in the backyard

Water heater run off

Make Daughter’s tablet kid-friendly

 

More to come…

 

Edited this far

Steps I’ll take and What I’m hoping God will do

While watching a kids show with my daughter, I heard a character mention mechanical advantage as connected to incremental efforts. It hit me like a rhino at full speed. Part of the reason change is difficult for us is that we need to know we’re working on grand things, but we’re seldom able to do more than just crawl to the next line. We’ve lost sight, well, I’ve lost sight, of the nobility inherent to surviving against all odds.

It’s not just the knight in shining armor who makes victory in a battle. It’s usually the human cockroach who knows how to keep himself and his friends alive through impossible odds that end up doing all the fighting on the front line.

My point here is that most of my victories didn’t result from my excellence as much as my obstinance. Most of the finish lines I’ve crossed in life weren’t danced across, they were crawled across or stumbled over.

I want that leverage that comes from focusing on the next step. I believe that one thing that will help is celebrating the ugly wins. Getting excited over the tiny victories. The same God who can give me peace in a storm can give me joy over the underwhelming successes.

 

Any resources I’m leaning on God to help with

God’s got to come through with joy.

Specific places I predict challenge (prayer requests)

I’ve got to remember that there is no negativity in God and no matter how busy I am, nothing is more important than fighting the battle over my attitude.

Estimated Start Date: Underway.

This Season Plan (Spring 2018)

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(Note: for more about This Season Plans, including how I produce them and why see the explanation at this link. )

This Season Spring 2018 Plan:

New Season Spring 2018

May 2018

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”— Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 (NIV)

Current Situation:

I’m fearing that I’ll arrive at the end of the summer in the exact situation I’ve been in for the last two years. I don’t see the chess pieces God is moving to back my desire to monetize my calling. My wife and I have a secret adventure planned for this fall and I don’t feel progress toward it.

Seasons Recap:

2012 God clarified my glory: bringing life to dry bones. 2013 God simplified my life through shameless humbling/shaking the agreements from me, like my craving/fearing my heart’s desire to be recognized for my talent. 2014 God reframed my understanding of risk and hardship. I needed to embrace that God was pushing me out of comfort to explore shameless humility: my deep water. 2015 God showed me that finding my deep water (what I pull up short of doing) was the key to finding my calling and that my resistance to that indicated disparity between my flesh and the new man. 2016 I spent trying to apply “The secret to abiding in Christ as a cleric”–living in dependency and wonder (I worship what I fear), externalized obligations (in the light), and imagination (my unique gift). 2017 God refined the topic of applying my calling to helping others and earning a living, then He began healing my boldness. 2018 God lead me to find focus (single purpose) on my calling/mission/message etc. He also healed my fear of public humiliation, pushed me to launch unprepared, and declare my desires as His plan for me.

Bringing it all Together:

If I boldly believed my current project is going to be successful, I would rise early and work on it before anything else. I would do anything I needed to get rest each night and I’d approach my day rested in the knowledge that I can do all things in Christ. I’d stop believing that I need to figure out how to make the project successful and remember that only God knows the outcome He wants for it. I should just finish it!

Daily Battle:

  1. Choose the light side of the paradox.
    I trust God to catch me if I fall and would rather die serving my purpose than live a slave to fear.
  2. Declare who God says I am.
    I’m an adventure writer pursuing wisdom as I adventure. I believe Jesus came that we would have life abundant. My mission is to wake the walking dead Christians who waste the gift of life trying to be safe.
  3. List 3 – 5 things I can do, even if I can’t see how they’ll fix things.
    Skip all TV, bed by 8:30 pm & up by 4:30 am, be intentional about everything I do (eat or say).

Who is God being for me this season? I’m built in his image, what part of His Glory is He restoring in me this season? If I reimagine my circumstances as part of a redemptive plan, what’s God trying to accomplish with them? Is there a theme to it all? What gift or superpower would result from me being healed?

