“The Sixty Dollar Effect”

Part one authored on 8/4/2021

Last Sunday, Pastor Tom of Calvary Church, in Grand Rapids discussed contentment and the 3 steps to achieving contentment in your life. During worship, I always take notes and try to dig into the message from God so I can unpack it later in the day to best implement what I learned into action. This service was a little different. So different that I wanted to share some magical moves God made that I can’t stay quiet about. But first, the three ways to achieve contentment include:

1.Rejoice in God’s provisions

    • Be grateful for what you have been given by God. If you’re reading this, you likely have all that you need because you have access to the luxury of technology. That is a blessing. Be grateful for what you have because God has provided and meet all of your essential needs. He may not give you what you “want”, but God sure does provide what you need. I thank heavens for that because what God has in store for us is always so much better than what we as humans, “want”.

2. Understand contentment is not connected to circumstances

    • What is going on in the world or who is the president should not affect your gratitude for God and the joy you should feel for His love and provisions.
    •  No one is ever happier or more joyful by acquiring more “stuff” or going from one activity high to the next. This speaks to me as a small business owner who is constantly working on my next client, sale, and growing the business that I have given to God. I have learned that it is not about acquiring more but being humbled and grateful in the now. Which should not be affected by the current circumstances whether they be good or bad.

3.Contentment is learned

    • Being happy and joyful for what you have is not a natural response for most humans. We complain constantly, I included about not having what we “want” and what we think we need.
    • Think of Apostle Paul who was in prison and was still joyful. I bet most of us would not be joyful if we were in prison. Especially if we were in prison due to unfair or unjust circumstances. Jesus wants us to be reliant upon Him. Not self-sufficient but Jesus Christ sufficient.

During this worship service, Pastor Tom shared about a man and his wife who sold all their possessions to start an orphanage. The man’s name was George Mueller. Long story short one day a wealthy businessman walking on a trail donates the necessary money needed to keep the orphanage in operation, I.e. coal, food, and basic needs. George had prayed for God to help because they were down to their last day of rations. So, God provided via the wealthy businessman who donated enough for them to get by for the next two days. God provides what we need. Let it be known to him because He cares for you.

Hang with me as I promise this is a magical message.

After church on Sunday, August 1st, I went and did my workout at the downtown YMCA in Grand Rapids. Following the workout, I did my post-lift recovery walk around downtown. During my walk, I was reflecting on my life, God, and where I am currently at.  As any Christian does, trying to make sense and how I can apply what I had learned in church that morning. I decided no matter what storm encases me I need to choose joy in my current situation both personally and professionally to achieve contentment. Because it does not matter what I have or do not have because I have all I need, I have Jesus.

A concept that is not easy to remember when we are in the thick of pain, suffering, experiencing financial hardship, loss of loved ones, relationships, and more. All of which have hit me the last year and brought me closer to Christ. Instead of blaming and playing victim, I took my power back with God’s help.

I have built my strength from God’s grace, lessons, and have built my last year of life on His will and rock. Many do ask me, “Wendi, where do you get your motivation from?” I used to respond with my work ethic as a child, finances, achieving success, or simply something about myself, etc. But now my answer and motivation are simple, “to Glorify Christ in all that I do. Being healthy for God so that I can help other people.” See my recent Instagram post on this.

 

God doesn’t need me, just like He does not need you. But He chose you and He chose me. He loves us and wants us to experience His blessings. He loved us so darn much He gave up His only Son, Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. By living my life for Christ I have so much motivation to be healthy, kind, and giving to others. We are ambassadors of God in the work we do. For me, that means as a dietitian, business owner, daughter, sister, friend, and more I must live as Jesus would. Yes, I fall short, and always will but the more time I spend in His word, worship and with Him in solitude the more I become like Jesus. I also have more peace in my life knowing heaven is my eternal home and none of this stuff on earth matters. Truly, Jesus does is not interested in our performance. Jesus is interested in our hearts. Our joy comes from the Lord when you’re truly a follower and have 100% given your life to Christ. I learned that lesson much later in life, but I am glad it was late than never. Jesus is all I need because back to the circumstances of the world, well look around or turn on the TV things aren’t looking great. But Jesus’s love for us and grace never waivers. Back to my story on my walk post-workout.

