Stumbling Stumbalina

It seems to happen more than I’d care to admit, and more frequently now that I’m older. Mainly because I’m not a very graceful person. I’m talking about all of those times that I trip over my own feet or a tiny raised crack in the sidewalk; a step up into the house; a tiny pebble on the walking path … the toe of my sandal; the heel of my sandal. Heck, just my sandals in general. Gracefulness is in short supply these days. If I’m being completely honest, poise and grace have never been part of my DNA.  Image result for images of tripping

It’s likely that I’m not alone in that department. Let’s face it, most of us have experienced an embarrassing trip or stumble at one time or another. The first thing we naturally do is to look around to see if anyone bears witness to our klutziness and humiliation. It probably happens more than we realize, especially since so many of us get caught up in walking and texting at the same time.Image result for images of tripping while walking and texting

Those little stumbles – the ones that we hope no one notices remind me of my past food-related/diet stumbles. Falling off the Weight Watcher Wagon generally begins with just a little stumble. A little slip. A little fall. You know what I’m talking about. An extra scoop of cereal in the morning because you don’t want to waste the leftover milk at the bottom of the bowl. Just a little extra dollop of potatoes, or a bite of your husband’s burger or fries. The free cookie or fat, fluffy dinner roll that you “forgot” to calculate that came with your meal.  Image result for images for getting caught with your hand in the cookie jarThat additional splash of dressing, those free Costco samples of Zebra popcorn or mini pigs in a blanket, or brownie bites, blah, blah, blah. ALL of those “freebies,” those bites, licks or tastes (BLT’s) are in fact, anything BUT free and can end up costing us more than we bargained for.

All of these seemingly innocent “stumbles” with our daily food diary, when added together at the end of the week somehow end up finding their way to the waistband of our pants. Suddenly the buttons on our blouse gape or our skirt refuses to zip. We blame it on a laundry snafu – that sudden “shrinking” of our clothes surely can’t be MY fault!  Image result for images of too tight clothes

Of course, we never plan to fall off the wagon. We always tell ourselves, tomorrow I’ll get right back on track and keep my food diary. Tomorrow I’ll eat better. If we’re not careful, all of those little stumbles and tomorrow promises turn into our weight regain nightmare. Somehow we find that we’re right back where we promised ourselves we’d never be again.

Just this past week, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in more than a year. She and I were in the same Celebrate Recovery Food Addiction group a few years ago. Her significant weight gain was unmistakable. Try as I might to help her feel comfortable, it was obvious that her own guilt and Image result for images for embarrassmentshame convicted her before I ever could. What’s really sad, is this friend was the second woman I’d run into from the same group who’d had a substantial weight gain.

Seeing these friends made me realize just how fine a line we all walk when we’ve experienced any type of weight loss. I tell myself DAILY that just because I’ve lost weight does not mean I’ll never struggle with my weight again. The opposite is true. Having lost weight means I’ve got to work harder than ever to maintain the weight loss. I’ve discovered that maintaining a weight loss is every bit as hard – if not harder – to sustain than actually losing the weight.

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The problem with most “diets” is that they are just that – a diet. The definition of a diet is: to cause to eat and drink sparingly or according to prescribed rules. Image result for images of dieting

People who go on a diet to lose a specific amount of weight for a specific upcoming event (i.e., wedding, high school/college reunion), work hard to shed the weight, but once the event passes, they resume their old ways of eating and quickly regain the lost weight and then some.

If we hope to maintain long-lasting weight loss once and for all, we need to make lifestyle changes rather than just going on a diet. After weight loss we need to continue healthy eating, portion control and regular weekly activities or exercise routines. Yes, ALL of those things we KNOW to do, yet tire of rather quickly. It’s not fun. It’s necessary!

