Daniel Plan: Take 1 (Or this is what I’ve learned so far…)

Well, I certainly had a lot of “Amen” moments while reading the first three chapters of The Daniel Plan. Rick Warren was preaching to the choir, I’m telling you! I’m all over the whole healthy diet and exercise thing.

Validation at its best!

But, oh…wait. That’s not the point. That’s not my goal. I’m focusing on “other areas”. (You know, the components of health I suck at struggle with and am desperate to change.)

Thought provoking concepts were plentiful in the first three chapters, overwhelmingly so:

“Until you face the truth about why you do what you do and get to the root of your habits, change is likely to be shallow and short lived.”

Why do I “do what I do”? Developing a list of my (undesirable) habits was easy. I’m a very reflective person that way. The hard part is digging in and figuring out the why (and then of course, changing them, but that goes without saying).

It’s not at all surprising to me that many (but not all) of my unhealthy habits stem from my perfectionistic mentality. But as Rick so eloquently noted, identifying the habit as a trait acts as more of an excuse than a solution; it doesn’t change anything.

“If you want to change how you act, you must begin by changing the way you think.” It is often your uninvestigated thoughts that drive depression, anxiety, fear, and overeating…”

Key word: uninvestigated. (Spell check doesn’t like this word, but it’s in the book. Honest.) Looks like a two step process here. So I have my list. (Really…I made a list.) And now, I’m spending a lot of time staring at my list, trying to figure out why I continue with these unhealthy habits.

“Change is a matter of choice. We can’t passively sit around doing nothing and expect our lives to get better.”

 I love this one. Seems like a no-brainer. I have made some great gains (teacher talk for improvement) in my life. Compared to where I was 5 years ago,  I am much healthier…physically. Yet, I feel that I am not living the life God wants me to lead.  And that, is a problem.

A big one.

“The first step in change is usually discomfort.”

Even when I am able to identify a habit as unhealthy, it’s hard to let go of  it. It’s a security blanket. I understand the importance of change; I know there is a bigger picture, but it doesn’t seem to inspire action. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t know how, or if I’m not ready to let go. And if it’s because I’m not ready to let go, I need to figure out why. What am I gaining?

“God uses circumstances to change us.”

Pretty smart guy. I sometimes wonder if God is out there frustrated as all heck when I resist making positive changes on my own. I know how I feel when my own kids or my students engage in habits that are leading them down the wrong path.

I get it.

I’ve lived it.

There’s nothing quite like hitting rock bottom to motivate you.

“What positive changes in your life could happen if you relied on God’s unlimited power instead of your limited willpower?”

Aaannndddd…this sums it up quite nicely, doesn’t it? Apparently it really is all about faith, which just so happens to be one of the Five Essentials (faith, food, fitness, focus, friends).

And now for my post meeting thoughts:

Many of the people in my group identified diet and/or exercise as their focus(es). And while I am grateful to feel at peace with both, I’m a bit jealous that their focus feels more tangible.

The Focus Essential is what’s calling my name.

“You can have solid faith, healthy food choices, and plenty of exercise and still sabotage your health. The potential saboteur? Your brain. Your mental health is vital for your overall health. Negative thoughts, positive thoughts, or lack of thought can consume you.”

This spoke to me. Loud. And. Clear.

I found the following little nugget of information extremely interesting as well. “Mindfulness” seems to be all the rage lately. I even took a class on it last summer. This gave me much to contemplate:

“In many ways, biblical meditations is the exact opposite of eastern or New Age meditation, which is about emptying your mind… In contrast, biblical meditation means taking a verse of the Bible…and seriously pondering its meaning.”

So this week, I’m pondering:

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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