Tag Archives: weight loss devotional

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ What’s Green Got to Do With Weight Loss?

IMAG1878“I Want Her Legs,” the title (by Lysa TerKeurst) read.

I know the green bug of envy. I’ve always envied flat tummies. Even when I was too skinny as a teen, I had a pooch. It’s always bugged me. (Lately I’ve been doing the 9 Moves to a Flatter Stomach, but I digress.)

In the devotion referenced above Lysa said it’s easy to forget about the gifts we’ve been given, to let them fade into pale, anemic comparisons as we look at what other people have that we don’t.

When I was a young mom I met another young mom. Like me, she had a passel of children. Like me she sang at church. Like me she homeschooled. Like me she was active and out-going. Only she sang better than I did. Was skinnier than I was. Got more solo work than I did. Was sexier than I was. Was . . . you get the idea.

There was a temptation to be jealous. For the most part I wasn’t (well, maybe just a tad bit of that flat tummy and perfect singing voice!) But I didn’t allow myself to turn green. Life had taught me that nobody is perfect, and somewhere beneath her size 4 jeans and golden voice she was a normal human being who had struggles just like I did.

The sad end to this story is even though my friend had so much going for her things fell apart in her sweet family, and everyone experienced great pain.

Lysa said that when she is tempted to view someone else’s life through rosy glasses she says, “I am not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad.” She nips the comparison in the bud so it doesn’t grow into full-blown envy. She says, “When I want someone else’s good . . . I’m also asking for the bad . . . it’s always a packaged deal.”

This devotion took me back to the word trust. Do I trust that God created me good? That His design for me, my body, and my life is good?

Do I trust HIM?

When I want what someone else has, I’m telling the Creator, the God of the universe I don’t like the way He does things. (And yes, I’ve actually said exactly that to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.)

When I throw those kinds of fits God is  patient with me, but He often brings conviction. Over time I repent of my bad attitude and tell Him I trust Him–and need Him to help me trust Him more.

Whether it’s someone else’s circumstances or body that looks so good, it’s wise to remember, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30, The New Living Translation Bible)

Lord,
I confess I am prone to envy of other people’s gifts and to lack of appreciation for my own. I confess that I don’t always trust you know best. Sometimes I blame you for the fallen parts of this world and my life, when it is my sin and the sin of humanity that has brought on the ugly stuff. Please forgive me. Help me delight in the good you’ve put into me–whether it’s my talents, my body, or my life experiences. Show me where I can apply myself to help the rough areas get better–like those crunches and leg lifts my pooching tummy needs. And help me to nip envy, distrust, and whining in the bud, choosing praise, joy, and trust instead.

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What’s Green Got to Do With It?

Devotion on Envy and weight loss

PS . . . The first time I read “I Want Her Legs” I thought, I just want MY legs back. I hope it encourages you when I say, “they’re back!” Keep on keepin’ on ’cause with time and determination, you can get stronger, thinner, and healthier. There are no quick fixes, but there is lasting change when we don’t give up.

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Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Success!

Seth

Yep–this is one of my sons, but the pose just seemed to fit the topic: VICTORY! And yes, he’s on a mountain peak!

“You were made for more!”

Great news, huh?

In her Made to Crave Devotional Lysa TerKerrst says we were made for more than stuff like failure, cycles of defeat, being ruled by taste buds, body image, rationalizations, guilt, shame . . .

I’d add my own list. I am made for more than: discouragement, inadequacy, doubt, worry, and fear.

What would you add to the list?

No matter what is on your list or mine, Lysa speaks God’s heart when she says we’re made for VICTORY.

(I heard that in my head like the cheer I used to do as a 6th grader. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! Do you hear the chant as the word is spelled out, whispered, and increasing in volume? Grab the pom-poms and shout it: VICTORY!)

The great thing about the stuff in God’s heart is that He backs it up. In this case victory is our because we get to live in His incomparably great power. The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us through the Holy Spirit.

Father,
Please enlighten the eyes of our hearts so that we have hope as we glimpse the riches you’ve prepared for us. Help us to better grasp what it means to live in the power you’ve provided that gives us victory over all that tempts us, all that pulls us down, all that discourages us. Let that power be revealed in how we live, including our relationship with food. We look to you for strength for this day!

Uh . . . a devotion on victory wasn’t intentionally scheduled for Superbowl Sunday, but sometimes things just work out well. Go BRONCOS!

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Cravings

sunset clouds“I want you to give up the one thing you crave more than me.”

Wow.

