In my book, "Healthy Voice: Life Beyond the Weight," I have a set of 12 points on the journey to living life beyond the weight and beneath the surface. They are guideposts that help you look at the big picture and break it down when life seems overwhelming.
Consequently, the year of 2014 has been quite overwhelming for me.
Just when we got through the first six months of marriage with three kids in the house, my shoulder dislocated for the third time in my life - in my sleep. Yes.
That was January 3rd one year ago Saturday.
Let me tell you: What a difference a year can make.
The doctor told me, "You'll hate me till Christmas," and he was right. One year from injury to healing. Lots of time at physical therapy and virtually no exercise. So, the year didn't quite go as I'd hoped.
But God did what he does best. He slowed me down just enough to cause a seismic shift in my life.
Today, I spent time in the Word which is regular for me now. I can't live without it. Before I'd just glance at a verse on my phone. Today, I got to workout in my basement and actually do 30 seconds of a plank and some free weight exercises. A year ago? No way. Today I got to talk to a friend who found out she's looking at knee surgery. A year ago I wouldn't have known what to say. Today, I can speak to her from experience knowing that God is doing something in her amazing, that she doesn't even know yet. It sucks in the moment but he's doing something. My close friends and I have laughed over the year about how God is slowing me down for a reason! And through the year I could talk to God and just say, "What are you teaching me or showing me?"
It's just amazing how he stops us in our tracks - to get us on a track, a track for a purpose that is much greater than any we could imagine.
It has been the year of HEALING for me. Somehow I think God had to stop me in my tracks so he could get me to dig way beneath the surface, deeper than I ever could have imagined. He got me to trust and surrender to him - in my pain, in household duties, my marriage, my stepmom-hood, in the time I wanted to commit to work or writing but therapy always got in the way, and most symbolically - in my weight. I have surrendered the process, trusting that He who carries me THROUGH life, will keep doing just that.
So when I come to the place, like I am today - where I GET to workout and I GET to do a 30 minute plank or pick up a free weight, I am GRATEFUL.
And when I went to the doctor yesterday to discuss my health, I full-well know that I've got a new journey ahead of me - one where I have to rely on the Spirit not to help me heal necessarily but to help me get better.
This year ahead is the year I will get my HEALTH back. I say a year, because it will take that long just to get my sea legs. My weight is at a number I don't like, but I know to get those 40 pounds off in a healthy way - it will take MONTHS. It will take commitment and it will take a complete and utter TRUST in God's strength. Not only that it WILL be a journey for life. It will not stop at a goal weight.
Going Against The Grain
Despite the powers of society to start a diet to "fix" the weight, I will be going against the grain and doing it with 1st) God's Word, 2nd) the 12 steps and 3rd) not alone. I will not be signing up as we say in 12 steps, "for the debating society" of which program is going to get you to lose weight. I will be doing what God puts in my path to help me and relying on His wisdom, the people who know my body better than me, and the people who are walking the road with me - that "get me."
And as tempting as it is to get the "next right fix", I'm going to do the "next right thing." Instead of feeling self-defeated, and thinking I have to go on a diet because gaining weight means I've failed at life (not), I've started with the admission of defeat, the recognition that I am powerless over certain foods that want to get me, and I can only overcome it with the power of the God who loves me.
I know today like I've never known before how hard the devil fights to get me in my greatest weakness. For me - it is food and weight insecurity, because it's a battle I've had to fight my entire life. No matter how many diet commercials I see or how many people say, "Oh just don't eat that much," or "Just workout and eat right," it is more complicated than that. My relationship with food has been a lifelong one that needs attention and I'm okay with it. Why? Because it's where the devil tries to work his hardest.
The funny part is that even with this weight gain, I've never felt more at peace, more centered or closer to God than I've ever been. And I think a lot of that has to do with the enormous amount of surrendering I've had to do in the last year, heck the last three years - to let God just take the reigns. When I think about it and write it out - it's truly amazing how much God has carried me THROUGH.
So with that, I wanted to share with you a Bible Study I worked on this morning and over the last few days about TEMPTATION. The devil is always there trying to get us to follow him in his fleshly ways and it ALWAYS ends up crappy. He promises much in his quick-fix ways but only God can meet us in our deepest need for the longest haul.
This next year is going to be all about navigating triggers for me - around food, around people that make me want to eat the wrong food, or feelings or situations. So I want to share this with you and invite you to join me in a journey this year of really turning it over to the Holy Spirit, because if we know the Lord, in the end - He's the one guiding us anyway, so why not let him?
