MealFit Maple Butternut Squash

This is one of the easiest and most complimented side dishes we do. People just love it! I have this one Pharma Rep that wants it every time I do a catered lunch for him.

Ingredients:
• 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
• 1/4 c. pure maple syrup
• 3/4 tbsp. coconut oil, melted (may need more)
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 3/4 tsp salt
• black pepper, to taste

Instructions:
• Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil and set aside.
• In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt. Add the cubed squash and toss until evenly coated.
• Spread out the squash on prepared baking sheet into a single layer. Sprinkle with pepper, if desired.
• Roast squash for 25 minutes. Use a metal spatula to carefully flip cubes over; roast for 15 to 20 minutes more (checking frequently) or until squash is tender with golden edges. Serve immediately.

You can also watch our recipe video HERE and prepare this dish alongside Thomas.

Advertisements

What Are The BENEFITS of Pumpkin?

With the Halloween season getting closer, a lot of attention will be paid to the pumpkin. Yes, the thing we all carve and stick candles into, and the fruit we use to make delicious pies during the holiday season. However, why do a lot of us regulate pumpkin consumption to just these specific times?

Pumpkin has incredible health benefits – I’m going to give you five  reasons why you should eat more pumpkin, and not just save it for the holidays!

1. Helps Regulate Blood Pressure

Pumpkin flesh is rich in Vitamin A, Potassium, and Fiber, all of which are vital players in keeping your blood pressure in check. Potassium plays an important role in sodium regulation in the blood, and adequate intake of potassium can lead to decreased risk for hypertension.

2. Reduces Risk of Colon Cancer

Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene – it’s what gives the pumpkin it’s signature orange color. Fortunately, beta-carotene has been shown in research to have an inverse association with developing colon cancer cells. What this means is that the beta-carotene in pumpkin acts as a reversal mechanism in the presence of colon cancer cells. How cool is that?

3. Helps Immune System

Like mentioned earlier, pumpkin is high in Vitamin C and beta-carotene. Along with the previous benefits talked about above, these two molecules provide a serious tag team defense for your immune system given their immense nutrient dense health immunities.

4. Helps Women Who Are Trying to Have Children

There are numerous women who have trouble with fertility in America, yet who knew that the pumpkin had the potential to help those women? According to a Harvard Study, women of child-birthing age who ate more iron from plants (such as pumpkin), were shown to have increased levels of fertility. Vitamin A also plays a key role in this as well because it helps regulate and stimulate lactation enzymes and hormone synthesis.

5. Helps Eye Health

Rule of Thumb in nutrition: If a vegetable or fruit is orange or red, chances are it will help with eyesight. This goes back to the beta-carotene found in pumpkin. Along with Vitamin E (also found in pumpkin), the two team up to provide not only eyesight improvement, but also fight against eyesight degeneration.

3 Hacks to Drink More Water

Everywhere you turn, there is someone out there telling you how you must drink more water to be healthy. Well, yes, this is true—water is essential to our bodies, and most of us could use more of it each day. But no one ever tells you how to drink more water. Today, we’ll focus on how we can make a habit of consuming a healthy, optimal amount of water each day.

But first, let’s look at some fun facts about drinking water:

  • The average person could live without food for nearly a month, but we could only survive about one week without water—that’s how essential water is to human life. Some of us can’t go a day without coffee, but that’s a different story.
  • Good hydration can prevent arthritis. With plenty of water in your body, there is less friction in your joints, thus less chance of developing arthritis. 
  • Drinking enough water every day can help reduce heart disease and cancer. Water helps flush toxins out of your body, and the fewer toxins that come into contact with your colon, bladder and other organs, the less chance that critical ailments can develop. 
  • Smile! Good hydration can help reduce cavities and tooth decay. Water helps produce saliva, which keeps your mouth and teeth clean.

(Facts pulled from the Culligan Website)

Studies generally agree that you need about 100 ounces of water a day. When I tell people that, they’ll often say:

“That is so much. I have a hard time drinking that much.”

or

“I struggle to drink that much in one day.”

