Healthy Lifestyle and Self-Image

When you think of what a healthy lifestyle is, many things may come to mind. Running, meditation, and dieting are the main components that I think of. All of these are important parts to having a healthy lifestyle, but it may be effecting your self-image.

Let’s take a look at your motives.

Why do you run? Why do you meditate? Why are you dieting?

I can answer these questions for you based on my experiences.

As an athlete, I was always motivated to run because I needed to in order to be prepared for my sport. Now that my athletic career is over, I have began to run in order to keep my body healthy. I began to have negative feelings about myself when I missed a workout. I felt that I had to workout in order to have the body image I used to have.

Meditating for me is spending time with the Lord. I believe this is necessary for living a healthy lifestyle. As much as I exercise my body, I need to exercise my mind. It is important to me to spend time in a devotion with God. When I begin to slack in spending time with the Lord, I begin to compare myself to other Christian women around me and critique myself.  I think that I am not as good of a Christian if I am not as motivated. I found that praying for strength from God helps me. I cannot grow in my faith on my own. Refer to our last blog post on how I feel about the power of prayer.

Because of the heavy amount of exercise that I used to be involved in, I never had to worry about eating healthy. I could eat an unlimited amount of calories, and I would not see the consequences. Now, I have to watch what I am putting into my body. If I go several days without paying attention, I feel gross about myself. I am motivated to eat healthy so I have what I believe is a good healthy image.

My motives for having a healthy lifestyle can negatively effective my self-image. No matter how hard you try, being dedicated to a healthy lifestyle will effect your self-image. It is easy to be caught up in making your body into the perfect image you have always wanted.

In order to not let your healthy lifestyle negatively effect your self-image, you need to have support. The relationship you have with God will help you stay focused on positive thoughts. Also, have a support system of friends and family. If you are honest with your support system about your thoughts, they will help you and pick you up when you are struggling.

Word of the Week: Power of Prayer

Prayer is our own personal connection with the Creator of this universe. God allows us to express our gratitude, fears, and love simply by having a conversation with Him.

With every situation, positive or negative, I go to God in prayer. Whether I am needing comfort or giving thanks to Him, prayer is consistent in my walk with Christ.

The most positive result of prayer I have experienced was when I was deciding whether to continue on playing soccer after high school. Thoughts of doubt and insecurity were running through my head. I tried to fight through these thoughts by myself, but I continued to struggle.

Finally, I decided to go to the Lord in prayer about how I was doubting myself. Within one month, my prayers were answered. I was offered an athletic scholarship to a college that was what I had been searching for all along. Through prayer, God made my insecurity and doubts disappear, and He gave me something that exceeded my expectations.

If you are struggling with self-image issues, ask God for the answers. He will transform your thoughts into something that is powerful. He will give you the strength to believe in yourself.

Be honest with God. He already knows whatever you are struggling with, but voicing to Him your problems and doubts will change you. Giving it all up to Him in prayer shows that you trust Him to take care of you and transform you.

When you go to God in prayer, you also need to be humble. Do not assume that Christ will give you something just because you ask for it. Being humble in prayer is necessary.  He is our provider, but He gives us what we need when we need it.

Pray in community with other Christians. I have witnessed the true power of prayer whenever Christians are connected together by praying for the change and His intervention. Be open with others about what you are struggling with. They can not only support you, but they can also go to God in prayer.

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”

– Max Lucado

Prayer is a powerful tool that we should be using daily. God gave us our own communication channel with Him. Simply have a conversation. Your words do not have to be eloquent for God to listen. He desires to have a relationship with you. Your relationship will only grow if you talk to Him. He will change your life if you simply talk to Him.