God wants to restore in me his image as a Providor and Giver of Good Gifts.

The New Season:

A) Looking at the crossroads of my answers above, what do I feel God is saying right now about this season?

He wants me to stay the course. He wants to show me that I’m doing more than I think and He can be trusted to come through at the appropriate time.

B) What outliers did I think of during this process? What things did God speak to that I wanted to ignore because I couldn’t see where they fit in?

God wants me to work on receiving supernatural rest, physical health and fitness, & cleaning up unfinished projects so I’m ready to move when things change.

About ‘This Season’ Planning

Spring

This is the first “This Season Plan” I’ve posted on online. It’s the first I’ve done since moving most of my thought processing onto the website. (Putting this online is experimental, and I’m not sure I’ll continue after this one.) I’ve done quite a few since inventing the process about 10 years ago. So let me start with a brief explanation.

Metadata & Marginalia

I’ve alluded to this document before. It’s one of my “Master Docs.”

Have you ever gotten stuck in your own head while trying to sort your thoughts? I get it all the time. Back in the day before programs like Scrivener began to include associated metadata, we writers had to create documents with information about the information we were trying to create.

That’s the best way to explain. We knew things about characters that hadn’t been written yet. We needed to track location descriptions because places change over time. We needed sometimes to keep track of where items are at certain points or bits of information that the reader knows but some characters don’t. We had other documents for research, and still others to track changes made on the fly. For example, I could decide to eliminate a character entirely from the rest of the book and have to leave myself a note to scrub him out of previously drafted chapters on the first revision.

Collating this support material is a going concern, but nothing is worse than trying to keep it all in your head while trying to draft a book. Once I figured out what worked for my writing, I started applying similar techniques to my efforts to build character and become a better human being. I’m writing the novel of my life every day, and it requires metadata and marginalia.

Types of Master Documents:

Most Master Docs are “living docs,” meaning I’ll continue to revise them to keep them up to date. Sometimes I call these Policy Docs because the goal is to record my vision for something and to provide continuity.

Some Master Docs, like “this season” are serial by nature. They speak to a period of time and I expect to replace them a few times a year.

About This Season Planning:

I used to include a lot of specific marching orders in my season plans, but that stuff now tends to land in my current journeys list. The main goal of This Season Doc is to ask God what he’s trying to accomplish in me this season. In looking over some of my older docs I realized how deeply personal this can be, which is why I’m not sure I’ll continue to post these online, but…

  • I need at least one example so that those following along can know what I refer to periodically.
  • I think this season can be shared without getting too awkward.
  • Since I’m posting my Journey list and Journey Plans it will really help to see the stage of processing I use to settle on those.

Note: Don’t get mislead when I include the word “Spring” in the name. I tend to create two to three of these a year and they don’t line up with the physical seasons perfectly. (I always think there should be four but it doesn’t happen). So I name them after the part of the year that I start realizing that I’m transitioning into a new season.

The Reason New Seasons is Crucial to Growth & Breakthrough

Because God is a father. He is loving and kind and nurturing too, but He longs to Father us. How many times did Jesus complain about the disciples not getting it? Comments like, you haven’t gotten off the spiritual milk to the spiritual meat yet. The Father initiates His children. He’s about growth and breakthrough. We’re told He won’t give us what we can’t handle, but I firmly believe that’s a misquote. I think it says, He won’t give us what HE can’t handle.

I recognize a new season coming because I become aware of thoughts and behaviors in me that indicate I’m outside His stream of abundance.

  • Am I making decisions out of fear, anger, or revenge?
  • Am I avoiding something I think will be unpleasant even though I believe it’s important?
  • Am I disconnecting from God so I don’t have to hear Him tell me what I don’t want to hear?
  • Am I overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed or stuck in a rut?

These are classic signs of double-mindedness, a classic double bind situation, and disconnection from God.