But now that we’re a little more knowledgeable about our water consumption and we have gotten all of the excuses out in the open, let’s take a look at how we can consume more water throughout our day:

 

1. Find A Cup That Is Easy to Drink Out Of

This may seem ridiculous, but it’s true. If something is hard to do, human nature will have us avoiding it simply because it’s hard. After all, one of the largest avenues of business in the world is convenience. People will pay a lot of money for things to make their lives easier. For example:

  • The drive thru at a restaurant
  • Smartphones
  • Dishwashers
  • GPS
  • E-books
  • Amazon

Everything listed above exists because someone wanted to make tasks easier and convenient for consumers. So we ought to take a page out of their books and make water consumption easier for ourselves. Find a cup that is easy to drink out of – like what? You’ll want a cup that:

  • Feels good in your hand.
  • Isn’t too big and isn’t too small.
  • Has a drinking hole at the right size

This might sound silly, but everyone has a favorite cup. Why? Because it is easy to drink out of! For example, Nalgene water bottles are super cool looking, real trendy, and virtually unbreakable—but you may have to stop and concentrate when you are drinking from the bottle if you don’t have a splash guard. For me, the hole is too small to drink like a normal water bottle. Therefore, I personally don’t drink from a Nalgene bottle—it’s just not easy to.

I love drinking out of a straw; it makes it easier for me to drink. When I go to a restaurant or get a to-go cup, I always put a straw in because I know it will help me consume more water. The bottom line? Find what is comfortable to hold and easy to drink out of and you will find yourself drinking more. It’s simple.

2. Drink Water At Room Temperature

 Many people feel like you have to drink ice water. On a hot day, cold water is satisfying, for sure, but many times it’s more difficult to drink cold water because of brain freeze or sensitive teeth. I have found that drinking water that is room temperature causes me to drink more. Not sure what it is – no real science here, I just know that it works!

Next time you buy a case of water, put some in the fridge and leave some out on the counter or in the pantry. I guarantee you will drink more of the room temperature stuff.

3. Add Some Lemon

 One of the big complaints from people about drinking more water is that is has no taste and they get tired of it. I get that. Next time you get tired of water and don’t think you can drink another drop, add half of a lemon or lime to it. This gives water a little bit of flavor, and will satisfy that hankering for something different. Lemon water also has some great health benefits as well, like aiding digestion, boosting the immune system, and more.

So if a regular old glass water is getting a little bit boring to you, just squeeze in some lemon to break up the monotonous taste that sometimes comes with it.

 

These three reasons may seem silly or trivial when you read them, but I dare you to implement one or all into your daily routine. After all, they seem so trivial because they’re dead-simple strategies that you can’t afford not to try. I guarantee you will drink more, and your body will thank you for it!

 

3 Things You Should ALWAYS Have With You

In today’s day and age, everything is on a mobile device. It’s a major convenience, but it has also caused us, as a society, to be glued to a screen all the time.

Don’t hear what I am not saying, because I love all the things I can do with my phone. I communicated with my web developer for a month any time I needed to while he was in BALI…… That’s right. You probably have never heard of the place but it’s an island in the middle of Indonesia.  If you’ve never heard of Indonesia, ask The Google.

But, there are 3 things that I always have with me (excluding my Phone and Wallet) and these are 3 things I think every man and woman needs to have on them AT ALL TIMES.

66ced44009bc52006da7eb48c2b7aa49

  1. A Good Pen and Notepad

In my opinion, this is a much better alternative than typing it in your phone. Why?

When someone says something and you pull out a notebook and write it down, it lets them know what they said is important, and people like to feel important. When you are with someone or a crowd of people, they’ll never know if you are actually typing down information or are just texting, zombie scrolling, or searching Amazon. Being glued to a phone is unattractive and can be viewed as rude to our older generation.

It has been proven that you remember more when you write things down. You can also draw pictures if you need to. I can’t tell you how many times I have pulled out my Field Notes to draw a picture to explain something or give a visual to someone. And lastly…. what if your phone is dead?

fieldnotes_lg.jpg

I use a Field Notes. Nice and Durable and easy to write on. It also fits in any pocket.

