31-day New Year, Fit Spirit Challenge by Sarah Shaffer
I am SO excited to introduce the 31-day New Year, Fit Spirit challenge!
In November, the Lord really started speaking to me through 1 Timothy 4:8 “For physical training is of some value (useful for a little while), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.” God really began to impress upon my heart the importance of focusing on the wellness of our spirits. This challenge is based on that verse and will be the heart of our 31 day challenge!
After the holidays in particular, so many of us are really focused on our physical goals. Almost every year, the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and get in better physical shape. Last year, almost half of all American’s listed weight loss as their number one goal for the year. In January, gym usage increases by 35-55% percent. We are bombarded with information about Paleo and plank challenges, macronutrients and meal planning, workouts and weight loss. Again, there is nothing wrong with any of these things, but the extreme focus on them really causes me to reconsider Romans 2:12 and ask, is our focus misdirected?
In the Bible, the 8th day has wonderful meaning. It represents a new beginning, and new life! That’s why for the next 30 days, beginning January 8, we are going to focus on spiritual training! The Lord truly wants to offer you a real fresh start this year! Are you ready?!
The challenge will be based on the SOAP method of bible reading.
What is SOAP? SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer.
Using SOAP as your guide to bible reading is a powerful way to make the Word of God come alive in your everyday life. It is especially helpful if you’re new to studying Gods word and need a place to start! Before you begin, I highly recommend getting out a good old fashioned pen and paper to write out your SOAP. I promise you it will have infinitely more power than simply reading through the steps! And, as always before spending time in God’s word, I recommend praying! Ask Him to reveal himself to YOU on a personal level and to give you clear discernment to recognize His voice!
How does SOAP journaling work?
1.) Scripture: To begin you choose a scripture. We have provided a daily scripture calendar to guide you, but don’t feel limited by these suggestions. Let the Holy Spirit guide you if there is a verse He has for you each day! First, read the scripture verse. Because it’s kept short you can really study the verse. I would suggest re-reading it, using bible study apps to read it in several translations, look up the meaning of words to really gain understanding of their meaning. This is your time to really understand the verse.
2.) Observation: What did you observe about the scripture that struck you. This can be one sentence or a whole book.
3.) Application: How can you apply the observation so that it affects your life today? What is God revealing to you? How can you make His word alive and applicable through that scripture verse today?
4.) Prayer: Write out a prayer to God based on what you just learned and ask him to help you apply this truth in your life.
Here’s how the 31-day New Year, Fit Spirit Challenge will work.
Commit! Just as you would commit to a new workout or eating plan, commit to making your spirit fit for the next 30 day and watch God at work in your life!
Plan! Again, just as meal planning or exercise requires planning to be successful, so does prioritizing time in God’s word! Make a plan for how and when you’ll spend time exercising your spirit!
SOAP journal every day for 31 days following the scripture calendar or on your own!
On February 8, the final day of the challenge, enter the give-away by sharing a story or testimonial about how focusing on a fit spirit every day for 31 days impacted you. What did God do in your life during this time? How did it change you? How do you plan to continue making this a priority? Anything, we want to hear it! Simply enter by sharing your story on the Dashing Dish website, Dashing Dish Facebook page, or Twitter, using #dashingdishnewyearfitspirit.
The winner will be announced on February 11, 1015 and will receive a custom notebook to continue SOAP journaling in, an Unafraid t-shirt from shopthetentmakers.com, and a $100 Target gift certificate!
Katie and I will are committed to the challenge as well! We can’t wait to watch God touch all of our lives in these next 30 day!
The Word of God has plenty to say about eternity! We understand from God’s word that while this life is a gift, we are simply visitors passing through on our way to our final and perfect home with Him. But, how often do we really live that way? It is easy to forget that the Lord looks at the heart and find ourselves being overly focused on our bodies – our weight, our size, our cellulite, I could go on and on!
It’s especially hard because the world is obsessed with the body! Just walk through a bookstore and it won’t take long to realize that we truly are living in a body obsessed world.
To be very candid with you, this has been a struggle for me recently too. As a health coach and a publicly outspoken voice on exercise and healthy living, I find myself easily getting sucked into the pressure to look a certain way. Now, don’t get me wrong, our bodies are the dwelling place of the Most High God, so it is important for all of us to care well for them, but it’s so easy to go overboard and accidently hop on the body-obsessed bus with the rest of the world.
The Lord has been captivating my heart lately with a strong awareness of just how important it is for me to be purposeful about living for the Spirit, for heaven, and with eternity in mind! After all, these bodies will pass away – they will – and what will matter, all that will matter is what we did with the name of Jesus.
