Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010: NOT just a New Year's Resolution!

January, It's every fitness professional's dream month. Why? Because for one month a year, WE are the most sought after people in the nation! New Year's resolutions bring people to us everywhere we go - whether we're physically at the gym, checking out at the grocery store, or simply checking our Facebook inbox.

Well, we're almost at the end of the month. I know that inevitably, the WIDESPREAD fitness mania in my life will end. Sure, I can always count on my die-hards...and a few new ones will stay committed - but the questions everywhere I go, the 20 emails everyday, I know it's bound to dwindle.

And that makes me really sad....because the best part of my job is motivating others to live better and healthier lives. It's not about weight loss, gained strength, or a 6-pack to me. Those are just perks. It's the increased energy, the confidence boost, the better quality of life, taking care of the temple God has blessed us with. I LOVE it!

So I got to thinking....what would motivate someone to KEEP making healthier choices - choosing proper nutrition, working out more, etc.?

An incentive.

So though I am not made of money, I decided it would be worth the investment in the people I care about to launch a contest. No money to get in....just the chance EVERY SINGLE DAY to gain an entry into a contest to win a BODYBUGG.

If you don't know what a bodybugg is, let me tell you: The bodybugg® is the most accurate device on the market today for measuring calorie expenditure outside of a clinical setting.
It utilizes a patented process for interpreting calorie burn called "sensor fusion" developed by BodyMedia, Inc. This process involves collecting a range of body-data using multiple physiological sensors instead of a single sensor, which is what other calorie estimation devices such as pedometers and heart rate monitors rely on. It's this multi-sensor approach that enables bodybugg® to "see" the wearer's context (whether they are sitting, sleeping, jogging, walking, etc.) that makes bodybugg® such a reliably accurate device for calorie expenditure estimation. You've probably seen it featured on NBC's hit show, The Biggest Loser.

They retail for $200. I'm not looking at that as money out of my pocket (even though it is)....I'm looking at it as in investment in people that I care about - because whether you win or not, I hope the CHANCE of winning will motivate you enough to push past the temptation to end the health and fitness goals you've set for yourself.

So...now to what everyone wants to know.

Who can enter?


When does it start, and when does it end?

We will begin Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. The contest ends May 1, 2010.

How can I enter?

There are two different ways. First, for any of my classes that you come to, you will get one entry. My schedule of where I'm teaching is always up on my blog - http://www.michellemyerswrites.blogspot.com - so you can check my schedule to see when/where I am teaching. I will have scrap pieces of paper each time I teach. You will write your name on one of them, and I will add it to my stash. Remember, you get one entry for every class you attend, so attend as many as you can!!

Second, for those of you who are not local, you can make a purchase on my website - http://www.turbomichelle.com. For every $10 you spend between Feb. 1 and May 1, you will get 1 entry into the contest! (Please email me at coach.chelle@gmail.com, and we will work up a perfect plan JUST for you at no extra charge!)

That's it. Plain and simple. I just have one more question to ask...

Who's gonna win?! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Biblical Review of Superficial - (Not the Heidi Montag Album)


I was standing in the checkout line of the grocery store. Inevitably, those "trusty" magazine racks were there to ensure I was entertained while I waited. I saw a picture of a girl I almost recognized on the cover of People magazine with the caption "Not Addicted to Plastic Surgery." Looking closely, I realized it was Heidi Montag of the MTV reality show, The Hills.

Before Heidi ever celebrated her 21st birthday, she was no stranger to plastic surgery. She'd already had breast augmentation, lip collagen injections and a nose job. Now 23, she's unveiled herself this week to reveal the results of the 10 procedures she had done in November: mini brow lift, botox in forehead and frown area, nose job revision, fat injections in cheeks, nasolabial folds and lips, chin reduction, neck liposuction, ears pinned back, breast augmentation revision, liposuction on waist, hips, outer and inner thighs and buttock augmentation.

Are you serious?