Lysa Terkeurst in her Made to Crave Devotional says this is what Jesus is really asking the rich young ruler in the old Bible story. You know the one. The guy comes to Jesus and asks what he needs to do to be saved. Jesus doesn’t withhold punches. He goes for the one thing the guy wants more than a relationship with God.

Do you feel as convicted as I do?

It was money for the rich guy. Not for me. But there are plenty of other things that push out my desire for God and scream for attention.

Lysa writes, “God made us capable of craving so that we’d have an unquenchable desire for more of Him, and Him alone. Nothing changes until we make the choice to redirect our misguided cravings to the only one capable of satisfying them.”

Ouch.

Gotta stop there and pray: “Jesus, I want You most of all. Please open my eyes to the places I have misguided cravings. Please use those epiphanies to call me to Yourself. Help me to look to YOU, not to whatever it is I think I want, whether it’s that brownie, those french fries, or a whole myriad of other stuff not related to food.”

Pausing to pray that prayer for you, too.

So I’m asking . . . what are misguided cravings in your life?

I’ll keep it real here by sharing mine:

-book contracts
-financial security
-my kids’ happiness
-a flat tummy
-chocolate covered raisins
-new clothes
-cheese dip
-Starbucks
-my own car that I don’t have to share and that purrs like a kitten
-relationships

I don’t think anything on the list above is a problem if kept in perspective, but when I want a book contract so much I can’t be happy without it, and when it consumes my thoughts instead of Jesus, it’s a misguided craving.

Or when I reach for food when I’m stressed or sad instead of turning to God–misguided again.

When I long so much to be done with financial stress or get so angry about driving a car without a working heater (welcome to my winter) that I’m angry at God, I’m saying security, comfort, ease of life is more important to me than my relationship with Him.

Or what about relationships? I pray often that those important in my life will stay in proper positions. As much as I love my kids and my husband and even my friends, when I look to them for what only Jesus can give, that’s a misguided craving. (And puts too much pressure on the relationship, swinging it out of balance.)

Ouch. Pausing right now to talk with Him about all that.

Again.

How about you? Got any business you need to do with God?

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Guest post

I was impacted by this power post by Amy at Loving the Least of These. I bet you’ll relate too!

Breaking Free

Somebody once said that loving other people well starts with loving ourselves.  I’m pretty sure most of my life has been spent trying to love others while hating myself, if I’m being honest. Much of that self hatred has revealed itself through my abuse of food – on both ends of the spectrum.  My sophomore year of high school I started starving myself.  I was friends with a girl who was starving herself and made it a point not to ever eat more than her.

Then in college I started putting on weight until I was healthy by the time of my wedding.

But by a few years into my marriage I started putting on pounds.

And I have qualified as obese for the past ten years.
Imagine my embarrassment walking through Ethiopia for the past three years incredibly overweight as I held the hands and hugged the necks of people who were literally starving.  I felt like a fraud.

The embarrassment of putting on the weight in the first place has been a source of really deep shame for me. I have felt like people must look at me and wonder how I could let myself get so out of control. It has caused me to not even be able to really look people in the eye because I’m just so ashamed of who I am.

I’ll never forget being in Ethiopia with my sweet, petite friend, Abbey, and having a random stranger come up to us on the street and ask me why I was so big while she was so small.  He asked me if I ate different food than her even though we lived in the same country.  I laughed it off, while wanting to absolutely die on the inside.  He hit a nerve because he asked me the question I had been so afraid to ask myself – why?  I haven’t wanted to think about the deeper things that have made me get so out of control.  I haven’t wanted to admit that food is where I go for comfort. It’s where I go to hide.  I haven’t wanted to admit that I have thrived on the instant gratification that comes from eating whatever whenever.  I haven’t wanted to admit that on my best day, I am a complete glutton, covering up my pain and insecurity with food.

My issues with my weight and with food have robbed me.  I live in a beautiful state where the mountains beckon for a hike or a bike ride, but I don’t go because I become exhausted too quickly from being out of shape and overweight.  My kids want to go to the park or do something active outside but I make up a lame excuse because what mom wants to say to their kid “Mommy’s too fat to play outside with you”?

But most notably, as my body has gotten bigger, who I am on the inside has shrunk – I have allowed myself to disappear in many ways. It has been brutal mentally to be smothered by my weight.  I battle thoughts daily of “Well, I couldn’t possibly do that – look at me.”  The gifts that God has given me have been squelched because the beast of being overweight has completely overwhelmed me.  I feel like I will catch glimpses sometimes of the person God has created me to be on the inside and I think “just maybe I can actually BE that person”, but it’s never long before doubt and insecurity take over any glimmer of hope.  I literally hide behind people in pictures – doing my best to only let my face show.  My smile really is just masking my insecurity.

