How to be Content

I don’t know about you, but birthdays for the last few years have kind of freaked me out. I know, I know, I am definitely still a spring chicken but when you go from the positivity of sweet 16 to the idea of ever being older than 21 it’s a weird adjustment. This happens for a lot of milestone Birthdays and I just wanted to take a minute to talk about it all.

Lately, I have been pondering the fear of aging. We are all fearful of some degree to age, whether it be for our looks, our abilities, our time with family members, etc. Becoming older is the one big thing everyone knows we have no control over and it’s a scary thought.

The problem I have with this thought of not wanting to age is what age gives us. Age offers experiences, children, wealth, friends, knowledge, memories, resilience, and strength. Yes, playing in the sprinkler on a hot summer’s day as a 5-year-old is a magical time of life, but we tend to idealize certain ages, thinking of only the good. We might always think back to the best moments and we often forget the moments which caused us pain. I did run through a sprinkler in the summer, but I also tripped over it and got into fights with my sister and brother over it. We had it easy, but even as a 5-year old I wasn’t content with what I had.

You might say you don’t even realize what you have no matter how old. Every day is truly a gift from God and I believe that when we spend a life in discontentment and worry we undermine Gods plan. He is involved in every small detail and we can’t even begin to see what he does.

I was recently reading Matthew 6:25-34 where the Bible discusses the importance of not worrying about tomorrow. It goes over how if God cares for something as small and insignificant as flowers and birds then he surely will care for us and we are not to worry. As well as worrying, God wants us to be content with what we have! Paul teaches us about the power of contentment in Philippians 4. In verse 12 Paul speaks to the people, saying “I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” and Philippians 4:13 he goes on to tell the people “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

When our focus is on God we find contentment, security, fulfillment, and peace! When we focus on him, age doesn’t matter because with a content heart and a mind free from worry we will truly enjoy the gift of life that God gives to us every single day, no matter what age you are!

So here’s to a worry-free birthdays and a big BYE FELICIA to social media trying to convince us we always need to have a life that portrays perfection. I’ll leave that to the only one who is perfect in this world!

Thank you again for stopping by, and for being a part of Gods Plan for my life!

-Sonya Peacocke

Prioritizing Health and Wellness

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to health and wellness things usually turn out the best for me when I focus on it as an afterthought in life.  

I know what you might be thinking, because hello Sonya, isn’t health and wellness what you are all about? And to answer the question, Yes it is what my main focus is here and I believe it is my calling from God. The thing is, I believe that when our lives are focused on the right things in the right order, everything begins to fall into place.

Think of your time like a budget, where people often assume the thing they put the most time into will be successful; therefore bringing with it true happiness. There, of course, are several different types of investments, but the one thing that people (Myself included) need to realize is the only way to gain true balance and success is to first invest in your relationship with Christ!

In John 3:30 the bible says “He must increase, and I must decrease.” This doesn’t mean you as a person have to give up on everything brings you joy or makes you feel good. What it does mean is that what you invest in first and foremost in life is God.

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My life did not reflect John 3:30 at the beginning of college when all I truly cared about was getting healthy and fit. It sounds innocent enough, but because I was putting myself as my main investment I began to act as though I was the only thing that could provide happiness in my life. I became so obsessed with obtaining happiness that I became a slave to myself. I stopped eating, was over-exercising, and lived for the high of loose fitting pants.

If you read Proverbs 27:19, it says “So as water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” My life reflected a selfish and broken system, a life dependent on self. I believed that in turning to myself and leaving God at the bottom of the list I could make everything right when in reality, my life was a disaster.

In Proverbs 21:2 it says, “A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.”  

My ways were not right, and even today I don’t always invest my time properly, but my end goal is to first and foremost focus on the LORD. I know that when my heart is not invested in him, my relationships, work life, and health suffer. 

So the next time you dive into a self-help book, blog, Instagram page, make sure that before working with these tools find out what's going on in your heart.

Thank you for stopping by, If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below or dm on my Instagram handle at @sonyasopencupboard. I would love to talk to you more about the freedom and LOVE which comes from God!

