How to Stay Above The Fray

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Galatians 6:1-5

As a parent, I often talk with my boys about their personal brand and how they show up in the world. We should be striving to be Christ-like, even when it is hard. We are reminded that we cannot control others’ hearts, minds or behavior, but we can stay above the fray.

At the end of the day, God has called us to a higher level of accountability because we profess to be Christians. We are His Brand Ambassadors and our goal is to be credible messengers. This means that we should not engage in mess, gossip, deceit, wickedness.

I pray that I am being a good role model.

Check, Check, Double Check

Personal AccountabilityI carry a mirror around all the time, and I use it as a reminder to check my motivations. I don’t need to check my appearance all day, but I do need to check in with my Spirit. For my Spirit should drive my motivation. Improper motivation may well be about worshipping myself or seeking the approval of others. Evidence of my motivation shows up in the types of relationships, deeds and conversations I engage in with others.

I caution myself and boys to avoid adopting a “holier than thou” attitude, yet we know God expects more of us because we carry His brand. Our words and deeds should be controlled by His love and motivated by His glory and name.

Action Speaks Louder Than Words

In addition to our words, we must also make sure our actions reflect our relationship with God. Otherwise, if the two don’t line up, it’s hard to be a convincing Brand Ambassador. It would be like that saying, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

To make sure our actions are aligned with our words and beliefs, we should:

  • Confess sin and ask for God’s grace and mercy daily.
  • Respect those who are authorities in our lives as if we are respecting God because He put them there.
  • Act from the heart and with good will. This means that we must have pure motives, which is only possible if Christ is ruling our hearts, giving us the desire of the Lord.
  • Truly surrender, sacrifice, and take up our crosses daily. It is one thing to clock in and clock out, putting in our time, and it is another thing altogether to rejoice always and never complain, seeking God’s glory all the while.
  • Sincerely apologize when we do harm to others and do not repeat the behavior or action.

Question for you…How do you stay above the fray of temptation and other un-Christianlike behaviors? What have you found to keep you personally accountable?

Spring Cleaning Your Pantry

The season for going through the entire house, room by room, deep cleaning and organizing (also known as attempting the impossible) is upon us!  If you are anything like me, you probably start spring off with big plans for de-cluttering, simplifying and organizing every square inch.  

Then, before you know it, summer is in full gear and you-re lucky to have gotten through one or two rooms.  I don’t really have a good fix for this, but Erica recently posted this advice on NLM (which I found to be very helpful)!

What I do have is the perfect list of must-haves for your pantry.  Clear out what is unnecessary or unhealthy and fill it with the items below – you’ll be able to quickly put together lots of healthy meals and snacks.

Pantry

Whole Grains

Whole grains are great sources of fiber and minerals.  They also have more protein than their simple grain counterparts

  • 100% Whole-Wheat Flour – I almost always substitute whole-wheat flour in any recipe that calls for white-flour
  • Corn Masa – you will typically find this in the Latin food section of the grocery store.  It comes in very handy when making homemade corn tortillas (I know that sounds intimidating but they are super-easy to make…just follow the recipe on the packaging.)
  • Almond Meal – this is great to use in homemade pancakes, muffins and granola bar recipes (I typically replace 1/4 of the white flour amount with almond meal)
  • Quinoa – this nutty-flavored grain is full of protein and fiber (check fiber content)
  • Steel-Cut Oats – whenever I’m in the mood for oatmeal, this is my go-to grain
  • Unbleached All-Purpose Flour – while not a whole grain, I do keep white flour on hand…cakes and other sweet breads just aren’t the same without it!

Natural Sweeteners

As a self-proclaimed sugar addict, I try to keep healthier versions readily available to add to my coffee and baking recipes.

  • Raw Sugar
  • Agave Nectar
  • Honey
  • Stevia
  • Pure Maple Syrup

Nuts/Seeds

A small portion of nuts and seeds  (along with a little bit of dried fruit) is often the perfect mid-afternoon snack for me.  They are also good for homemade granola and granola bar recipes.

  • Raw Almonds
  • Raw Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Raw Sunflower Seeds

Canned Goods

  • Beans (Black, Kidney, Garbanzo) – having canned beans on hand is a must for me as I can whip up a pot of chili in no time (just put a couple of cans in a pot, add browned ground turkey, a can of tomatoes, chili seasoning, salt & pepper…voila!) or throw a can of drained beans in the Vitamix/food processor, along with some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper for hummus.
  • Tomatoes (Diced, Crushed) – I typically select diced tomatoes with herbs or onions included for additional flavor
  • Pumpkin Puree – be sure to get %100 pure pumpkin (not the pie filling) and use in muffin, bread, and pancake recipes to replace some of the fat

Other

  • Dried Fruit – I add a tablespoon or so to my steel-cut oatmeal instead of sugar
  • Panko Bread Crumbs – for any “oven-fried” dishes

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