Fat Fridays: Growth Mindset

This week has been a challenge on the dieting front. My son’s birthday was Monday and he requested Elidio’s pizza (local, family owned, amazing pizza) and Dunkin Donuts. I had to drive to Dunkin Donuts in the morning, which was when I had time, get two dozen assorted donuts and then have them sit in my house all day until after supper, and then supervise handing out two donuts per person. At supper I had eaten a big salad and decided I was going to allow myself to eat one piece of pizza. But then ended up eating a little more. And then I started handing out donuts, and by the time everyone had picked what they wanted, there was this little plain, unfrosted, baked donut. And so I ate it. And then there was one more glazed donut. And I ate that. And then I was really full. 

And felt very guilty. 


I stuck to my plan though and recorded everything I ate and sent it to my trainer. And then we talked about it the next day. 

Whenever I mess up, my instant default thought pattern is, I’ve blown it, all is ruined now, despair, despair, despair. 

So, it was a little unnerving to have the trainer say stuff like, “Taking a break and eating pizza every once in a while is fine. How can you plan to have a treat in the future without over-doing it?” Like, she wanted me to actually just move on with life and try and learn for the next time…What kind of adulting is this??? 

It happened again today when I reported that last night, when meeting someone at a Mexican Restaurant, I ate more chips and salsa than I had originally planned on doing. Her attitude was, Ok, what strategies can we think of that will help you next time you are in the same situation? 

And I’m sitting over here telling my “failure and despair” voice to be quiet, cause I’m trying to hear this good advice someone is giving me. 

It occurred to me today that what my trainer is trying to do is inspire a Growth Mindset in me. 

I found this article that gave some good examples of what a growth mindset is. 

The example that stood out to me was:

Fixed Mindset: Failure is the limit of my abilities.

Growth Mindset: Failure is just an opportunity to grow.

I definitely struggle with this. I fail at something and instantly feel like it’s GAME OVER. Which is especially unhelpful when you are on a weight loss journey. Yes, I’ve messed up. That doesn’t mean that I just throw the diet out the window and go back to my unhealthy ways. Instead, I can study my failure, figure out what went wrong, and make strategies for how to do better. 

The next family birthday (which is actually this Saturday), I plan on cooking myself a special treat (I’m thinking baked green plantain with just a touch of spray olive oil and salt and maybe some grilled chicken) and then I am going to have canned peaches while everyone else eats cake. (I happen to think canned peaches are a treat.) Next time I end up at a Mexican Restaurant, I’m just going to ask the waitress/waiter to not bring out chips or, better yet, I’m going to avoid Mexican Restaurants until my self-control is stronger. 

So, hurray for my trainer and all the new things she is teaching me!

Easter Evening

It’s Easter evening. It’s been a long full day. I was up at 6:30am to jump in the shower. Hoping it would be sufficient to wake me up and give me energy. My husband was still asleep and one of the kids had come down in the night and climbed into my easy chair in my room and was sleeping there. As I crept around in the rainy pre-dawn light, I kind of felt myself dreading the day. And then feeling guilty about that. Today is not only Easter but it’s also one of my kid’s birthdays. I had a long list of things to do all day. Tidy up the downstairs and make things seem a little festive for Easter, make a fancy breakfast of pancakes and bacon, read the story of the Resurrection to the kids, take our annual Easter Family Photo, sit and help the kids while they watched their 10am Children’s Service online. Then get a ham in the oven, get things laid out for communion, watch our 11 am service online,  prepare a big Easter Dinner, have a Zoom chat with our extended Heneise family, do birthday cake with birthday girl, stuff and hide easter eggs for an easter egg hunt, and then possibly supervise a visit with birth mom for our fosters. Yeah. The day was a bit overwhelming. 


And really, all I wanted to do was shut off the To Do list in my head and instead focus on the wonder of the Resurrection. I wanted to let myself Praise and Worship, spend time on my face in prayer, perhaps journal a bit. Just have some ME and JESUS time. 


This reminds me of when I was just starting out as a mom. I had two or three kids, and my second one was very clingy. Couldn’t leave him anywhere. He had to be with mom. Our church had a choir of sorts that would help lead worship on the occasional Sunday, not a regular schedule, just every once a while. I thought, I can do this. I have a musical gift. I love singing. I should be involved in the worship team at least a little bit. Use my gifts and all that. Surely my child can handle being in a nursery every once in a while. It’s not going to hurt him. 


So, I tried it out. Sometimes my little one would last in the nursery, and other times, they would bring him to me, screaming his head off. 


One early Sunday morning rehearsal, they brought him to me and I was convicted. This child needed to get first priority. Me singing needed to come second. 


I wasn’t very happy about it, but it just wasn’t working to leave him in the nursery, and I grudgingly gave up trying to do music at church for a time. 


Here’s the thing though. I came to realize that me using my God-given talents to serve in the choir were not nearly as important to God as me learning how to be a servant to my child. A helpless child who was completely dependent on me. 


Another time we were at a Christmas production with all the kids. The finale came up, they were singing the Hallelujah Chorus, hundreds of people in white robes were running across the stage towards the actor playing Jesus…my heart was pounding, I was quietly singing along, tears streaming down my face…then one of the little kids decided it was time to start screaming and fussing. I picked them up. Tried to hush them while still having my glorious spiritual moment. They kept screaming. People started looking at me. I was now going to have to exit the auditorium with this screaming child and miss the Grand Finale. Good grief. Talk about mood swings. I went from spiritual euphoria to extreme anger in about five seconds. And while I was stomping around in the hallway, quieting this child, I was a bit mad with God. Why couldn’t this child stay quiet for one more minute so I could have my amazing experience worshiping you? 


And again, I had to come to realize that it was more important to God that I learned how to have a servant’s heart to my children than it was for me to have this amazing spiritual moment. 


Today, I find myself relearning the same lesson. Yes, having a meditative time with God, praising and worshiping and leaning into him, that would have been awesome. But, that wasn’t what was on the agenda today. Today was about serving my family, enabling them to have a time of worship and praise and celebration. 


God is good. He does give me time and space when I can worship and praise him and lean into him. It’s just not always when I’m wanting it. 


Matthew 20:26-28 New International Version (NIV)

26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


Jesus ushered in a New Kingdom. An upside down kingdom. You want to be great? Ok, follow the example of the Master and be a servant. 

Seen through that context, I had a very good Easter day. I served my family. And God was gracious. Later on, all the activities finally ended and since then, I’ve been able to sit with a book, have a good Text/Chat conversation with a friend, get on FB. Write. Yes, God is good. 


Happy Easter. Jesus is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!