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Personal Growth

Day 14

Excerpts from Transformation by Truth: 30 Days to a Healthy Heart, Mind and Body by Noelle Dey © 2012

Coffee Talk for Friday, January 23, 2015
Today’s Focus: Personal Growth
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Noelle Dey
Blessing:

Oh Lord, I come before You today and ask that You would open my eyes and my heart that I might see You. To see what You have planned for me. Forgive me for anything I have done that has removed me from Your presence. Cleanse me Lord. Restore those things I have broken. As I move through this study, I pray that Your will would be done in and through my life. For it’s in Jesus’ name I ask these things, amen.

This Week’s Treasure:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Main Course:

I had no idea just how good I had it in college. My parents paid for all of my tuition, dorm expenses, books and food. My Dad, in his infinite wisdom, only required that I submit a budget of my expenses. This budget needed to meet his approval.

My first one got rejected because I was informed that ten dollars per week was not a wise food allowance even if Top Ramen was only a buck for ten. After my budget was okayed, my Dad would deposit that exact amount into my checking account.

The only things I had to pay for were my clothes, entertainment and meals out. For a college kid, those were bare necessities, so I set out to find a job. Some of my friends work in retail shops at the mall. As for me, my shoes were my car; so my only option for money making was on school grounds.

One application sufficed for all on-campus jobs. The good news: they hired me. The bad news: they stuck me in the dorm’s cafeteria. I was embarrassed by the thought of serving up food to the same people I lived with since I was already humbled by the earthquake incident. But, little did I know, my embarrassment would soon escalate to a whole new level.

My first day on the job actually started out great. When I went downstairs to the cafeteria, I distinctly remember thinking, “Well, at least I look cool in my faded 501 jeans and my worn-in t-shirt.” It seemed to get even better when the manager welcomed me with a warm smile and my coworkers walked up and introduced themselves.

Wow! Maybe that job was sent from heaven. Maybe its purpose was to help me make friends. And then? Insert suspenseful music here. In fact, insert the musical score for the movie Jaws.

The smiling manager excitedly said, “You are starting at a great time! This is International Week and today is Oriental Day!” After that, he handed me a pile of what I thought was a white bed sheet on top of a wicker basket. Strike that thought. It was a white kimono-like robe and a huge straw rice paddy hat. “Everyone get dressed up! Let’s get this party going!”

Okay. I realized I had self-esteem issues. What I wouldn’t have done to return to my high school days where I was MVP on the varsity basketball team as a freshman and where I was voted prom princess and class clown as a senior. No, this was a new world. And, let’s be real. If you have a handful of good looking white people in these types of getups, it looks like a Halloween prank. But, if you are Asian, you don’t know a soul and you are wearing a kimono with a wide cone-shaped straw hat so big you have to keep your feet apart and bend at your knees to maintain your equilibrium (heaven forbid I had to turn my head while I scooped up clumps of white sticky rice and broccoli beef), well… that’s just plain wrong.

Years later my Dad explained that it pained him to hear my stories. He had enough money to pay for all my expenses and he truly felt sorry for me. I thought he was kidding, but when I realized he wasn’t, I asked, “If that’s true, why did you make me endure the humiliation? Would it have killed you to give me an extra 20 dollars a week? Where was your compassion?”

In a soft voice and in all seriousness he explained, “It was times like those when true, unshakeable character was born. What you viewed as a tragedy, a failure, even humiliation gave birth to a humble spirit based on gratitude.”

APPLICATIONS

Heart:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:56

When I was scooping up food in the cafeteria, I never put thought into what my Dad’s intentions were for my personal growth. I judged his character based on my own understanding. As I matured, I realized the brilliance and depths of love in which my Dad founded his decisions. He was an incredibly humble, patient, generous and loving man. If anything, I feel honored every time someone tells me I take after him. I also thank God for my cafeteria days which have helped shape who I have become.

Are you living through difficult times right now?

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Write about your challenges in your journal.

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Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t swoop you out of these hardships?

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Do you catch yourself thinking, “How could a loving God let this happen to me?”

