Celebrate Remembering

never_forget_where_you_came_fromToo often I spend more time looking at where I want to be and not enough time remembering where I’ve been. Many days I get up and immediately begin focusing on what I must do today, or tomorrow, or even further down the road. I look in a mirror, hear a comment, or see a picture that makes me feel like I’m not doing enough. Every day becomes about moving ahead because I’m not where I want to be. Sometimes this can be motivation…but often it leads to frustration.

However, I came across a great quote that has seriously challenged me. Check it out:

“It’s always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it.
To remember where you come from is part of where you’re going.” – Anthony Burgess

This hit me right between the eyes. I immediately had to pause and ask myself, “When was the last time I simply remembered where I’ve been and then celebrated progress?” My mind can get so focused on what I need to do next that I miss what has already been done in and through me. To truly have future success it is important to celebrate past victories!

Are you identifying with this? If you are a regular reader to our blog then you know this hasn’t been an area that we focus on very well. So today, I want to encourage you to do what I’ve had to do. Remember and celebrate. Ask yourself that question…when was the last time YOU remembered where you have been and celebrated your progress? It is okay to want to keep making progress on this journey but remembering and celebrating are necessary for continued progress. If you don’t stop and take time to see that all your work is making a difference then you will be more likely to give up.

Another piece that I have to constantly remind myself is that the only thing I can do is what I can do today. It serves no purpose for me to look down the road and worry about what is ahead. I love the words of Jesus when He tells us:

“…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

Your focus should be on today. Keep your goal in front of you and take time to remember where you’ve been. So, you have permission today to stop and pause. Look at where you’ve been…whether you’ve been at this a week, a month, or a year…remember and celebrate your progress. If you need some help, ask yourself these questions:

- What is one way I’ve surprised myself so far?
- What am I most proud of at this point in my journey?
- Where am I most excited to see progress?

Enjoy this time of remembering and use it to keep pressing on. Today is only a part of the journey to becoming the you that you were intended to be!

- Mark Cornelison

Hitting a Wall?

5480072376_2d900927d3Have you ever “hit a wall” Not literally but mentally. I was watching The Middle and the mom on the show had decided she was not cooking, decorating or being sucked into buying Christmas wrapping paper. She had hit a “Christmas wall” and she was done. No more stress of trying to make everything perfect. Who really cares anyway? All she wanted to do was lay on the couch, enjoy her mom’s fudge, wear no pants and watch TV. Her three children were devastated because they could not understand why she was acting this way. They began to apologize for what they might have done. They had done nothing. She just wanted to enjoy the Holidays without all the stress. She had come to the realization that it was not worth it!
“Hitting a wall” is a mental challenge that I am facing right now. Mark and I are training for a half marathon. We are 7 weeks into the training. I started off feeling very overwhelmed thinking there is no way that I can do this. As I got a few weeks into the running, my mind began to change. “I think I can do this!” Last Sunday, we did our long run which was 9 miles. I woke up that morning with the worst attitude about running. I didn’t want to. Why am I doing this anyway? I had smashed into that “wall” hard. I tried every way to talk myself out of doing it. “I can do it tomorrow”, “I think it is going to rain”, or “Does this really matter if I do this?” I didn’t want to admit to Mark how I was feeling. So I tried to show my joy and excitement for this long run that was before me. My attitude was terrible the whole time I ran. When I got done, I wasn’t even excited that it was over. I was hurting and mad that I was having to train for this stupid race. As I sat with ice on my knees, I began to ponder my feelings and wonder if I am the only one who feels this way. 
When we “hit the wall” we need some type of encouragement or motivation to help us get through those tough times. I needed that encouragement badly. On Saturday, we drove to San Antonio to participate in the Biggest Loser RunWalk. I had signed up for the 10K which was the longest I have gone in a race. I was still feeling a little down but I knew if I had gone 9 miles the week before I could run 6. I also had been praying for God to help me with my attitude. I turned on my favorite “run” playlist and was off. I was determined to run the first half without stopping to walk. As I reached the half way mark and stopped to walk I was feeling good.
As I began to run again the song “The Glory Of It All” by David Crowder began to play. “Things will never be the same. We will never be the same” kept resonating in my head over and over. This was the motivation I was looking for. Over the past three years I have changed how I see food and exercise. I have changed how I look at being healthy not for how I look or those jeans I want to fit into but to feel good so that I can serve Him with my all. As I was running I began to sing “I will never be the same”. God has transformed me and this is why I do this. Jesus paid it all for me and I want to give my all back to Him. Jesus is our Reason! 
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