I also use a 1.0 Uniball Pen. I like the click pen instead of a pen with a top because I do not like to have to keep up with the top. I like the 1.0 instead of the 0.7 because I like the larger point. I also just love the way it writes.

  1. Business Cards. 

I am going to get laughed out of the building with this one, but hear me out. A GREAT business card is priceless. I am not talking about a cheap one. Spend the money and get one that sticks out. I have a 32 point business card with painted edges and rounded corners (edges painted with fluorescent green and all 4 corners rounded at 1/4″).

I know, details. But I was always taught, “There’s dollars in the details.”

I ordered them from Jakprints It’s a company out of Cleveland. They do a great job.

So why do I spend $.07 on a business card when I could get on Vistaprint and get a million cards for $49.99? Let me say this…95% of the time I give out a business card, (literally 95% of the time) the person I am giving the card to says, “Wow, that’s a nice card,” and it sparks a conversation. When you are engaged in longer conversations with more substance, people remember you. People do business with folks they remember. In a society where everything is digital, it’s always great to physically give them something in their hand that makes them remember you.

So, what needs to go on your card?

  • Name
  • Company if you have one
  • Logo
  • Email
  • Cell phone (if you want to)
  • What you or your company does
  • Social media handles

This is a must. You will never catch me out without one.

150

  1. $150 CASH

This one was taught to me by a mentor of mine named Randy Keifer. Randy is a dear friend and has so much wisdom. Why cash? There will be many times when you will not need this. We live in a digital age and we can swipe a credit card and get just about anything we need. But CASH will always, and I repeat ALWAYS be king.

There may be a time when you’re out and about and you need that money for something. What happens if you’re in the middle of nowhere and you need some help? You find a good deal and the place only accepts cash! How many times have  you been to the store and you have stuff to buy and the credit card machine is down?

Also, there is something empowering about having that cash on you. It’s hard to explain, but when you have it, you have more confidence knowing you have it. Also, if you are in a spot where you need to give, or the Holy Spirit prompts you to bless someone, you have that ability.

The key is, when you spend it, immediately replace it.

 

These 3 things may seem a little old school, but sometimes old school is okay.  People respect you when you understand the digital age and function in the new way of doing things, yet still have a traditional way about you. Respect from the young and the old.

Check out this video where I go more in-depth as to why I believe these are things you should always have with you.

 

Share and let me know your thoughts below in the comments!

MealFitCircleLogo

Follow us for more great tips for a healthy lifestyle at:

Facebook – Instagram – Twitter

Paleo Sweet Potato Chili

Indulge yourself in a bowl of spicy chili that is full of beef and sweet potatoes. It’s thick, rich, and slightly sweet while being grain free, sugar free and dairy free. If you’re looking for a low sugar, healthy option, you won’t be disappointed with this recipe!

We’ve done this as one of our mealfit Ready meals and got amazing reviews!

Prep Time: 13-17 min

Serves: 6

Ingredients:
• 2 lbs ground beef
• 1 red onion, chopped
• 1 tsp minced garlic
• 1 large can (29.5 oz.) tomato sauce
• 2 cups petite diced tomatoes, with juice
• 3 cups beef stock
• 3 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
• 5 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 2 bay leaves
• ½ tsp. thyme
• 2 tsp. salt
• 1½ tsp. black pepper
• ½ cup chili powder
• Dash of oregano
• Dash of red pepper flakes

Instructions:
• In a large saucepan, brown ground beef, onions and garlic. Drain off the fat.
• Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan. Mix well, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and carrots are cooked through.

DSC00142.jpg

Don’t forget to TAG us on Facebook or Instagram if you make this cozy, paleo meal!

Mama’s Breakfast Casserole Recipe

breakfastcasserolerecipe2

This is a busy mom’s best friend. Make 2 – 3 of these and freeze them, or make one on the weekend for the week and it makes breakfast a breeze in the morning!