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Stop and pause for a moment.

Now look at your situation from the perspective of being the parent.

God is your Heavenly Father… your loving Daddy…

What good can come from your taxing circumstances?

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Are there specific character traits you see emerging?

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In your journal write out the life lessons your Daddy might be teaching you.

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Then, reply to that wisdom by journaling the steps you will implement this very moment to grow your character.

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Mind:

Those words my Dad spoke to me where incredibly powerful, “…true, unshakeable character…” Doesn’t that sum up what you strive for?

How can you attain it?

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You can start by putting your life’s mission statement into words. Words hold creative power.

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How do you complete the phrase, “I’m the kind of person who…”? Write it from the perspective of who you strive to be.

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Once you create your mission statement, keep it with you somewhere so you can read it often and revise as needed.

My most current mission statement looks like this:

I am a fierce warrior for truth. I seek God first and foremost and love living life on this edgy plane of deep faith. I am Ryan’s wife. I not only love my husband to crazy extents, but I’m a wife who keeps my marriage flirtatious, silly, compassion-filled, and I don’t keep a score of rights and wrongs. I love being Sierra’s Mommy. I’m the kind of Mom who listens to the details of her daughter’s stories. I know each one of her imaginary friends and her dreams to be an archeologist. I am a dedicated employee who brings hope to cancer patients by effectively communicating solutions to their doctors. I’m the kind of person who will fight the good fight. I strive for the best, but I don’t get caught up in the boring world of perfection. I protect my friends. I will lead others to find amazing joy and faith I live with each day. I am a competitive athlete. I love to workout and eat clean, but I never live a day without enjoying a favorite treat. I play aggressively to win; I never play defensively. I’m the kind of person who looks for opportunities to be someone’s angel. And, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t look for ways to drive people crazy. I am the daughter of God Himself, and I celebrate my God-given life!

Did you realize that you get to create your own character?

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You mission statement will inspire you… test it out and see!

Body:

What kind of an athlete are you?

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What did it say in your mission statement?

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How would you finish this sentence, “I’m the kind of athlete who…”?

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Once you create and begin to live your athletic, healthy characteristics, it’s not stressful to maintain “a plan.” Being active and eating well will just be a way of life. I believe you are in fact a fierce athlete no matter what your body looks like now, you will start to live like one. You’ll eat like one, you’ll train like one.

So, ask yourself point blank: are you living off of willpower or is health and wellness integrated into your character?

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I have had numerous clients tell me it’s crazy to call themselves athletes. Believe me, I’ve heard it all, “I’m fat and middle-aged.” “I’ve never played a sport in my entire life.” “I was always chosen last by the team captains in grade school.” Okay. That was then, this is now.

What would God say?

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Do you think He’d say, “All things are possible with God… hmm… well… I mean all things except your weight loss… and all things minus you becoming an athlete…” I’m pretty sure “all” means “all.”

During your workout today, replay your athletic mission statement in your mind.

Finish the statement, “I’m the kind of athlete who…” in your journal.

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Keeping in line with that mission, what are you eating today?

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How will you hydrate?

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Make sure it fits within your healthy character. If it doesn’t mark my words, you’ll feel “off.” It’s a matter of character, not willpower!

Closing Prayer:

Thank You again, Father for sustaining me. As I put aside the bad habits and attempt to change my old ways, Lord I ask that You would encourage me. Let me draw my strength from You alone. Enable me to persevere so that You might be glorified in and through my life. I ask these things in Jesus precious and holy name, amen.

What is God showing you through this study? We’d love to know. Leave us a comment below.
Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? Have you accepted His gift of salvation? Do you KNOW Him? If you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and would like to, visit Extreme Encouragement today and begin one of the most meaningful relationships you will ever have.

Encouragement Cafe was given permission by Noelle Dey to bring you this study via Encouragement Cafe. Content may not be reproduced or distributed without written permission from Noelle Dey. To purchase Transformation by Truth: 30 days to a Healthy Heart, Mind and Body in its entirety visit Amazon.com.

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