Love always,

Sonya

How to Avoid Burnout / 2019 Goals

I don’t know about you, but January was one heck of a month. I keep seeing all these memes of people saying how January felt like the whole year and figured I would talk about it a little bit with you.

When it comes to the New Year there are a lot of positive vibes flowing the first week. Things like people starting over with a clean slate, forming new habits, working towards a big project, etc. and then life happens. Your apartment floods, you get sick, you realize you forgot to pay a bill and now you have to pay a fine. These types of thing happen whether or not you have a plan to reorganize and revamp your day to day life. We end up idealizing what our year will look like and by February feel disappointed we weren’t’ able to put life together in four weeks.

The new-year cycle is far too familiar with us filling January with possibilities and February filling us with disappointment. When we start to feel disappointed instead think about November and December. The months where we get the opportunity to take a look back on the year and express our gratefulness for everything. We take time to reflect on the good and bad, to see the changes in our personal lives and get excited because in just a few weeks we get a whole new 12 months!

I don’t know about you but I want to feel like every month, week, or day is a new opportunity to achieve something great! I want to acknowledge the fact of each day is a gift from God and we can accomplish anything because God has given us the chance. It says in Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Instead of focusing this month on what stopped you from achieving goals and filling your days with regret for how you might have spent your time, rejoice in the time God has given you! Each day we wake up, each day we have a chance and as long as you wake up these chances never end. They last all day, all week, all year, and all you have to do is decide what attitude you are going to greet your day with.

Start with a grateful heart and an optimistic attitude and before you know it every day will feel like January first.

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Thanks again for stopping by,

Sonya

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How to Regain Focus and Motivation

I don’t know about you guys but when it comes to other people I love to love them. It’s not me being weird or anything, but I genuinely aim my day at helping people become a better version of themselves. People are amazing and I love to see others accomplishing big goals, going out of their comfort zone, finding joy and accomplishments, etc. It makes me feel on top of the world when I see others do these things, and I strive to help them accomplish this!

The amazing part of blogging and Instagram is it gives me a platform to encourage others, but lately it’s felt more of a reminder of failure at giving you guys my all. Emotionally and physically I feel drained, and I almost like a fraud coming here to help motivate you while figuring out how to even motivate myself. Thankfully I have a loving God who gave me perseverance and an amazing husband to lift me up with encouragement.

In Romans 5:3-5 it says “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”.  Now I don’t know about you, but to me this means the fact I feel so defeated is exactly why I need to keep on persisting through this time of trial!

I don’t want to be one of those people who in the midst of a personal trial I give up because I would be admitting everything I have felt called to do and have done would be worthless. I know when God calls you to do something it indeed is worth more than rubies!

Whether or not you are a believer in Christ I know we all feel a strong pull to do something in our lives and it is easy for us to get derailed. We tend to feel small and alone in these times, and for me I tend to accomplish everything I need and more before even reconsidering taking a second look at what needs to happen in my life. I want to just stand here for you and for my future self to keep searching in these times of distress and demotivation. For every person rediscovering there passion and drive for something looks different so don’t do what you think is expected, do what you know works for you!

For me I tend to always spend my free time with people, I love deep conversation, getting to know others and experiencing deep emotional connections, but I have a hard time finding the time to be alone and reflect. I am realizing if I want to be there for you guys, I have to also stop and be there for myself.

If you are struggling in this area take some time for yourself whether it be alone time, time with family and friends, time spent researching, dancing, cooking, etc. Do something today to recharges and brings you energy and motivation! When you feel your best you create more, you love people more, you accomplish more and overall feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders!  

Now if words from my human brain didn’t encourage you here is some scripture I find inspiring!