Serves: 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 Sausage Patties
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • Olive Oil for drizzle
  • 2 pinches of mealfit Anything Goes Seasoning
  • 6 Eggs
  • ½ cup Heavy Cream or Milk
  • 1 ½ cup Cheddar Cheese (divided)
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

  • Set your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray your sheet pan with cooking spray and place the sausage patties on one side of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

breakfastcasseroleprocess1

  • While the sausage is is in the oven, take a mandoline and slice your sweet potatoes very thin.
  • Put the sweet potato slices in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Then season with one pinch of Mealfit Anything Goes Seasoning and toss to coat the slices.

breakfastcasseroleprocess4

breakfastcasseroleprocess5

  • Beat the eggs, cream, and seasoning well.
  • Add the 1 cup of cheddar cheese and whisk again.

breakfastcasseroleprocess6

  • When the timer goes off, add the sweet potato slices to the other half of the sheet pan and put it back in the over for 5 minutes.
  • While it’s cooking, spray a 9″ x 11″ baking dish or disposable half pan with cooking spray.
  • Take out the sausage, place in the dish or pan, and mash with a fork.
  • Place half of the sweet potatoes on top of the sausage, pour in your egg mixture, and shake the pan a little to settle it.

breakfastcasseroleprocess10

  • Place the other sweet potatoes on top, then layer the other ½ cup of cheddar cheese on top.
  • Cover in foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  • When the timer goes off, take it out, remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes.
  • Let cool and enjoy!!

breakfastcasserolerecipe

You can also get this breakfast casserole at Mealfit in Cookeville, TN – so come by and pick one up!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

mealfit logo

How To Smoke Chickens

This step-by-step recipe is for 8 half chickens or 4 whole chickens.
To see the process in action and follow alongside Thomas, check out our video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5u2hRYeNEw&t=263s

  • Brine
    • Put 2 hand fulls of sea salt in a half gallon bottle. Then fill the bottle up with hot water and stir to dissolve the salt.
    • Put 2 drops of Lemon Essential Oil in the bottle of salt water.
    • Place your raw chicken halves in a cooler or bucket. Use the bucket if you are putting it in the fridge to brine. Use a cooler if you do not have a fridge big enough to fit them in.
    • After you placed your chickens in the cooler or bucket, cover the chickens half way and then pour the salt water mixture over the top, along with 2 cups of white vinegar.
    • Then, cover the rest of the chicken with cold water.
    • If you are using a cooler you need to put in a bag of ice and close.
    • Let the chicken sit in the brine overnight. This helps tenderize the meat and will make it juicer when it’s time to cook it.

  • Rub
    • The next day, pull out your chicken and pat dry.
    • Season the underside of the chicken with Magic Dust. This is one of our rubs that we have created in-house. It’s seriously amazing! It does not have any spice to it, so if you want a little kick, you need to add some cayenne to it. Flip the chickens and season the meat side. No need to rub it in – just let it sit.

      IMG_2090

  • Plastic Wrap

    • Place the chicken on a sheet pan and wrap the pan with plastic wrap.
    • Place in the cooler for 2-3 hours.
    • OPINION: Some people think chicken should be cooked at room temperature. This means the chicken should be at or close to room temperature before putting on the heat. My thoughts are to experiment. Cooking is all one big experiment anyway! Try it once cold, then try some at room temperature.
    • Let me know what you think.

  • Pecan Wood
    • I use 2 sticks of Pecan or Cherry wood in my smoker. I do not like the intense smoke and flavor of Hickory because it gives chicken a dark color and deep taste. I think it’s fine for beef, but I don’t prefer it for chicken.
    • We take our wood and cut it to 9 inches. We also split it so it is not as thick.
    • We only use 2 pieces because we want the initial smoke on the meat but do not want to smoke the whole 2-3 hours .

  • Cold Cooker
    • After you pull the chicken out of the fridge (or if it’s room temperature), we are ready to load the smoker. I use a Southern Pride Spk 500 Smoker. It’s digital, uses propane to lite the fire, and burns wood for the smoke.
    • I put the meat in a cold smoker because I want as much smoke as possible on the chicken to start. In a cold smoker, the fire will burn and the wood will smoke for the entire time the cooker is getting up to the set temperature.
    • When the temperature reaches 250 degrees, the cooker will shut off until the temperature drops to about 245 degrees, then fire back up.
    • If you are using a charcoal smoker, you may want to get your temperature to 250 degrees and then put the meat on – this will help avoid the extreme high temps you may encounter when trying to get it up to temperature.
    • The smoke will continue to roll on those smokers.
  • 250 Degrees
    • Place the chicken in the smoker bone side down and set your temperature to 250 degrees.
    • Do not open the smoker for 2 ½ hours. Let it roll!
    • If you are using a manual smoker where you have to control it, keep an eye on it. Keep it no higher than 260 degrees.
    • When In doubt, keep it lower than higher.