That last one I had to dig in a little more. I found something that said this in reference to this, "God makes an open road, but then man must walk in it." We must take the steps where the Spirit guides.
It makes me think of the song "Oceans" by Hillsong (play while you read) and the lyric, "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the water, wherever you might call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my savior..."
I am also reminded of 2 Timothy 1:7,
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
We know it, but sometimes we can't just grasp it - right? Maybe because we think he wouldn't be there in those fears with us, that we have when we need self-control? We think we don't have the willpower, but in reality, when we know him and realize he's right there in that kitchen cabinet standing by our side? we have a power greater than any favorite snack or sweet we may desire.
I'm not saying it's easy. In fact, I'm praying God will just take me through one day. But thankfully that's all he gives us, and all we need. When I get fearful around certain foods then I just need to stop and remember the power I've got within me! Christ IN me, the HOPE of glory!
God doesn't want to punish me for everything I eat - that's the devil! God wants to help me see that in the depths of my soul - it's HIS love that can satisfy me WAY more than ANY craving. The devil likes me scared. God likes me free. He doesn't want me to fear. He wants me to feel peace with his presence.
Jesus was Tempted Too
Lastly, I have to remember that Jesus WAS tempted. In Matthew 4. He "gets" it. He may not have been a food addict but he certainly was TEMPTED. After 40 days without eating, the thing he was tempted with WAS food - bread (ironic). (I mean 40 days, wow. One day is tough, 40 had to be tough, and then have a temptation dangling in your face?) The note in the side column of my Bible says this:
I mean that is POWERFUL. And Jesus's response to the devil trying to get him to eat the bread to prove he is the son of God?
I mean, Wow. I can just imagine myself today standing there with Jesus, going through the 40 days with Him, thinking - I would LOVE some bread, thank you! And witnessing His response like that? I mean, I know he's Jesus but he also became human so there is no way he wasn't salivating. He stared the devil in the face and put him IN his place.
I'm not kidding - every time I want to eat a cookie that is going to make me feel like crap physically or make me get in my head? I'm going to close my eyes and imagine Jesus standing there, fighting for ME. Me and all my brokenness, weakness and crappy willpower. HE stood there and said what he said. He gave me this word to study which is PROOF I don't have to listen to the devils schemes.
Food? Yes - it is ESSENTIAL to life. But it is not at the very deepest level the sustenance of my life. My relationship with Jesus is what fills me up where no ONE, no thing, no cookie can fill me up. Not only that - he fights for me. All I have to do is realize he is standing there.
Powerful, powerful stuff.
So, all that being said. I hope you'll join me this year in giving the healthy lifestyle thing to the Lord. Stop trying to control it in a million ways inside and out and just trust his plan and then SHOW UP for his plan.
If food is the place that the devil likes to take you down? Then fight. Find where the devil lurks and rely on the power of God to take you through every storm he brings.
Cause let me tell you - I'm going into a fire. I am getting my health back and you can bet it is going to be T.O.U.G.H. But I am more reliant on God than I've ever been. If he restored me to sanity once before, and he restored my shoulder over a year, then he can AND WILL restore me to health and I am looking forward to the journey. I hope you'll join me. Come back to visit. Since last year I was pretty out of commission - this year, the support group, the course on how to knock the devil back with the power of God is going to begin. This time, I think it's better than I thought it would be and that's only because I had to rely on the power of God in my life.
So, if you want to get honest and get real and let God into your food or weight struggles, join me, please. I can tell you - I cannot do this alone. But if you want to grab the quick-fix and push this blog under the rug for another year, that's fine. Just save it in your files, cause you might want to come back to it next year - when the diet fix didn't work again and you've had enough. We'll be here. But most of all, God will be there, waiting with open arms to give you a big hug and tell you he loves you and that despite your stupid choices, he wants you in His life. Period.
Oh, and one more thing - these two verses came to mind as I finished the blog today.
Let God do what he does best -- protect you and guide you. Let him steer your ship. Trust His timing and have faith because it's not about a fix when you walk with the Lord, it's a journey - a satisfying and strengthening one. So, Godspeed my friend. Hope to see you back in the coming year.
(Oh, and for those who may have wanted a video - next week. All the kids are home and it's a little harder when they are in the house.)
Happy New Year.
I'm signing off, so you can get back into your life.
Bonus: Here's an acoustic version of the Hillsong, "Oceans" so you can really rest in Him. Repeat button is most helpful. lol