When Money Works For You

Photo Cred: Joanna Nix-Walkup

I don’t know if everyone who will put eyes on this post knows the feeling of getting caught in the rat race of money or not, but if you do, then this one may be for you. You see, there is a rat race I’ve been feeling stuck on for a while and I’m slowly becoming free. It’s a financial race to get ahead of taxes and bills, in order to have enough to save, invest, and give generously. (I will preface this post by saying please check out my other post “It’s Better to Give Than to Receive” so that you understand my views on giving no matter what. There are ways to give generously no matter our financial circumstances.) But as life stands now, I’d like to give financially, in more profound ways than ever before.

Recently, last month in December 2020, I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and it changed my life. Not in any outward way. My financial and living circumstances from an outsider’s perspective look the same this month as last month, but my thoughts and words around money have shifted. At some point in the book, I started believing I could be the “rich Dad” Kiyosaki talks about. I started believing I could be financially wealthy in order to get out of the rat race.

The idea that opened my eyes to this new way of thinking that has changed my perspective on money is this: Money works for ME.

Until last month when reading that book, my entire life I worked for money. I worked a job or gig and received money in return. Work, get paid. Work, get paid. Whether life guarding at pools through high school and college or becoming a sports video producer, I worked for money. But then Rich Dad, Poor Dad flipped my perspective completely on its head. In the middle of the chapter where I had this enormous “aha” I literally spoke out loud over and over, “money works for me, I don’t work for money,” till I believed it.

When money works for me, then I get to let go of pressure to perform for work. I get to let go of fear of the financial “what ifs” with taxes and bills. I get to take authority. Finances do not rule my life anymore, I rule my finances. I am in charge of how much I make, where I work, and why.

This was huge. Still is. It’s something I’ve been testing for the last few weeks and so far, fear/stress/worry has taken a backseat to the ownership I now have on a mental-emotional level with money. And it’s manifesting to the physical.

I choose where and how I spend the money I make. I’m not letting go of responsibility to things that must get taken care of financially, but I’m just way more cognizant that control is in my hands. I control when and how things get paid. I control how much enters and exits my account each month. Money works to my behalf in buying groceries. Money works to my behalf in paying bills. Money works to my behalf with creating the life I want. And it will continue to.

Taking ownership of this one concept has opened me up to now saying things like “I control my schedule; it doesn’t control me.” And “I control my time; time doesn’t control me.” These invisible entities that used to run me around and rule my life, don’t get to anymore. It’s up to me. And it has allowed me to breath a little easier the last three or so weeks since reading the book.

So, friend reading this post, let money work for you. Stop working for money. No one, and no-thing should own or control us.

No. You have skills, ideas, intelligence, interests, and accomplishments to offer the world. These are valuable first, before anyone decides what the value those things are worth on a per hour or per year basis.

You are valuable. And money is the thing that works to your favor- getting you the things you need and want in life, and perhaps out of the rat race one day soon.

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The Biblical Side of Living Like a Glutton and The Fattened Calf Mentality

It’s holiday time and I couldn’t pick a better season to write this post that has been mulling around my mind for about two months. I’m glad I’m writing it today because of the timing of the year and I hope it brings encouragement and FREEDOM to your health, eating, and relationship with food… especially if you are like me at all and have struggled with eating in the past.

The Fattened Calf Mentality.

This is a term my brother said to me once and though I don’t recall how many years ago he and I discussed “the fattened calf way of eating” I can honestly say through the years it is the best mindset I’ve adopted when it comes to food. More on The Fattened Calf mentality in a second, but first a little history of my personal, messed up turned healthy, relationship with food.

I had struggled with what works for my body since middle school and though I eat healthy compared to many people around me, I’m sure I look like a pig compared to many others. Therefore, after finally finding a food lifestyle I am comfortable with in my late twenties, I realize how personal diet is and…

1) I don’t really care what other people eat and…

2) I don’t really care what other people think about what I eat…

After all even Jesus was accused of being a gluttonous, drunk (more on that momentarily).