But she's not alone. About 2 million people in the USA subject themselves to plastic surgery each year. Not so shocking, more females undergo these procedures than males. More shocking: Rather than most of the surgeries being done by older women attempting to reverse or stall the aging process, most patients are younger rather than older.

Many different factors effect my opinion on plastic surgery. The underlying motivation for any unnecessary cosmetic procedure is vanity, which means you've made yourself your own idol. I used to think that only arrogant people were the ones who idolized themselves. However, throughout my recovery from anorexia, I realized that even though I had a very low opinion of myself, my thoughts and actions still revolved all around me. I was my own idol just as much as someone who thinks too highly of themselves. The Bible warns against both conceit (Philippians 2:3-4) and putting too much focus on our appearance (1 Timothy 2:9).

Not to mention, there's the practical side of the argument. These procedures are wildly expensive and not covered by insurance. In addition, recovery time for most surgeries is 6-8 weeks. Not even mentioning the pain and discomfort, that's a long time to be away from responsibilities- whether your job, school, or simply being an ambassador for Christ. Plastic surgery doesn't seem to go along with the Bible's teaching of being wise with the resources God entrusts to us (Proverbs 11:24-25; Luke 16:10-12).

But it doesn't end there. Once you put yourself into the slippery slope of being overly concerned with the approval of the world, lines get fuzzy, decisions become difficult, and before you know it, boundaries get crossed.

Take a close look at the girl on the left. Sure, she may not be the curviest woman to ever walk the red carpet. Her hair has some flyaways, and Hollywood stylists would probably say she's not wearing enough makeup for the camera. One thing is for sure though: she has a killer smile - a smile that starts with her mouth as if she's beginning to laugh and spreads up to her eyes lit up with life.

The girl on the right doesn't have that. Her nose may be perfectly-shaped, and she may have more of the dream silhouette figure, but that smile is gone. Her eyes are lifeless. Her mouth is attempting to curve up in a smile, but it doesn't cover up the fact that she just looks sad. It's as if these two pictures aren't of the same person.

Heidi's bio on Twitter simply reads, "I love Jesus!" In an interview with USA Today, she talks about reading her Bible regularly and describes herself as "kind of a non-denominational Baptist. I have been the most religious person since I was 2 years old. I always felt this crazy connection to God."

Yet, one of her recent tweets invites you to download her new music album on iTunes (somewhat appropriately titled Superficial) -- with links to both the clean version and the explicit version. In 2009, she posed for an extremely provocative photo spread for Maxim...then posed completely naked for Playboy just a few months later.

I just want to shake some sense into her.

I assure you, my desire to shake her doesn't stem from judgement. I've made just as many mistakes as she has - perhaps more. But as someone who has been there, who has tried to live both following God and being of the world, I wish I could tell her it doesn't work. That's a hard life to live.

Trying to remember how you're supposed to act every place you go, searching to remember what actions are acceptable in which places, desperately seeking for approval of whoever is around whenever they're around....it's exhausting.

In Matthew 15:8, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah in a discussion with the Pharisees: "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."

So many of us get trapped into the same thing. We know the right answers we are supposed to say while we're at church or around other believers. Yet, we let the condition of the world have a greater impact on our lives than the teachings of God - the world that seeks to condition us to believe that our society used to be too conservative. We've evolved. We've changed with times. Things that were once unacceptable are now okay. Go ahead. Let loose. Live a little!

But that's not the case. Times change. God doesn't. No matter how much applause I get from people on this earth, it never fills the void of my deepest desire to have the approval of the One who created me.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). Even Dr. 90210 cannot hold back the hands of time. All cosmetic surgeries will become lost with aging. Everything that's lifted now will eventually sag. No amount of botox will be able to control the wrinkles forever.

Though I love getting dressed up, trying new beauty products and dressing up jeans and a t-shirt with funky accessories as much as the next female, I try to remind myself often that the only thing really worth beautifying is who I am on the inside: “that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight” (1 Peter 3:4).