Here’s what the hampster wheel looks like–I want a changed circumstance, so I ask God for it. I’m not actually able to receive what I want because of an unhealed wound in my heart, so God asks to heal my wound. When God draws attention to my wound I feel inadequate and ashamed. I get frustrated that I haven’t accomplished it in my own strength. I hear the enemy use that wound to accuse me of being the product of it. I make an agreement that a God who loves me wouldn’t agitate that wound. I perceive God as bad because I believe pain and risk are inherently bad.

All this stems from my lack of understanding the process of being fathered. I have to trust in God’s goodness (the Primacy of God) if I’m to let him make me someone able to receive what I deeply desire. So my lack of trust leads to hiding from God. I make myself busy. If He gives me a vision of my life with that desire fulfilled I try to make it happen myself. I’m like a shattered mug in search of coffee, empty and exhausted.

All our negative circumstances are symptoms of unhealed places in our hearts.

 

New Season Plan Template:

New Season Spring 2018

May 2018

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”— Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 (NIV)

Current Situation:

A brief outline of what I’m sensing, or how I’m feeling. What am I frustrated with?

Seasons Recap:

I usually cut/paste the results from the previous season. A quick review of it can be very helpful.

Bringing it all Together:

What would I do if fear weren’t a factor? What is God saying about my circumstances? What am I procrastinating about instead of doing? Is there an unrealistic obligation I’m holding myself responsible for? Should I trash it, do it, or renegotiate it to a better time?

Daily Battle:

  1. Choose the light side of the paradox. (Declare God is Good and actively showing me His favor.)
  2. Declare who God says I am. (New you in Christ)
  3. List 3 – 5 things I can do, even if I can’t see how they’ll fix things.

Who is God being for me this season? I’m built in his image, what part of His Glory is He restoring in me this season? If I reimagine my circumstances as part of a redemptive plan, what’s God trying to accomplish with them? Is there a theme to it all? What gift or superpower would result from me being healed?

The New Season:

A) Looking at the crossroads of my answers above, what do I feel God is saying right now about this season?

B) What outliers did I think of during this process? What things did God speak to that I wanted to ignore because I couldn’t see where they fit in?

Note: In my experience, the way forward either comes from group A or group B. Don’t be afraid if its group B. God might be addressing things in a roundabout way. It’ll be more effective to follow the wild goose than to force this to fit your expectations.

 

Journey Plan: House Fix

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Welcome…

I’m not sure how to make keep this from being the most boring Journey Plan ever. I’m still journaling and formalizing my thoughts on this 2nd quarter/new season–which should tell you something because it’s 2/3rds over. (Some seasons are like this.) It might be boring if you’re not constantly fixing up your home like me. I promise I’ll get back to the exciting stuff soon.

House Fix Journey: Mainly a list of my upcoming home remodel projects, but there are couple reasons this qualifies as a journey.

  • I’m not a “handyman.” I’ve gotten better over the last couple years, but like the majority of men I know, I feel insecure when doing these sorts of “macho guy stuff.” So I anticipate uncovering some stuff as I take on challenges I’m resistant to doing.
  • I don’t have resources. So in addition to lacking the know-how and confidence you can add a shoestring budget and less than zero time. This should get exciting!

What it is:

History–My wife and I bought our first home in 2015. It was a fixer-upper on a busy street, surrounded by rentals and apartments but the market was hot and we were lucky to get it. We’d already moved a couple times in the two years we’d been married.

We fixed it up. We fixed it up good. We overspent and then my job became unstable. The stress on our marriage made us list the house we’d only just made our own. My friends called us and begged us not to. Everyone said we were crazy, but it worked. We made good money on the sale and took a giant step toward complete debt freedom.

I wanted to just keep flipping from that point, but we weren’t eager to go back into a situation that strained our marriage. Our relationship is more important, even if we end up living out of trash can.