Back to the point, of achieving Joy. On my walk last Sunday, I saw a homeless man very parched from across the street. Two young men walked by him. The homeless man cried out to them, “have some change to spare?” The two men walking by were about my age and responded with, “no, I have no cash.” Now some context here, years ago before I was a believer I would have thought, “wow what a bum. Asking for money. Go get a job.” But since learning humility and walking life in alignment with God the last few years I have been less likely to judge. Because I do not want to be judged. We also have no idea what landed that man on the streets. I remember thinking to myself, “I wish I had some change or something.” I then actually prayed to myself, “Lord help me find some spare change on the ground to give this man.” There was something about this situation that really made me want to give. Historically, I have given the change to homeless walking through the YMCA parking lot here in Grand Rapids because God says to “give”. And giving a dollar is nothing I can’t spare and it’s a good thing to do that is easy. Sure, do I selfishly want to keep the money to pay off student loans, of course. But the more I grow in my faith the more I know that I am here to glorify God, and not just worry about my own needs but to help others. Plus, if today Jesus came the student loan debt won’t matter.  However, being a kind human will. Remember that fellow Christians. We can’t take anything with us when we go. That means not only assets but also debts.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in working hard and earning everything. It is how I was raised but practicing love and giving to one another is something that has brought me more joy than paying my student loan fees each month.

I prayed about “getting needs met” for this man. I had nothing on me to give. I had my car keys and sunglasses. I prayed that God would help me find some change on the street to give the man on my walk but nothing came about after several blocks of looking aimlessly. Once I got back to my car, I looked for change and found nothing. Of course, though, I could have driven to the store to buy water, and give it to him. But I drove home to prepare for my busy week of clients. I journaled about the experience before going to bed.

I woke up the Monday after feeling a bit of unrest. Pastor Tom said that if we prayed to Jesus, we would have our needs met along with others. My needs were met but the man I walked by did not. I thought about the rich businessman who immediately stopped in his tracks and gave the orphanage what they needed for the next two days and thought, wow what a great role model. Lord, please forgive me for not driving back to give that man some change. Then I went on to do the final touches on my business newsletter that I had spent hours slaving on. I felt a bit restless as I had not taken my morning walk. So I went out for a walk and decided to take a totally different path than usual.

While on my walk, I was feeling frustrated, stressed, and then even more guilty because I am not having contentment for my life. Which I just learned in church the day before. I began thinking okay, I can do this. I can learn this and practice it. Because as I had learned in church yesterday that it is a learned skill. So, I told myself time to learn a new habit and skill let’s go! So, I spoke aloud while walking “Stop complaining Wendi. What are you grateful for, right now let’s go list off five key items.”

I rambled off, health, opportunity, legs to walk, brain to think, sunshine on my skin, safety, a business, purpose, God’s love, and God’s grace. I took one more step, then I stopped and in front of me on the sidewalk was a crisp $20.00 bill. I thought woo lucky day! Then I remembered and muttered, “God provides, God delivers provisions.” I immediately looked up to the sky, flashed God a giant smile knowing He is listening, and answered the prayer I prayed!! God answered my prayer requesting some petty change on the sidewalk to give to the homeless man. Only instead of some coins, Gods put down $20.00. That’s the thing about God is there are no coincidences. The $20.00 should have been filthy since it was on the sidewalk near a bunch of brush and sticks after rain showers. But it wasn’t. I stopped, prayed, and thought I am going to go back to the spot I was walking at later and give this money to this guy or whoever is in the spot. How amazing is God?

I kept walking and a few steps later laid another crisp $20.00 bill and I thought WOW you have got to be kidding me? As I reach down to pick up the crisp $20 about 6 feet ahead was another $20.00 in the grass. To remind you I was praying for a whopping $0.60 to give to this homeless man. But God provisioned $60.00. To you non-believers reading this here is the picture of the fresh $60 because it was too clean and crisp to not be blessed by God.