Even Rubber Bands Can Break

As college students, we have so many opportunities to get involved in different campus groups, extracurricular activities, and various student programs. We could join here, serve there, take on campus leadership rolls, go to this event, show support for this program, and so on.
With all of the opportunities we have to give back to our campus or invest in our college/university, it can be easy to take on a little too much for our schedules. We want to be active students and get involved on campus, but sometimes, we overwhelm ourselves with all the things we can do, and end up spreading ourselves a little too thin.
Being involved on campus is great, but what you’re involved in, or how much you’re involved in, does not define you. I sometimes find myself thinking that I have to do a little bit of everything. But for someone who’s never been good at doing anything halfway, a “little bit of everything” turns into a whole lot of responsibility.
I quickly find myself trying to bite off more than I can chew. In theory, being a part of a lot of different campus groups and organizations seems great. You meet new friends, make new connections, make a difference, and have some great additions to your resume. But what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate into the real world quite as well.
I’ve found myself feeling as though my few responsibilities or involvements weren’t enough to make a difference, or to be worth much. I felt as though I had to do more, get involved in more, make more connections, take on more responsibility, join more organizations. But it was okay, right? I could stretch myself a little. Or a lot. I could manage.
I quickly realized, however, that I could only do so much before I felt the effects of such a full, hectic schedule. I hardly slept, had no energy, got sick easily, and always felt stressed. I thought I was being “productive” but what I was actually doing was putting too much strain on myself both physically and emotionally.
The fact is that it didn’t matter how much I did, it didn’t make me any better of a person or student. I was torn in so many directions that it was negatively effecting my health and ability to function.
I wasn’t able to give my full effort to all of my different responsibilities. My attention was scattered. I constantly felt overwhelmed and underprepared. I was about to break. That’s when I realized something had to change.
After looking at all of my responsibilities and all of the organizations I had joined, I realized I had to cut back for the sake of my health and sanity. I picked the responsibilities I couldn’t drop, and reevaluated which organizations I really wanted to be a part of, then cut the rest.
After I cut back, I realized just how freeing the decision was and how much better I felt. I was able to sleep, keep up with my work load, and still be a part of the things that really mattered to me. The best part about it was that I was still making a difference. I was still involved on campus. I was still getting to meet new people and take on responsibilities.
I learned that what I do or how much I do doesn’t define my worth or value as a person. I’m not a better student for being involved in more organizations. I’m not a better person for taking on more responsibility.
Being a good student is managing my time well and not overloading my schedule with obligations. I grow as a person when I only take on as many responsibilities as I can devote the time and energy to keep.
From one busy college student to another, don’t overload your schedule with unnecessary obligations, or overwhelm yourself with too many responsibilities. It’s okay if you only get involved in one organization, or have fewer responsibilities than others. Only take on what you can handle without stretching yourself too thin.
You don’t have to do everything. But in everything you do, give your best.
With love,
Faith

Word of the Week: Wait

“Good things come to those who wait.” That’s how the saying goes, but some days I just don’t buy it. I don’t know about you, but I hate waiting. I’m the type of person who wants to know all the facts, all the plans, and I want to know them now. Can anyone else relate?

Waiting can be hard, especially when it concerns an issue that is particularly important to us. Sometimes, however, waiting is the only option we have.

As Christians, we bring our requests, problems, and decisions before God and ask Him for direction. We know to turn to God in any situation, and we know that He will always give us an answer to our prayers; but often we get so caught up in searching for a “yes” or a “no” answer, that we don’t consider the possibility that the answer we were given is actually “wait.”

Recently, I’ve had several areas in my life where I’ve brought a problem or a situation before God and the answer He gave me in return was “wait.” It almost felt like a cycle: I pray, I listen, and I wait – no answer; I start the process all over. I began to get discouraged because I felt like I kept praying and kept seeking God’s will for my life in these areas specifically and no matter how much I prayed, I didn’t get an answer.

I was wrong. I did get an answer. At first, I didn’t realize the Lord had answered my prayers because I kept looking for and expecting a “yes” or a “no.” I was so set on getting a definitive answer from God that I missed the answer He had already given me. God wanted me to wait.

It seems like waiting should be so simple. You literally do nothing but pray, trust God, and well, wait. But for me, waiting brought its own set of struggles. I found myself growing increasingly frustrated with my situation. I wanted a real answer, and I wanted it immediately.

We all go through waiting periods in life. We wait for an answer to a decision we have to make, for a job opportunity, for a better option – for the right option.

We wait on that guy to ask us out, we wait for the guy to come into our lives. We wait for solutions to financial difficulties, stressful situations, and problems that we’re facing.

Whatever it is you are waiting on, you’re not alone. We all go through the struggle of waiting for various things throughout our lives, and it can be so hard sometimes, but that doesn’t make waiting bad.

