PCC Scroll Volume XIV Issue II Fit for the Kingdom

Hopefully, over the course of the last newsletters, you have done several things. One, you have assessed where you are health wise. Two, you have made health-related goals to get to where you want to be. The next step is creating a health plan to get there.

Before creating your health plan, I can’t stress how important it is to be realistic with your health goals enough. Your goals should be changes that can be sustained and maintained over time. Losing 20 pounds in one month is problematic, especially if you gain 25 pounds back when you resume your normal habits.

So please be realistic. This is true whether your goal is to lose weight, to drink more water, to sleep more, to exercise more, or to eat more fruits and vegetables. Doing a complete overhaul all at once is overwhelming. Perhaps start with one or two areas and add from there.

When dealing with health goals, keeping a record of activity could be very helpful. It does not have to be complicated or fancy. It could simply be a journal where you record aspects of your health from what you ate to how long you slept to how many glasses of water you drank.

For my job, I had to make health goals and record my progress. I created a very simple Excel spreadsheet that I printed, and I now manually track my progress. My goals are to drink eight glasses of water a day and to sleep eight hours each night. We have to do the goal at least three days a week for eight weeks straight with the hope that the changes become habits.

Step one is figuring out where you are going.

The aim should be overall health. For example, let’s say your goals are to exercise more and to eat more fruits and vegetables. You could figure out a workout routine that works with your lifestyle and schedule. In your planning, determine what will work best for you. For example, if you have children who play sports, you could decide to plan your workout during a time when they will be at practice. Or perhaps it is most convenient to use half of your lunch hour for exercising.

On the nutritional end, you could plan to include fruits and vegetables during each meal. For breakfast, you could have a vegetable omelet with fruit. For lunch, you could have a salad filled with fruits and vegetables. For dinner, you could have a salad with your meal and fruit for dessert, perhaps in yogurt.

Step two is building milestones.

These milestones represent small wins in your journey. For example, let’s say you drink two cups of coffee each day, and you want to wean yourself down to one cup three days a week. You could slowly wean yourself down and reach a milestone of one cup of coffee a day. If you want to lose weight, an important milestone could be when you reach half of your intended weight-loss goal.

Step three is setting goals toward your plan.

Let’s use weight loss for this example. If your goal is to lose 24 pounds in six months, have a monthly weight-loss goal of four pounds a month. Or if your goal is exercise more, you could make a weekly goal to exercise three days a week for 30 minutes.

Once your plan is in action, it is important to return to it from time to time. You should modify goals that have proven to be unrealistic. So perhaps walking 60 minutes five days a week could be revised to walking 30 minutes three days a week.

As your goals become habits, it would be good to add new goals. The important thing is finding what is right for you. It may take a few times before you find a plan that is right, but keep going. You will feel and look healthier as you continue on the journey.

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PCC Scroll Volume XIV Issue II Your Money Matters

Hopefully, over the course of the last newsletters, you have done several things. One, you have assessed where you are financially. Two, you have made financial goals to get to where you want to be. The next step is creating a financial plan to get there.

As I have mentioned in the past, finances are hard to juggle. It is hard to balance month-to-month expenses with financial goals like paying off debt, building an emergency fund, planning for retirement, and saving for college tuition while actually getting to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

It’s good to create a financial plan to help you achieve the goals you created. Your plan can help you determine exactly where you are going. You have goals and aspirations, and your plan will keep you focused. You can make future financial decisions based on whether they help or deter you from your financial goals. So how do you create a financial plan?

Step one is figuring out where you are going.

The goals you created are the driving force behind your financial plan. Goals could be anything from getting out of debt, building an emergency fund, starting a college fund, or investing toward retirement. Your goals will probably be a mixture of short-term (within one year), mid-term (between two to five years), and long-term (five or more years) goals. Remember to be realist and specific. For example, if you want to get out of debt, consider the amount of debt, the interest rates, and how much you can dedicate toward paying debt off without incurring more. Then, from there, you can determine your get out of debt date goal.

Step two is building milestones.

Remember Rome was not built in a day, and your emergency fund will not appear overnight (unless you receive a sudden financial windfall). Creating milestones is done by creating small wins along your financial journey that become key milestones in your financial journey. Let’s return to the getting out of debt example.

Last issue, we talked about the Dave Ramsey method of using the snowball effect. You pay off the smallest amount (by paying more than the minimum payment) first regardless of the interest rates of your debt (just making the minimum payment on all other bills). The quick win gives you momentum, motivation, and a sense of empowerment. Then you move on to the next smallest and so on until all debt is paid off.

So let’s say you have three credit cards, and your goal is to be out of debt in four years. Your first milestone goal could be paying the credit card with the smallest amount within one year. Your next milestone could be paying off the second smallest credit card within two years and so on.