That’s why starting January 8, 2015, I’m inviting all of you to join me in a commitment to be spirit focused this year! I am praying that with this commitment God will do incredible things and move in huge ways in the hearts and lives of His children! Will you join Katie and I as we commit to a Fit Spirit in 2015? Stay tuned for more details!
I wrote this book study to help readers dive deeper into the devotions in Devotions for a Healthier You. It is my hope that through this study, the devotionals will become more than words on a page, but rather a life giving study that will bring revelation of each person’s identity and value in Christ.
To use this study, simply go through one session per week (for ten weeks total), pairing it with the daily devotional reading. The daily devotions found in the book are simple and straight to the heart of the issue, focusing on one or two verses each, which will allow you to walk away with a ‘bite size’ morsel of the Word to chew on throughout the day. This book study was designed to take you deeper, with one session per week, focusing on subjects such as finding your value in Christ and getting spiritually and physically fit!
Each session begins by reading the lesson, and is followed with the questions to get the discussion flowing. You may do this study by yourself, but it was intended to do with a group of women, since iron sharpens iron. As you study, discuss, and share what God says about you in His Word, while reflecting on the great promises He has made to us, I pray your eyes are opened to greater revelation.
I hope this devotional book and book study are helpful resources in your journey to health, and finding out how greatly valued, treasured, and loved you are by God! Blessings~ Katie
1. Change Begins on the Inside
2. How do You See Yourself?
3. How Does God See Us?
4. Changing the Image on the Inside
5. Finding the Beauty in Being You
6. Overcoming Insecurity
7. Do You Struggle with Comparison?
8. Getting Spiritually Fit
9. Getting Physically Fit
10. Is it Too Late to Get on Track?
What about Devotions for a Healthier You do you want the reader to not just read with her mind but embrace with her heart?
Over the years, I have filled countless journals with precious gems that the Lord has revealed to me through the promises in His Word. This devotional book is filled with devotions that have been inspired by my personal journal entries, which range in topics from body image to understanding and receiving God’s great love for us. I truly want every woman to know how precious and beautiful they are to the Lord, and I pray that this book teaches every reader just how valuable they are to Him!
In addition to building the reader up spiritually, I also hope this book will bring practical knowledge on how to live a physically fit and healthy lifestyle. For that reason, I have included recipes, tips, and a meal plan to equip the reader with the tools they need to build a healthy foundation.
What is the thing that surprised you the most about writing this book? Any thoughts or stories on something you had to take to heart again yourself in the book?
When I was writing this book, it allowed me to dive into the Word of God in a deep and rich way, spending countless hours pouring over the scriptures that tell us who we are in Christ. It was truly a refreshing time for me, as I was able to meditate on the great and precious promises that the Lord has made to us, His daughters! I was also able to go back and read journal entries from years past, and see where the Lord has brought me, and how he truly did take the ashes of my life and turn them into something beautiful.
Why do you believe women struggle so much with eating, our thought life, our body image? How will your book help them?
I believe that a lot of the struggles that women face when it comes to body image and feeling beautiful comes from our society today. There are pressures coming from many different sources, all of which bombard women with the false expectations to look a certain way, and have it all together. I truly believe that this message is meant to target women’s deepest desire, which is their need to feel loved, and worthy of love. Ultimately, this love and feeling of worthiness can only be filled by our creator, but it is not until we have a revelation of this that we can finally be freed from these false expectations and pressures.
God never created us to all look the same, be the same, or act the same, and His Word tells us that He created each one of us as His masterpiece. My devotional book teaches women how to find the fullness of their worth in the Lord, and it will draw them into a deeper understanding of His Great love for us.
What is the most rewarding thing to you about offering a devotional for women to refer to when they are feeling like they need some encouragement and a way to focus their thinking and beliefs toward the Creator?
I feel so incredibly honored to be able to share the truths that God has revealed to me in His Word with others! I have always said that I wish I could download everything that God has poured into me over the years that has allowed me to find my identity and value in Him…and I can honestly say that I was able to do just that when writing this book. I am filled with gratitude, humility, and thankfulness to the Lord that He has allowed me to share the truths that brought me so much freedom me over the years with other women!
What have you experienced personally that led to you creating The Dashing Dish, recipes, and connecting with God when it comes to something we do everyday: eat or think about eating?!