I think sometimes it’s easy to get frustrated with our “wait” situations. I know for me, it is easy to feel as though I’m waiting on something because I don’t deserve to have what I’m waiting for. It’s easy to feel like I don’t have a definitive answer yet because I’m not good enough to get one. But none of that is true.

God doesn’t make us wait for something because we aren’t worth it, but rather, He tells us to wait because we are worth it. We are valuable. We matter. And because God sees our worth, He doesn’t want us to settle for mediocre, but instead, wants us to have His best for us – whatever that may be.

We wait because God has something better to offer us – whether thats a better option, a better solution, or better timing. Ultimately, we have to remember that God’s plan is far greater than our own. We don’t always know what God’s plan is for us, or even the next step in His plan for our lives, but we can trust that it’s a good one.

God said wait. So wait I did. And you know what? I’m still waiting. It’s been a challenge but I’ve learned a lot and grown so much in my faith.

If we let Him, God will grow us through the wait. We can become stronger, draw closer to God, and increase in our faith when we are willing to sit back and wait.

Waiting can be a struggle, but the wait makes the answer that much sweeter.

With love,

Faith

 

Word of the Week: Jealousy

Jealousy. Unfortunately, this a word that we females are far too familiar with. I wanted to address this subject specifically this week, because I have seen it steal too much joy from the women around me.

Jealousy wrecks friendships.

Jealousy leaves no room for joy.

Jealousy causes us to give up far too easily.

When we focus on being jealous of others, we shift the focus off of growing and improving ourselves. We begin to lose self-confidence in ourselves, and doubt our own abilities.

Let me tell you something sweet friends. Social media can be deceiving. Sometimes it’s the farthest thing from the truth. Those perfectly curated Instagram accounts are just the HIGHLIGHTS of someone’s life. I can promise you that they are struggling just as much as you. They fail, make mistakes, get upset, have bad days, and even get jealous just like the rest of us.

One thing I think is so important though is to look to those who might be more successful than us in whatever way that might be, and celebrate WITH them. Someone’s success shouldn’t immediately be a trigger for jealousy. Instead, we should look at them and see an opportunity to rejoice WITH them.

It should make us excited to see other individuals reaching their goals and dreams. It’s selfish to tell ourselves that we can only be happy or content when things are going our way. That’s immature and just plain unfair to those around us.

So the next time you come across a photo on social media that causes you to become jealous, stop yourself.

Think about how much they have accomplished.

Think about what they have sacrificed to get there, and how much work they have put in to reach their goal or dream.

Instead of rolling your eyes and continuing to scroll, take the time to comment your excitement. Celebrate with them. You know how much affirmation means to a girl. Take time to celebrate their success with them, and encourage yourself to keep going, no matter how far along you may be in accomplishing your goals or dreams.

Much love,

Katie

5 Ways to Make it Through the Rest of the Semester

I think all college students are struggling to find motivation to make it through the rest of the semester at this point. We feel ya. It’s difficult to finish well when you feel like you’ve been going full speed for so long now.

Here are a few tips to help you make it through the semester!

 

  1. Study in groups people-woman-coffee-meetingThis will help you stay focused and keep you from getting distracted. Not to mention, studying in groups often helps you retain information better! So it’s a win/win for everyone!

2. Make sure you’re making time for yourself

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Things are always crazy at the end of the semester, but make sure you’re taking time for yourself amidst the chaos. Paint your nails one night, do a facial mask, take a bath, or spend a little while reading a book you’ve wanted to start all semester. Giving yourself a little breather will help you focus better when you get back to your studies.

3. Make a list of things you want to do over break 

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This will give you so much more to look forward to when you get off break, and will allow you to have some time to think about the things you really want to prioritize over Christmas break!

 

4. Find a new favorite coffee drink to get you through the rest of the semester! coffee-cup-working-happy

This will make it a little easier to wake up in the morning, and give you something to look forward do as you count down the days until break!

5. Spend a little extra time with friends

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Once you’re on break, it’ll be a while before you see your closest friends. Take some extra time to spend with your girlies, and enjoy the last bit of the semester with them!

Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems

Notorious B.I.G. was right in his song about money causing problems. If you do not understand, check out this video.  No matter your financial situation, money is always an issue.