Through the years, I’ve listened to and watched foodies, men and women in the fitness world, doctors who wrote books, food bloggers, and have done my own reading and research. I have accepted and rejected lots of information on food either by trial and error… actually consuming food, or by comparing and contrasting information without even picking up a fork.

My current diet works for me and that’s what counts. I love to share it with people, but it doesn’t even have a name, so therefore instead of telling you what to eat (though there are non-negotiables like you must eat multiple fruits and veggies daily to be healthy), the best takeaway after losing 20 lbs in 10 months and maintaining this new weight for about two years, is what I’ve adopted and call The Fattened Calf Mentality. With it, I feel good about myself almost every day with the eating part of the healthy lifestyle I try to maintain. Workouts are the other side of the same “Healthy Lifestyle Coin,” but are not what this post is about.

Food is very personal. Tastes, preferences, age, baseline health, cultures, family background, lifestyle, habits, education around eating, and so many other things play a role what you and I put into our bodies every day to keep them running—we hope at their optimum level. No two people eat exactly the same thing all the time, unless you’re pregnant and consider what you eat as the same as the baby within you. The Fattened Calf Mentality has less to do with what you are eating and more to do with how you are eating and therefore can apply to everyone. This is also why I won’t go into the specifics of what I eat on a day-to-day basis.

So, what is The Fattened Calf Mentality?

The Fattened Calf mentality comes from looking at the Bible and what Jesus, and everyone else, ate as a Jew living in the first century. I cannot talk about much of anything in my life without tying in the Bible. I cannot escape the value of a biblical worldview/perspective/ drawing from the history of the Bible and applying it to my life. So, if I’m being honest as I write this, I stole the concept directly from God and as I choose to believe, His Son, Jesus.

As I struggled to figure out how to get food to work for me years ago, I questioned how did Jesus “do food”? He was sinless so binging and purging, starvation, and gluttony weren’t things He sinned doing– like I seemed to struggle with daily. But did He starve himself as you and I might define starving or eat gluttonously in comparison to others? Maybe, yes, and I’m pretty sure there He was accused of BOTH things, plus being a drunk while on earth (Matthew 11:19).

In my dive into “the perfect diet,” I learned that Jesus consumed a Mediterranean diet, which from research AND personal experience is one of the best diets out there. You can Google what a Mediterranean diet is, but another key thing I learned is that as a Jew, one thing Jesus wouldn’t have eaten is pork. A number of cultures don’t eat port the way say, Americans do with their hams and bacon. If you do eat pork and it doesn’t cause any bloat, headaches, swelling, or anything else and you like it, great! Keep eating it. Again, this is NOT a how to on what to eat or not to eat. Just an important discovery of what I found and works for me ESPECIALLY AROUND THE HOLIDAYS. Additionally, Jesus also had his 12 disciples around him through most of the accounts we have, many of whom were fishermen. Jesus himself performed a miracle by feeding 5,000 people out of just 2 fish and 3 loaves of bread (Matthew 14:13-21). I truly love fish and seafood and don’t feel the need to cut that out of my diet as I slowly implement a more plant-based diet. Maybe someday, but not right now!

What is most interesting about the Bible when it talks about food is how much FEASTING there is all throughout the entire book. The old testament drips with talk of feasts and parties that God planned into the year to give people a break and let them… simply party. And from what I understand those parties lasted weeks sometimes. Gorging on food and drinks during seasonal planned events was a lifestyle. These times of feasting remind me very much of the holiday season we are currently in.

It’s interesting because as much as feasting was a part of the picture, so was fasting.  It’s just that we don’t hear about the fasting as much. It’s not really talked about. There are only a few verses in the new testament about fasting. But we know it happened. And for me personally, breakthrough occurred when I married these two concepts of feasting and fasting together and coming up with The Fattened Calf Mentality.