Now that I’ve lost weight, I do allow myself an occasional treat. I love pizza, bread(s) (all kinds) and dessert. I don’t eat any of those things on a daily basis, but I do allow myself an “occasional cheat day.” (OCCASIONAL being the optimum word here!) My cheat day usually falls on the day I weigh-in for my monthly check-in at Weight Watchers. If my weight is at or below my WW goal weight, I usually take advantage of the rest of that day and indulge in those foods I’ve been dreaming about for the last month.  (Because I know I’ll have another 4-6 weeks before I need to weigh in at WW again!)Image result for images for pizza

I’m one of those people who doesn’t care for fast food, but I still crave cheese pizza and sub sandwiches loaded with meats and cheese. (The cheesier the better!)  If I’m going to cheat, pizza is usually on the top of my list. Not surprisingly, I can only consume small amounts of these forbidden foods for the simple reason that since I’ve eliminated unhealthy treats from my diet, my stomach can no longer digest or tolerate these foods. It becomes an internal negotiation of weighing the pleasure of indulgence to that of a raging stomach ache.

The thing is – if you’re working hard to lose weight, it’s not a bad thing to allow for those “OCCASIONAL” treats. It’s only by completely denying our cravings that we seem to lust after those forbidden foods more than ever; thereby dooming us to automatic failure.

A food stumble or an “occasional” treat can be minimized or corrected if we address it as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’ve tripped up or stumbled to the point of falling completely off the wagon. Don’t let the wagon back up and run over you again. Get up, dust yourself off and climb right back up on the Weight Watcher Wagon. Grab hold of those reins and steer the wagon right back on the designated course.  Image result for images for driving a weight watcher wagon

Losing weight and/or maintaining a weight loss is hard work – that much is obvious. If we hope to be successful WE have to take responsibility for our own actions and our little stumbles. We have to own it. We have to stop assigning blame. We can’t wish it away. We can’t pray it away. No one can walk this path for us. Our weight loss success is up to us. Don’t let that stumble be the thing that causes you to tumble over a cliff to an irreversible caloric crash and burn.  That old statement of “God helps those that help themselves,” is not an actual Bible verse. The statement does bear some truth though. We cannot expect God to supernaturally eliminate our excess body weight or cover our caloric stumbles if we aren’t willing to do our part. Image result for images for falling off a cliff

He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from tumbling. Psalm 116:8 (NLT)


Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down. ~Mary Pickford


Hungry For Change

“Oh my gosh, I’m stuffed full to the gills. I can’t eat another bite!”

This isn’t just the statement that every self-respecting foodie utters after consuming their favorite meal or a Thanksgiving feast – but what the average food/sugar addict, weight challenged/obese individual (okay, ME) utters on a near daily basis. At least – this WAS me up until a year and a half ago.

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Actually, this very common food related statement was the topic of much intense discussion at a recent Weight Watchers meeting. One member relayed a conversation he had with a WW leader while visiting in another state. It was noted that those who battle weight issues and struggle with eating addictions, look at food and meal time completely differently than someone who has no such issues.

The stark comparison came when the WW leader shared the story of her “thin friend.” While at lunch, the thin friend ate a portion of a burger and a few fries and then pushed her half-eaten meal away, even asking the server to remove the plate altogether. The WW leader asked her thin friend, “how can you push that food away? Why didn’t you finish your meal?”

“Because I’m no longer hungry and I don’t need to keep eating,” the thin friend replied. 

The conversation was certainly eye-opening. The clear distinction between those that struggle with obesity and those that don’t is one group eats until they are full (or over-full), the other group stops eating when they are no longer hungry.

My first thought was, NO LONGER HUNGRY! When has that ever stopped ME from eating myself into a food coma? My second thought was, why would anyone waste all that food? In all honesty, until recently I’d be hard-pressed to actually identify what REAL hunger looked or felt like. I spent so many years living life as an emotional eater. Regardless of whether I was hungry or not, I ate my way through depression, loneliness, heartbreak, boredom, rejection – pretty much every emotion under the sun. In many situations I would eat merely because it was expected; everyone else was eating. I ate because somebody brought donuts to work or there was leftover cake after Bible Study or just leftovers. More often than not, though, I used food as an emotional salve for my splintered feelings, rarely eating for the sole purpose of satisfying a physical hunger.

Many overweight people are more likely to “live to eat” rather than “eating to live.” Oftentimes most of us who struggle with our weight are no stranger to eating to the point of discomfort and are certified, card-carrying members of the clean your plate club. Image result for images for cleaning your plate

If we’ve lived our whole lives as people who live for their next meal, or their next binge … how can we change our habits so we can become one of those people who eat to live and only use food as nutrition?