Specifically for college-aged women, money can make an impact on how we view ourselves. Some feel the pressure to buy the trendiest clothes or being able to travel whenever and wherever. This pressure is an endless game of keeping up an image and lifestyle that drains your bank account.

Whether you care about having a costly lifestyle or not, money effects your self-image. Many people put their value in their bank accounts, instead of what really matters.

“If only, I could give enough money to the church,” or “If only, I had enough money to go on this mission trip,” are thoughts that make people feel inadequate. These thoughts are silly and inaccurate. God can still use you no matter your financial situation. He blesses us with gifts that are of much more value than dollar bills. He provides just enough so we can give and worship in our own unique way.

Do not compare the  monetary sacrifices of others to yours. God does bless people with riches here on earth for His good, but because their gifts are money it does not mean your service is invaluable.

Having your finances organized will relieve stress and  allow you be confident in your service to God. Here are some simple ways to save money so you can give back to God the way that you would like.

  1. Keep a change jar: All your coins in the bottom of your purse or in your wallet add up. Once a week, I clean out the loose change in my car, backpack, and wallet. Over time this money adds up.
  2. Cook at home: Eating out not only blows your budget, but it is less healthy.  If you do not know how to cook, Pinterest is your friend for easy recipes. Crockpots not only save you money, but it saves time.
  3. Student Discounts: Most college towns have restaurants and stores that give a college-student discount. Always ask when you are spending because most places do not advertise their discounts. Check out this list for places that accept student discounts.
  4. Carpool: Save money on gas when you visit home or go out by traveling with your friends. Most college communities have “Ride boards” where people can find rides either for free or a small fee.
  5. Keep track of spending: In order to save your money, you need to know where you are spending it. Look through your bank statement and make a list of where you are spending the most money. Once you locate your largest expenses, it will be easier fro you to decided where you need to cut your spending.

Once you know how to successfully manage your money and put it in to practice, you can use this skill for the rest of your life. It will save you stress now and in the future. What are ways you save money?

-Kayleigh

Word of the Week: Gossip

According to Dictionary.com, gossip is defined as idle talk especially about the  affairs of others.

Let’s break this definition down, starting with idle talk. The adjective idle means of no real worth or importance. Next we look at the word affair, which means a private or personal concern.

Now that we all understand what gossip is, let’s take a step back and look at it. Most women have an issue with gossiping. In fact this study from 2011, says that women spend at least five hours every day gossiping. Yes, these numbers are harsh, but evaluate your conversations that you have.

Gossip ruins relationships. Unfortunately, there have been several times that I have not controlled my mouth and lost a friend because of it.

Gossip destroys self-image. Whether you are the person gossiping or the focus of the gossip, it fills you with disgust. Hateful words are like a stain that is difficult to clean out. You have to scrub it out, wash it off, and repeat until it is all gone.

God warns us about our tongues. Our words are the most powerful tool we have. We can use it to lift others up or tear them down.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

Ephesians 4:29

As Christians, we should remember that we are all God’s children. Every person no matter their actions, appearance, or personality are a creation of God. When you gossip about the Lord’s creation, you are telling the Creator of the Universe that His work is not good and unworthy.

We can stop the problem. Once you stand up for someone, others will begin to do the same for others. Not only will your relationships with your friends be stronger, but your group can be an example for others. A snowball effect will create an atmosphere of love and trust.

Another way to stop the gossip is to pray. Nothing is more powerful than God’s help.

“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Psalm 141:3

My challenge for you this week is to be the catalyst of change. Stop the gossip. Do not just let the awful conversation and tearing down of others continue. You can be a positive driving force and a light to others

 

Word of the Week: TRUST

In the college world, it is far too easy to develop a mental plan of how our life should go.

1. Survive freshman year. 2. Meet a guy sophomore or junior year. 3. Get engaged senior year. 4. Graduate. 5. Land your dream job. 6. Get married. The list goes on. This mindset of how college life ought to go is dangerous. It has made me question things more times than I would like to admit.

“I want to graduate early. But not a lot of people do that. Should I still do that?”

“I feel like God is calling me to do this, but I don’t know anyone else who has done it. Is this really what I’m supposed to do?”

So many sweet girls fall into the trap of settling for less, and not following God’s plans for their life because they’re too afraid that they might stand out too much.

