Ups, Downs, and Living Life

I’ve been preparing a holistic wellness through goal setting workshop that I’m presenting at a women’s ministry conference next month and it’s given me pause to reflect on what this journey of wellness has been for me.  It seems like only yesterday because I can see it so vividly in my mind that Holy Spirit moment when God smacked me upside the head and knocked some sense into me.  Did everything change overnight from that fateful afternoon? HA! No.  It seems like lightning speed and turtle pace all wrapped up into one.  I got to thinking where was I…and where I am I?

I’m feeling a bit honest today, so here goes…

Spiritually-my relationship with God is my relationship with God.  It’s not going to look like yours and that’s okay.  We all experience a personal relationship with our Savior in different ways.  Where was I?  Well, I thought I was a pretty good Christian, I mean, I’m a pastor, I help people, so I must be doing at least something right…not so much.  Jesus Christ may be my Lord and Savior, but sadly that’s where a lot of it all fell off.  We don’t fly through life with the idea of eternal security (no, I’m not debating doctrine here–I don’t play once saved always saved), but we need to constantly be growing in our faith relationship in so many ways–discipleship, corporate growth, individual growth–fueling the pursuit of holiness.  I found myself pretty lax in my relationship and communion with God, and I’m not going to beat that idea down any further.  So where I am?  The two biggest words I despise: Intentional effort.   Back to the basics.  My approach to reading the Bible and studying God’s Word had to be approached from a new vantage point–from obligation to desire.  My prayer life had to become more rounded and less like a genie in a bottle.  The accountability factor had to be amped up–I had to call godly people into my path that ask the tough questions.  I may despise the words, but intentional efforts pay off.  I’m in a place where I haven’t been in my relationship with God before and that’s a pretty awesome place, because not only am I learning more about Him, I’m learning more about who I am through Him.  Never stop learning.

Emotionally/Mentally-this is a hard one to speak on because I haven’t shared a lot of my background in this area in this arena. Where was I?  In vague strokes…I’ve never really had much self worth.  There’s always been someone prettier, skinnier, smarter, more deserving…the list could go on forever, but it always came down to the idea that I’m not good enough.  Several years ago, I experienced an event that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy that ultimately connected the pieces on where that mindset was developed in my psyche.  I won’t lie, I had moments where I truly wanted to die in the aftermath, that I would be okay if I just went to sleep and never woke up.  But I came back from it.  I had people who were stronger than me fighting for me and praying for me because I couldn’t do it for myself for a period of time. Where am I today? I remember the desperation for hope in that dark night of the soul, but I consider it blessing that I can’t recall the feel and the feelings during that time.  I had to rebuild myself.  The emotional foundation I had for many years was built on sand, I needed a strong foundation.  I was at a place in my life where I could intelligently build a new foundation through faith, learning, practice, understanding my past objectively, and rewriting the absolute and total lies that were truth in my head.  I’m not going to lie–I’m a completely different person emotionally than I was just a few years ago, and that scares me sometimes, because I’m still learning who I am (I think that’s a lifelong process).  I have a voice.  I’m starting to use it more.  I’ve never been that way before and it’s new, but I’m rolling with it because I understand that (for the most part) what I have to say is important and that I have things to contribute to relationships, friendships, professional experiences, etc.  I can be a valuable person, but not so much if I sit around waiting for others to figure out my worth and come to me.  Just saying a bold statement like that is still a small disconnect for me because I still look at it and think, “that’s pretty bold and arrogant, why would you say that?”  The desire to backspace is real.

Physically-well, this one is visible, and probably the one I talk about most, so there’s not a lot of surprises here.  Where was I?  I was miserable.  I couldn’t walk from my office to the bathroom without getting winded.  I was the heaviest I had ever been.  My shirts were either a plus size 4x or 5x to give you an idea.  Where am I?  I’m rocking a misses/ladies XL shirt now.  Pants…that’s a different story, I have genetics to thank for my hips and booty.  I’ve lost 115lbs now.  I don’t live on salad and chicken breast.  I have good days and bad days.  I go through phases of great exercise and effort, and periods of laziness and discontent.  I have days where I don’t want calories to count, and others it’s effortless to eat well.

The bottom-line is that these three seemingly separate areas are all completely tied together.  If I was not engaged in my relationship with God, why would I care about honoring God’s creation (my body) and living in His image?  If I was living in a mindset of depression and despair, why would I want to pursue God deeper–what hope could I find there?  I can play the “what ifs” all day long–it comes down to the idea that if I’m not improving myself as a whole person, no one area is going to improve on its own.  Yes, some areas change and morph in different timing than others, but constant forward progress, no matter how slow, is providing me with enjoying a great and abundant life that I don’t think I truly understood existed until recent years.  And I’m loving every minute of it.

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