There is a time to fast. There is a time to withhold from eating. There is a time to give up. There is a time to be okay with being hungry. I think we have been lied to, through marketing, about needing to eat 3 times a day + snacks. When I embraced the idea of being hungry, that it’s actually really healthy for my body to be hungry, I felt better doing that act of letting my digestive system rest and refrain from eating. The health benefits of fasting are quite good for you. Just Google all the positive things that intermittent fasting can do for your body. Even a 24 or 36 hour fast to just rest your body and give it a break from all the digesting and breaking down it’s constantly doing from the generally heavy foods we dump into our systems, is cleansing and healing and has many health benefits. I choose to embrace hunger at times, to me it feels better than being stuffed.

But let’s not forget the feasting. If you shock your body with too much food every once in a while, this can actually jump start your metabolism to kick it up a notch and burn more. Also, food produces dopamine and serotonin—naturally produced chemicals in your brain that simply make you feel “happy!” This is science. But beyond the science, feasting and parties are historically and culturally important around the world. Why does so much of our world revolve around food? Feasting is important and over doing it with food is actually… okay, I think. I used to beat myself up when I ate too much, but not anymore. I appreciate knowing that God blessed me with too much food to enjoy. Gosh, what’s better than a good meal with awesome people?

And for me, though refrain from many foods and am slowly walking into a more plant-based diet, I can’t forget The Fattened Calf.

One story Jesus tells his followers is of the “prodigal son” who leaves his family trying to make it on his own. Definitely paraphrasing here, but the son ran out of money, spending it on women and booze, and was too embarrassed after going broke to return home. He got a job at a pig farm, and because he was starving would eat the pig slop he fed the pigs because he had nothing else. Eventually he realized that the servants that took care of his Dad’s property were taken better care of than his current situation. He decided to go home and see if his Dad would hire him to work his property after so many months away.

The Dad who loved his son waited months for his return. And that particular day, seeing his son a long way off coming up to the property, ran for him. He hugged his dirty, smelly son, and the moment called for a party. He ordered the fattened calf to be killed. Though I don’t fully understand the historical and cultural meaning behind the fattened calf, I’ve heard it was a big deal. (The story comes from Luke 15.)

I’ve learned that there are times and seasons each year to go crazy and eat big, binging and having a good time. There are times to kill the fattened calf and enjoy it. Then, there are other times to fast, embrace being hungry, and refrain from eating the same way as the kings of the world through history. (Seriously only kings though time ate the way our first world nations eat and it’s crazy the surplus of food we consume.)

There is so much more I could say on The Fattened Calf Mentality that I’ve adopted when considering food consumption in my life, but I will end it there for now.

Diet and food are complex. But by simplifying it to the one phrase has helped me grow in leaps and bounds by having a healthier relationship with food. I know I can enjoy food to its fullest, like now, during this holiday season, while making fasting as much a part of my life, if not more, at other times. After unpacking my research and history, I’m hoping this post brings freedom to those who are controlling, strict, and limited with eating as I used to be– and shed light on how we can enjoy food, and drinking even (without actually becoming gluttonous-drunks).

My encouragement is this: be cognizant of what you eat, you only have one body and need to take care of it. But be sure to recognize, embrace, and celebrate those fattened calf moments in life and consume food that you normally wouldn’t– like meat, wine, and an extra dessert– without guilt.

Wipe Every Tear a Wonderfully Made Spotlight

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April is sexual assault awareness month and highlighting Wipe Every Tear is one way that WM can partner with women who are oppressed, in hopes of shedding light on the issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Wipe Every Tear is a faith based organization that rescues girls trapped in sex trafficking in the Philippines and Thailand, where they have safe houses to take care of women and their children. Take a look at the interview with Kenny Sacht, the CEO and Founder of Wipe Every Tear that sheds light on the mission of Wipe Every Tear.