Step three is setting goals toward your plan.

For this example, let’s talk more about creating an emergency fund. You should determine how much you want to save and when you want to reach the goal by. This will help you determine how much you should set aside each month. You should factor in items like bonuses and income tax refunds. In some cases, people have two months with an “extra” pay period each year. If your monthly budget is based on two pay periods, why not direct that third pay period check toward your emergency fund?

If you find that the goal might not be achievable in your timeline, then change the date you want to achieve the goal by. Other options could be getting a part-time job or reducing your spending in other places so you can save more.

There is a saying that, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This saying is true in life, especially when it comes to finances. Create your financial plan, set your milestones, and celebrate your achievements. Your first step toward financial health starts today!

PCC Scroll Volume XIV Issue II Editor’s Corner

Life is filled with changes, new seasons, and next steps. Some of the biggest changes we can face in our lives are a change in our marital status, moving to a new place, having children, or changing our career.

Minister Kelly Grayson, who has been a writer and editor for the PCC Scroll for many years, is about to begin a new season of her life! She will be married in April, and she will attend the church of her husband. We wish her a prosperous journey as she goes through these changes in her life. We thank her for her years of service, and we wish her and Randy a blessed union!

I too will experience a major change. I have reached an interesting crossroad in my career. I have worked for the same organization for over 18 years, and I have done the same job for more than half of that time. Well change is afoot. Things have been so stable at work for so long; I am having a hard time gauging my reaction to what is happening around me. It does have me thinking about what my next steps are career-wise.

Overall, I find myself in a very settled state because it seems like no matter which road I choose, all will be well. I look to the left and to the right and try to focus on what I have been preparing for. I find myself weighing the pros and cons on the decision of where do I go from here. It seems like each path is lit, and it is just a matter of walking forth in the faith that all things will and do work for my good. The next steps are basically an opportunity for something new, and it is helpful that no choice seems like a bad decision.

And you know God’s timing is impeccable. As I continue on my own journey of becoming my authentic self, the decision I make is part of that journey. It will tell me about my priorities and hopefully lead me closer to my passion and align with my destiny in God.

Through this process, I have realized that the fantasies of what I think I want to do and the reality of what I want to do crash. This is a little disconcerting, but I think I am okay with that (smile). It sometimes causes me to stop and wonder if I am on the right track, but I hold on to my faith.

Even outside of the four big changes, we can come to crossroads where we ask ourselves, “What’s next?” It is during this time that we go through a prayerful period of self-assessment. We take honest stock in where we are and acknowledge where we are. We can then create new goals for ourselves that further challenge our existences. These goals can lead us to where we want to be.

As you reach your own crossroad on your journey, I pray that your next steps bring you closer to your authentic self and to your destiny in Christ.

PCC Scroll Volume XIV Issue II Word of the Quarter

Last fall, we began writing from the overarching theme of “Becoming the Authentic You.” The first step to becoming the authentic you was acknowledging where you were and taking stock in where you were. The second step to becoming the authentic you was figuring out who you want to be or (more importantly) who God says you are. The next step to becoming the authentic you is determining where you go from here. What are your next steps? You have decided who you want to be; now it’s time to take the steps toward getting there.

In “Men of the Bible,” there is an article about Noah. He was given an assignment, and he needed to prepare and take the steps necessary to complete the assignment. He continued on his steps despite any doubt, uncertainty, or ridicule he may have been facing. Noah stuck to the project that God gave him. There was a waiting time, and he was ready when it was time to complete it.

In “Women of the Bible,” there is an article about Noah’s wife. She accepted the call alongside her husband. She had to go through the same planning and preparation as Noah. She had to be secure in God regardless of any doubters, and she had to be ready when it was time to move. She was a woman who remained confident in her God and in her husband.

And it can be hard to take the next steps. Sometimes our next steps can be clearly lit and the path is easy to see. But sometimes our next steps seem to lead to a dark path that is dimly lit. In the case of Noah and his wife, they were obedient to God. They continued to take steps with the faith that their next step would be met with a solid foundation.

We can also look at the example of Peter walking on water. He was fine with his next steps until he took his eyes off of Christ. We can see Peter’s journey of becoming his authentic self. Peter went from a brash, impatient man to being the rock that the church was built upon.

Becoming our authentic selves is the key to opening up the doors to living out our purposes in God. It allows us to be real with ourselves. We can understand and accept our pasts and what happened that formed us. These are the things that made us the way we are. As we get over those obstacles, we can in turn minister to someone in a similar situation. It is our journey that prepares us for our destiny.

As you move forward in your next steps, you have the security of knowing that God has been preparing you for such a time as this. The good, bad, and otherwise events of your life have been preparing you for the steps you are about to take. This is a time when your gifts and talents are so needed and vital to the Kingdom of God.