None of us can expect to change these lifelong habits overnight and change will require something much more powerful than willpower. Few of us are capable of experiencing long-lasting weight loss success simply because we possess strong willpower. 

Once we decide to live according to the Word of God and realize that we need to take care of these temples that God has entrusted to us, we need to live knowing that Jesus should be first and foremost in our lives. We don’t need willpower, we need God’s power. We need to give God complete control of this part of our lives. We need total surrender.

Along with surrender, we need to use the common sense that God gave us and seek out whatever help WE need to reset our lives and get off the food addiction/bingeing hamster wheel that’s destroying us one bite at a time.

Our journey may not resemble anyone else’s. My path may not look like your path. BUT we can share some of the same stops along the path we take.

Turning to a weight loss organization; joining a gym, hiring a trainer; seeking the help of a doctor or nutritionist, medication … whatever works for you! I encourage you to get the help you need and take the steps necessary to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

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At some point, you are going to need to change your thinking. Rather than living as someone who must “live to eat,” you need to become someone who wants to “eat to live.” That’s going to mean you will have to endure some discomfort. Going to bed with an unsatisfied, grumbly tummy might need to become your new normal. It won’t take long for your body to adapt to fewer calories and in the end, you’ll discover that going to bed with a hungry tummy is far more tolerable than going to bed with an over satiated one.

Every time we fall into sin and give in to another emotional eating binge we are giving the devil one more victory; one more notch on his soul sucking yardstick. The food coma is the enemy’s playground and he delights in our shame and guilt. Image result for images for guilt

I look at food completely differently now. For so long, food was my god, and I worshipped at the alter of the fast-food drive through, the candy aisle at the Mini-Mart and the all-you-can-eat buffets. Now, I’ve learned that I WANT to live according to God’s Word.

We may be tempted to argue that “the devil made me do it,” when it comes to stuffing our faces full of unnecessary calories. The fact remains that WE ALWAYS have a choice. Do we choose eating until we are stuffed? Eating ourselves stupid to the point of a food coma? Living to Eat?

OR … do we choose to eat to live and train ourselves to recognize that we are no longer hungry and push the plate away? It’s our choice …

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25 (NLT)


Does Size REALLY Matter?

If I were a betting woman, I’d wager to say that the average American woman has roughly 3-5 different sizes of clothing in her closet at any given time. Yet many still complain, “I have nothing to wear!”  Image result for Jammed Packed Closet

This is every bit as true for me now that I’ve lost weight as it was for me when I was much heavier. In the past, even if clothes were too large (or too small) – I kept everything because a girl can’t be too careful. What if I gain all my weight back and have nothing to wear? This kind of reasoning and logic only provides a way out or a back-up plan to that old lose-gain-lose-gain, yo-yo weight loss treadmill that I lived on for so many years.

With this (and what I hope will be my LAST) weight loss journey, I knew that in order to guarantee long-lasting success, I was going to need to shed more than just excess weight. I needed to shed the excesses in my closet and thereby rid myself of excuses and back-up plans. EVERY WEEK I go through my closet and try on clothes, keeping what fits and donating items that are too large. Even though I’m not a real clothes-horse to speak of, I’m finding that I’ve always got an ongoing give-away pile. Image result for Clothes piles

I used to hold onto clothing that was too small for me, “for inspiration.” I can’t even count the number of items I kept because I was convinced that “as soon as I lose a few pounds, this pair of pants is going to fit me perfectly!” When in reality, by the time I could actually fit into those smaller sizes (because everybody knows weight loss is rarely quick), the styles were no longer fashionable.