  • 2 ½ – 3 Hours
    • Go for 2 ½ hours and then check the internal temperature using an internal meat thermometer. Check the temperature in the breast – it should be at least 155 degrees. It will continue to rise even when removed from the heat.
  • Cooler Half Sauce – Half Dry Rub
    • Once you have taken the chicken off the smoker, place them in some butcher paper and drench them in your favorite BBQ sauce. Wrap them in the paper and place in a good cooler – do not open it until you are ready to eat (up to 4-5 hours).
    • This helps the sauce penetrate the meat and make it more tender.
    • If you are making this for a crowd, sauce half of the pieces and leave the other half just the dry rub – everyone has different likes and dislikes.
    • Take it out right when you are ready to serve it. Enjoy!

      img_2128.jpg


To see exactly how we did it and to follow alongside Thomas, check out our video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5u2hRYeNEw&t=263s

 

Why You Should Read Every Day

To many people, reading is a waste of time. “Get out, take action, and go!” is what they say. But I think it was Abraham Lincoln that said, “Give me three hours to cut down a tree and I’ll spend 2 hours sharpening my ax.”

There are so many reasons why we should read every day – hundreds of them actually – but today we are going to look at the top three. When I say every day, I mean literally every day. Successful people in any field (business, sports, food, investing, etc.) are never the product of one event that made them successful. Their success is the sum of daily disciplined tasks, rituals, and routines that make up who they are. Reading is one of the most important daily habits. It dramatically correlates with higher education and income, as well as overall happiness.

 

1. Exercise Your Mind

We regularly obsess over the best ways to exercise our bodies: how to trim or strengthen them and what to feed or keep away from them. According to a study at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, mental stimulation like reading can help protect memory and thinking skills, especially with age. The authors of the study even suggest that reading every day can slow down late-life cognitive decline, keeping brains healthier and higher functioning for longer.

Another study on the brain benefits of reading fiction was conducted at Emory University. The researchers found that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Interestingly, reading fiction was found to improve the reader’s ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to the visualization of muscle memory in sports. Reading has been shown to help prevent stress, depression, and dementia, while enhancing confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction.

la-mente-e-layurveda-gr

2. Constant Education

I liked The Hunger Games as much as the next person, but I’m much more excited about changing the way I live because of ideas that I find. Reading will develop the ideas, thoughts, and processes inside of you. It also helps with vocabulary and allows you to communicate in a way that is more understandable to people.

I’ll use Warren Buffet as an example. Buffet says, “Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

I try to read one spiritual, one business, and one other type of book at all times. Many times, the other is a “How-To” book of some sort. At the time of this post, I just finished a book on being a better negotiator.

businessbooks

3. Habit of Millionaires

Want to know one habit ultra-successful people have in common?

They read. A lot.

They believe that books are a gateway to learning and knowledge (see point #2). Take one of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates, who reads 50 books a year, or Warren Buffett, who spends as much as 80% of his day reading. Elon Musk is an avid reader and when asked how he learned to build rockets, he said “I read books.” Mark Cuban also reads more than 3 hours every day.

According to Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individualsrich people (annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million-plus) read for self-improvement, education, and success. Whereas poor people (annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less) read primarily to be entertained. Successful people tend to choose educational books and publications over novels, tabloids, and magazines. And in particular, they obsess over biographies and autobiographies of other successful people for guidance and inspiration.

becoming-warren-buffett-1024.jpg

You are not Warren Buffet, nor do I expect you to be. The key to being great is to take the first step. Give yourself a daily reading goal, such as 30 pages, and you will get a ton of wisdom under your belt.

