Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Love, romance, and Valentine’s Day.  Perhaps you are like many others, making the sellers of heart-shaped baloons, teddy bears, flowers, cards, and chocolate covered strawberries very happy again this year. My favorite is the chocolate covered strawberries, and Thanks to my wonderful husband there are two dozen in the refrigerator right now! (Or at least there were earlier today: they aren’t lasting very long!)

What is it about the human heart that responds to love – or wants to? I think it’s the way we are made, and the way God intended it to be.

I know what it’s like to be single and lonely: I was that way for 48 years. I also know now what it’s like to be married, in love, and thrilled with the joy, comfort, and security a healthy marriage can provide.

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What’s Your Excuse?

I hear excuses all the time. And I’ve made them myself. I’ve learned to spot them, and I’ve learned to dislike them intensely.

My excuse if I need to eat healthier, exercise, or lose weight: It costs too much to buy healthy food. It takes too much time to cook at home. I have too much to do. I’m tired. My family won’t like it. The only food I like is junk. I’m just hungry. It’s my metabolism. It’s my hormones. All my family was fat. I eat almost nothing and I still gain weight. I’ve tried everything and it’s no use. There’s no safe place to exercise. I forget all the time.

If I need to stop smoking or drinking: I’ve done it too long. It’s too late to change. I like it too much. The cravings are too strong. I CAN’T QUIT. Everybody around me does it. My daddy was an alcoholic.

Or if I need to change something else: He makes me so angry! She won’t help out. I was born this way. I was abused as a child. My boss doesn’t understand. She came on to me. I can’t help it. I’m too young. I’m too old. Nobody likes me. I’m afraid I’ll fail.

OK, you get the point. You can find an excuse for anything you don’t want to do. And unless it’s paying your taxes, nobody is likely to force you to do anything.

But who said it was supposed to be easy? It’s only those very few people who win the lottery that get something for nothing. And how long do they tend to keep that unearned money anyway? Do you really know anyone who has done anything of significance, anything meaningful, who didn’t have to work at it? Are there any real achievements that don’t involve overcoming obstacles? Isn’t anything truly worthwhile worth working for?

The next time I hear an excuse I want to say, “So what? So what if it’s hard to change my lifestyle? So what if it’s hard to learn new ways of relating to my spouse? So what if it’s hard to get past my abuse-filled past? So what if it’s hard to overcome my addiction? So what?”

It may take your best effort, more than you thought you had to give. It may take courage, time, and repeated failure to finally make it. It may take getting help. It may take God’s intervention. It may be the hardest thing I could ever imagine. It may take letting go of things you don’t want to let go of. It may take learning things you never thought you’d be able to do.

If that’s what it takes, so what? That’s what it takes.

If that’s what it takes, do it anyway!

Now, what’s your excuse?

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Why is Losing Weight So Hard?

Two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and one in three kids is the same. So says the CDC, as well as others. And I believe them. There are numerous negative physical and mental consequences of obesity: heart disease, some cancers, depression, and many more. Billions of dollars are spent every year on diet and other weight-loss programs. Why is it so tough?

Some say our culture makes junk food and inactivity too easy, that we should tax sugary drinks, and subsidize fruits and vegetables to make them cheaper. Perhaps that would help a little. But have increased cigarette taxes eliminated smoking? Government regulations are not the answer.

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Marriage in Crisis? Stop it Already!

At the beginning it’s fireworks and goosbumps. Later it may start to feel like fire and brimstone. Or even worse, like the fire has completely gone out.

When your marriage is going well you feel like you can take on the world. When it’s not, you feel like nothing will ever be OK again. An unhealthy marriage, or a marriage in crisis, can feel like a mountain bigger than you can ever hope to get past.

If you’re the one who knows your marriage is in trouble you may well be clawing desperately to try and fix things. And you’re probably terribly frustrated with your partner for doing nothing.

But here’s a news flash:

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What Breaks Your Heart?

What Breaks Your Heart?

How do you know what you’re supposed to do? How do you find your purpose? How do you figure out what you were put on this planet to do?

Of course there are personality tests, career counselors, spiritual gifts inventories, and more. And they can sometimes be helpful. But there is one question that may get you closer to the answer than just about anything else.

What breaks your heart? Whose pain do you feel? What has your life experience sensitized you to that you just can’t get out of your soul?

When you recognize whose pain you feel, you likely know what problems you are created to help and whose brokenness you are uniquely able to help heal.

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