This is not a post to question the salvation of Heidi Montag -- or even of anyone who has had plastic surgery done. I just want to offer a different perspective, so I leave you with imagery that I remind myself on days when I find myself being too consumed with what the world sees on the outside.

Imagine your Creator forming you in your mother's womb. He gets excited as He decides on every feature. He gives you your father's dimples, your mother's hair, and even throws in your grandmother's smile. He knows that when she dies when you're only 8-years-old, that smile will comfort your mother in her mother's absence. He gives you a dose of determination, even though He knows that will undoubtably manifest itself frequently in the form of stubbornness. He thinks about your life with a smile as He makes the finishing touches - the lives you will touch, how He will use you.

He also knows you will have moments where you will disobey Him. He'll guide you in the way you should go, and you'll defiantly turn against Him. But each time you return to His loving arms, expressing your regret, He'll hold you like you never left...just like He's holding you now.

And though it happens every time He creates one of His children, it never gets old. Each child He creates has a unique purpose, a hope, and a future. He thinks about how much He loves you in those few precious moments He has with just you...before anyone else even knows you exist.

The next time we're challenged to be superficial - whether with our looks or our behaviors - let's fight the urge to be plastic and pray for God to perform surgery on our hearts to align them with His. As Deuteronomy 30:6 says, "The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Expanding the Harvest

Matthew 9:37-38
"Then He [Jesus] said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest."

I grew up with a dad who is a minister of music. Now, I'm married to a young adults' pastor. I don't know what it's like to live life when your family works outside the realm of ministry. I've spent so much time in the churches were my dad and husband previously and currently serve, I'm pretty sure I could walk through the buildings blindfolded, giving detailed descriptions of what I was passing.

I've taught Sunday School, children's choir, youth Bible study and women's discipleship groups. I've been a member of church choirs, praise teams and the youth orchestra (even though, I'm pretty sure my flute playing wasn't much more than a joyful noise.) I've made phone calls to visitors, written articles for church magazines, changed diapers in the nursery, stacked chairs, decorated the atrium for holidays, washed communion dishes and counted heads on youth camp buses.

Knowing the audience of incredible Christian women that read this blog, as a general rule, I'm pretty certain most of you can identify with me. There probably aren't many roles of service at the church you haven't participated in at one point in your life.

First of all, let me say that serving God inside His house has always been and will always be an important part of my life. It is my personal conviction to never be a "benchwarmer" at my church. I always want to be active in at least one of my church's ministries. But today, as I was reading these verses, I couldn't help but think, "When Jesus talked about the harvest, he wasn't just talking about serving the church."

How do I serve God by my interactions with my family?

How do I serve God at my job?

How do I serve God in the city where I live?

How do I serve God by the treatment I give the people He puts in my life?

Whether you refer to it as the pareto principle, the 80-20 rule or the law of the vital few, we see similar statistics in the church: Twenty percent of the church does 80% of the work, in reference to serving, tithing, etc. Of course, every church is different, and we'll never really know the accuracy of this estimate. But I wonder - if you stepped down from one of your volunteer positions at your church, wouldn't that provide someone else with the opportunity to step up?

When I moved to Texas, I was concerned about the holes I was leaving at my home church. Particularly, I felt like I was abandoning our student ministry, leaving them without a female intern and short-handing our worship ministry without a praise team member and frequent soloist. I can't believe I thought so highly of myself that I doubted God would provide someone to fill my shoes.

But guess what? God did send others in my place. My home church never skipped a beat. In fact, whenever I visit and I talk to those who are serving where I previously did, I can see not only how blessed the ministries I left behind are, but I see how blessed those serving in my place have been....just as I was when I was serving there.

So if you find yourself having the "yes disease," with a plate full of service already, here's some advice I got from one of my mentors: "The next time you are approached with a new ministry to serve in, instead of dwelling on potentially saying that dreaded word 'no,' perhaps you should think of it as an opportunity for someone else to be blessed to say, 'yes.'"