 Maybe you have “hit a wall”. It could be a “Christmas Wall”, “Healthy Eating Wall”, “Exercise Wall” or some other wall. God will help you get over it. Pray continually! God knows how to encourage and motivate you. All you have to do is ask! I have included the lyrics to the song in the link below. As you read, think about All Christ has done for us…especially during this time of year as we celebrate His birth!

Merry Christmas!
- Cathy Cornelison

I’m Not Fluffy…

Today I want to share the words of a good friend who is cares for people, is an amazing writer, and struggles with his weight. He is the executive pastor of students at Cornerstone Fellowship in Chandler, Arizona and a regular writer for Group Magazine. He and I have met on various occasions and I can honestly say getting to connect with him is one of my favorite things to do. We typically share some laughs as well as some complaints about life, but we also talk about the struggle we all face to be healthy. Below is an article of his that is well worth the read.  I pray many of you will soak in the words of my friend, Darren Sutton, and find connection and healing.

679af18b8f31434eed4563ef51b5a64c“I’m fat. Not fluffy. Not big-boned. Not husky. Just plain old fat. I’ll be the last to starve in a famine. I’ll be the first to float in a water evacuation. And my insulation should keep me warm, comfortable, and well-fed should my GPS ever direct my car into a snow bank in the mountains in the middle of December.

A few years ago, while on staff retreat with the other pastors at my church, we stopped at a local restaurant. We looked like that picture of mankind’s “evolution” from a fish to walking upright—only this picture was about the progression of weight gain. We had our super-fit pastor, our “normal looking” associate, a few of the guys with a little bit of “middle”…and me. The waitress came by to take our orders, engaging us as they do in the South—calling us all varying names for Sugar, Sweetie, and the like. She took everyone’s order, and then came to me. “And how ‘bout you, hon…you look hungry.” The entire table erupted in laughter.I teased back. “Are you trying to say I’m fat?Because usually skinny people are the ones who actually LOOK hungry.” 

I’ve been doing that for years…laughing off my weight. Making a joke before someone else has a chance to. Laughing at myself to drown out the laughter of others. But it’s really not funny anymore.

Looking back, I haven’t always had a problem with my weight, but I always thought I did.I was a pudgy kid. So even when I thinned out in high school, I still saw myself as a fat kid.So I’ve spent years gaining and losing, gaining and losing, and gaining and gaining…until I’ve successfully landed at well over 300 pounds.No matter how many jokes I make, that’s just not funny. Or healthy.

In this journey, I’ve learned some things about myself that many people attribute to fatties.
I am not lazy…I work hard—in everything. I’m accomplished in my job, my family, and I’ve known successful weight loss. In fact, in 1999 I even appeared as a guest on “Good Morning America” chronicling my weight loss through a new medium: the Internet message board. In 2008, I made it to one of the final rounds to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser, but I lost out to another youth pastor. And I don’t know if you’ve ever auditioned for a reality television series, but it’s a lot of work. 

I am not sloppy…I pay attention to detail. I’m organized. I take a daily shower—sometimes more than one. I don’t wear sweats. Ever. I wash my hair, trim my nails, and take pride in my appearance.My clothes aren’t stained with pizza sauce or grease, and I don’t usually have food on my face or in my teeth.

