Today, I'm digging into Jeremiah 29 and the "art" of managing your mindset. If you're not interested in my ramblings, feel free to scroll to the bottom where you'll find this weeks recipe (for mind mapping) and a free printable tool!
What if the most beautiful flowers must come up through the cracks? Through the broken concrete - through the ugliest, hardest places and spaces? What if it's in the midst of pushing through the muck, we get to be transformed into something better than we were before?
(I'm sure you've heard that a Lotus flower only grows in the mud!)
So, here's my thoughts on this. I've spent my entire week in a bit of a fog. So, if this is less-than-brilliant, bear with me sister!
But I feel like God has placed an important message on my heart to share with you.
An important message I'm living out.
There is beauty on hard paths.
The problem, I found, is that the verses I had been quoting to get through this season kept focusing on the next and not the now. As in, let's just get through this ugly place called Beating Melanoma and move on to the next chapter, because obviously that's what the Lord was saying in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord... "plans for hope and a future," (paraphrased). But then, the other morning, I found myself wondering about the context of this one verse. Is that all there is to it? Does Papa just want us moving full steam ahead, vision-casting for a brighter future?
The answer that I received was a big ol' NO. Nope, not at all. It's actually quite the opposite. And much better! He wants us in the today. In the now, in yogi-speak.
"We want to believe the Christian life is all about our happiness. We want joy, but we don’t want exile to create it. We want to be strong in Jesus, but we don’t want to walk the Calvary road He walked. We want holiness without pain." - Mary DeMuth, Jeremiah 29:11 Doesn't Mean What You Think
In chapter 29, Jeremiah is telling the surviving elders (carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon), about God's plans for their city:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
And it sounds hopeful. But in the verse just before it, Jeremiah also says how long the elders must tell their community to wait... Seventy years! They must endure. At first glance, I was fumbling for the correct response. Seventy years. Y'all I've had a chronic disease since I was 19 years old. And my battle with pain began years before that. If you've been fighting a while too, this might be a disheartening season.
But does the Lord want us to just wait around for better days?
No, and so Jeremiah doesn't end there. The Lord speaks life in verses 12-14:
"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.
The Lord tells Jeremiah that He will bring those exiled back from captivity.
This gave me huge hope.
For the first time in my adult life, I am praying prayers of complete restoration and healing. It isn't uncomfortable, because I know that God is able to give abundantly more than I ask or deserve. And while, I don't believe the Lord exiled me - I do believe I'm being called to thrive where I'm at. Just like the exiled were in Jeremiah! At the beginning of the chapter (verses 5-7) he says:
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
In other words, pray - act - thrive!
In this season, thriving (for me) means to avoid the trap of a wandering (and sad) mind. You can thrive where you're at too. I promise you this! You just need to redefine what it means to thrive.
Here's my "recipe" on going from survival to thrival in each of your four body systems. You can use this worksheet below, or grab the printable. It's time to begin to change the way you view your life.
Note: The Lord wants more for you than you can possibly imagine, but if you're dealing with disease - make small shifts. Bigger is not better unless it's truly where you are being called!
You know you're a geek when...
When you're literally sitting at the edge of your own seat, wondering what sort of amazingness you might spew out onto the screen after 10 years of gut-healing adventures.
Sometimes, I surprise myself.
I hope today is one of those days! (For your sake and mine. I get very few spare moments between my incredible day job and raising precious babes.) So, let's dig in.
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), says Paleo Mom Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (my future bff) in her blog post titled the same, "is a powerful strategy that uses diet and lifestyle to regulate the immune system, putting an end to (these) attacks and giving the body the opportunity to heal." It's a diet and a lifestyle I can vouch for! After experiencing back-to-back-to-back challenges from 2008-2015, I came across Dr. B's work and bought every book possible about this approach to complete well-being. And for a while, I felt great!
"One who enjoys good health is rich in a great way." - Anonymous
And I wholeheartedly agree! Change your health-story, change your entire life. Like I said, I felt great.
(Let me note here that I did not use AIP for weight loss - though the impact of eating clean can absolutely contribute to lowering those numbers on the scale. I came to AIP to change my life. My weight is just a number. My relationship with the world around me? Now, that's something of substance.)
Back to Dr. Ballantyne's work.
There's some serious meat (both metaphorically and physically) to this lifestyle. It "is a science-based diet and lifestyle intervention for autoimmune disease. In a recent clinical trial in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, 73% of participants were in full clinical remission after following the AIP for only six weeks, and they experienced continued improvement over the entire course of the study." (You can grab her book here.)
The only trouble that I've found is that, over time, you wonder if you're healed - and might try a new food or two (or ten, in my case), find out you're not, and be incredibly disheartened by the setback. (This was my experience this fall.) And while I like to combine my faith with science, for complete well-being, it was really, really hard for me to comprehend why I couldn't just live like the normal folks do.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; - 1 Corinthians 6:19
Here's a fact: those of us with autoimmune disease are not normal folks. We must live a highly-specialized life in order to live our best possible one. And even when we take the very best care of our physical bodies, we can stumble and fall. Autoimmune disease isn't just a disease of body. It infiltrates your mind and your spirit - if you let it.
Since this body is not mine, I continue to focus on my physical well-being. There's no doubt about that! (I'm about to share a super simple recipe with y'all.) But I also focus on my mindset (I adore Joyce Meyers and highly recommend reading her Daily Battles post). I believe you must take a comprehensive approach to feeling good in the skin that you're in and the life you are living. This means heal it all.
Your relationship with life, matters.
Okay, it's recipe time! (It's funny how God moves. I literally just told my husband I wasn't going to do this. But here we are!)
I hope you enjoy!
Psst - are you going this adventure solo? Grab my exclusive newsletter here! We are better together, my friend.
All information and resources found on JenniferMagnano.com are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own wellness decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, or therapist. And I don't intend on becoming one! No information that I post should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure anything. Let's just have a conversation, and if I can support your path - reach out! Want the weekly scoop? Click here so that I can pop into your inbox once a week!