January 14, 2014

Heart, Mind & Soul

"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." A.W. Tozer

I used to believe that God was was waiting on me to get my stuff together. That he would really love me and accept me if I could just do everything the way I was supposed to. That was my spiritual belief, deep down. Even if I said stuff like God has forgiven me, God loves me, etc...I didn't truly believe it deep deep down. Spiritually I was striving to attain favor with God. 

Mentally, I thought constantly about how often I fell short. I thought that I was not doing something that I was supposed to be because I could never stick to anything. I thought that just like many people treated me differently because of being overweight, that God must also see me as an outcast and someone not worthy of Him. I thought that I was not adding up to the expectations God had for me.

Emotionally, I was miserable. I felt sad and like a failure every time I fell in my attempts to get healthy. I was failing to make myself "acceptable." I was emotionally ashamed, bitter, and hopeless. 

Physically, this all led to doing nothing. Since I felt hopeless, I just didn't want to try. Since I had tried so many times to get it right and hadn't, what was the point of doing anything like trying to eat right. Trying to move more.

This paints a pretty decent picture of how our spiritual beliefs inform our thought life, which directs our emotions which determine our actions.

But when my idea of God changed, so did everything else about me.

When I began to understand and truly believe in the GOSPEL message that God loves me as a failure. In fact that he never expected anything other than a failure from me apart from Him, well...that changed things.

When I let that truth that it wasn't up to me to get it right to be accepted by God, it was like a healing balm to my mind. The thoughts of falling short were paired with the knowledge that Jesus covers that shortcoming with his blood shed on the cross. The thought of an angry God tapping his foot waiting on me to improve was replaced with the thought of a God running toward me in my sin ready to clean up the mess. The thought of a God who died for sinners, outcasts, obese people who are lost and trapped...that thought changed me.

Those thoughts come into my heart like a rushing river that washes away the emotions of bitterness, shame and hopelessness and replaces them with gratitude, confidence and hope. Why would he save me to leave me in the filth? Why would He die for me and then turn his back on me? He doesn't. And so it slowly became okay to get up again. Day after day is a "do-over" and I am okay with that. I feel safe to be honest with others about the darkest parts of who I am because God knows all of that and he has accepted me.

It's not that I now have it all together physically but I do have hope. And without hope it's pretty hard to even get out of bed in the morning.

The Bible says the TRUTH will set you free. It also says that Jesus is the TRUTH. So let the TRUTH invade your soul and see what happens to your mind, heart and body.

"We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope." Tim Keller

January 9, 2014

More To It Than "Just Do It"

I've seen this floating around a lot and while I do understand and agree with the principle (you have to eat right to make the workout worth it), I believe it can be misleading and even discouraging to some people. 

Nutrition and exercise are the two major physical factors in weight loss, however, for many people, weight loss is much more than a purely physical obstacle to tackle.This visual does little to help those people lose the weight. Why? Isn't knowledge power? Yes, to an extent. But for a person who is carrying a significant amount of extra weight, it likely didn't get there because they are uneducated. 

This 80/20 principle of fitness is only one piece of the weight loss puzzle...a piece upon which most of us have a fairly decent grasp. There are 3 more "pieces" if you will, that don't get much airtime: the Mental piece, the Emotional piece and the Spiritual piece.The reason I don't think these get much airtime is that they don't really "sell." People don't want to address all these pieces because it's hard work. It can be painful, inconvenient and even costly. Maybe it just seems silly or "not for me." Maybe it seems too complicated. After all, Just don't eat when you're hungry. Keep your appetite under control. Eat less, move more! It's that simple, right? Well, it seems a lot less complicated in January than it does in December, I'll tell you that much.

I know there are people who have lost large amounts of weight and have even kept it off for many years by merely changing their diet and exercise. Perhaps they just needed some education, a form of exercise that was fun for them and time. I am thrilled to no end for these people! I wish that was me. But it's not.

If you can't figure out how to "stick to it", then tell me, how much good does knowing about the 80/20 principle do you? How helpful are the hours of reading, research and physical exertion if you can't be honest about what you are putting in your mouth? How fun is losing 100 pounds if you still feel lost on the inside.

Someone has focused on that physical piece for so long and so diligently, year after year, book after book, gym after gym... never to make progress and can not figure out why. Someone is frustrated, defeated and tired. Someone is starting to wonder if there's more to it than "just do it."

