“It is possible to rise up, do battle with our issues, and, using the Lord’s strength in us, defeat them–spiritually, physically, and mentally–to the glory of God.” -Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave Devotional, page 47
I’ve had some strange looks in conversation with folks, especially lately, when they make a comment about my weight loss or weight loss in general, and I make sure that the first thing out of my mouth after an awkward “thank you” (I so don’t take comments/compliments well) is that I reference this is a whole person effort. It’s not just weight loss. Yes, that’s the easiest external tangible result of all of this process to discern and I’m learning to take some humble joy in that, but as I’ve said and will continue to say, it’s a spiritual, mental, and physical journey. They all need work. So what does all that mean?
Spiritual: I am not a disciplined person by nature, and as such, my spiritual life–my relationship with God–suffers. If nothing else on this journey, this is the area that I am seeking the most improvement. I let the “things” of life get in the way of my relationship with God–busyness, laziness, the amazing allure of a new TV show, food–the list could go on forever. But here’s the key of the issue: all of these “things” become idols. Each one of them become their own little god that draw my attention, my love, my worship, my adoration away from the one true God. I’ve come to a point where all these little idols are really on my nerves! Yes, I believe the fundamental truth that God should come before all things, but that does not reflect in my actions. Spiritual disciplines need just that–more discipline. I need to read my Bible more. I need to be in the fellowship of other believers more. I need to pray more. I need..I need..I need. I need to get the heck out of the way of myself is what I need to do! I don’t believe this is a work done alone, however. God has convicted me of this reality that I need to be in closer walk with Him. He will help me. His Holy Spirit will guide me to what I need to be doing, when I need to be doing it. I need to listen and obey. Teamwork.
Mental: I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here, because, well, my skeletons aren’t any of your beeswax. Just know they’re getting their exorcism. Maybe I’ll touch on them someday, maybe I won’t. As I have shared though, part of this change will be how I treat myself and how I speak to myself. The negative self-abuse in my head has to stop. It’s not respectful of me, it’s not respectful of God and God’s creation, and it’s just plain mean. This I consider to be the area of second greatest need for improvement.
Physical: Important, yes. The most important? No. I believe physical change is the byproduct of the two above changes. Now, will weight just magically disappear? Of course not. Intentional efforts around healthy eating and exercise are necessary…I don’t get to defy the laws of nature just because I’m working on other stuff. It all works together. The reality of life is that I am not a healthy weight. I am putting my body at risk for disease. That is not honoring to me or God’s creation, and that’s unacceptable. I’m not going to be flocking to the beach in a bikini, um, ever–but I do commit to my goal of weighing 180lbs. (still high in some people’s view, but I have a lot of peace surrounding that number)
The key to all of this is that it’s a process. It’s a process. It’s a process. It will take time. I cannot wave a magic wand and wake up tomorrow totally changed. I cannot put it on a timetable. I don’t have an expiration date for self-improvement. I have my immediate goals, that will follow with more goals, and the cycle will repeat itself over and over. We never stop changing and growing–but that changing and growing for me will go in accordance with God’s will and guiding. I guess if you think about it, I’ll always be under construction–because we never really “arrive.” Yes, there will reach a point of physical completion, but that also requires maintenance. In all things, I will continue to learn, implement, and grow from all the days of my life. That’s okay. Surprisingly, I am okay with that. In the end, what matters is my faith and obedience in/to the One that created me for His purpose.