I’ve been known to purposely buy clothes (usually something on sale!) too small for me because I was confident that I could lose enough weight to fit into it soon. Sometimes even spending money on something you hope will fit you at some point, isn’t enough of a motivator to stay on a weight loss program. Image result for sqeezing into too tight clothes


My closet has undergone a complete turnover in the last couple of years. Donating so many clothes has left me with few options as to what I can actually wear out in public.  If I had my way, I’d live in over-sized tee shirts and leggings – but a girl has to occasionally leave the safety of her house. I have a favorite second-hand store where I donate my old clothes to and shop for replacements as well. This second-hand store supports one of my favorite charities (Big Brothers & Big Sisters) so it’s a win-win situation

Now that I am finally comfortable with my new size I’ve noticed an alarming trend with clothing manufacturers though. Sizes are extremely different from one brand to the next. Even though my weight has held steady for nine months now, I’m finding that I still have at least four different sizes in my closet. What might be a size 6 for one manufacturer can be something entirely different for another.

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Truth be told – I have no idea what my true size really is! (Hmm, the same could be said for my hair color. Who knows what that color really is?) Why can’t clothing manufacturers get their &^%$ together and give us universal sizes???  Image result for clothing labels with differing sizes Pants aren’t the only items that are labeled with sizing inconsistencies. Small, medium, large and XL tops aren’t always true to form either.

With so many conflicting sizes, it bears asking … Does Size REALLY matter?

Honestly, I think it depends on WHO you ask and WHAT kind of mood SHE is in on any given day!

In high school, I “porked up” to a whopping 145 pounds (I know, I know … Stupid teenage angst mentality). I was squeezing myself into a size 14 and I thought I was a cow based solely on the size of my jeans! Now at just under that same weight, I’m wearing mostly size 6, but I’ve got a great pair of pants that I love that are a size 4 and another that is a size 8. How is this possible – UNLESS clothing manufacturers are purposely labeling clothes smaller so women will feel better about themselves and buy more clothes. It’s quite the fashion conspiracy they’ve got going on there!

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The beauty of growing older is that at this time in my life, I’m not as obsessed with the numbers the way I once was. I’d much rather be comfortable than have numerical OCD. If I had a dollar for every time I bought a piece of clothing in a smaller, uncomfortable size just because I was too embarrassed to wear the next size larger … well, I could probably afford an entire new designer wardrobe by now!

As with most struggles in our lives, those of us who may be bothered by the size of our clothing need to stop listening to the lies of the enemy. The same way the number on the bathroom scale does not define us … what size our jeans or tops are doesn’t make us any more valuable as a person.

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There’s a great Old Testament story that speaks to the problem of putting too much emphasis on numbers. The story found in 2 Samuel 24:1-25 focuses on King David who is punished by God for ordering a census of his troops. There are conflicting debates as to why God punished David for something so seemingly innocent. The story is repeated in 1 Chronicles 21 and places the blame squarely on Satan for seducing David to disobey God (1 Chronicles 21:1 The Message Bible).  Image result for Census controvsery Thanks to the devil’s masterful seduction, David let his pride get the best of him and ordered the census to determine HIS own power and not God’s. He trusted in the number of HIS army rather than God’s power.

As I’ve mentioned a bazillion times before, the enemy has one jobto destroy God’s people and keep us from following Christ and spreading the Gospel. So why should any of us be surprised that there are millions of women out there fixating on and/or having emotional breakdowns based on what we weigh or what size we wear? (Okay, maybe it’s not always just women.)

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David suffered God’s punishment for his screw up – but if we call Jesus our Lord, if we confess our sin of pride or obsessive behavior over something as silly as what we weigh, then God has already forgiven us. Whenever we fall into the trap of being depressed over our weight or fixating on what size we wear, it would behoove us to have Romans 12:2 locked, loaded and memorized to defeat the lies of Satan.

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AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT OF NUMBERS …  how many times do we obsess over our Social Media followers or Likes??? Are we any less likable if we don’t get very many “Likes” over a Facebook post … Twitter retweet … Instagram share … You Tube views?

The numbers on the bathroom scale do not validate or define us and neither do the numbers on our clothing labels — be they pants size, dress size, blouse, bra, panty or shoe size. WE ARE MORE THAN JUST A NUMBER TO GOD! He created us uniquely and specifically to be exactly who we are and He loves us unconditionally … Size 4, 14 or 40 … it makes no difference to God! You are loved!