Did I selfishly want to keep the sixty dollars and go on my way thinking what a lucky day? Sure, but that would be Satan’s work and I don’t work for him, nor do I belong to him.  I work for God. I belong to God. I am a child of God and I proudly proclaim my faith in the Lord. Additionally, this isn’t my money in the first place and greed is not Godly. Greed is a form of evil. Like Adam and Eve in the garden. We always want “more” when we should have contentment for what God has given us. See the connection here? I hope so!

God blessed me with sixty dollars to help others and experience joy in the blessings of giving. God wants us to be joyful. I went home immediately after that walk to write down what had happened because this is a ripple in God’s work. Lately, I have not been hearing from Him and felt I likely have not been listening. SO, by practicing what I had heard in church and trusting God showed up and worked some magic. God is not interested in our performance here on earth but in our hearts. If your heart is in the right place, and you live in alignment with Jesus your odds of heaven are looking pretty good.

I am not sharing this to brag and say, “look at me but a look at HE”. If anything I haven’t given enough and feel shameful for my lack of generosity in the past. Case in point,  I am sharing this because God answered back with more than what I wanted. God is always listening. He blessed provisions to help more than just one person. Honestly, five years ago I would have kept the $60 for myself. But now that I am a follower and have fully put my life in Christ’s hands, I want to be more kind, and giving like Jesus has been for me to live my life in a Christ-like way.

I would rather use the provisions to help others which is what Jesus would do. I hope this inspires you to know God is listening, He answers prayers maybe not on your time but on His time. Had he answered my immediate prayer for coins on the street within a radius of the sidewalk I would have only had some coins to help one human? Jesus fed 5,000 people with the miracle five loaves and two fish. God doesn’t give us what we want, He provisions what we NEED. I thank Jesus for loving me and I hope this message inspires those out there to practice contentment in their lives but also glorify you in their thoughts, words, and actions. Be an ambassador of heaven. I’m calling this act of God, the “Sixty Dollar Effect”. Who knows, maybe it will be contagious.

 

Part two authored on 8/8/2021

Today, I heard a great message in worship that wrapped up a series studying Philippians by pastor Tom at Calvary Church. Today, August 8th was on generosity and giving. The sermon is found here for those interested. It motivated me to take the sixty dollars I found on the sidewalk last Monday and match it with my own $60 to go purchase a total of $120 worth of bottled water, oranges, bananas, and apples to hand out around downtown Grand Rapids. Starting with the street corner I was walking on last Sunday where I mentioned there was a homeless man on the street crying out for change and help. Just an image to motivate you.

God blessed me with an opportunity to not just give someone some coins, but I was able to go out and feed > 100 people in the extreme humidity. Contributing an additional $60 of my own money has never given me so much joy. Every single person on the street that I gave a bottle of water to, or a fruit said, “thank you girl, wow God bless you!” And I can’t express how much that meant for those who do not know me but are appreciative of my generosity. Some of the sincerest thanks I have gotten. I said, “no don’t thank me, you can thank God! He provisioned these nourishments through me. I then wished them a blessed day back and we all smiled.

This act of service was the best use of money and 3 hours of my entire thirty years on this earth. God is good. God provides and we can’t take any of what we accrue with us to Heaven. This is what Pastor Tom talked about in worship this morning. Thank Goodness for that, I do not want any of these earthly things. There’s no monetary value to the Joy I experienced today giving back to my community.

I encourage everyone who has read this to spend $60 on water and some soft fruit to hand out to those in the street. Store it in your car in a cooler.  Mini bottled water for example is extremely cheap and can be given to someone on the street who needs hydration or bananas on your way home if you know you will be met with those in need. These are just simple ways to give back to your community. God does not need you to donate your livelihood, and you don’t have to be a celebrity to do something extraordinary. God works through us ordinary people to do the extraordinary work and give all Glory to Him. I love God and everything I do is to glorify Him. I made the choice to give my life to Christ and I never looked back. I used to be self-sufficient but now I am Jesus Christ sufficient. Jesus Christ is not only my savior, but He is our secret weapon in any battle we face. God works through me, and He absolutely works through you in your daily work and tasks to help His Kingdom. Don’t underestimate the ordinary small acts of service that are all good in His eyes. Please watch my video post on Instagram to experience my Love and Joy from God’s provisions.  See the video here and be sure to watch until the end.