Block it off. Make an appointment with yourself to read daily. I promise you will not regret it.

 

 

 

 

Top 3 Reasons You Aren’t Getting Lean

One of the greatest parts of my job is seeing people’s progress. I love getting text messages and emails where people tell me they have lost 15 pounds in a month since starting mealfit. Another great one is when they tell me they have had to buy all new jeans because the old ones don’t fit anymore. These messages are priceless, and they make my day.

Often when people come to me for advice, they say that they have been trying to lose weight, but nothing seems to be working.  After talking to hundreds of people, I have reduced it down to 3 mistakes that people make when trying to lose weight.

InHousePrep7

1. No Plan

I was talking to my son’s teacher the other day, and this is what she told me:

“You know, I leave work and I am honestly not sure what we are going to eat, so we just go to the local drive thru.”

Here is another line I get thrown at me time and time again :

“When we get home from ball practice we are so tired we really just don’t want to think about cooking. We tend to just go to the pantry and figure it out.”

I believe part of my mission is to help people avoid the drive thru and eat in a way that keeps them fit and healthy. The 2 people above have fallen prey to not having a plan. The old adage of  “Failing to plan is planning to fail” could not be more true when it comes to the food we eat. When we do not have a plan we stumble into eating foods that are full of grains, sugar, and preservatives. All of which are making our society obese and lethargic.

When people have a plan, they are 7 times more likely to succeed than when they don’t.  Think about it; when you go to work, and you have a schedule that you must stick to you are so much more productive than you would be when your day is not mapped out.

GreenVeggies2

Get a plan that will tell you what to buy, what to eat, how to cook it. A great and easy way to do this is to check out mealfit Plans. I know that it can be hard to prepare your meals each week, so with mealfit Plans I will give you a complete meal plan along with a grocery list of what to buy. I promise it will make staying prepared so much easier! It also helps to make this process mindless so that you can spend your effort on other things — like your business or family.

avo

2. Less Fat = Less Fat

Fat is a macronutrient. It shouldn’t be used to describe someone’s appearance. How would it sound if you called a guy that is yoked with muscles on top of muscles “Protein”??

It makes no sense. Since we have done that, it has been virtually impossible to convince people that FAT is not bad for you. When wanting to lose weight our daily goal should be to reduce our intake of sugar.  When we reduce our sugar intake, our blood sugar stays steady, thus keeping us from being hungry throughout the day.  A low sugar, higher fat diet will increase our satiety and overtime reduce our weight and decrease our body fat.

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 12.57.05 PM

3. Stop Eating

I’ve heard it a thousand times — consume less calories than you burn. This methodology has driven most of the female population to work out to the extreme and eat next to nothing. While this will increase your weight loss, it is not something that will keep weight off. Also, it is very unhealthy. When you don’t consume enough calories, your body goes into starvation mode. Thus, shutting down your metabolism and holding on to weight that could be lost with proper diet and exercise. Not to mention, the loss of energy and cognitive ability that comes with not consuming enough fuel.

In order to get lean and do it effectively in a healthy manner, consuming the right foods in the right amount is crucial. I would love to give you an amount that is optimal for everyone, but everyone is different and it will vary from person to person.

Throughout all my conversations of helping people with losing weight or leaning out, I have realized most have some misconstrued ideas of healthy eating. The above things are issues that produce results, once people apply them. If there was 1 thing I could leave you with as you proceed on your weight loss — Have a plan, and stick to it.

MealFitCircleLogo

We LOVE to hear from you guys! Don’t forget to check us out on social media!

