When You Feel Lost…

This wasn’t one of the posts I originally planned to write. It’s not one of the titles that I had written down. It’s just an idea, a thought that popped into my mind and all the sudden I started writing this blog in my head. And that’s why I knew I had to write it. I’m going to say that I truly believe this message is from God, for me and for you. It may not be the most organized or drafted post, but it’s a blog from the heart and soul that I believe is very meaningful.

It’s scary to feel lost, to feel as if you have no idea where to go or what to do. To have this desire to be so much more and make an impact, yet have no direction for how to go about doing that. When people say they’ve found their dream job/career or they are following their passion, and you still don’t know…I’ve been there (heck, I’m still there). It’s scary, it’s terrifying, it causes fear to creep in and take over. In today’s world there are so many options, paths, careers, choices, etc. that it overwhelms us into just staying where we are–happy or not. We tend to turn to people asking them what we should do, letting their opinions or decision become the choices we make. We turn our attention so intensely onto another person, object, etc.  to fill that void/lost feeling we have. Or maybe we just stay where we are, hopelessly scraping by; we give up. Oftentimes we are so desperate for answers and immediate fixes that we almost always overlook the one simple truth. You see here’s the truth:

It’s not that we’re lost, it’s that we are looking for answers in all the wrong places.

That’s it. We turn to friends, family, significant others, substances, food, addictions, things we can control, etc. instead of running to the one who already has a plan for you. You aren’t lost, there is a plan for your life far greater than you could ever imagine, so much greater that if you knew it all right this instant, you couldn’t even comprehend it. That’s why there are no quick fixes or immediate clarity because we only got a piece at a time; and over time those little pieces add up to the big, grand life that God has planned for you. I understand that this isn’t easy. That it’s not easy to let go of control and to feel lost with no direction, but the great thing is, is that God knows this too and He is looking out for you–whether you feel it or not. In times when you feel lost with no direction, here’s what you need to remember: the only direction you need to turn is to God. It doesn’t matter if you know what you want to do, who you want to be, what your passion or purpose is. Give it to God and he will supply the rest.

It can be easy to run to things of this world which give quick gratification, but you and I both know that whatever that is, it will ultimately leave you feeling empty in the end–wanting and needing more. So instead in tough times, when you don’t know what to do or where to go, run to the One who does know, the One who will meet all your needs according to the riches in Christ Jesus. You are not lost, you are just going in the opposite direction looking for answers in the wrong places. When you feel lost, remember this and remind yourself to turn your focus and direction back on God. Remind yourself to be in constant communication with Him and to put your full faith and trust in what He can do. No matter how lost you feel, you’re just one step away from the Father who is calling you to Him.

You aren’t lost; you don’t have no direction. You are loved by the only direction that leads to joy, purpose, and grace. Follow that road and don’t look back. Instead look to the future, to all the amazing things the God of the universe has in store for you, and to the present, to what He is doing in your life right now.

 

Team Update: Overcoming Adversity

Since the last time I talked to you was about 3 weeks ago at the end of preseason, I wanted to give y’all a short update on the team, season, how I’m doing, etc. Along with this also comes the topic I want to touch on: overcoming adversity in any and all situations. You’ll see why here in a sec…

Our season has just started, but we’re already getting into the swing of things, facing tough teams. We had our first official game this past weekend as part of a tournament in California. At the tournament 2 out of the 4 teams we face were ranked in the top 25 in the country (we were ranked 10th at the time). We ended up going 2-2 for the weekend, although one game we really beat ourselves therefore making it possible to have been 3-1 this weekend. But even though we didn’t achieve the outcome we desired, I think it was a great learning experience for our team and as individual players on skills we need to work on, being disciplined, competitive, etc. We found areas to improve upon and tactics to do so. We won’t see any of those same teams again until the regional tournament in mid-november which means we have plenty of time to get better and come out stronger next time we play those opponents.

Every team, of course, faces obstacles at one point or another in a season. And it’s how you come together and work as a team to overcome those that ultimately leads to growth–both individually and collectively. This is the situation we are stuck in currently. During pre-season and our first scrimmage, two of our starters from last year got injured (broken foot and ACL tear) and are now out for either a great chunk or all of season. This obviously means that spots have to be filled and a huge obstacle must be faced and conquered. That’s why I think our tournament in California this past week was an eye-opener to what we must do and how we must play to continue getting better without our two starters. Our team is no worse or better off because of these injuries–it is just different now. A different team, different roles, different dynamics, different strategies, etc. We had a great loss with those injuries, but now it’s time to overcome that adversity for the better and still come out on top.