·         Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad”

·         Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”

·         1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

·         Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

·         2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”  

Thank you so much for stopping in and taking the time to share some love,

-Sonya

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How to Enjoy the Small Victories

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I don’t know about you guys, but when it comes to accomplishing goals I go 110%, up until about the half way point. For example, I started an eight week fitness program and the first four weeks were fantastic, but the last four have been a struggle. It’s not that my body can’t do it, but it’s my mind that tells me to stop. I haven’t seen or felt the drastic change so I try to tell myself it’s not working or I decide to neglect a workout because I convince myself I have too much to do. Of course this is all while I lay on the floor watching IG stories on how to make Halloween cakes…It is a good trait to think big, but when I don’t see the big change immediately I give up, thankfully I have my husband to keep me grounded when it comes to these things.

He constantly reminds me that in order to get where you want to be, your confidence is going to drop and spike and you have to push through. What you’re passionate about will drive you to learn more so you can overcome the down slopes and keep moving forward. And in order to see the big results I have to give it time, effort and consistency without letting the fear of failure or inability getting in the way.  

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A big part of what gets in the way of doing these things is not recognizing all the little victories along the way. Think about having a clean house. You don’t just pull out the dust pan and brush, stand there for an hour and poof your house is clean. You have to individually approach each part of the house. When the floors are cleaned you move on to the windows, and from there the messy drawer, and so on.  You would not have a clean house with all the small victories of different areas of the house. It is the same for our lives, weather your looking to get healthy, change your habits, improve relationships, etc. It’s not going to happen overnight, but when you take time to appreciate the little victories you will come to see the value in what you are doing.

If you feel unmotivated to finish or even star working towards a goal, take some time to journal some of the little victories that have helped get you this far. You might be surprised at how many victories you have accomplished that have helped you reach that point.

After you write down your accomplishments take some time to make a list of small victories you would like to accomplish to help you work towards your goal. This will help you get excited and help you to see as you go along just how much ability to accomplish what you set your mind on! 

Give it a go and let me know what you guys think!

Thanks again for stopping by!

-Sonya Peacocke

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How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

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I don’t know about you guys, but lately I have been feeling a little bit overwhelmed. Maybe it’s the summer coming to a somber end where events wrap up and we look forward to bringing routines back into play. To me this is almost like a January 2.0 where you’re trying to wrap up from the holidays and realize you have a million and one things to accomplish. Silly things and big things that have somehow been neglected, but now stare you down as they wait to be accomplished. For me this includes paperwork, folding laundry (instead of leaving it in a big pile on the floor…), planning out meals, blog posts, etc.  

Thankfully we go through this seasons like this fairly often so we have to learn more each time, right? This season I have learned a few important things that I felt I should share even though you guys are probably way ahead of me on the productivity train…Even so here are my tips and tricks for working through times in life where things are crazy and all you want to do is get things back on track!  

1)      Set Obtainable Goals

To start out, an important part of getting back on track with life is to set yourself up for success. This means set goals, but don’t set them so high that they are impossible to accomplish, leading to a disheartening feeling that it can’t be done.   

For example I tell myself the whole house needs a deep clean on a Sunday, while also wanting to workout, finish a blog post and spend time with my family. This is OBVIOUSLY too much work, but honestly I have attempted this goal before, and yes I have failed…SO don’t set yourself up for failure, but set yourself up for success!

This leads to my next few tips.

2)      Start Small

So when I decided that I needed to set more obtainable goals I still felt overwhelmed by everything that needed to be accomplished. Instead of freaking out (which I started to do), I took a step back and just focused on the little things. I cleaned my hairbrush, which is no big deal, but seeing that clean and neat helped me to feel accomplish and get a little taste of satisfaction that comes along with order and cleanliness. 

After this small thing I moved on to cleaning the dishes, making the bed, etc. and before I knew it the house was clean enough that I didn’t feel overwhelmed and I could move on to my next task with ease.

3)      Show Yourself Some Grace  

I have a really hard time with this one, as I never take the time to appreciate the work I have accomplished and move on to the overwhelming feeling that I need to do more. If I find myself in this situation I again take a step back and take a good look at what I have done.

If you have a hard time doing this I suggest taking a break in between tasks to do something calming such as going for a walk, listening to happy music, having a conversation with a loved one. This helps to put your day into perspective as well as break your tasks up so that you actually can see the progress you have made! 