People might view them differently. They might talk about them behind their backs. Trust me. I’ve been there. I’ve felt all of those things. No one wants to be singled out. Most of us just want to blend in and enjoy the college experience.

But have you ever thought that you might be missing out on what God has for you because you’re far too worried about what others will think of you? I’ve learned the hard way after my plans have shattered that what I wanted for myself was not what the Lord wanted for me. I’ve had doors closed in my face, friends betray me, opportunities fall through, etc.

But you know what? All of those failures and disappointments have led me to the things that God truly wanted for me. God wants us to let go of expectations. He wants us to simply TRUST Him. Seek Him. Speak with Him. Listen to Him.

Sometimes it blows my mind why we fret over the things we do. God has known how our life will play out since the beginning of the world.

LET GO of what others expect of you.

LET GO of what you’re “supposed” to do.

LET GO of believing that your life has to go exactly like the girl next to you.

Your story is unique. Your life will look completely different than anyone else you know, so why try to blend in with everyone else?

TRUST the Lord. If He is calling you to do something, do it. Don’t be afraid to do something, just because it doesn’t follow the typical college time line.

Be willing to be different.

Be willing to go where the Lord calls you.

Be willing to do what He tells you.

Be willing to let go of what everyone else is doing.

Because when you do, you’ll be able to experience freedom and you’ll no longer find yourself bound to the expectations of those around you.

Much love,

Katie

The One Thing Most People Don’t Warn You About College

Once you officially graduate high school and are getting ready for college, people start to give you all sorts of advice.

I remember reading so many blog posts the summer after I graduated. Most of them started with “Dear freshman,” and continued to tell you what to expect about college. Others were lists of things you would need for your dorm.

However, after a year and a half of college, I’ve learned that a crucial part of college was never addressed in those blogs posts. Self-care. Nobody talks about the importance of integrating this into your college life, but friends, it is so SO important!

Personally, I can’t function unless I make time for myself amongst my busy schedule! I’ve learned that balancing school, extra curricular, fitness, and relationships can be quite the task. However, making time for myself has really helped me thrive in all of the areas above. Here are some things to help you take care of yourself while maintaining a busy college schedule:

  1. Start your mornings off with a substantial breakfast. My freshman roommate always used to get onto me for not eating breakfast, and she taught me the importance of fueling my body and helping me get through the mornings by eating a substantial breakfast. Now I either make a quiche at the beginning of the week that I can eat all throughout the week, or I’ll take a green drink a banana on the go with me. Find something that works for you and stay consistent!
  2. Treat yourself to a spa night!Even if it’s just putting a face mask on and letting it sit for 10 minutes while you work on homework, do it! Some nights I start getting ready for bed a little earlier than usual so I can do a face mask, put on lotion, paint my nails, and finish my skin care routine.
  3. Take a walk! I know this sounds really simple, but I have found that walks are so refreshing and allow me to clear my mind and take a break from school for a little while. Go by yourself, or grab a close girlfriend and catch up a little! Try fitting workouts into your schedule I know, I know, you don’t have time. But try going to bed just a little earlier so maybe you could get up a little bit earlier to get a workout in before hitting the day hard.
  4. Drink a bottle of water right when you wake up! This seems unecessary, but it’ll help you stay hydrated that morning, and help your body get the water it needs! Make sure to pack another bottle to drink throughout the day.
  5. Commit to getting more sleep. I’m a nine hours a night kind of girl, but I didn’t think that was possible in college. I went the first semester staying up until 1:00am a lot of nights, and by the time I was finished that semester, I realized I couldn’t keep doing it anymore. I started setting my alarm for 9:45 or 10:00pm to remind me to start getting ready for bed, and would get to bed at 10:30. This allowed me to get up at 7:30 and be super productive before classes started. Often times I will do homework in the mornings because I am more awake, refreshed, and ready to focus.
  6. Don’t live off of coffee! Seriously, you’re going to have a meltdown (if not several) if you’re relying on caffeine to get you through the semester. I know schedules get unbelievably busy and crazy, but try to not stress your body out by not eating properly and hoping that coffee will magically help you accomplish everything that needs to be done.

Hopefully these tips will help you as you learn to thrive and college and be the best version of yourself! If you have any additional tips, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Much love,

Katie