EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from If You Have A Craving, I Have A Cure by Sheri Rose Shepherd.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13
If we can do all things through Christ, why are we so often exhausted?
To be honest, I think the two things that wear us out most are, first, trying to live in our own strength and, second, attempting to play the junior Holy Spirit. By that I mean we try to control everything in our lives and the lives of those we love. God has wired us to notice situations requiring change and needs that should be met. When He is truly guiding us to take action, He provides the energy and the grace we need to do what we could never do in our own strength. At times, though, we take on burdens He never meant for us to carry.
The truth is, as long as we try to control everything around us, we will feel out of control and overwhelmed. So the first step to gaining energy is to take a deep breath right now and speak these energizing words: “He is God. . . . I am not!” or “I surrender to You, God. Take control and lead me!” God has not called us to burn ourselves out; in fact, one of the things I’ve learned in my life is that if the devil can’t make us bad, his next trick is to make us busy so he can burn us out.
…I find myself desperate every day for more energy and more of God’s grace in my life. Maybe you’re in a place where you, too, are living out one of God’s surprises. Perhaps you’re being forced to live a life you never asked for, or maybe you’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired. In any event, if you’re ready for an energy breakthrough, I encourage you to try four simple practices that have helped give me more energy and renewed passion and joy in spite of the stresses of everyday life.
New Life Recipes
Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. - 1 Timothy 4:8
For years, no matter how many times I was told how good exercise was for me, I dreaded it. I needed an exercise breakthrough. Finally, I decided to make exercise an act of worship. My walks became my worship time and a sacrifice to the Lord. In this way, the Holy Spirit could use my body to do His work through me. Sometimes I put on worship music and danced in my bedroom, just as David danced before the Lord. (2 Samuel 6:14 says David danced in his linen ephod, or priestly garment; I dance with my workout clothes on.) I noticed that as soon as I wasn’t exercising for my looks but for my Lord, I began to enjoy exercise for the first time.
How can you find renewed energy through exercise? Make a playlist of your favorite worship songs and choose the type of exercise you enjoy. Instead of thinking of exercise as something you have to do, get up in the morning and praise God that you can move your body and exercise for His glory.
Maybe you have a beautiful place where you can go walking or a friend who will become a prayer partner so you can do prayer walks together. You’ll discover that something almost miraculous can happen when all that you do is done for God’s glory and not your own!
2. Hydrating Your Body and Soul
But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life. - John 4:14
We all want to drink the water Jesus talks about in John 4:14.
He promises that if we drink from His water, we will never thirst again. Many of us are exhausted, I believe, because we are not soaking in the Word that waters our soul. In an attempt to water our thirsty souls, we try artificial faith fixes, which leave us dissatisfied.
Our bodies may also become dehydrated when we don’t drink pure water but instead fill ourselves with drinks containing sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Let’s try something new. For the next seven mornings, drink a large glass of purified water as you read a short paragraph of Scripture. See how pure water and the Word energize you in a whole new way.
3. Eliminating Excess in Life
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. - Hebrews 12:1
For many years, I have spoken at women's conferences. A few years ago, I realized that, the older I got, the more stuff I thought I needed to feel comfortable while on the road. However, every time I came back from a trip my neck and back were out of whack because I dragged heavy luggage through an airport and into a hotel room. Even worse, I never really needed—or used—many of the items I brought!
Many of us have excess activity and busyness that are sucking the life out of us. If you’re feeling weighed down, I invite you to take a personal inventory of what you have on your calendar and in your life. Then pray and ask God what He would like you to let go of. Lay that down at His feet and let Him deal with it. If you do this, I believe you will find new strength and the simpler life you crave.
4. Power Up With Prayer
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31
Let’s make the Word personal and put it into action by praying Isaiah 40:31:
Help me to trust in You, and as I do, give me renewed strength. Give me eyes to soar above my circumstances and give me a renewed passion to run in Your strength and not my own. I pray from this day forward that I will not grow faint but finish strong. Amen.
No food . . . is as satisfying as the energy to enjoy life.
Now that we’ve talked about energizing our faith, let’s energize our bodies with some delicious meals. I have compiled seven energizing recipes to help defeat the battle of fatigue once and for all.
Protein is essential to maintaining a healthy body and is an important source of energy. Salad is not only a great way to sneak in our fruit and veggies for the day, but it also helps boost our bodies’ antioxidants. The recipes below are packed full of creative, protein-filled salads or meat entrées that are sure to give you that boost of energy you crave. And they taste amazing!
Steak Supreme Salad
Ingredients for salad:
5 ounces lean steak
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
3 to 4 cups spinach, washed and dried
1 cup sliced cucumber
8 to 12 strawberries, sliced
1 avocado, peeled and sliced (optional)
Ingredients for vinaigrette dressing:
3 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1. Slice steak into thin strips. Broil or pan fry in 2 teaspoons oil; cook meat to your liking. Add sea salt and set meat aside.
2. Combine spinach, cucumber, and strawberries in a salad bowl and toss gently.
3. To make vinaigrette dressing, whisk together sherry or red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, and black pepper in a small bowl.
4. Gently toss the spinach, cucumber, and strawberries with the vinaigrette.
5. Place spinach mixture on individual serving plates. Top with the steak and avocado slices, and serve.
Use the vinaigrette dressing for any of your favorite salads. It is always better to make your own than to use a bottled dressing.
*This except first published 1/8/2013