Cardio & Cupcakes.

I am a nurse. I am an advocate for a healthy lifestyle. I do my squats, eat my veggies, and (try to) think positive. I've been known to make chia pudding and sneak all kinds of green goodness into smoothies. I also love cupcakes. I make them with ridiculous amounts of buttercream frosting. Pepsi will always belong with pizza. Fuzzy peaches are mandatory on road trips. Vitamins are important. Chocolate cake won't kill you. Water is vital. Sweating every day improves your mental and physical health. Balance, my friend. It's important. And so is the occasional cupcake.


I've never been on a diet, I've also always been slightly appalled at how much I weighed. I've spent time thinking about how I wished I was skinnier, when I should have been wishing I was kinder, or praising my Creator for how strong I was. Thanking Him my legs could run to Him, and my arms could raise up in Praise. I've wished for a narrow face, when I should have thanked Him for eyes that could see His beauty, and ears that could hear His music. I want to do better, thank Him more, praise Him more, for truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).


I hear the term self love so often lately. It alarms me. It sounds so selfish, so petty. It brings to mind people spending hours perfecting their image, getting that perfect selfie for the 'gram, and pursuing happiness and acceptance.


But have you thought about self love? Do you love yourself? Do you know God created you, from dust, in His own image? The self love I'm talking about is praise. It's thankfulness. Acceptance of who you are. Where you are. It's admitting you're wrong. Recognizing where you're weak. Reaching out for help. It's being comfortable enough with the person you are to speak up for what you believe. This is the kind of love that makes you shine, that draws people to you, that makes your Creator smile.


Do you know how to take compliments? Accept praise from others? Or do you look down, snort, insist that 'really it's nothing.' Learn to say thank you, learn to recognize and share your talents, don't say what God gave you is nothing. He made you ON PURPOSE. It's no mistake that you are the talented, kind, beautiful soul you are. Say thank you.


And it's back to balance. Loving yourself. Loving your neighbour. Being humble, but not downtrodden. Balance.


Before I went to Ghana, I was a farm girl in the true sense of the word. Strong, tough, I could take on the world. And to be clear, I will always be a farm girl. But something changed while I was there. I came to the realization that I, in fact, was not invincible. I learned to trust in God like I, admittedly, had never had to trust Him before. I knew nobody, only God. I loved every moment, lived big, immersed myself in rich culture. I got sick, I got lonely, but these were minor annoyances in my adventure. I came home with a lifetime of memories, dusty tanned feet, and typhoid.


I was weak, I felt out of place in my home country, I resented everything from Mastercards to clean drinking water. I laid in front of a heater with blankets piled on top of me and I wept. I thought my life had turned upside down, and I'd never find my calling again. I felt like I had to get to know my Creator all over again. Self love was out of the question. I hated the person I'd become. Weak, sick, blubbering. I didn't want to be home with the ones I loved, and I didn't want to leave. Once again, I had to trust God like I'd never had to before.


Balance.


Fast forward to now. Not even two years later. A new season of trusting. A new season of self love. My physical healing has been a true miracle. My trust is unfailing. I still cry for Ghana. I wouldn't change it. Any of it. Well, maybe a few things. I would have started using good vitamins sooner, and been more honest to everyone about all the feels, but the BIG stuff? None of it.


Balance. Eat cupcakes, eat spinach. Be honest. Love yourself, because you were created by the Father of Love, and you are more precious than rubies (Proverbs 3:15).

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