And this is the big message I wanted to hammer home here. In sports, relationships, jobs, the craziness of life there are going to be challenges you face, obstacles that get in your way and events/people who are determined to tear you down. It’s tough, but it’s part of life. And it’s part of how you grow. As much as we like things easy, I honestly do not believe that anyone would like to breeze through life totally care-free and easy. You may think you might at first, but then it becomes monotonous. There’s no room for improvement, growth, strength; we wouldn’t need people around to help us; it would honestly be kind of boring. Now, I’m not saying that people wish their life was hard and miserable nor should you. But it’s those tough moments that you find out what you’re really made of and capable of. It’s those challenges that allow you to grow into who you can and want to become.

When you face adversity whether that be an injury, a hard task, a disrupt in your life, etc., change your attitude towards it. Instead of viewing it as something awful and dwelling on it/the past, look to the future and all that’s possible now. View it as a chance to make yourself, your team, your relationships, your life BETTER! When life knocks you down, use adversity as the fuel that lights your fire to get back up, work even harder, and come out ahead in the future. Overcoming adversity isn’t as hard if you just decide to start changing your attitude and mindset towards it.

Remember this: When you view the obstacle as the opportunity, you will overcome.

Healthy, Lower Carb Substitutes

I want to provide helpful content to y’all so as I was devouring my spaghetti squash for lunch I thought why not do a post on lower-carb options? Now please note, I am not stating that carbs are bad and I am not advocating low-carb in any any!! (Unless of course you’re on prep). Carbs are GOOD, carbs are FUEL–they’re necessary for our energy, strength, functionality, etc. However, I know not everyone’s carbs can be up super high like bodybuilders, reverse dieters, those in recovery, etc. There are people out there who have a lower carb diet and don’t eat 250, 350, 350+ carbs a day. Even for those on higher carbs, these substitutes can be a good way to increase veggies and save carbs for elsewhere too. Plus they’re all too dang delicious to not try.

So with all that said, here are some ideas for lower-carb swap outs and substitutes that are just as delicious as the originals, when needed.

1. Spaghetti Squash

This one had to be first because it is my NUMBER ONE! Sorry for the all caps, but seriously if you have NOT tried it yet…just go do it. Right now, I’ll wait. To me, spaghetti squash sometimes tastes better than pasta (yes, I just said that) and it is a perfect substitute because it’s all veggie. The texture is spot on and it’s as flexible with your toppings and mix-ins as regular pasta. This is the recipe I use. You can also just cook the spaghetti squash the same way without mix-ins and add your own after it’s cooked too. You could also mix regular pasta with spaghetti squash.

2. Zoodles

Zoodles are another low-carb pasta substitute, but to me this takes a little more work and a little less exact match as the spaghetti squash, but still delicious! You will need a spiralizer of some sort to create the noodles out of the zucchini, and then either can eat them raw or cook them. I prefer to cook them a little (to soften them) with my sauce, meat, and veggie additives. You could also mix regular pasta and the zoodles too.

3. Butternut Squash

Butternut squash can be substituted instead of sweet potatoes either making them as fries, cubes, chips, etc. I’ve never made fries out of them, but I do know some stores even sell them cut up like fries either fresh or frozen so check your local grocery store. I have used cubed squash though in random bowls like I would potato.

4. Lettuce Wraps/Boats

Although some people may cringe at the thought of replacing breadier (is that a word? it is now) carbs with lettuce, but it can still be done and made delicious! I have made chinese chicken wraps with lettuce and have been meaning to try taco lettuce boats (basically a taco in a cup of lettuce instead of a tortilla). Lettuce could also be used as a bun for burgers or sandwiches. They do tend to fall apart a little more if you over-stuff them, but the crunch from the wrap is great texture with the meal!

5. Salad

Lastly, I know this isn’t really a subsitute because salad is a meal/food anyway, BUT almost anything you make can be turned into a salad if lower carbs are needed. Examples include taco salad, burger salad (burger and toppings just mixed with lettuce), chinese salad, etc. Just do be careful that you don’t add too many other less-nutritious options to the salad that it actually becomes worse for you.