If you can’t give money you can also do acts of service. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

✅Donating stuff or your time

✅Pick up groceries for those in need

✅Volunteer at local hospitals, shelters, community centers

✅Help your neighbors with household things, tasks, transportation for those without

God Bless you and be sure to pay it forward. I hope this blog gives you hope.

THIS IS A NEW PROJECT CALLED, “PROJECT NOURISH”. Minutes after I published this blog and shared it out three different people who were former clients sent money to my Venmo name with notes reading, “Great work, here is another $20.00 to get you started”, another read, ” You are AMAZING, use this for those in need with a $25.00 money gram.” If you wish to contribute to this fund which I will continue to go out and give to the community on a weekly basis via water, fruit, and nourishment please let me know. You can email me, wendi@nutritionwithwendi.com or you can Venmo me Wendi-Irlbeck. GOD IS SO GOOD!!

Wishing you many blessings of good health, safety, prosperity, and joy.

 

-Wendi Irlbeck

Jesus Doesn’t Need a “Perfect” You; He Needs a “Healthy” You!

Have you ever felt “out-of-control” in areas of your life that you know Jesus wants you to be better in? I am not talking about attending church or worship here. Yes, you should absolutely attend regularly and seek His word. You should also read the bible regularly. What I am getting at is your daily habits, financial management, sleep hygiene, exercise routine, eating habits, and what you turn to in times of stress to “cope”.

Proverbs 15: 22 tells us,” Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.” I am not a pastor, but I have been called by God to speak up and to grow His Kingdom through physical health, nutrition, and overall inspiration. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I can provide you, counsel, on making healthier choices within your lifestyle to support your physical health. You do not have to do this alone. As a healthy lifestyle coach, I can support you as part of your counsel. I want to help you gain control of your health and fitness.

Drawing awareness to our current situation. In times of crisis and despair, we may allow our physical health to go unchecked. We may come up with excuses like “I am too busy, I don’t have time, I have too many meetings, I have to take care of my children and everyone else.”

For every excuse or limitation, you express for neglecting your physical health, there are several motives to address your health.

Your longevity in life will be cut short with poor health

Your mind, agility, stamina, and performance are affected by what you consume, and the amount of physical activity completed.

As a parent, spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister, leader, manager, employee, and follower of Christ you are called to be an example. How can you expect others to be focused and perform their best if you do not?

Physical and spiritual energy can rise with greater health and fitness. If you realize you are feeling more sluggish, tired, and low energy you are not alone. This pandemic has brought on a whole new level of challenge and crisis.

Your body is a temple and if you have been a poor steward lately, I want to tell you, “it is OKAY”. It is not okay to realize it and do nothing about it. The more you turn to unhealthy food, alcohol, sedentary lifestyle vegged out on the couch in front of the news or Netflix with a bag of chips the more likely you will be less convicted to follow the Lord. In fact, you may find yourself being tempted by satan to do more “unhealthy things” because they temporarily feel good and distract you from dealing with the reality at hand.

When we do neglect our body, we are neglecting the Creator’s creation. I want you to love yourself and respect the body that Christ gave you to live in. Jesus is the Creator of our physical bodies, and it is within our bodies that we serve others as He calls us to do. If you are too tired, sick, and disease-stricken because you have been a poor steward of your habits then you’re unable to support your family and ultimately serve our Lord. Jesus died on the Cross for our sins. You are forgiven regardless of what you do but you must “repent”. I am not here to preach you must “eat perfectly”, exercise every day, and live a “perfect life” because we know that does not exist. Again, we were born into sin and we will never be perfect.

Jesus does not need a perfect you, He needs a healthy you.

Scripture speaks of many reasons to maintain health and even has guidelines to not only build a healthy body but to maintain it. We live in a fallen and broken world. It is much harder to resist the devil and follow Jesus if you are not physically well. When you are too tired, fatigued, and ill you are more susceptible to further sin, poor relationships, and reduced life.