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The Lies That Bind

It seems to happen without rhyme or reason. You wake up and feel out of sorts. Maybe it’s hormonal, the weather, lack of proper sleep, or perhaps the universe has shifted slightly off its axis. Image result for earth off its axisWho knows? There could be many reasons really that cause us to wake up and just feel fat, ugly and toad-like.Image result for I feel fat

Even if you went to bed the night before and felt perfectly fine; without explanation a new day dawns and you wonder if an alien is suddenly inhabiting your body.    Oh wait … maybe it’s just me who has these days!

I’ve had several days like this in the past couple of weeks that find me slogging through my routines and chores. My legs feel like giant tree stumps barely able to propel me forward in simple movement. My brain and the bathroom scale confirm that there have been no physical changes — yet the weight of “something” presses me down.  It’s my logical mind that wages war with my emotional self.

My “illogical self” fears nothing has changed at all and the scale and the mirror are co-conspirators perpetuating the greatest hoaxes of all times. The weight I’ve lost was but an illusion and has merely been hiding for all these months, waiting to reattach itself while I sleep like some sort of science fiction pod person. Image result for Alien pod people

It’s been nearly nine months since I reached my goal weight. My weight fluctuates up or down by no more than a couple of pounds. That’s normal for most people. I try not to rely on the scale to validate me. If I weigh myself more than once a week, I tend to get a little OCD and can quickly spiral down that familiar rabbit hole. On those days when I feel fat, stepping on the scale is affirmation that I’m still okay and not in fact, a supernatural anomaly or pod person.

I fear my head has yet to catch up with the rest of my body. There are days that my brain simply fails to process the fact that I am now much lighter than I was last year at this time. A lot of the problem is that when I look in the mirror, I don’t believe I’m actually seeing what others see when they look at me. Image result for carnival funhouse mirror makes me look fat

My eyes are instantly drawn to all of the problem areas that weight loss and daily exercise has yet to correct. My eyes see that I am thinner, the evidence is unmistakable. The clothes hanging in my closet corroborate a substantial weight loss, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from thinking like someone who is still overweight.

I believe the correct medical definition of my condition is commonly referred to as the “fat head-thin thigh” syndrome. Okay – so I made that up — that’s not a real definition – that’s simply how I classify this weird psychological condition. In truth, what I really suffer from and have borne the weight of since I was very young is a very real condition called Body Dysmorphia.  Image result for Cartoon Body Dysmorphia

The medical definition of this malady is: a pathological preoccupation with an imagined or slight physical defect of one’s body to the point of causing significant stress or behavioral impairment in several areas (as work and/or personal relationships. People suffering from body dysmorphic disorder perceive themselves as ugly, fixating on slight abnormality or an imagined flaw. (Charles Q. Choi, Scientific American, February 2008)

Much like a carnival funhouse mirror, I’ve only ever seen a fat, ugly toad reflected back at me. The only explanation is that I am mentally ill in need of professional help. OR perhaps more accurately, I’ve been dogged by the master of all lies since childhood. The evil one – that lying snake, the devil – has successfully robbed me of an otherwise healthy self-image. And what’s worse – I let him do it.  

Now that I’m “older and wiser” I’ve been able to recognize the lies for what they are – but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t occasionally struggle in this area. I know that for us to hate what God created is sin – especially since the Bible tells us we were created in His image. (Genesis 1:27) We know God doesn’t make mistakes — yet in my twisted mind, I sometimes have argued that me, and only me – is and was and will always be — the exception to that rule.

Praise the good Lord for Scripture which I try to ingest every 4 – 6 hours as needed (or 4 – 6 minutes when the mind is really off-kilter).

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The harsh reality of life is that whenever your life seems to be on track and you’re doing well, feeling good and being a productive, contributing member of society at home, work, school or church … the enemy simply can’t stand it.

We really aren’t meant to live happily ever after without problems or trials in this lifetime for the simple reason stated in 1 Peter 2:11: Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. (The Message Bible)

For those days when I wake up, out of sorts and can only see the ugly toad reflected back at me – I tell myself that whenever the enemy is relentless in his attacks on my mind, I must be on the verge of doing something spectacular for the Lord. If I am living solely for myself and doing nothing that benefits the Lord or His kingdom, then I’m not a threat to the devil so he’s likely to leave me be.

So once again … body dysmorphia, feeling fat and gross, walking through life in physical or emotional pain, depression, anxiety — basically it all comes down to that age-old fight of good versus evil.