If someone tags me in a picture on FaceBook that shows more than just my face, I delete it.  I don’t want to be seen.  It’s just so heart-breaking.

I have been on so many diets only to watch any pound lost come back.  Failure after failure after failure.  It has been a very long battle that I have not won.  The sense of failure and despair every time has honestly been too much to bear, and has caused me to settle into the mentality that this is just how it is for me – I’ll always be bound by this.

This past year or so has been a process of internal transformation and realization for me about the good and beauty that exists in me.  I was brought to the lowest place of my life so that God could help me realize who I really am as His beloved, and that He longs for me to dream again and fully embrace who He’s created me to be.  I have spent hours and hours in counseling and have done the brutal, beautiful work of unpacking lies I’ve believed about myself and ultimately, discovering that I have had a bogus view of God all my life, which has made me feel so much less than.  There is some sort of stark raving mad idea being spread around that we should live our lives with our heads hanging all the time because of how bad we are and how much we fail.  And so we stay small and ashamed instead of living in the reality that “God is a wild man who is knocked out by who we are”.  As I started to realize what this means for my life, things started changing inside of me and I began to hope.  As I have gotten “healthy” emotionally and spiritually, I have begun to realize that Maryann Williamson was oh so very right when she said:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is
that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our
darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be
brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not
to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the
world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people
won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the
glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in
all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give
other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our
own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I think I’ve used my weight issues as an excuse to keep myself “small” on the inside and to hide from the responsibility I have to live out who I am to the fullest.  I haven’t feared my weight issues – I’ve embraced them far too fast and too easily accepted them as just part of my life.  But what I have feared is the power and the beauty of who God has created me to be.  I have been unable to embrace that and have hidden myself away in excess pounds so that I wouldn’t have to be courageous enough to be myself.  Who I was on the outside was a reflection of the sickness inside of me.  It wasn’t until I took this past year to look inward and figure out just what it was I trying to hide from that I finally found some peace. Nobody likes to take the time to deal with the muck inside of us, but it’s so very necessary; otherwise, we just stay sick.  Being on a journey of loving, valuing and embracing who I am caused me immediate discomfort with my food struggle.

In September, I decided I was done being a prisoner to food.  Physical health was the next logical step on my path to living free.  And it was terrifying, people!  But the possibility that I could be free, caused me to take a step of faith and just beg God to help me do it this time.  I was tired of shrinking back and saying no to life.  Inwardly, I was new, and it was time to reflect that outwardly by the grace of God and a whole lot of belief that I was indeed worth it.

Four and a half months ago, when I decided I was going to try to break free from this food addiction, I only told a hand full of people because I was scared to death this would just be “one more thing” I tried and failed miserably at.  At age 38, I weighed 215 pounds and was wearing a size 18W. (How’s that for vulnerability?!)  I had 80 pounds to lose to get to a healthy weight. 80 POUNDS. It might as well have been 500, it seemed so out of reach.  It’s practically a whole person!

Before I go on, please hear me – it does not matter one iota what you look like or how much or little you weigh.  What matters is that you are free and fully alive.  I am sure that somewhere out there are women who are 215 pounds and free as a bird.  Good for them!!  That is not my story.  For me, my abuse of food has taken away my joy and fullness of life.  For you, it might be something else.  The important thing here is that we break free from whatever prison we might find ourselves in.  I have said for years and years that this is just how my life is and that I don’t have any power to change it.  I call bulls***.  That’s a helpless, victim mentality that is ultimately rooted in fear.  It was with a whole lot of fear of failure, a whole lot of prayer and a whole lot of encouragement that I started my journey to health and wholeness.

In the past four and a half months I have lost over half the weight I need to lose and have gone down 4 sizes.  You guys.  I just wish I could convey the power of it all.  Food has lost its hold on me. God’s grace has been absolutely overwhelming to me on this journey.  I am humbled and in awe.  But most importantly, I am free.  Even though I have more weight to lose to be healthy according to my doctor, if I never lost another pound I’d still feel free.  It’s not about a number on the scale – my quality of life is better, my energy is better, and I find myself dreaming again about my life.  It’s such a gift.

You might be expecting an “after” picture, given all the “before” shots above.  But the point of this post isn’t for you to look at my body and tell me what a great job I’ve done.  I have debated even publishing this post because I haven’t wanted people to get the idea that I’m looking for accolades – I’m not.  I am very aware that people’s struggle with food is a very sensitive one (on either end of the spectrum), and I pray that nothing has been said here that rubs salt in any wound. I’m simply hoping that something about my journey might touch some of you in some way to aspire for freedom, whatever that looks like for you.

