Welcome I have a new theme to add to our weekly times together. Today I introduce Wellness Wednesday. We are going to talk some more about mental health and enjoy a delicious and healthy grilled chicken recipe. Thanks for joining me today. Note–I may receive a small compensation from advertisers or affiliate links on this blog. For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.
Food For Thought I may be the queen of negative self-talk. Well, if I’m not the queen, I definitely hold a prominent spot on the court. Can you relate? I have to actively work on my mental health and self-esteem. There are areas of my life I’m sure I can be humbled, and have been, but mostly I don’t treat myself very well. When Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” He was probably thinking we actually do love ourselves and treat ourselves well. A lot of times, though, it’s probably a good idea that I don’t treat others like I treat myself. If I did, I would be saying some pretty hurtful things to people, consider them failures and disasters, unwanted and unloved. As Christians, do we treat others that way? Of course not, but I know I’m not alone when I say this is often how I talk to myself and about myself. It’s not healthy, and just like I have to make conscious decisions about my exercise and nutrition, I have to make conscious choices regarding my mental health. There are many ways we can actively work on improving our health–physical, spiritual, and mental.
I make a choice to read a lot of books and articles about health and wellness. I have read some great books that have great insights and powerful wisdoms, but merely reading the text does not guarantee wellness. Unless I am able to apply the advice to my own life, it is not all that useful. So I have some work to do, a lot actually. My current work involves eliminating two phrases from my vocabulary. And it’s not going to be easy! The two phrases that I have to kick to the curb are “What if” and “If only.”
I am a worrier by nature, especially thanks to my anxiety disorder. With this type of personality “what if” are words spoken or thought with great frequency. What if we can’t pay our bills? What if they don’t like me? What if they’re judging me? What if I get a major illness? What if a disaster strikes our home? What if our nation goes to war? What if I never feel successful? What if no one needs me anymore? What if my life ends and I didn’t make a difference? The list goes on, and on and on. All of this “what if” talk is behavior of worry and speculation about problems that may or may not ever even exist. It zaps energy that could be used for something more positive. It keeps us from focusing on the good in the world around us. As Sharon Jaynes said in her book I’m Not Good Enough…and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves, “Worry is no more than speculation about the future that will rob you of joy in the present.” Satan has latched onto my weaknesses and uses them to tell me lies that keep me from living my Godly life. If I were to be honest, I’d say I’m in a valley section of life’s peaks and valleys right now (actually 2017 has been a pretty rough year for me, in general.) But a lot of the reasons for feeling so low are simply caused by me spending too much thinking about the what if’s in life.
My second phrase to banish is “if only.” This phrase usually precedes something we think we want or need, and then followed by “then I’d be happy.” I talked about this idea in a couple of different posts: Comparison versus Contentment and Grasping at Happiness Straws. If only I lived in a different place…I’d be happy. If only I hadn’t made those mistakes…then I’d be happy. If only I lost about 80 pounds…then I’d be happy. If only I could still run…then I’d be happy. If only I had friends to include me in their fun outings…then I’d be happy. Obviously this is a big area I struggle with too. The thing is, all of those words connected to “if only” are about circumstances of life. We are doing a study at church right now about the direction of our focus…is it horizontal and focusing on life’s circumstances? Or do we have a vertical focus, looking to God and believing His truths? Jaynes had this to say about circumstances: “It is not our circumstances that determine a life of joy and victory.” My valley right now is about life’s circumstances. I have to make a choice…am I going to let the circumstances of life keep me down in the valley and prevent me from living a life of joy and victory in Christ? Or, can I use prayer, meditation, study, and self-care to lift me up and live a positive life in the here-and-now? It’s not simple. It’s not easy. It’s hard work, but with God’s help, I hope to stop living a life of “what if” and “if only” and start living a life of “I can,” “I will,” and “Thank you.”
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Today’s Scripture I can think of no better passage to help me with these weaknesses in my life than Philippians 4:4-9. These are certainly among my favorite verses in the Bible. Maybe these words can help or inspire you today, as well.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Today’s Prayer My dear God, the struggles with “what if” and “if only” are very real to me, and to many others as well. These are battles we cannot fight alone. Please help us fight these battles so that we can hear Your truths over satan’s lies. Help us to find peace and calm during all of life’s circumstances, whatever they may be, but also to keep our focus vertical, on You and Your blessings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Today’s Recipe I know I talked mostly about mental health today on Wellness Wednesday, but I have a good-for-your body recipe, too. We are familiar with chicken being considered a healthy protein source because of its lower fat and calorie count. We also know that frying that chicken or adding a lot of butter or salt takes away some of those healthy benefits. The answer, my friend, is in the marinade! So let’s make Orange Dijon Garlic Chicken. It’s delicious, healthy, economical, and versatile. I made a large batch of the chicken which can be turned around into leftover dishes as well.
Orange Dijon Garlic Chicken
- 2 large fresh oranges, juiced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 TBS minced garlic
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 or 2 1/2 pounds chicken breasts or tenders
Combine first seven marinade ingredients in large bowl, whisking until smooth. Place chicken breasts, tenders, or chunks in bowl and toss with marinade. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. When ready to prepare, drain off marinade. Prepare grill if using, or heat oven to 375 degrees. If cooking in oven, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place chicken on pan. Bake 30 minutes, turning once half-way through. Follow similar steps for grilling, but you can place chicken directly on grill.
Time saver: The chicken cooks quicker if already cut into chunks, so you can have dinner prepared in under 30 minutes. Round out the easy dinner with some baked potatoes in the microwave-just wash, pierce with fork in several places, and place on turntable and cook 7-8 minutes. Open a can of vegetables or a bag of frozen vegetables and the meal is nutritionally balanced and quick.