The Daniel Plan: Final Thoughts

It’s over. Done. Complete. Finito. (Not sure if that’s really a word, but it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?)

My Daniel Plan small group has reached the end of the road. And truth be told, I’m a little sad. As much as I am going to appreciate a less hectic Monday, I will miss it.

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I enjoyed getting to know the people in my small group, especially those who were brave enough to share their struggles. It definitely helped create a sense of community.

Although I was able to contribute to discussions, I was not brave enough to share my past struggles which would have explained my passion for wellness. Nonetheless, it was a great reminder that sharing yourself with others creates meaningful connections and feelings of empathy.

I’m also going to miss the accountability factor. A rule follower by nature, I read the assigned chapter(s) each and every week. I took my time, jotting notes in the margins of my book, as thoughts popped into my head. (This also provided my husband with some pretty nice Cliff notes…I believe they are called Spark notes in today’s world.)

(And yes, this was all fine and good, but what I didn’t do was take time to apply what I had learned. In other words, I was good at reflecting, but not so good at creating goals.)

So that, along with the following, was what was on my mind this week:

“We are only as sick as our secrets. To get healthy, we need to share our struggles and be willing to receive help.”

Love, love, love this. Many times when I write a post, I struggle with hitting the publish button. At times, I write about soul baring topics.

I really do understand my experiences could be valuable to others. I want to give hope to those who are feeling hopeless. I want to make a difference.

What I’m still mulling over? The be willing to receive help part. What does that actually mean in my life?

“Start with a few vital behaviors-the ones that will have the biggest impact-and go from there.”

This week I went back to the ‘Goals’ page I created in my journal. Last night, while my husband and I were driving through a snowstorm in order to pick up our youngest at the airport, we discussed goals. My goal was to create small goals in each area of the Daniel Plan.

Here’s what I am committing to:

Faith: Spend 15 minutes with God each day. My prayers have become more consistent and focused. I have dusted off my daily devotions that have been lying dormant for the past year of so.

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I have my Bible right next to my bed. Quite a few years ago, I decided to read the Bible cover to cover. And while I can now say I read the whole thing, I can’t honestly say I read it for the right reason.

This time, I have no preconceived agenda. I’m just reading and thinking and jotting down notes. And I’m not even going to start at the beginning of the Bible. Yeah, you just read that. I’m not reading it in order.

Food: Drink 64 oz. of water each day. It’s not food exactly, but it is something that I need to work on. I do not drink enough. So I dug out this cute little bottle and I am going to fill it up twice a day. Tea consumption will be a bonus.

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Fitness: I am committing to some upper body strengthening exercises each day. This is not “get crazy and do 3 sets of 12-15 reps of 6 specific muscle groups each day”. Been there, done that. I’m just doing a simple yoga exercise before climbing into bed. I doubt if I will even break a sweat.

Focus: Each day, I will write down one thing I appreciate about what my body can do. I struggle with body image.  A lot. Despite the fact that Psalm 139:14  says

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

I continue to find fault in my body. My perfectionistic mindset may be to blame, but placing blame isn’t changing how I think. I want to love my body, but for now I will focus on appreciating it. Baby steps.

Friends: Each day I will reach out to one person. This could be a phone call, a text, or an email.

“God has given you the power to change your life, to set new patterns and reactions.”

“While it’s important to honor God’s commandments, making corresponding positive choices is what transforms us. Choices to joyfully worship God, to serve and love others, to focus on gratitude, to be kind-these choices lead us to replenishing our spirit and growing our faith.”

Change is possible. I have always found myself getting caught up in thinking that I am just stuck with myself. This is who I am. Truth is, it’s a choice. While change may not be easy, it is possible. But I need to work toward change. It’s not going to happen just because I want it to.

“Within every human heart is a desire to improve, grow, and change. It’s universal. We might have different reasons for that. What is your motivation or dream?”

I want to feel content. I want to be more authentic. I want to live in the moment and appreciate the people in my life.

“We bring in the good not because we “should”, but because we long for the benefits a healthy lifestyle brings.”

Life is full of ‘shouldas’. But the reality is, you can’t live your life with this mindset. I need to get rid of the baggage. Focusing my life on what’s truly important will allow me to get rid of the ‘shoudas’.

And I will finish with this:

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Philippians 1:6

 

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