Tell us where your passion of helping to abolish sex trafficking began? 
Isaiah 61:1 says, “The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” When I was leading a volleyball trip in the Philippines someone pointed out the sex trade. Upon returning from that trip, I began to research and as I clicked I narrowed in on the Philippines I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was in that moment I knew I HAD to do something. We started with 1 girl- paying for her teeth fixed and for her education. Fast forward a few years and we are now caring for over 80 women and their children all by the power and love of Jesus.
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Can you share any short testimony of girls being rescued?
We have a girl who was left to be raised by her aunt. At the age of 13 she was forced to work in a bar selling her virginity to pay for her families to survive. When we found this girl she had been working in the bars for almost 9 years. She was addicted to smoking and was a spotlight dancer, which means she was on high demand. Sally* was met by our team during outreach 2 years ago and joined our very first “Girls Getaway” trip. After this trip she transitioned into our care and is now one of our house leaders. She wants to become a missionary and share her story of restoration with the world.
How does a person get caught up in trafficking? What are some awareness insights you can share with our leaders?
People get exploited in the sex trade by extreme poverty. These girls are literally starving and when a job opportunity presents itself, they’ll go with no questions asked purely out of desperation.
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What can our readers do to get involved to stop sex trafficking?
PRAY and PARTNER. This battle is against spiritual forces. Worshiping over these nations and this injustice really does change the world!!! Partnering with groups that are bringing hope and freedom to these precious girls allows more lives to be transformed. Without our supporters we wouldn’t be able to help the amount of girls that we do!
Are there words of hope that you can speak to our readers who might carry this burden of trafficking today in both the USA and abroad?
God has a heart for justice! Say YES to what Jesus has for you and your life! His love is so mighty and strong and He wants to use YOU to transform this world.

Kenny Sacht | Wipe Every Tear from Crash Eleven Productions on Vimeo.

All media comes from wipeeverytear.org
This post was originally written for Wonderfully Made.

 

April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

vNE8214NS9GOvXOy7DCu_DSC_0266Photo Cred: Jason Long

I wrote this post for the blog I manage Know Your Value by Wonderfully Made ministry. I wanted to publish it to my personal blog as well, since this is such a prevalent issue in our society and we all need to be made aware of how far reaching it is.

During spring I can’t help but to think of new life. The grey, snowy, icy, and often dismal cold melts away to tulips popping up in different colors, fragrant jasmine and honeysuckle, with birds and bunnies everywhere. Spring brings a sense of freedom where I no longer stand stiff in a bunchy winter coat, but can swing my arms unhindered. It is a time of change and life, but especially with Easter and the sense of freedom in Christ that cycles in each spring.

Freedom in Christ is a powerful idea, and maybe an overly used cliché for the Christian today. But as April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, freedom in Christ is one truth that women can cling to, bringing hope to those who have experienced this trauma. Sexual Assault is a real issue. It is an issue that might carry the sting of judgments, feelings of shame, and broken hearts. This is an especially big topic for women in high school and college, as 44% of victims are under the age of 18 and 80% of victims are under the age of 30, according to RAINN Network. Women and girls who experience sexual assault are prone to abuse alcohol and drugs and suffer from depression.

This topic is not often talked about, which is why it is important for Wonderfully Made to address the seriousness of sexual assault. We want to see women living free in Christ! We want to stand behind girls to find counselors, get mentors, and the necessary support for sexual assault. Resources for you to connect with if you need to can range from seeing a counselor at your college campus, Rape Crisis Center, National Sexual Assault Hotline, and specifically for college students NotAlone.gov. At Wonderfully Made, we want to add the importance of freedom to the depths of your core and the bottom of your heart through Christ as the healer and redeemer.

If you have friends who have experienced sexual trauma, abuse, or assault, we want to encourage you to be their friend. Listen to their stories. And know that each story is important. God does not dismiss those who have been oppressed and healing can take time. If you yourself have experienced sexual assault- Know Your Value as being “fearfully and wonderfully made” and a Daughter of the King. Seek the help you need and trust that “the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” We are praying for your healing and freedom this spring.

We invite you to watch Ciara’s story of healing.