I believe that much of my passion in the kitchen was developed as a part of the healing process for me when I was recovering from eating disorders. I can now say that each and every recipe that I create is truly inspired by Him, in order to bring health and enjoyment to every one that I am able to share them with!
As I create each recipe, I do so with the belief that God wants us to enjoy our every day life, which includes sitting down to eat our meals each day! This is evident in the fact that He gave us taste buds, and in the fact that He filled the earth with plenty of wonderful tasting foods to nourish our bodies! This is why it is my passion to create simple and healthy meals that not only feed the body, but nourish the soul.
Did you know that exercise can be an act of worship? When you begin to look at exercise in that light, it will bless both your body and your soul like never before.
For some people, choosing regular exercise is not a problem, it comes naturally and they actually enjoy it. But for many, making exercise part of their ongoing, long-term lifestyle is a real challenge. More often than not, I hear from women that exercise is something they dread. I’d like to share some thoughts that may just change the way you look at your next workout.
I’m one of those that find enjoyment in exercise (I know, I know, don’t stop reading.) Regular exercise and group fitness instruction have been part of my life for the past decade. However, over the past two years, the Lord has really caused my heart and intentions toward exercise to change. Exercise used to be all about my body. It was totally motivated by physical results. I was guilty of “compartmentalizing” that area of my life. I’d forgotten that the Lord desires to be the focus of everything in my life, including exercise. My entire life can be an act of worship if I’ll allow the Lord to be a part of it!
Perhaps more than any other verse, the Lord has used Romans 12:2 to completely change my thoughts about food and exercise. I love the amplified version that says, “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for YOU].”
The world has taught us that exercise is something we “should” do and generally focuses solely on our body. Really, exercise is something we GET to do and can be all about our spirit! Our experience changes completely when we renew our minds with a new attitude, and shift our thoughts about exercise! Remind yourself what a gift it is that your body is able to move like that! Thank God that your feet and legs, and arms are strong and functional. That you are blessed to live in a part of the world that makes moving easy and accessible! If you exercise at a gym, thank God that He’s providing the financial means to enjoy a place where you can improve your health and help your body to be its best. Enjoy the ability to breathe deeply. Thank Him for the endorphins that exercise provides to help elevate your mood!
Then, worship!!! I ONLY listen to worship music during my workouts and just sing and praise Him, and pray. I ask Him to speak truth and revelation to me during that time, and PRAISE Him for time set apart for that! When you know that you’re going into a time of praise and worship, you will actually find that you look forward to your workout times because you know that you will walk away from it with a fuller spirit and a healthier body!!!
Finally, seek Gods direction for the best form of exercise for you. Trust Him to lead you into His perfect will, what is good and acceptable in His sight for YOU and your body. I recommend doing away with fitness magazines and to view fitness blogs with caution. The Word tells us that, “[God] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order.” Seeking trustworthy guidance on how to safely exercise is one thing, but I find that if I spend too much time reading about other people’s workouts and getting too much input from the world, my mind becomes overwhelmed and confused by all the opinions of people. In those moments, I call on Proverbs 3:5, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and MIND and do not rely on your own [or other people’s] insight or understanding.” I become purposeful to return my thoughts to the Lord and seek His direction and peace even in my workouts.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you that we are perfectly made by your mighty hands. We praise you that you know everything about us, right down to the ideal form of exercise for our own bodies. Help us Lord to surrender this area of our lives to you now. Help us to commit that time to praise and worship and to celebrate the body we are moving in right now, at this moment, not the body we wish we had, and not what the world tells us is good and acceptable. Lord, renew our attitudes so that we may give YOU glory in all we do including how and why we move the precious gift of the body you gave us! In Jesus name, amen!
This Dashing Devotional was written by Sarah Shaffer, the newest member of the Dashing Dish team! To learn more about who Sarah is, and what her heart is all about, Click Here!
Putting an End to Secret Eating
By Sarah Shaffer
Several years ago when the Lord really began opening my eyes to His truth to change my thoughts toward disordered eating habits, he used my kids to teach me a life-changing lesson. In our house we have a saying, “sneaking is the same as lying.” I teach my kids that if you have to sneak something, you need to pause and question, is what I’m about to choose permissible AND beneficial? If not, that choice could easily lead down a difficult path. You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice.
Even now, it makes me smile to think about how the Lord uses the lessons we strive to teach our kids in our own lives. One day, I caught my little girl hiding in her closet with a number of her older brother’s “off limits” toys. She’d made a very purposeful decision to sneak something she knew wasn’t in her best interest. Minutes later, literally just moments after talking with her about why her sneaking would result in a consequence, I found myself in the kitchen. Specifically, in the pantry – light on, door closed – elbow deep in a bag of chips, very intent on stuffing in as many as I could before I was discovered. BAM!!!! My hypocrisy hit me like a ton of bricks. The Lord used that perfectly timed experience with my daughter to reveal a life-changing lesson to me. How could I lead my children into truth when this was the example I was setting for them?
The Lord used that moment and two verses in particular to change my heart toward “sneak” eating. Psalm 25:21 says, “May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.” And, Psalm 32:1-2 declares, “Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!”
Just as I encourage my children to make blameless choices, choices that they can be proud of no matter who’s watching, the Lord desires the same for you and me. Not because He is watching, waiting for us to “mess up”, or doesn’t trust us, but because He desires that things go well for us. He wants us to make choices that lead to blessed, peaceful paths. That day, I committed that particular area of my disordered eating to Him and laid sneak eating at the foot of the cross.
If you struggle in this area, let me just encourage you that the Lord is faithful to his beloved children. If you hand this over to the Lord, He will make you free. He will lead you along the right path and show you which way to turn. My prayer for you today is this – Lord, you tell us that where your spirit is there is freedom. We ask you now to send your Holy Spirit to gently direct us away from choices to sneak what may be permissible but not beneficial in our lives. We commit to you now to live our lives in the light, shield us with your love. In Jesus name, amen.”
Last week I had the honor of being part of a “Red Carpet Royalty” youth girls event at my dear friend Dayna’s house. Dayna is a youth leader at her church and she wanted to do something really special for the girls, where she made them feel like the royalty that they are, being God’s daughters! It was quite an amazing night, where we celebrated the unique beauty that God has place inside each one of us!
Here are some pictures from this incredible night! (A big thanks to Dayna for sharing the lovely photos from the evening as well!) I hope this post reminds you that every woman is truly beautiful and created special and unique by our creator!
The night started by the girls trying on and picking out a dress to wear. The dresses were lightly worn dresses that were donated. This allowed us to have a whole ‘wardrobe’ of dresses for the girls to pick from.
After the girls picked their dress, we did their hair and make up. The point of this was not to focus on the ‘external’ beauty, but we did want them to feel like it was a special night, and a little make up, dresses, and getting their hair done truly made them feel like it was a “red carpet night”
After we were all ready, we took pictures in Dayna’s studio. We each took a turn to write one word that describes our testimony!
To make the girls feel ‘extra’ special (and like the royalty they are) we even rented a limo for the evening, decked out with a red carpet! :)
We blasted Hillsong Young & Free and danced the whole way to the restaurant, (one of my favorite parts of the night!) :)
We ate at Mongolian BBQ, and had dessert at a frozen yogurt shop! Talk about fun!
The BEST part of entire night however was when we all came back to Dayna’s house and each of the ‘leaders’ (including myself) shared our testimonies as the girls gathered around and listened. It was pretty amazing because out of the six leaders, we each had an entirely different testimony that could potentially reach into each girls heart in a unique way.
I personally started my testimony off by saying “If I could talk to my 16 year old self, I would say…” Because, boy do I wish I could go back and tell my 16 year old self what is really important in this life! It was amazing to be able to share these bits of encouragement and wisdom with these girls, and to pray with them at the end of the night.
Overall, it was such a blessing to pour into each one of these young women, knowing that each one of them are precious daughters of the King of Kings! I hope this post blessed, encouraged, and even inspired you guys to reach out to young women in your own lives and pour into them in some way! Just think of what an amazing thing it is to share what God has taught you to the next generation! Now that my friends is the power of a testimony at work! :)
I am BLESSED and encouraged to share this beautiful word from my good friend Sarah Shaffer! She is an amazing woman whom I met through health coaching, and God is now using her to help other women find freedom! She is a mom of two, and here she shares some practical and real-life tips on balancing it all, and staying mentally, spiritually, and physically healthy as a stay at home mom! (Even if you aren’t a mom, there is such rich wisdom on overcoming food related temptations!) I hope it blesses you guys as much as it did me!