A few months later we bought a house in a better location, smaller, newer, but still on a busy street (I guess we have a type). We’ve been here almost two years, which seems crazy. The previous owner had a number of rentals which he sold off to retire after the market recovered. It was fixed up already…sort of.

The reality is that the repairs weren’t done that well and the longer we live here the longer the list of things that need to be done or redone. I’m unprepared but ready to start with the strength I have and trust God for the rest.

The List So far:

  • Build a shed 
  • Build a fire pit
  • Build storage into the garage
  • Replace kitchen sink
  • Wall mount the TV
  • Water heater replacement. (99% done )
  • New Windows in bedrooms, and new sliding glass door.
  • Hang house numbers and no soliciting sign & flag pole holder
  • Burn pile of yard Debris (caught up but more coming soon.)
  • Pea gravel and step stone the bare ground – 90% done
  • Yard work-trimming trees, etc.
  • Replace the Fence (4 sides)
  • Paint the Shed & Run power to it
  • Recover floors in both bathrooms
  • Replace master bath countertop
  • Rip out the deck and pour a concrete patio

More to come…

What I’m hoping God will do (heal/counsel/war/walk) with me

I’ll be hitting a number of things I don’t know how to do. I know that God will father me in learning as I go. This should speak to my identity I think.

God is looking to restore His image in me as a provider for my family. I’m excited to see how He provides.

God is also looking to upgrade my rest. He wants to be my rest (for my whole family). So I think taking on this series of projects even though we’re stretched for time right now will be good.

The steps I think we’ll take toward it

I already replaced the water heater. It went well.

We ended up deciding to pay a subcontractor to replace the windows. That’s going to be an expense but we need it done soon for insulation and soundproofing. They are supposed to come this week.

More steps to come.

Any resources I’m leaning on God to help with

God’s got to come through with help on finances, time, and energy.

Specific places I predict challenge (prayer requests)

More to Come

Estimated Start Date: Underway.

Pics!

The Daily Battle

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Appendix C: Bonus Material!

Welcome to the fight!

This picture above is very different than anything else in the book “Primacy of God” or on my website. My target market is men and I don’t include many pictures of women unless they’re in the background somewhere. But this woman and this rose are a perfect metaphor for our daily struggle. We are surrounded by desolation. It’s a rough world. We need to find the one beautiful thing, like this girl did, and focus on it. Be thankful for it.

Graham Cooke says, for every problem, there is a promise from God. With every promise, there is a provision and for every provision, there is a pearl. God doesn’t allow anything near us that wouldn’t benefit us, or grow us in some way. He is expert at redeeming the trials and wounds in our lives. He engineers circumstances that we pray to get out of because getting through them with Him instead is the only way we can become who we need to be to inherit the next blessing.

 

Abiding & readiness for the fight

We need 4 factors–Humility, Rest, Thankfulness & our Unique Identity.

  • Humility – To see clearly that God is up to something (blind faith works too.)
  • Rest – The enemy has no patients, its a characteristic of God. We can become relentless in Christ and wear down any circumstances through our standing in Christ.
  • Thankfulness – This should happen naturally but its a good practice. It’s the key to entering His presence which unlocks the gift associated with the provision.
  • Unique Identity – Look out for book 2 – Adventure to Identity

How do we fight our Daily Battle?

The key to fighting this battle to stay in a positive place, learning from God’s flow of provision and abundance is surrendering it all to Christ. I look forward to going into greater detail in book 2 but for now, here’s a great exercise from Sam Williamson.

There is no negative in God. Any time we run across shame, or fear, etc. imaging Christ on the Cross as he suffered for you. Ask him if he died for that specific thing. When he reassures you, let your thankfulness led to praise.

The Daily Battle

PS: The Daily Battle is when we surrender every negative to God.

 

 

The 1st Battle to Fight

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Appendix B: Bonus Material!

Welcome to the fight!