Follow us at:

Facebook – Instagram – Twitter

Strong Like Samson

unnamed

With anything, it is important to teach our kids tools of life and ways to live. As our kids grow up, we teach them to say their prayers at night and, many times, we will teach the classic, “Now I lay me down to sleep…”

No matter your religious affiliation, many people believe in a God. In the Christian world, prayer is important to us because this is direct communication with God. As our kids grew up, we taught them first and foremost to be thankful and to thank God for all he has blessed us with. Among the many other things we pray for, we ask God to help them to become 3 things, which I feel embody what they should strive for from a biblical perspective:

1. Strong like Samson
“Help me to be Strong like Samson.”
There is a line in a movie that says life will chew you up and spit you out if you let it. In life we have to be strong, and we have to own that strength in 3 ways:

Physically – I think we need to teach our kids to be physically strong. They have to be able to do physical things in life, like “lift this” or “move that.” For example, be able to pick up their bike when they have a wreck or to pick up their sister if mommy and daddy can’t make it there. Physical strength in life is paramount on so many levels that I could write a small book about the topic (but I will leave that for another time).

Mentally – Mental toughness is one of the top keys to being successful in life. We have to be able to handle all that life is going to throw at us. How do we respond to failure? How do we respond to success? How do we respond when things are not going as planned and we want to quit? When the going gets tough, we have to have it between the ears before we have it in our muscles.

Spiritually – Being strong in our faith and having something to rely on that is bigger than us is HUGE. There are going to be times in life when you’re not sure you can make it. If you solely trust in others, they may let you down. We have to be strong spiritually to know that God has everything in control.

Why Samson?
Samson has the reputation of being the strongest person in the Bible. The Bible says that when the child was born, “he grew and the Lord blessed him” (Judges 13:24). The Bible then goes on to tell the story of how Samson was walking through the vineyards and came upon a lion. “The spirit of the Lord came upon him and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands” (Judges 14:6). The angel of the Lord told his mother that this power would grow as the boy got older and as his hair got longer. There are numerous stories in Judges 13-16 of how Samson showed his strength, from killing 30 men to collapsing two pillars that held up an entire building.

Do I want my kids to be exactly like Samson? No, he made mistakes just like all of us do. But I do want them to embody the physical, mental, and spiritual strengths the Lord blessed him with.

2. Tough like Benaiah
There is not a ton about Benaiah in the Bible. I first learned about him from the Mark Batterson book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.  Benaiah exuded toughness.

Toughness. It will get you through almost anything.

When many people think of being tough, they think of the physical aspect. But what most do not realize is the mental toughness it takes to launch headlong into whatever venture you are facing that may be physically taxing.

But why Benaiah? What makes him so tough?

He is faced with an Egyptian giant… and kills him
This is cool, but we have heard this story before (David and Goliath). This time, though, it’s HOW Benaiah did it that makes him stand out. The Egyptian had an enormous spear (weaver’s beam–sized) and Benaiah has nothing but a little club. But no big deal, Benaiah just snatches the spear from the Egyptian and kills him with that instead. That’s hardcore.

Killed a lion
Killing a lion itself is super crazy, but the Bible tells us (2 Samuel 23:20) that he went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day. This is not a deal where he was in a pasture and a lion came up to him; no, out of his own free will did Benaiah go down into the pit and kill a lion. Talk about mental toughness. Lets go one more: it was snowing. I don’t even want to go get the mail when its snowing, much less go fight a lion. I want to teach my kids that toughness will get us through many things in life and how we have to be tough physically and mentally to be great.

3. Wise like Solomon
Soloman was said the be the wisest man in the world. He wrote, he sang, and he taught. But what makes him so wise? And why do I want my children to be like him? In 1 Kings Chapter 3, God comes to Soloman and asks him, “Solomon, ask for anything you
want, and I will give it to you.”

WOW.

And Soloman’s response was, “Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don’t, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours.”

Say what!!! That’s strong!

This is why I want my kids to be wise like Soloman. Because he had enough in him to know that if he obtained wisdom, all the other stuff would follow. He gave up the instant gratification for the delayed riches and honor. It gives me chills to think that my kids and I are praying this into their lives every day.

Prayer is communication with God. When we pour out our hearts he listens. Child-like faith is what causes God to listen. Speak life into your child on a daily basis. In all of these prayers, we explain to our kids why these people are the way they are and why they should want to mimic these traits. It is not just a rote prayer they speak daily; we discuss why they want to be like these 3 giants of faith.

I’d love to hear what you pray with and over your kids every day. Leave it in the comments below.

Advertisements

Where healthy means tasty!

%d bloggers like this: