I believe that one of the greatest areas of struggle that women face in our society today is related to self image, but even more specifically, body image. I believe that one of the greatest roots behind low self esteem stems from the unfulfilled core desire of every woman, which is the need to be loved. This desire for love often goes much deeper as it poses the unending question in so many of us, which is… Am I Worthy of Love?
Whether you have asked yourself this question out loud before, or it is the first time you really thought about it, I can pretty much guarantee that almost every woman has asked herself this question in her heart…. and it just so happens that it most likely gets asked when we look in the mirror.
With the ever prevalent images and messages that come at us through magazines, commercials, billboards…(you name it), we are constantly having a picture painted for us that would tell us what a woman should be, in order to be lovely. Unfortunately, if we do not feel that we live up to that unrealistic standard, deep down so many of us struggle with the lies that we are ugly, overweight, not good enough, and therefore…unworthy of love.
After struggling with eating disorders for many years, I know this feeling all too well. I was constantly comparing myself and measuring my self worth among societies standards, and other girls, which always left me feeling that I was coming up short. This mindset led to unhealthy behaviors and thoughts, which led me to believe that if I were ‘thin enough’, that I would finally feel beautiful and confident.
After years of trying to control my weight, and getting down to dangerously low body fat levels, I can now look back and say without hesitation that I was never satisfied. In fact, the struggle and strain that I put on my body and mind in order to maintain a ‘perfect’ image only led to further dissatisfaction with my body and my self-worth.
Looking back, I now know that the reason I was never satisfied with my body image, (regardless of how skinny I got, or how I looked), was because I was searching for acceptance according to this worlds systems. If you haven’t personally been down the path of trying to find fulfillment from the things of this world- let me spare you the wasted time, energy, and pain…Nothing This World Has to Offer Ever Satisfies!
Ultimately, my road to healing began when I started to look to Jesus for my validation and I let Him answer my ever present question….am I worth of love?
If you can relate to my story, or you have ever found yourself thinking negatively about your body, or yourself in general, I would ask yourself this question: Do You Know that You are Worthy of Love?
You are not worthy because you are skinny enough, you have the most beautiful hair, you are toned, or you are the best dressed. You are not worthy of love because you are the smartest, you are the most organized, are the best mom, or are the most successful. You are not worthy of love because you have the cleanest house, have the most perfect marriage, or have the most beautiful skin.
You my friend are WORTHY of love, simply because your God says that you are. In fact, Psalm 139:14 says that “You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” by the Lord. The word ‘wonderfully’ means to be distinct or unique. This verse says that God made you special, and that no one else is like you! How is that for validation!?! God loves you so much that He created every detail of you with great though in mind, so that each one of us would be unique! And He didn’t make a mistake! Every part of you was designed in order to fulfill the special purpose and plan that He has for you.
If the fact that you are truly one of a kind isn’t convincing enough that you are amazing, think about the fact that you were created in the image of a powerful, great, almighty God! (Genesis 1:27)
Now, this might all sound wonderful, but let’s get down to the nitty-gritty on actually applying this principal- because let’s face it, at the end of the day, we may know that we are accepted and loved by God, but we also want to feel good about ourselves, and having peoples approval certainly helps!
I can speak from experience when I say, this is where the work and time must be put in to Renew our Minds with God’s Word. Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This scripture was a vital part to my inner healing, and it truly was the first step in finding my fulfillment in the Lord.
You see, it wasn’t until I actually laid down my ‘self’ and my selfish desires to feel good about ‘myself’ and trade it in for what God almighty says about me that I truly was satisfied. I will be honest and tell you that it is a process, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but the peace of knowing who I am in Christ is well worth the effort!
I can now honestly say that I am free from the bondage of self-acceptance, or the need to be approved by others, simply because everything that I am is found in the one who created me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have my ‘days’ where I have to remind myself of the truth…and laying my ‘self’ at the feet of Jesus is a daily (and sometimes multiple time a day) event. However, the freedom, joy, and acceptance that only He can give is the very thing that keeps me running back to Him.
I pray that this devotional encouraged you today, and that no matter where you are today, you have a revelation that God almighty, the one that created you, and the one that knows you by name- calls you worthy of love….Just as you are at this very moment.
He finds no spot, flaw, or blemish in you, (Song of Solomon 4:7), and He wants to fill you up with His love today.
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.
Spring is such a beautiful time. It represents awakening, renewal, and life. Where once lay a dormant seed, life and beauty begin to spring forth. A seemingly simple seed is such a profound visual for understanding the power of God’s word in our lives. A seed unplanted doesn’t provide much inspiration or beauty. But, when that little seed is planted deeply into fertile ground, watered, cared for, allowed to have light shine upon it, and waited for patiently, gives birth to breathtaking beauty and nourishing fruit. It transforms barren landscapes into glorious panoramas.
The Word of God refers to itself as a “seed” more than 40 times in the New Testament. Why? Because the Lord understands that we can imagine the process a seed goes through, we can observe it because He gave us a real-life, visual understanding of it. Just like a flower seed, the Word of God must be planted in our fertile hearts, fed and cared for, spoken for light to expose darkness, and persistently and patiently pursued to produce the fruit and beauty we desire in our lives. In Mark, Jesus taught three parables about this very concept. The word of God is to our experience of God and His plan for our lives what a physical seed is to spring blossoms and rich harvests.
Unfortunately, lies can also be planted and produce fruit. What we feed grows. If somewhere along the way in our lives, a lie is accepted as truth, planted and fed, it produces fruit of doubt, anxiety, fear, anger, etc. The good news is that those lies can be plucked by the root and replaced with seeds of truth!
As you enjoy the physical splendor of spring, I’m inviting you to begin preparing the soil of your heart for awakening and renewal as well. We can experience a true spring in our spirits by digging up the weeds that entangle us and begin to replace them with the beautiful bouquet that comes from planting God’s truth into our lives.
Beginning April 1st, I invite you to join the Facebook Group “Renewing Your Mind with Seeds of Truth”, where there will be daily posts with some of the most common lies we accept as truth. Accompanying this will be your opportunity to dig up that lie and replace it with truth. To replace each common lie, there will be a scripture to declare over yourself as you plant new seeds of truth in your heart.
There will be a printable version of every post so you can print and post God’s word to be seen and declared over and over. Remember, a seed doesn’t blossom into a daisy in a day, and neither does replacing truth for lies. But, keep declaring them over yourself and you will reap a rich harvest! It’s not just my promise, it’s God promise!!!
1 Peter 1:23 “23 You have been born again [or anew], and this new life did not come from something that dies [a perishable seed], but from something that cannot die [an imperishable seed]. You were born again [or anew] through God’s living message that continues forever [the living and abiding/enduring word of God].”
The topic for today’s devotion has been something that has been on my heart for quite some time. I’ve been asking the Lord to put just the right words to this topic so that I approach it with care and sensitivity. My prayer in sharing this is that the Lord will use it to convict us all to seek peace and pursue it, and offer kindness and understanding toward one another every chance we get!
I have become acutely aware of a theme lately, particularly among my women and mom friends. I’ve really begun to recognize that a heaping-helping of shame and judgment have attached themselves to the concept of health.
The term “healthy” is really very relative, but it has become overused and misguided. The word healthy used to simply imply not being sick, but somewhere along the line it has lost meaning and gained judgment, especially as it relates to food. Depending on who you ask “healthy” means Paleo or vegan, gluten-free or whole-grain, low-fat or high-fat. We hear that healthy means egg-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, or only organic and non-GMO. It’s daunting isn’t it? As always, I would never claim that any of these ideas are wrong (my own family follows several of these). But, for the purpose of this devotion, what I’d like to focus on is living shame-free.
The depth of this awareness really hit home for me one day recently while at the grocery store and after having family in town. Both times, I interacted with moms of small children who emphatically apologized and reasoned with me about why their food choices weren’t as healthy as mine, or made declarations about their need to “do better” about how they fed their families. It broke my heart. And, it caused me to pause and ask myself if I am unintentionally making others feel “less-than” by how I communicate about my family’s particular healthy lifestyle choices?
While I obviously believe that living our best life is God’s heart for all of His children, I am also more and more reminded that above all else, His desire is that we love and support one another. The truth is that my healthy lifestyle can be different from yours and still be equally effective! Do you want to know a secret? I’m allergic to kale! Yep, kale! You know, the so-called healthiest food on the planet? Well, not for this girl (I love kale by way, if you can eat it, do!!). What’s healthy for me, may not fit into your heathy lifestyle and the whole point of this devotional is to understand that that is ok!! I pray that right now, in this moment we all release ourselves and others of judgment or shame for having different models of a healthy life!
While the word “healthy” is relative and can have many different meanings, the Word of God is not and is clear about this subject. God’s word says, “If I partake of my food with thankfulness, why am I accused and spoken evil of because of that for which I give thanks? So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:30-31. And, we also know from Romans 8:1, that there is no condemnation (shame or judgment) for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Friends, I pray today that if you are feeling “less-than” or are being pulled into the temptation to compare your healthy choices to someone else’s, that is not the voice of the Lord. Above all else today, ask God to help you focus on what TRULY matters and that is the health of your spirit. There is no shortage of judgment, shame, or opinion in the world, especially around the topic of health. But, be encouraged today! That heap of shame is not yours to bear! May God release us of that today and remind us to look for ways to love one another! Walk in peace and freedom today knowing that not a single person who puts their hope in the promises of God will be left empty or put to shame! God loves you EXACTLY where you are today!
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?
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.”