4)      Be Patient

Your life will not be organized overnight and that you’re going to have to be patient. What helped me is knowing how many weeks left of school I had. Because I knew when my time would free up more after school I allowed myself to do what I could within the minimal amount of time I had without giving up my sanity. This helped me to minimize stress help me stayed focused on the task at hand. 

Overall these tips and tricks have helped me to manage stress and be encouraged seeing that I can accomplish more than I thought I could with more grace than ever thought possible!

I hope that you guys enjoy this post, and that is will help you enjoy whatever season in life you are in, no matter how busy!   

Until next time!

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-Sonya

How to Stop Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

I don’t know about you guys, but when it comes to how I snack it all comes down to emotions. I say snack because eating three balanced meals a day is easy. I look forward to my smoothie breakfast, my salad for lunch and my hot meal for dinner. This is all good and well until I look in-between the lines, where I see the secret snacking and quick bites of food here and there. Then there is the “I AM SO STRESSED THAT I NEED THIS CHOCOLATE ANYTHING TO RELAX AT NIGHT”….Yeah so maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but maybe it’s not…?   

I find that I eat when I am disappointed or proud of myself, I eat when I am bored, when I feel happy or sad and for any other occasion in between. This is not to say that all is lost and I have no way of changing the way I eat. The real situation is that I have the power to change my habits and rituals, but that it takes time effort and a willingness to do what it takes despite how scary it feels.  

Eating in general is an extremely emotional experience that is often tied with memories and feeling of guilt, pleasure, pain, etc. This emotional experienced paired with a life that encourages mindless eating can wreak havoc on personal goals health wise. We don’t only have to deal with the emotional aspect, but that food is at the ready for us 24/7 and opens the opportunity to easily eat on the run  or while we are preoccupied. I don’t know about you, but the opportunity to sit for half hour to enjoy a meal is a rarity and the busy lives we lead don’t exactly encourage creating homemade nutrient dense meals.

The problem we face here is the loss of connection with food as well as with our emotions, we can however work towards improvement. Here is a good starting point to become a more intuitive eater in order to stop the emotional roller coaster of eating in-between.

·         Start a Journal.

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Yes I understand you might have heard this before, and it is daunting thinking about tracking the food you consume, but let’s take a step back and look at this tool a little differently.

If you feel like it is too overwhelming, start out with journaling 2-4 days per week. With your journal entries don’t just focus on food, but focus mainly on how you were feeling, whether or not you were actually hungry, and in what setting you were eating in. If this is confusing here’s an example from my own personal journal.

“…Today I entered the kitchen tired and slightly dehydrated. It was an hour past when I normally ate lunch and had worked out that morning. I felt happy and confident from my accomplishments that day. Once I opened the fridge I grabbed ingredients for a salad and then proceeded to instead toast some bread and ate an egg sandwich, two slices of cheese and half of my salad. In between I snacked on random bits and pieces from the meal as well…”

This might seem like a lot of detail, but it helps you to determine the situation you put yourself in around food and how easy it was to go off track. I could have gone for lunch an hour early to prepare a well-rounded meal and focus more on taking the time to sit down and eat.

This tool helps your brain to connect the dots and realize when you are choosing to eat based on emotion or hunger.

Now Emotional eating is not something to be ashamed of or worth giving up over, it is a struggle that even though it is small, still causes harm. Instead of giving into the temptation of something familiar, work on becoming uncomfortable. Start a journal and make a plan to stop the bad habits and create new ones. The more you take the time to understand why you are turning to food the more power you have.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want food to be my safety net, rather I want it to be a tool. A tool to help me stay healthy and active with my children and family. I want to put aside my obsession with food and instead God with worshiping him rather than food and allowing Him to have the control rather than passing it over to myself. I want a life that is simple and pleasing to God, where I don’t have the overwhelming focus of food to distract me from the life He has lead me to lead.  

This week I was reading in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and found it an encouragement to remember the importance of the process…

 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear down, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”

Hope you all have a lovely week! 