It would have been easier and far less embarrassing for me not to address this issue at all here on my blog.  But, I believe in the power of sharing our stories.  I believe in vulnerability and letting people into our struggle.  I share it because my friend shared her struggle and then her victory with me – she made me hope and then take action for myself.  I share it because Maryann is right when she says “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  I share it with you because I have always been that person who watches other people lose weight and get healthy – it has never been for me. But here’s the deal – freedom IS for me.  It’s for all of us.  It doesn’t matter if it’s weight issues, crushing anxiety, relational problems, guilt, shame or feelings that you’re not enough – you CAN be free.  You are worth getting free.  Your loved ones deserve you finding freedom.  You are not an observer of your own life – you get to choose how to respond to circumstances, problems and addictions.  You are worthy of health and freedom. And there’s a God who believes that about you too.  And He WILL help you.

Psalm 10:17 says “You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you
encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”

So, be bold and brave, friends.  This life is too short to stay small and imprisoned.  You have so much to offer the world.  When we let our light shine, we do, indeed give others the permission to do the same.  So, shine!  And may your own freedom inspire the freedom of others.

love,
the free me

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ WANTING Change

san diego 6Do you know, way down deep, that you are loved?

Take it a step further:

Do you know, way down deep, that you are loved JUST AS YOU ARE?

Entering the weight loss journey is better if you start from a foundation of love. (So is life!) We change not to seek love, but because we ARE loved, and we are worthy of a BETTER situation.

So have you thought about this?

God loves us JUST AS WE ARE, and He loves us too much to LEAVE US just as we are.

Whether in physical/weight issues or inner emotional/spiritual junk the God of Love wants to see us progressing toward freedom, joy, health, and strength.

One thing that gets in the way of my weight loss/health goals is indulgence. Indulgence isn’t the occasional planned treat. Indulgence is eating without restraint, especially repeatedly. It is ignoring the need to be mindful of how we treat our bodies.

Here are reasons I indulge:
-Because I want to, plain and simple. That looks good, I want it, I have no restraint.
-Because I feel sad or empty and try to fill with something besides God
-Because I’m tired of being “good.”
-Because I’m feeling deprived somewhere else in life
-Because I’m angry
-Because I feel rebellious
-Because I’m feeling stuck creatively
-Because a treat is available that usually isn’t
-Because I act mindlessly, focused elsewhere with too much food in front of me
-Because I’m stressed out
-Because I feel hopeless

Why do you indulge?

That definition–to act in an unrestrained way– came from the Made to Crave Devotional. It really convicted me. Nowhere else in life do I think it is okay to be unrestrained, mindless, or indulgent. Why have I felt it was justified when it comes to food?

The author, Lysa TerKuerst, said, “We have to see the purpose of our struggle with food as something more than getting to wear smaller sizes and receive compliments. Shallow desires produce shallow efforts . . . The process . . . has to be about more . . . It’s about recalibrating our souls so we want to change for the right reasons.”

And so I ask myself why I want to change, and my answers are shallow AND deep. Here’s a list I made when I was about halfway to my goal:
-I want to wear a smaller size
-I want to have more stamina to do the tasks before me
-I want to walk without being winded
-I want to get out of a chair without it being hard
-I want to be healthier
-I want to be stronger
-I want to reduce risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes
-I want to honor the memory of my friend, Phyllis, who died of cancer. She admonished me to lose weight as the cancer she had was statistically higher in women who were overweight. She wanted better for me.
-I want to give God the throne of my life, even in my body
-I want honor God by caring for His dwelling place
-I want to be the size God intended when He created me
-I want to be closer to Him, to turn to Him when I long and crave
-I want to live in greater joy, not because I’m skinnier, but because my body is being treated as it was meant to be treated and because there is joy in moving and connecting with God in my body, not just my mind and spirit and heart
-I want to bring greater joy to my husband. I had no idea how much I had deprived him of until I started losing weight, and he was so happy.
-I want to have energy for my children

Why do you want change?

Knowing the why helps us have the strength when we are tempted to indulge. Maybe you could make your own why list and post it where you’ll see it. You might also want to journal about what triggers you to indulge to help you become more aware as you endeavor to make healthy choices.

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Knowing the WHY helps us overcome.

Spirit~Seeker Sunday ~ Listening

IMAG2744

May Your Spirit roll over me.

A man was asked how he lost 75 pounds. He said it was simple but not easy. He “made the better choice.” A walk vs. two cups of coffee with his newspaper. Grilled chicken instead of barbecue ribs.