Here are my tips as a Christ-centered dietitian that is biblical to support your physical health

Eat the Rainbow and Consume a Balanced Diet Prioritizing Quality Foods

Learning “self-control” with certain discretionary foods that lack nutrients. I am not saying do not eat cookies or dessert. I am expressing the importance of consuming quality foods first that support healthy body weight.  It is important to maintain a healthy weight as we age to support overall health and well-being. For more on maintaining a healthy weight please check out the National Institute of Health (NIH) fact sheet. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also has some great resources on eating well and eating right for a healthy weight found here .

Please check out my website for various recipes to keep you and your family fueled and healthy! I have also written a blog on effective strategies for losing weight in a flawed industry. Please check out the blog here .

As it is written in scripture, Thessalonians 4:4, “Each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable.” Jesus created you and you should want to respect the body He gave you. Again, you do not have to be perfect and have a “six-pack” but you should maintain a healthy body weight to honor God’s creation.

Movement is Quite Truly Medicine

The physical activity guidelines have recently been updated that adults should complete 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 min of vigorous-intensity per week. For more specific details and guidance please check out the World Health Organization (WHO). I have also provided guidance on safely starting an exercise program in a previous blog on staying healthy during COVID-19.

1 Timothy 4:8 states, “Physical exercise has some value.” I think Paul would agree in today’s world exercise has significant value. People use to work hard on the farm, walk everywhere and the forms of transportation were not available back in the day. Today, everything is as convenient. We are more sedentary, many on the average struggle to get the minimum recommendation of physical activity. It is a blessing and a curse that you can have anything at your fingertips. You can even have food and groceries delivered right to your door.  We drive everywhere, we do not take the stairs, and park too close to our offices. If you struggle to walk up the stairs with pain or are out of breath you may need to work on your fitness.

Commit yourself to regular activity. Walk more, park further away from your destination, and take after-dinner walks. See my previous blog for more simple ways to increase your fitness appropriately to reduce the risk of injury. Remember too much too quickly can lead to muscle strains and then further limitations to get healthier.

Limit Alcohol or Avoid Drinking Altogether

So many are turning to substances like alcohol in times of crisis. It is leading to greater disease, poor health, and the ultimate demise of many relationships. One of them being your relationship with Christ. Ephesians 5:18 states, “Don’t get drunk with wine, which will ruin you. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” This scripture should encourage you to evaluate your relationship with alcohol. During times of crisis and stress do you find you consume greater wine, beer, and other forms of alcohol instead of turning to Jesus? Do not get drunk on alcohol, instead get drunk on the Holy Spirit.

In my personal experience, I have lost some of my closest loved ones because they have turned to alcohol instead of the holy spirit. These amazing people lost life of wellness, joy, family, and authenticity. It is debilitating to support someone and watch them struggle with their addictions only to see it be their demise because they refused to understand they had a problem. If you feel shame that is not Jesus, that is the devil. Be sure to get Jesus back on your throne. There is no shame or guilt when we turn to God to express our sins. If you are reading this and feel convicted to get drunk on the Holy Spirit instead of win, I am proud of you. I am cheering for you. It is not easy but, “With God, All Things Are Possible” Matthew 19:26.

Addiction to substances and alcohol can be debilitating. If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol encourage them to seek help. It is never too late to turn your life around. It is more than just your thoughts you must control, but your actions.  Admitting you have an addiction and seeking help and the Lord to get sober is possible. If you are able but unwilling to admit you have a problem, then no one can help you. But if you seek the Lord and those around you no one can stop you. Do not turn to the red one who will tempt you but the Lord.

He will save you. As it is written in James 5:15-16 “The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Sleep is not a luxury

Sleep is one of the most important factors in supporting good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting adequate quality sleep can help safeguard your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and even safety. Your food choices, attitude, productivity, and even your cognition can be affected by your sleep patterns according to the Sleep Foundation. Children between the ages of 6-14 years old need roughly 9-11 hours of sleep. Adults between the ages of 18-64 years old need approximately 7-9 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, we live in a society where it is a “badge of honor” to work as many hours as possible on as few hours of sleep as possible. This is what is referred to as “The grind” in sports performance. Psalm 127:2 tells us that, “In vain you rise up early and stay up late.”