-Sonya

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How to Balance a Social Life & Healthy Eating

I don’t know about you guys, but for me I have had a hard time balancing a social life and healthy eating. Back in the days where I was counting calories I would simply order seltzer water and lime because it was free and low calorie! A win-win for sure, or so I thought. Now don’t get me wrong, seltzer water and lime tastes great, but not ideal for a meal replacement which is exactly what I was using it for.

After ending my days of calorie counting I found myself overloading on all the food that I wasn’t able to have beforehand and grew accustomed to over eating. This led to a different reason to be stressed, because I couldn’t stop myself from eating until I was almost sick. This meant that the whole time leading up to eating and afterwards I would be consumed with the thoughts of food rather than enjoying the time spent with the people I love.  

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After a few years of trial and error I have come to a point where I have a better understanding of how much I need to eat and how I should be eating. I know that I’m not facing my last real meal for a few days, or that I am eating a food I have put in the “don’t touch” category. I can stop at one plate of food, but I also feel free to go for seconds without guilt. I know now that if my friends want to go out for a treat I won’t shut them down. I am okay if there’s nothing on the menu for me because I will plan ahead with snacks and order a seltzer with lime because it’s delicious.  

This being said, I still have many struggles when it comes to food, but because I have put my faith in God he has strengthened me to keep moving forward. Lately I have been reading a devotional created by Cambria Joy and two verses have really captured my attention. In Matthew 11:28 it says “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” and Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Even though I still fight it, I have decided to let God be in control of my life. It has taken quite a bit of time, effort, and tears, but through it all God has been my strength.

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If you find yourself stuck in an unhealthy mindset when it comes to food, take it to the Lord and read through Philippians 4:4-13. Search the bible for encouragement and pray for strength, it is only through God and his grace that you will find complete healing!

Now go enjoy an evening out at a restaurant with friends or a date night in with your favorite treats and I will do the same!

Sincerely,

Sonya

Building a Healthier Relationship with Food

Eating food is better than starving.

I don’t know about you guys, but I have struggled with the idea that starving is better than eating food. This is a viewpoint that came to life as a young adult and is something I still struggle with today.  

It started in high school when I began to be conscious of what I was eating. This was in a sense great because I had a good relationship with food and a simple mindset to become a healthier person. Unfortunately, it morphed into something much bigger than I thought possible without even realizing. During high school, I maintained a healthy weight, but once I graduated and the stress of holding down a job and paying for school I lost both weight and understanding of what healthy looks like. Originally it was the feeling of losing control of my life and the desperate search for what I could still hold on to. Instead of looking for the Lord for Guidance and stability, I tried to fix things myself. I began to control the one thing I knew I could and that was what I put in my body. I began to cut out foods, restrict calories, exercised obsessively, took water pills, and binge-watch dieting shows in my free time. In the midst of it all, I actually developed a fascination for anorexia because I thought I was better than them. It also gave me confidence knowing I had some "cracked the code", and therefore validated my behavior.

After a year of going hungry, I found myself unhappy in several areas of life. I was losing weight and acing my classes, but I had begun to look sickly, my temper and stress were out of control, my relationships began to strain and I struggles to find Joy in life. 

In order to combat the pain I was feeling, I began to treat myself to eating exactly what I wanted and however much I wanted. Now going from eating minimal amounts of food to excessive amounts can take its toll. As I began to gain weight I felt like a failure, I was more anxious and full of fear. The only way I was able to get through this time in my life was to look to God for forgiveness and His grace in my life. I knew what I was doing was wrong and in order to change the direction of my life I needed to rely 100% on God. In no way was this transition easy, and I still struggle today, but I thankfully have the Lord to guide me and lift me up in my time of weakness. 

Though I still struggle with thoughts of whether or not to eat, downloading and deleting fitness apps, and feeling the urge to work out every single day and assuring myself at meal time that I don’t have to gorge myself. I know that I am free to eat whenever I please and whatever I please. I now know that

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·         Food is not the enemy

·         The feeling of fullness should not cause guilt

·         & it’s better to build a foundation on the Lord rather than a scale.

Matthew 24-27

 

Pst* Shout out to Cambria Joy who inspired me to write this blog post!