If that's you then I am telling you, you're on to something! The physical piece alone is not enough. The 80 and the 20, while important, are not the only players here. There is more. Dig deeper. Don't settle for a surface change without getting to the root. Keep doing what you need to do physically, utilize all the knowledge you have, but start examining the other pieces as well. What you begin to find might just be what's been missing all along.

A starting point for each piece:
Mental-- memorize scripture
Emotional--tell someone trusted and close about your deepest struggle (email me if you'd like: keeliesue@live.com)
Spiritual--Pray and admit your need for help.

Sometimes a simple reminder that there is more to life than eating well and working out can be encouraging. This is how I see it:

I know, I know-- I'm bad at math! But I really did mean to have four 100 percents here. More to come in the following days on picking up the pieces of total wellness!

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." Mark 12:30

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Mark 10:27

January 7, 2014

Asking the Right Questions

NOT: How long is this going to take?
BUT: What have I learned so far?

NOT: Why is the scale so stupid? 
BUT: Why do I put so much emphasis on the scale?

NOT: How much more food can I eat today? 
BUT: What is my body telling me it needs? 

NOT: What are some healthier midnight snacks that I can have?
BUT: Why am I eating midnight snacks?

NOT: Why can't I be perfect?
BUT: Why do I want to be perfect?

NOT: Who is responsible for my being overweight?
BUT: What is my role in being overweight?

NOT: What is working for everyone else?
BUT: What works for me?

NOT: Why am I such a loser?
BUT: What factors caused me to give up in the past?

NOT: How much can I get away with?
BUT: What boundaries are helpful to me?

NOT: Why is it so easy for some people?
BUT: How is God using this difficulty to refine me?

NOT: Why do I have to struggle with this? 
BUT: Who else is struggling that I can encourage and possibly help?

NOT: Why does my family/friend sabotage me?
BUT: Why do I let them?

NOT: Why is exercise so boring and hard!? 
BUT: Am I using this amazing body God made to it's full capacity?

NOT: What are people thinking?
BUT: Why am I so concerned about what people think?

NOT: What if I quit? 
BUT: What if I keep going?

January 3, 2014

Walk On

My life has changed drastically in the past 4 years. 

Physically I lost (forever gone) 30 lbs. I have been, though not currently, in the best shape of my life, completing multiple 5Ks as well as a Half Marathon. I am no longer one to sit and rarely watch TV anymore. I have learned more about nutrition than I even thought possible and continue to learn more. I now know what being healthy "feels" like and crave that feeling when I'm not.

Mentally I learned that I can do hard things, as well as things that aren't fun to me just because sometimes those things need to be done. Sometimes they have to be done. I learned that many deep-seeded lies have directed my thinking for years and by replacing those lies with the truth of God's Word I think about all things in a different way today.

Emotionally I have learned that relationships with other people aren't optional and they are really hard but thats ok. Relationship is something God created to conform me to His Son. Love others. Not "easy others" or "likeable others" or "stable others" or "drama-free others." Just love others. I am able to love for no other reason than the glorious fact God loves me.  Difficult, unlikeable, unstable, drama-filled me. Yes, I learned those things about myself, too. I know that I need to be loved and to accept love when it's given, however it's given, even if its not the way I imagined it should be.

And finally the spiritual aspect of my journey. This whole real fat deal has been completely spiritual. I had no idea what I started when I posted this silly picture in January of 2009:

I just felt "something "(it was the Holy Spirit of Christ) compelling me to be brutally honest. Honest about my thoughts, my feelings, and yes, even my weight. God's Word assured me that it would be okay to be REAL because He loved the real me. And others need to know he loves the real them. 

It seems now that He carried me that year. Completely--I don't remember being discouraged or wanting to quit or even thinking that what I was doing to improve  my health was difficult. Then satan busted in with lies. New lies that I hadn't heard before and had trouble discerning. Was I being too rigid? Was I trying too hard to be obedient? Was I being silly putting all of this out there for the world to see? I began to lose heart.

I took a step back for a couple of years. During that time I have learned lots but the most important is this: No matter what, I have got to walk on. When doubt haunts me, when human voices taunt me, I can't be shaken! I can't retreat or pout or give up. I must Keep Calm and Walk On.

So here we are in 2014. Let's walk, people!

{Oh yes, Proverbs 3 is my "scripture of 2014." Gonna memorize that baby, hopefully with the fam.}