While I love carbs and they are definitely important and necessary, sometimes you need to eat lower carbs in life or in a situation, OR you just want to eat lower carbs. That’s okay as long as you are making sure that you are getting enough carbs for your body, your needs, your activity level, etc. These options are all veggies so they still do have carbs, but they are lower-carb substitutes for you to try. If you have any other ideas or recipes you love, please share them in the comments section below!

 

Why I Lift

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that I love weightlifting. I’ve done a weightlifting series, written about the benefits, and just talked about it in my story and other posts because, well, it’s my passion! I write about it, post about it, talk about it because I love it and that’s what I’ve chosen to fill my life with (as much as I can of course). Now, lately, i’ve heard through social media and YouTube of many weightlifters, athletes, bodybuilders, etc. who get “shamed” for lifting because they only care about their looks, they’re narcissists, douchey–whatever you want to call it. And while I thankfully have never experienced this, I am still a part of that group being incorrectly called out.

Now are there some people who only lift for those above reasons, probably yes, but like any “stereotype” they are few & far between–the outliers–causing the rest of us to get a bad rap. So today I want to talk about why I personally lift. I think that anyone, whether or not their passion/life is involved with fitness, should always be knowing their why. Why they started, why they’re doing it, why they want to continue, etc. Knowing your why can help you push through when times get hard (very often), it helps you live a life you love, confident in what you are doing, and it helps shape who you are as a person. If you can’t think of a why, then consider it’s time to move on. Your why is fundamental.

So, why do I lift?

I lift because I love it. I enjoy pushing myself to lift more weight, for more reps, to try difficult movements and conquer them. I love knowing that I am physically making a change in my body, mind, and life. From the moment I step foot in the gym, until I walk out (or limp if it’s leg day ya know) I just love it. The whole process of working on myself, for myself, by myself to become better and stronger is something that I look forward to carrying through my entire life.

I lift because it makes me confident. Unlike those accusations of being too focused on one’s self or body, I struggle to love my body. If you’ve read my story, you know that I hardcore struggled in the past with body dysmorphia, with accepting my body for what it currently is and loving it at all stages. I just wanted to be skinny. But, when I stop foot in that gym and start lifting, all those thoughts go away. I’m no longer consumed by how my body looks, but rather what my body can do!! It doesn’t matter if I’m skinny when I’m squatting more than my bodyweight, it doesn’t matter that I tend to hold my fat on my lower belly when I am fighting through the last reps to BUILD my muscle and body. Lifting has shown me that while I still struggle, I no longer want to be tiny and skinny. I want to be strong and healthy and muscular and a freakin’ badass in the gym.

I lift because of what it’s taught me.

Lifting is much bigger than just who it builds physically, it builds your character, your attitude on life, you as a person, how you live your life. It has taught me discipline and perseverance. Results take time, goals take time and through the process you have to be discipline to hit your lifts and nutrition. Persevere over challenges, bounce back from setbacks and come at it even harder and stronger than before. Lifting has taught me to set goals, focus hard to achieve them, and work for it. It has taught me to live a life that I love–no matter what anyone else’s opinion is. It has shown me that I can become whoever and whatever I choose to set my mind to be.

I lift because it makes me stronger.

Not only physically, but mentally too. Sure, the muscle gains are evident. But the confidence to live the life I love, to be damn proud of what I am doing, and to fight for what I want isn’t as easily seen–but it’s there alright!!! The mental toughness to push through hard times, to not quit or give-up. Lifting has even helped my mental health by reminding me to listen to my body. Sure, I’m pushing myself in the gym to get physically stronger. But if I ever want to see that progress, lifting reminds me that I need to take care of resting and my mental health as well.

I lift because it makes me happy.

This last one kind of bundles the previous paragraphs into one. All of these things that lifting does for me makes me happy. I’m not always a cheerful, positive person, but lifting helps change my perspective and brings me joy in what I am doing and who I am becoming. And honestly, your why should be bringing you happiness otherwise why are you doing it?

Lifting is helping me build myself–mentally, physically, in and outside of the gym, my character, who I am, and who I am becoming.

This is why I lift.