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God knows us inside and out. (Psalm 139). He knows our struggles and is fighting for us. We need to put on our big girl panties – or better yet, the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17) and shake off the lies that are keeping us bound.

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My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. James 1:2-3 (GNT)


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Two-Minute(s)-or Less-Warning

Nearly half-way through the writing of this week’s blog, I found myself stuck as to how to transition to my next point. Doing what most creative people do when they experience any type of artistic blockage, I checked my emails and Facebook page. 

A memory from four years ago popped up on my FB page that was a picture of a tree in my backyard that had been uprooted and destroyed by a fast-moving, freak storm. I’d captioned the photo, “What it took God 10 years to grow, was destroyed in a mere two minutes or less!”

It’s been said that a picture is a worth a thousand words. That’s certainly true for me because I swear, as soon as I saw this picture and its caption, several thousand words ricocheted around in my brain barely giving me enough time to write them down. In the interest of time however, I managed to trim a little off the top so the average reader can skim this list in … you guessed it – two minutes or less.

Two minutes. Not a lot of time, but so much can happen in a mere two minutes or less.

There’s the obvious two-minute warning during a football game. But who are they kidding? With commercial breaks and time-outs, that two-minutes can last upwards of five minutes, maybe more.Image result for clock of two minute warning

Two minutes or less might be all it takes for an introduction to the person who ends up becoming the love of your life.

Two minutes or less to recite your wedding vows.

Two-minutes or less for an at-home pregnancy test to reveal whether your entire life is about to change forever … or not.

Two minutes or less for your husband (or significant other) to tell you they don’t love you anymore and probably never did, but in fact, they love someone else now.

Two minutes or less to question why you were ever born.

Two minutes or less for the doctor to review the test results of the ultra-sound you needed to determine if what was seen on your mammogram is in fact cancer … or not.

Two-minutes or less can derail your life with one bad decision when proper wisdom or common sense fails.

Two-minutes or less can be life or death to someone waiting for an ambulance to arrive, or a firetruck or a police car.

For the addict fighting off the temptation to give in to the pull of their drug of choice, two-minutes or less can undo years of sobriety.

Without a doubt, the worst, most impossible two-minutes or less FOR ME is the two-minutes it takes to heat a proper lunch in the microwave. Two minutes or less is more than enough time for me to scarf down so much junk food that I find I’m suddenly too full to eat that well thought out meal.  It’s that particular two-minutes when indulged in too frequently that can undo the 18-months of hard work it took to lose a lot of weight.

Two minutes or less can cause a lot of damage in the mind of someone battling depression or low self-esteem.

Two minutes or less to swallow a hand full of pills and end your life.

Two minutes or less for your step-father to touch you inappropriately and scar you so deeply you fear you’ll never be able to have a normal relationship.

Two minutes or less to take a life … Two minutes or less to save a life … Two minutes or less to create a life … Two minutes or less for that last final push to birth a life.

Two minutes … two minutes … two minutes … any manner of things can transpire within the mere span of two minutes … 120 seconds. Dozens, hundreds, thousands of life-altering things can occur within a two-minute passage of time. Most of the things on this list are from my personal backpack of life’s experiences. And these are but a few.

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But the most important thing that can happen in two minutes or less is changing where you will spend your eternity. Saying yes to Jesus can happen quickly but change your life forever. Two minutes or less can determine if you’ll spend your afterlife in Heaven or Hell. Paradise or Hades?Image result for images for heaven and hell

Me? I choose Jesus, and not just for the next two minutes or for whenever it’s convenient. I choose Jesus for every decision. Every good day. Every bad day. Every minute of the life I have left on this earth.

Two minutes or less of praise and worship to the one who saved me and knows me better than I know myself is better than food binges, alcoholic beverages, exercise endorphins, therapy sessions and/or self-analysis.

The end of your life can come at any time like a thief in the night … and may not actually allow you the luxury of having a two-minute warning. Do you really want to take a chance on something that huge? WARNING:  Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Choose Jesus.


“At most, you will live a hundred years on earth, but you will spend forever in eternity.” ~ Rick Warren