You most likely landed on this essay after reading the e-book, “The Primacy of God.” Or you may have simply stumbled onto it from my website. Either way, welcome to the fight. Everything you’ll encounter in the Cleric Path makes you what John Elderedge calls, “dangerous for good.” i.e. you know too much.

Don’t be frightened. God is with you. But it’s only fair to warn you.

Tactic: You enemy likes to lurk in the shadows until someone shines a spotlight on him. When he can’t pretend he doesn’t exist anymore he’ll try for intimidation and then try to get you to make an agreement so he’ll back off.

He’s a lier. He won’t stop messing with you, but don’t worry. Operate from a place of rest. Graham Cooke has some awesome teachings on rest. If you read five experts on spiritual warfare you’ll get five different opinions on spiritual warfare. It’s not a scripted fight.

BTW: Beware of relying on experience and stick to what the Scriptures say.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it, not because it’s not real, but because you don’t actually win by focusing on it to the exclusion of anything else God is trying to do in your life.

BTW: Know this, the enemy’s goal is to isolate you–from God and from your intimate allies.

That’s why shame is such an effective weapon. It’s very isolating. He’ll also use distraction, diminishment, disqualification, and depression.

Tactic: The enemy likes to tempt you, then when you fail he turns back and accuses you.

There’s a lot to this and I encourage you to seek out help from others if you feel oppressed or attacked, but I do want to cover only one aspect that I’m qualified to speak to. Then honestly, go seek more on the topic as you need.

One Final Note:

Before we begin, I want to point out one last thing on the topic of Spiritual Warfare. I personally believe that Heaven is a spiritual place, as opposed to the soul or body realms. We don’t see demons walking around in the flesh (just people who are clearly under oppression). We get scriptural references to the enemy visiting Heaven to argue over Job, and clearly, he pulled something physical off with a snake in the Garden of Eden, but when the enemy and his forces were cast out of Heaven I think they’re essentially stuck in the realm of the soul.

When I saw the “First Battle” I’m not talking about chronologically, I’m talking the first in order of flow. God’s love/glory/abundance flows into us through our place in Christ, transforms us, and then shines from us into the world. The first battle is at our place of connection to God. If we choose to take on that fight, the rest of them are much easier to fight.

The First Battle!

When Adam and Eve fell it’s called original sin, but it’s actually not. John Elderedge points out the lie, we didn’t author sin. That’s how tricky the enemy is.

“Sin is anything that separates us from God.” Mike Galeiotti

The fall created a rift. We were children who doubted the heart of God toward us. Adam and Eve’s first instinct was to cover their inadequacy with fig leaves and we’ve pretty much been doing that since. We sense, without having to be told, that we are in over our heads and we do our best to work it out on our own. But we’re not on our own!

God fixed the problem. Before Christ, they needed to believe that God would fix it and we must now believe that God did. We must take it personally. Our first battle is against anything that creates separation. Our first battle is with our own fig leaves and the wounds that inspire them.

In order for us to have a void in our experience of God’s abundance, we need to cooperate with the rock in the stream. We give permission somehow. We seed our authority in our own lives to something other than God. Often its when we worship our own intelligence, but generally its something that happened in our youth that the accusor convinces us to own.

To quote from Goodwill Hunting, “It’s not your fault.”

Even if, like me, you chose to do the terrible thing, it’s atoned for. We need restoration, the very thing that happens in a Christian’s life if they don’t hold it at bay.

Three Parts to Every Human:

When you become spiritually alive again, the Spirit of God communes with your new Spirit–in your heart (your most holy place). The Bible describes your body as a temple. That means your soul is the Holy place and your Heart is the Most Holy Place.

When Christ died the curtain between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place was torn from top to bottom. This symbolizes the flesh being circumcised from your heart. IF we allow that healing God will flow freely out through your life. But we must journey with God to restore our understanding of who He is, how He sees us, and what His restored image looks like in us.

The First Battle is to Trust God’s Heart for you.

Now Read…The Daily Battle