The Comfort of Night with author Nylse Esahc

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

You will love today's conversation with my friend and author Nylse Esahc. We talk about her new book, "The Comfort of Night: How Jesus Makes Your Dark Times All Right" (available everywhere books are also but also here). You can follow Nylse on Facebook and Instagram. Enjoy!

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When you don't know what to do

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

We all find ourselves in a place where we need answers. 

We don't know what to do. We don't have a who to go to. 

During those moments, I turn to God. I more specifically, turn to His word. 

I gathered a few Bible verses that encourage us to seek God's wisdom. 

While the number one excuse people give is that the Bible is not the place to find out if you need to buy the car, date the guy or buy the dream home, you can rely on God's wisdom. Wisdom is the right thing to do at the right time which will always produce great results. Only if the wisdom comes from God of course. Let's think about these verses together:

1 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7 

The word "fear" means complete respect and admiration. If we want to have knowledge, we need to have the fear of the Lord in our lives. I don't want to be a fool so I will not despise wisdom and instruction. If it comes from God, I'm gonna welcome it. 

2 - For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; Proverbs 2:6 

I'm about to sound like a 21st-century scholar, you ready? Here it is: Instagram doesn't give wisdom. Tiktok doesn't give wisdom. I know they're "quoting" the Bible. Only the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Other people's interpretations can often sound good but it might not be from the Lord. Get it first-hand. Get it from His mouth. Stop taking shortcuts to someone who gave you full access to Him through His Son Jesus. 

3 - He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, Proverbs 2:7 

I was encouraged to see that God has wisdom stored for us. Why do I ever wonder if God ran out of wisdom to give me? He is also a shield. I pray that I can walk in integrity every day of my life. 

4 - Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:7-8

I think that sometimes when we read a "don't do something" is because we do the thing. Don't think you know it all (I'm speaking with myself first). Fear God and turn away from evil. Who knew that turning to God brings healing and refreshment. 

5 - Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:25-26

Second-hand suffering is a bad idea. God takes care of His children. He is and He will always be our confidence. He can keep us in perfect peace. 

If you don't know what to do, remember, God's wisdom is all you need. Seek it. He says you will find it. Ask because He freely gives wisdom.

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"You don't have energy, you do energy. There is no pill, there is a process."
- Jim Kiwk 

A few years ago, I was at my local gym standing by the weight racks. There was a huge mirror in front of me. I looked at myself and thought, "I've been a lot of things but I haven't been strong yet." 

I've been hearing about the benefits of weight training for many years. I had difficulty knowing what to do with the free weights. Any time a trainer made a recommendation, I'd follow it closely but that was it. Most of my training life revolved around distance running. 

In mid-December, after I strained my calf muscle, I decided to really do something about weight training. I changed my workouts at the gym. Still, I didn't really know what I was doing. 

I heard about CrossFit a while ago. I've been following the trend every since. I never said never to CrossFit. I want to say that I said, not yet. 

I talked to a few friends who have been faithful CrossFiters for years. They gave me great insight and advice. One of my friends verbalized the same thing I've been thinking. She said, "Cintia, we are stronger than we think we are."

I decided to dedicate myself to this new sport. At week 5, I can say that it has been worth it. I feel stronger already and I am learning a lot.

You do get sore in the beginning. Very sore. The good thing is that I know how to recover thanks to distance running. I also told myself that if I keep showing up, I will get stronger and less sore. 

The main thing I am learning from CrossFit is that there is no easy to learn. I have to show up, listen to instruction, and put in the work. 

Today I heard a great quote from Jim Kwik. He said, "you don't have energy, you do energy." I never heard this fact put it this way. 

I hear a lot of people saying "I'm tired, I don't have energy" and I can sympathize with them. I've been there. I started sitting on my couch, tired, overweight and suffering with high blood pressure. The way I got energy was to do. I started small. 

While seated on that couch, I wrote in my journal: "I am a runner and I love running." I had never ran a mile for fun. Today, not only I am a runner but I ran 7 marathons for fun. You have to start somewhere, it might as well be from where you are, exactly as you are. 

The second thing that Jim Kwik said was "there is no pill, there is a process." A similar quote is posted in my CrossFit box. The quicker I accepted this reality, the easier it was to become who I was meant to be. 

I became so passionate about the power of process that I wrote the following quote here on the blog: "There are no results without the process." I began to embrace the process. 

Learning and loving the process will lead you to your goal. You've done this before. There was a process that led me to attain my degrees. I went to class. I took the test. I wrote the paper. I walked across the stage to get my degrees. 

There was a process that led to the birth of my children. While I was not 100% in control, I did what I could. I went to every doctor's appointment. I took the prenatal vitamins. I ate more vegetables. I rested as much as I could. I was there for the birth, I recovered from the birth. 

I want you to forget any excuses you have for a moment. What is the process that will lead you to your goal? What can you do to get there? Small steps will lead you to where you need to go. 

My goal with CrossFit is not to be a sponsored athlete. What I do want is to be stronger so my life as a wife and mother can benefit. I can tell you that I am benefiting already as a runner. I'm amazed at how much strength training helps my entire body and mind. I am close to being done with my WW journey but I am not there yet. 

I am telling myself that I have energy. I am also telling myself that the process (tracking my food intake, resting, drinking water, minding my mindset, moving) is important. There is no way to reach my goal without embracing the process. 

Lastly, I want to tell you that you too have what it takes to embrace the process that will lead to your goal. This is the year to achieve your goals and become all you were meant to be. You have what it takes.

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Quiet 2021

Friday, April 16, 2021

"It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord. 