I am not dumb…I have an undergraduate and graduate degree in my field of study. I mentor young youth pastors.I’m a published author, I speak to large crowds, and can assess a situation and offer wise counsel quickly. I can even balance my checkbook!

So if I’m not those things, then why am I still fat?
Well for all the things I’m not, there are a few things that I am—and those things chain me to this struggle.
I am self-conscious…In my mind, I’ve been battling this weight demon for…ever. It’s humiliating to be in public, period. I wonder if everyone’s staring when I order food. I never eat much at buffets because I wonder what people are thinking as they see me grazing at the food trough.And forget about exercising in public. Whether it’s at the local gym or just walking down my street, there’s nothing more degrading for a fat person than profuse sweating and sucking wind.

I am a “fill-in-the-blanker”…While there are always those who say thoughtless, well-intentioned things like the waitress did, those aren’t the words that keep me from moving forward. It’s the words in my own head that I use to fill in the blanks…the things unsaid. “I didn’t get that job because they’re disgusted by how fat I am.” “I’ll bet that guy’s thinking Please don’t let me get stuck sitting next to the fat guy on aisle 15!” “The kids don’t really want me to come to school lunches because they don’t want to explain to their friends who the obese funny guy is…” 

I am a success addict…In just about every area of my life, I’ve achieved a lot of success. I’ve broken chains in my household that have plagued our family name for years. I’m well respected in the youth ministry community. I have accolades and adoration that I’ve never sought, but have been so honored to receive. But despite the successes I’ve seen in my life, this demon reminds me continually that I’m a failure; its blood-curdling scream is louder than any of the faint whispers of success.

I am terrified…I don’t know how to live skinny. People like a jolly fat guy. I mean, Santa’s popular, right?What if I stop being funny at 220?! I can wear fat as a cloak of security when necessary. (I can’t climb that, ride that, or do that…because of my weight.) I might “try” this weight loss thing again, and do great…again, and then gain the weight back…again. And as a success addict, I can’t bear the thought of failing at something again…so I just won’t.

My wife and I began praying together for some very specific things. Katie’s prayer was something like, “Lord, let this be the year Darren conquers these demons.” That request has plagued me. Conquering. That’s a fighting word. It means I have to engage in something difficult—wrestle it to the ground, subdue it, and win. And this weight-loss dream? Make no mistake. It’s a demon. In my head I see a snarling, snaggletoothed minion with a Twinkie in one hand and a blood-pressure cuff in the other…drooling and laughing and spitting on me. I don’t know where this guy came from, and I’m beginning to wonder if it really makes a difference.Does it really matter why I still struggle with this sin, this failure, this public display of all I’m not? It really only matters that I fight this guy until he’s dead…or I am. At some point, whatever our battles are, we must choose to fight.

But that’s the thing about conquering demons. It’s a fight. Multiple times in my life, I thought that maybe I’d actually won the fight.But all I really did was learn to live at peace with my tormentor. I’ve shut him down by shutting myself down. As long as I’m quiet and do what I am told, my captor is friendly. And if he’s friendly, and I’m quiet, this doesn’t really seem so bad. I can stay caged in this mental cellar, abducted by a benevolent psychopath who won’t hurt me if I just give up and live quietly. But that’s not conquering anything.It’s just living at peace with him, and I’m still bound to the dank, dark cellar floor by titanium chains. But if I raise my hand to fight, he comes snarling back to life. The peace has been threatened and he will not stand for that. I’m still held hostage.

At some point, whatever our battles are, we must choose to fight. Our enemy would seek to keep us bound, chained in the dungeon of our own despair, disdain, and defeat. But captive living, no matter how peaceful it has become, no matter how still and quiet the chains are, is still captive living. No freedom. And that’s not living.

So what’s the name on the demon you’re chained to? It’s worth the fight to break those chains.”

You can find Darren on twitter @IAmFatNotFluffy
or check out his blog at http://iamfatnotfluffy.wordpress.com.

- Mark Cornelison

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