No one feels healthy or makes good choices when they are sleep deprived. In fact, as you know sleep deprivation can lead to poor dietary choices, auto accidents, injuries in sport, and illness. A person not getting enough sleep will experience fatigue, irritability, mood changes, and poor memory recall according to the Centers for Disease (CDC) and Sleep Medicine. Our brain and bodies can struggle to function when we go for several days without quality sleep. Again, without sleep, we run the risk of making poor choices, having loose lips, a tongue that may not speak in kindness, and increase our risk for chronic conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and more according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute .

God desires you to get rest. Rest is so important that Jesus placed ‘rest’ within the Ten Commandments. In Mark 6:30-32, Jesus pleaded that His disciples take time to focus on restoration. Jesus stated, “every seventh day, you should rest.” Sundays should be allocated to time with Jesus and refraining from work.

For more information on the importance of getting enough sleep and hours per stage of life please check out SleepFoundation.org

I pray this blog has provided you with some clarity, comfort, motivation, and has sincerely convicted you to make a conscious effort to be healthier. I believe wholeheartedly Jesus wanted me to write something invaluable that is biblical. This article is just the start of what is to come.  In the last few months I have opened my eyes and ears to the way the Lord has shown up in my life. Jesus has been desiring me to integrate His work into my work as a female business owner. My ministry is nutrition. I was a non-believer up until 2012 when I found Jesus and began a relationship with Him. Never would I have never imagined I would write something like this, but I am so grateful I did.

Health is so much more than being “fit” for a race, sporting event, physique competition, or looking “good” on a vacation. Good health and fitness is about stewardship and taking pride in caring for your body. Loving the skin you’re in. Looking in the mirror every day and saying “I love myself because you love me and created me, Jesus”. If you’re a Christian you know Jesus loved us so much that He gave up His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, to redeem the sins of the world. Yes, the entire world of believers and non-believers.

If you’re a non-believer reading this. Please open your heart to God. I know it may seem scary or that Jesus doesn’t care about you. Or that you are in control of your life, not Him. I get it, I was there. I was you and I remember saying “Jesus doesn’t care about me or my problems”. That’s the Devil. Open your heart to Jesus so that He can help you. What’s the worst that will happen? Will he change your life? Yes, not only will He comfort you but if you allow Jesus into your life He will put you back together in ways you can’t on your own. This will forever change your life in ways science can’t explain.  The only regret I have was not turning my life over to Christ sooner. But that’s the beauty of God’s Grace, He loves us no matter how many times we turn our backs on Him or choose “our will” over His.  Jesus isn’t interested in perfection or performance. Jesus just wants your heart and mine.

Use this article as a soft nudge to focus on being healthy to be a better disciple of Jesus as a mom, dad, grandparent ect. you will experience a better quality of life. Focus on being strong and healthy to provide for your family instead of that six-pack. I hope you feel equally convicted to improve your health as I did in writing this.

If you enjoyed this blog, please share it! Please also check out my other blogs for inspiration and healthy eating tips available HERE ! Additional tips guidance, tips, tools, and strategies on being healthier please follow me on social media. I am active on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more nutrition information. You can also learn more about the various telehealth services if you desire to work with me by clicking HERE .

Testimonials of my coaching and client success found at the testimonial link on my website.

 

Wendi is a devoted Christian, registered dietitian, writer, speaker, performance nutritionist, and healthy lifestyle coach. Wendi utilizes evidence-based science to create nutrition programs so athletes can optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. She partners with parents, sports performance staff, special needs, and recreational athletes and organizations to eat and fuel for success. Wendi also works with the general population on healthy eating. In addition to lifestyle coaching, she makes her rounds presenting across the country and even in Canada. Wendi has presented at various conferences and clinics. To name a few, the University of Regina in Canada, the University of Northwestern in Iowa, Northwestern State Clinic, Michigan State High School Strength and Conditioning Association clinic. Wendi is a former college athlete, with over a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry. Wendi earned both her B.S. and M.S. at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and has spent time learning from several professionals in the field along with an internship at the University of Florida. Wendi operates her private practice virtually and remotely but is based primarily in Grand Rapids, MI.