Our God does incredible things. He is very much alive and active in today' world. Let's imagine that the pareto principle is true within the church. Can you imagine what more the church could do for our awesome if the workers expanded to 21%? Maybe 30%? What about 50%?

Along the same lines, if you relinquished some of your volunteer responsibilities within the church walls, would that open up other opportunities in your life to go into the harvest? Could you start a Bible study among your co-workers? Could you create a prayer group with ladies in your neighborhood? Would you just have an open evening in your schedule so you could have a family who is struggling financially over for dinner?

My prayer this morning is that I would be open to the Spirit's leading, wherever God would call me to serve - whether inside the church or outside of it. One thing I am certain: There is plenty of work to be done, and my desire is to be one of the workers and faithfully pray for God to send more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Support Breast Cancer Awareness.

A few posts ago, I told you about my reading resolution to read the Bible through in 2010 with a group of women. We are 12 days in, and it has been a huge blessing. The women in this group are all seeking to grow in their faith. I have been challenged, encouraged, lifted up, and convicted....and it hasn't even been 2 weeks yet! (If you are a female and reading this, click here to join. There's still time for you to catch up, and you will be so blessed!)

One godly woman and a dear friend of mine raised the question, "I realize in Abraham’s day it was very common for men to have concubines, however, is adultery not adultery? Why do you suppose Genesis makes no mention of Abraham’s relationships with other women, yet David’s adultery is such a big deal? Unless I haven’t gotten that far yet… it seems inconsistent."

An amazing woman of faith answered her: "I haven't researched this, but it won't stop me from giving my opinion. I think Abraham's relationship with Hagar was a pretty big deal. God didn't speak to him for 13 years after Ishmael was born. David also had multiple wives and concubines, but his adultery was a big deal because he took another man's wife as his own. I'm planning to look into this further, but it seems to me that all the problems with multiple wives outlined in the Bible clearly points to the benefits of monogamy! I mean seriously - after reading the account of the jealousy between Sarah and Hagar or Rachel and Leah would you ever want to be part of a family with more than one woman seeking the affection of her husband?"

Ann's wisdom stirred in my heart something I have been praying about posting for the past few days, so I figured it was time to share. In case you are not on Facebook, a few days ago, an inbox chain began where women we supposed to pass along only to other women. In an effort to show their support for breast cancer awareness, the message said to post the color of your bra as your Facebook status.

I know I am labeled as being "ultra conservative," but as I watched these colored Facebook statuses go up from everyone from eighth graders I used to baby-sit to Christian women I respect, I couldn't help but think, "What has happened to our boundaries?"

It seemed a bit off topic for today's Bible reading discussion, but nevertheless, here it goes:

Even if our husbands don't actively engage in relationships with other women, I don't know many women who haven't had to cope with either their husband's past, wandering eyes, or struggles with pornography. While the men may be the ones committing these sins against their wives, I think it's also fair to examine the judgement of the women they are lusting after.

I know I've only been married for a little over 18 months, but I learned within the first week of being married just how visual men are. I mean, I've heard it my entire life, but as soon as I got married, I witnessed it first hand. (Explain to me how my husband can be dead asleep, yet when I walk into the bedroom to retrieve my clothes after getting out of the shower, he's IMMEDIATELY wide awake and ready to go!)

As women, it's not only our job to protect the purity of our husbands, but also the purity of the other men in our lives. I'm just going to say it: When our Facebook status says, "Pink lace," it doesn't matter how discreet we think we are being, it's not just a Facebook status update. To a man, it's a visual image of a woman who is not his wife. James made efforts to stay off of Facebook for a few days to help keep his thoughts pure, and that's just how one godly man responded. I'm sure there are men out there who took that simple game as an open invitation.

That situation was a good reminder for me to remember how different males and females are and to be extra careful to protect the Christian brothers in my life. Just as women desire to be protected and loved, we need to protect men from impure thought lives in every way we have control over- even if it seems like it's just a cute, fun game in support of a good cause.

As someone who has struggled to keep a pure thought life, here's a verse that helps me when making decisions: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8).