Lesson 1

I must tell you up front, that my journey towards fitness will not contain a lot of exercise tips or recipes. If you want that kind of information, you can go to any number of websites. My journey will go to the inward places, the place where the Holy Spirit melds with my own to create a new creature, where old things are passed away and all things are made new. I can tell you I already see a host of parallels between my body and my spirit. Similarly, my mind is already being renewed from the old ways I have thought most of my life. I want to see the heart of God in the matter. I want to hear what he whispers to me in the midst of this continued journey.
Easy, you say…he says your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, that it must be buffeted, that the flesh wars against the spirit. I thought so too. Those are the same scriptures that I have been beating myself up with for a very long time. I have cried many tears and begged God to help me to shed pounds for his glory. I have read the scriptures, and come away with the idea that I am weak in spirit, because I cannot conquer this area of my life. After all self-control is a fruit of the spirit is it not? And if I don’t have the much coveted self-control, that means somehow I am not walking with the spirit. Right? It should be easy…if only my body would cooperate. I mean, I have counted every grain of rice, measured every oz. of protein. I have made shakes, eaten only vegetables, consumed only meat. Counted calories, fat grams and carbs. There probably is not a diet I have not tried. All with limited success at best. I could be a professional nutritionist with all the knowledge I have.
Then there is the exercise. Swimming, biking, weights, machines of all shapes and sizes. Again with little to no success at maintaining a routine. And after awhile it seems futile to try yet again. I feel no life it what I am doing…but I am buffeting my strong-willed body, which I thought was what I am supposed to do. The slogan “just do it” comes to mind. So what is wrong with me that I cannot just do it? I mean just suck it up and do it already. As I look at this cycle of pain, even here on the paper, I see not freedom, not life…but bondage. All of it is law, which brings death. It is like any other form of legalism that takes the focus off God and puts it squarely on myself and my lack of ability. The result, as you can guess, is self-distain. Desiring to honor God in all things, only to be reminded each day when I look in the mirror of what a failure I am. Heaven forbid I get on a scale. Admit it women…you know what I am talking about. The flab and the rolls lead to questions, how in the world did I get this way? Will I ever be free? How can God even stand to look at me? Do you recognize these questions? All of them lead to self-doubt, and a devaluing of ourselves. Just want our enemy had planned for us, and I have fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
Until one day. One day I was fat, bald and had a gaping wound in my gut. You have heard my story no doubt. Melt down in a dressing room at the mall, during cancer treatment. It was my husband, bless his soul, who came in and held me. He told me how beautiful I was to him and how the scars from my battle were not ugly to him, but signs of victory. As I looked in the mirror after that, I heard God say it was true…I am beautiful. How hard is that for you to accept? You are beautiful. Now. Not some day when you have lost your set number of pounds, but now. Period.
So lesson one is to quit listening to the lies in your head. Quit the legalistic pursuit of weight loss. Get off the scale and stop letting it determine your value. You cannot be measured in inches, or pounds. You are the apple of God’s eye and he came to bring you life…abundant life. As a matter of fact, he died for you to have it.
And guess what? You are NOT weak. You only think you are. You are strong. Your body is stronger than you think, because God made it. It WANTS to be strong and healthy. You do NOT have to war against it…but rather work WITH it. This hit me like a lightning bolt. I have thought of my body as my enemy for sooooo many years. Which is exactly what the enemy wants me to think…that I can never do it…so just give up and quit trying. By giving up, I am embracing death. I eat food that leads me closer and closer to death. I sit and allow death to creep up on me…all because I do not match this world’s definition of a good body. What kind of warped thinking is that anyway? There is so much more to me than a body. Here is what God says, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” He doesn’t look at our outward appearance. Is that as freeing to you as it is to me? Concentrating on the physical without looking inward will lead to failure every time. I am committed to throw out my old thinking and let God show me his thoughts, so I can look at myself in the mirror and see what he sees…

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