The better choice, over and over.*

This concept mirrored what I’ve said this last year: Every good choice is a step back on the path to success.**

Here’s where we keep it real, folks. Over the holidays my weight slowly crept up. A pound here and there. At first it was no big deal, but then it was 4 pounds instead of two.

But worse than the slight increase on the scale was the fact that bad choices that came easier and easier. Skip the fresh fruits and veggies. Just one piece of fudge. No, make that two. Another heaping? Just this once.

If it had been a few days of indulgence I would have been okay with that. I believe in times of celebration. It isn’t what you do 10% of the time that is a problem, it’s the 90% that counts.

I didn’t tank for the whole 6 weeks Thanksgiving to New Years. I’d hop back into my healthy lifestyle for a few days, but then . . . well, my son-in-law makes amazing peanut butter fudge . . .

Yesterday I gave God permission to convict me. I had a great day at first. Healthy foods. Just the right amounts. Then four o’clock hit. I’d saved a piece of banana bread for a snack with no calorie herb tea.

The first slice was planned for. The second wasn’t. (And yes I knew I shouldn’t.)

I’m under a writing deadline so we splurged on pizza for supper.  I’d planned for that (except for the banana bread splurge). But I had one slice too many, even as I heard my Father’s Voice suggesting I’d had enough.

This morning I wanted to pretend that the Lord didn’t really care about my bad choices. If I admitted He was involved, then I had to admit I’d blown him off.

Then He whispered sweetly, “How is this any different than any other way you blow it? What have I taught you?”

That forgiveness is full and complete. That wallowing in condemnation and shame makes me mess up again sooner. That it’s best to own up, apologize, and get back to living in victory.

So God and I had a talk. I gave him permission to intervene again (though letting Him in on this living healthy thing really ups the stakes).

My hesitation to invite him into my daily health choices goes back how I perceive Him. Do I trust His heart toward me to be good, or do I think He wants to deprive me? Do I believe He allows moments of feasting or think I have to walk a tightrope of perfection, never deviating from a prescribed plan?

Weight loss is like anything else in the Christian walk. It’s not about the rules, it’s about the relationship. It’s about listening to the Spirit’s whisper and responding.

It’s about believing what He has for me is good.

This morning I really wanted all of that heavy granola and blueberry pancake topped with pecans that my husband made, despite the fact that he apologized for making it bigger than he meant to and suggested I might want to put part of it away for tomorrow. I didn’t like his comment, but I’m glad he said it because part of that yummy pancake is in the refrigerator waiting to bless me tomorrow.

It’s back to real life after the holidays. Reasonable calorie counts. Healthier food. Listening to the Voice.

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Listening: Weight Loss Devotional

* This story was in a weight loss devotional entitled Faithfully Fit.

**This concept from another devotional, Made to Crave.

Spirit-Seeker Sunday ~ Walking it Out

spirit 4 stephen

photo by Stephen Moldenhauer

“Spiritually I feel much more weighed down by stress and problems when I’m not taking care of my body. Physically, I have less energy to serve God and more emotions to wade through when processing life.”

The above statement alone is one of the most profound discoveries of my weight loss journey. I didn’t write those words, Lysa TerKeurst did. But I so relate.

For years I prayed for joy, for the ability to overcome discouragement, for hope. I don’t see myself as having completely arrived in these areas, but I’ve found a powerful tool in discovering joy, combating discouragement, grabbing hold of hope.

It’s called taking a walk.

Eventually I usually end up talking with God, but even when it’s not a focused conversation my spirit rises up within me in worship just being outside, hearing the birds, feeling the fresh air.

There’s something about looking up into a huge tree or seeing the mountains in the distance, or gazing at the clouds or the flowers that puts me in my place, reminds me there is something bigger than I am, and HE is Good.

I grew up in church where we were often told to take care of our body because it was the temple of God. Unfortunately most of what was taught–or at least of what I heard–was the old southern “don’t smoke, drink, or chew or go with boys who do.” Once in a while I caught that I should think about what kinds of food I put into it, but I totally missed the idea of caring for my body as God’s temple by taking good care of it in the area of exercise.

I loved when Lysa wrote: “I want to . . . dedicate my exercise as a gift to Him and a gift to myself.”

Let’s join Lysa in the prayer: “Help me see the ability to exercise as a gift. I dedicate my temple to You and commit to start rebuilding it today.”

How about you? What do you do to add movement into your day? What exercise do you enjoy? Do you ever exercise just because it’s good for you even if it is not something you enjoy? If you keep doing it do you start enjoying it?

And what about schedule. How do you fit it into your busy days? If you don’t, could you add in once a week, then twice?