It’s Hard to be at Home
By: Sarah Shaffer
When my daughter was born four years ago, my husband and I took a huge leap of faith, one of the biggest in our life together. We prayerfully decided that it was time for me to leave a successful career in public relations and marketing to stay at home full-time with our kids. When I left my career, there were things I expected. I expected to buy more yoga pants, and fewer heels. I expected to have more playdates and fewer lunch meetings. I expected children songs to become embedded in my mind, and to embrace the routine of picking up toys over and over again. However, one thing that I did not expect, or adequately prepare for was the isolation that can come from being at home. While I considered (and still do) the ability to stay at home a huge blessing, the fact is, that it can be very lonely. Though I had battled eating disorders for most of my adult life (specifically binge eating), I was not prepared for how much more severe it would become for me as a stay-at-home mom. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that my binge eating was getting out of control and that the Enemy was getting a tighter grip on me in that area. I remember desperately crying out to the Lord asking Him to reveal ways for me to avoid eating inappropriately, out of isolation and loneliness. He is always faithful! Almost instantly I felt hope as He inspired thoughts that would help set and keep me free.
My prayer is that the Lord would use my struggle to help set other women free. I pray that what the Lord has graciously revealed to me over the past four years will bless you. If you are struggling today, you are not alone and the Lord who sees knows your pain. He will free and restore you, it’s His promise!
These are just some of the ways the Lord has shown me how to live in freedom:
• Pray! Something I asked of the Lord when I cried out to Him was that He give me a quick, easy, instant replacement for thoughts of food and eating. I knew that in the chaos of my day, it had to be simple or it wouldn’t be done. His response was, “pray for someone else”. The most powerful way that the lord helped me overcome eating out of loneliness or isolation, was to immediately shift my focus to praying for someone else. How powerful! Not only was the Lord keeping me from my own sin, but calling me to be more effective for the Kingdom! “Is anyone among you is suffering? Let him pray!” James 5:13
• Rest! I am a doer, I feel more fulfilled when I’m accomplishing something. This was something I had to work through (and do daily) with the Lord. I would run myself ragged trying to accomplish tasks around the house. After leaving my career, I no longer had a boss to report to, I wasn’t getting performance reviews, and I wasn’t getting promotions or accolades. As a result, I felt that my value could only be measured by what I had done. In my mind, if the house was clean, meals were prepared, and everything and everyone smelled, and looked, and acted nice I was successful. I was also exhausted. Rest was a rare indulgence. As I worked myself into a weary state, I would become weak and more vulnerable to attack. The Lord revealed to me that it’s not only okay to rest, but it’s critical to keeping me strong against attack from the Enemy.
• Enjoy a healthy indulgence! Flipping through a magazine is one of my favorite things to do. For me, reading a magazine is a luxury. So, when I’m tempted to fill myself in inappropriate ways, I’ve learned that it’s okay to luxuriate like that. I’ve also learned that enjoying a “treat” that won’t cause me to stumble can help me avoid eating when I’m not hungry. I love a club soda was fresh lime; it makes me feel like I’m on vacation. Or, an iced coffee in the afternoon. Enjoy it and offer praise for that time to “fill your tank”!
• Run away!!! One of the most powerful tools I’ve learned to use are my feet! When the attack is fierce, my defense needs to be stronger as well. Sometimes I just need to literally turn off the lights in the kitchen, and run from the temptation! There have been times that the pull has been so strong I’ve even had to walk out of the house! “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Cor 10:13
• Find your people! On the days when I feel the temptation to binge coming on, I need to be purposeful to be outside of my house. It’s those days that I schedule a play date with friends, or spend the morning at the park surrounded by the sights and sounds of other people, or even just spend the morning walking around the mall. Being intentional about staying out of the house and surrounding myself with others really helps mitigate the battle.
• Sing! It’s hard for a mouth filled with praise and worship to be sinning. When I feel tempted to fill my mouth with food inappropriately, I purposefully start praising (and praying). Almost immediately I feel my soul fill and the presence of the Lord fill the lonely spaces. “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!” Psalm 104;33
• Get support! The Bible tells us that iron sharpens iron!! Friends, I cannot emphasis enough how critical this point is. CRITICAL! Please, if you haven’t before, ask God to give you someone, just one person that you can depend on and be accountable to. Second only to prayer and worship, this has been the most vital to my success! On the days, and in the moments when you feel alone and tempted to fill that void with food, you’ll have someone to pray for you. I have been blessed beyond measure to have had an accountability partner for the past four years! Almost daily we touch base to make sure that we are filling our souls with the Word of God, disciplining our bodies with both proper eating and exercise, and asking for specific prayer needs. Katie’s health coaching is an incredible resource to help fill this need! I absolutely would not be where I am today without it! “But instead warn admonish, urge, and encourage one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened into settled rebellion by the deceitfulness of sin by the fraudulence, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him.” Hebrews 3:13
This program was designed with brides in mind, but it is awesome for anyone who wants to get in shape for a big day!