Lamentations 3:26 (NKJV)

I talked too much in 2020. I complained too much. I was verbal about my frustration which caused me to sin. 

I know God doesn't have a problem with me 'feeling my feelings.' God knew it was 2020. Still, His word and His character does not change. His standards for me were untouched by the situations that I faced. I talked too much friends. 

I complained about so many things going wrong around me. Let's take the racial unrest in the country. I wasn't wrong to speak up. I also put action behind my words. I went a step further and even spoke to a therapist about it. None of this was wrong. 

I talked too much in 2020 because I spoke in anger and I directed that anger towards family and friends. There was a better way to express everything I was feeling. I chose to use my words to hurt and not to heal. For that, I feel awful. 

Yes, I asked for forgiveness. I admitted my mistakes to those I hurt and to God. The issue on the table is, am I really going to change? How will that change come about?

One option is to join a silent retreat. You know that's not going to work for me. I speak for a living. Going on a silent retreat is just not practical at this point in my life. Maybe in a few decades. 

The option that makes the most sense is to ask God to change me from the inside out. While God changes my flawed and sinful nature, I wait quietly. 

The practical way I intend to that is the following: 

1. Give myself to the reading and studying of Scriptures. I can't be transformed outside of God's guidelines. 

2. Give myself to prayer. The only way this works is if my schedule clearly shows I'm reserving time to prayer.n Praying on the internet so others can join does not count in this case. 

3. Follow up with Christian Counseling. I believe that counselors can give me tools for this journey.

4. Become a better listener. The first, second, and third step is to be quiet. That's the only way to listen. While I am quiet, I listen for things unsaid as well. 

This year will be a quiet year. I'm okay with that because out of Godly quietness, change and perspective will certainly come. 

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Dream big: it will happen

Monday, April 12, 2021

 I was brand new in Texas but I got my second civic speaking engagement. I was to teach a class on social media for business. 

I drove to the address and I set up my presentation. I was asked to provide my bio so I could be properly introduced. A gentleman read my bio and he chuckled at the end as he read "she hopes to run a marathon one day." 

I didn't think my dream was funny. Still, I proceeded to start and finish my presentation with enthusiasm. At the end, he shook my hand and I drove 45 minutes home. I thought about my dream and I kept working on it, one step at a time. 

Now that I completed 7 marathons, I know it is not about the finish time, it is about the finish line. A lot of people dream, start working on it but never cross the finish line. 

I am determined to continue to work on my goals until I complete them. 

Recently, I shared a big goal with two individuals. Their reaction was rather doubtful. I recognized it because I've been in the receiving end of such reactions before. 

I also remembered that the role of doubters is to doubt. My role is to take small steps towards completing my goal. 

This is not an invitation to hate your doubters. It is a clarification of what their purpose truly is. The goal of the doubter is to cast confusion in your mind. The truth is that doubters are completely irrelevant to your goal-achieving process. 

I am learning to be okay with the presence of doubters. I don't mind their chuckles and mocking reactions. What I do mind is making sure their negativity does not get to my psyche. 

I am encouraging you to dream big because it will happen. 

It will happen because your dream is God-initiated. What God blesses, a doubter can't curse. What God gives, no one can take away. If God is for you, who can be against you?

Sure, the journey to any worthy goal presents obstacles. Don't let doubters be a relevant obstacle. You can do that by making sure they are not part of your support group. Plain and simple. Remove them out of your inner circle. 

I know it hurts to hear doubters doubting your dream. I also know their words and mockery are irrelevant compared to what you gain by leaving their negativity behind. 

So go on and dream big: it will happen.

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Every now and then I had this thought: "I've been a lot of things but I haven't been physically strong yet." It took me many years to do something about it. 
I decided to try CrossFit after seeing people I admire practice it with so much grace. I asked them for advice and support. My husband told me a while ago I should try it too. So I did.  

Being new at a sport is quite humbling. Still, I'm determined to learn how to get better. Each time I show up, I learn something new about the sport and about myself. 

It is tough to recognize but I can only work so many muscles with running (which I still love and always will). CrossFit introduced the opportunity for other areas of my body to get stronger. 

I asked my coach what I could do to get my upper body stronger. He said, "pain." He smiled and said, just keep showing up. I told him I was determined to put in the work.

It's amazing how much we learn from pain. We all avoid it but the right kind of pain makes us stronger because it develops strength in us.

I don't think CrossFit is for everybody just like running is not for everybody. But if like me, you always wanted to give it a try, you should.
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The next 40 days

Friday, April 9, 2021

There is a fatigue that happens as you cross the finish line of a marathon. Recovery starts at the finish line because you are depleted. That's how I feel.

I recently led the "40 days of No Complaints Challenge" here on the blog. At church, we also finished a 40-day prayer challenge which culminated with Easter, one of our busiest times of the year. 

Just like a marathoner crossing a finish line, my recovery starts now. I learned that the best way to recover is to practice active recovery. Just because I ran a lot, I don't get to sit on a couch and stop. I need to move my body gently. I need great nutrition and hydration. I also need rest. 

In a spiritual and mental sense, recovery means staying at the feet of Jesus. Reading the Bible as a habit. Praying without ceasing and hearing what God has to say about my next project.

I'm the type of girl who wants to involve God in every area of my life. I want to inquire about my personal and professional life. No detail is too small for God. 

That's where I am. 

I do have goals for the next 40 days. They are quite boring so I'm not creating a challenge to go along with those goals. I find that it is more of a challenge to quietly achieve goals than to have a crew with me. There is value in both. The latter is more challenging. 

That's where I am. I know God will meet me here.
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