Nutrition

Removing the Junk

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I have a feeling my husband might be a little upset with me today. Well, let me begin at the beginning.

I have spent the last year or so on a very slow and arduous journey. It has taken me to the highest mountain and to the lowest valley. I have felt the exhilaration of success and the sting of defeat.

Most of you know I am not an athlete, so you probably are wondering what in the world I am talking about?

It’s called Weight Loss.

Ugh.

Can anyone relate? My journey is so slow that when I went to the doctor in April, I had lost only 18 pounds in one year. But, as I figure it, that is 18 pounds less than I weighed a year ago. That is 18 less pounds that do not need to be carried by my bad knees. 18 less pounds of fat surrounding and impeding my internal organs. 18 less pounds. I consider that somewhat of a success. At least for someone who can’t run anymore.

I do have lots to share about the past year. If you are discouraged in your weight loss journey by physical limitations or simply hopelessness, please contact me privately. I am not ready to share anything publicly yet, as I have such a long way to go.

But, on to why my husband may be upset with me…

So my doctor’s visit in April was a wonderful success and then I let my guard down. Everything was crazy busy with the wedding, I was doing great, and…

I got lazy.

This morning I stepped on the scales with great trepidation. And, rightly so. I had gained several of those pounds back.

I thought over the last few weeks and realized that there was a good reason I was seeing that number on the scales. I had completely left my guard down and had brought junk food back into my home. It’s also ice cream season and I have a hard time resisting ice cream. I had grown apathetic and had not exercised as regularly as I should.

The funny thing is that all of this bad stewardship of my body wasn’t making me feel better in any way. Nope. All that extra sugar and fat was making me feel lethargic and gross.

As I was thinking about that this morning, I decided that today is a new day! I am going to feed my body well. But I was also fully aware that as I progress through the day, this bright morning resolution was likely to dim considerably as the ice cream would start calling my name from the depths of the freezer.

Something drastic had to be done.

And so I gathered the container of Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream that I can’t resist and the half-eaten bags of Dieffenbach’s chips and threw them away.

You see, I know what I can and cannot resist and those two things were making it difficult for me to continue on my path  to health and wellness. Enough is enough and they had to be removed. Now, my husband does not like when I throw away food. Do you think it is okay if, in this one instance, I went ahead and did it, anyway? I think so, since I am pretty sure me being healthy is more important than a few dollars wasted.

The ridiculous thing is that when I bought these items at the grocery store, I knew full well that they would be difficult for me to eat in moderation. And so a wise person wouldn’t have purchased them in the first place. But I had this insatiable desire for sugar and salt and decided to completely ignore the voice in my head that told me to walk by them in the store.

Our spiritual lives are so similar, aren’t they? We know full well what sins we can or cannot resist. And yet we flirt with them, thinking somehow that we won’t reap the sorry consequences of our choices. But a spiritual diet of all junk food is just as devastating to our spiritual health. For we always reap the consequences of our actions. I can’t eat a regular diet of junk food without reaping the consequences of extra weight. It’s the same in the spiritual realm.

And so we need to carefully think about what we are allowing in our lives and discard anything that is keeping us from being the healthiest we can be spiritually.

And, just like eating a good, balanced diet helps me to feel so much better and be my most healthiest self, so feeding ourselves biblical truth through Bible study, solid preaching, and books that help us understand scripture correctly helps us to be our healthiest spiritual self.

And so let’s think about our lives. What do we need to discard today? What is keeping us from growing like we could be? Perhaps it’s a favorite tv show or an addiction to movies (get rid of cable)? Or an insatiable desire to buy stuff (cut up your credit cards)? We all struggle with different things. But we all struggle. Let’s be fully conscious of the things that are keeping us from being the healthiest we can be–in all areas of our lives!

Who Do You Look Like?

When my son was just a little boy, he used to play little league baseball. One day, as I was chatting on the sidelines with one of the moms, she said something like this, “Oh, I know who you look like! I have been trying to think of who you look like and now I have figured it out!” I looked at her, very curious to hear who she thought I resembled. Her next words could have knocked me over with a feather.

“You look just like Cindy Crawford!”

What?? That is the first (and last!) time that anyone has ever compared me to a beautiful model.  But I certainly felt honored. I knew this was a situation where she had no need to flatter or impress me, so I knew she had said it sincerely.

As I remembered this incident the other day, I thought about how my heart’s desire shouldn’t be for people to tell me I look like Cindy Crawford (or any other well-known, gorgeous woman) but, instead, to tell me that I look like Jesus.

Now, while I will never resemble Jesus physically, as he is a man from the middle east, I can resemble him by my actions. As we grow in Christ, we should grow more and more like Him.

Stop and take a minute to think about your life. I know for my own life, there are many areas in which I haven’t resembled Jesus at all.

Here are a few areas for us to think about —

1. Do I look like Jesus in how I love others? Look, anyone can feed orphans or go on a mission trip. I am not talking about the socially acceptable “love for others”, I am talking about the love for others we show in our everyday world.  The reactions and choices we make around our families and in our daily living. When a spouse needs some help and we are lying comfortably on the sofa, do we get up? When there is an interruption to a favorite TV show, do we grow quickly frustrated? When we are in a long line at the store, do we give the clerk an angry look or shower her with frustrated words? If someone criticizes you, do you grow defensive or hold a grudge? All of these are just normal, everyday occurrences, where we have the opportunity to look like Jesus…or not.

2. Do I look like Jesus in what I choose to do with my time? This question covers a lot of ground, doesn’t it? Would Jesus spend so much time on _________? (you fill in the blank with your favorite, time-consuming hobby or pastime). Would Jesus spend so many hours doing this, if there is no eternal value? Of course, there is nothing wrong with hobbies, but we do need to keep it all balanced. It also covers this question: do I spend my precious hours on entertainment that will make others think of Jesus? Or do I waste hours and hours on movies, video games, and listening to music that is against everything my precious Savior stands for?

3. Do I look like Jesus in the area of self-disicpline? This is a challenging question that encompasses two big areas: money and food. I covered the question of food in my recent post entitled The Sin No One Wants to Talk About, so I will move on to the other area– money. This is a challenging one. Money is one of those things where we can hide our true state of affairs. In this age of credit and debt, no one really knows how anyone is doing financially until they completely crash and burn. But, whether we make a little or a lot, we need to ask ourselves if we look like Jesus in how we spend our money. Are we focused on the here and now or are we focused on the eternal? Jesus was very clearly focused on the eternal, which is clear in scripture. So, in order to grow more like Christ, my priorities should be the same.

4. Do I look like Jesus in the words I speak? Words are so powerful. They can cut to the core. I have always thought that the old adage “sticks and stones can hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me,” to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Word do hurt– dreadfully. Whether we are talking about someone else behind his back (otherwise known as gossip) or are short-tempered and unkind to someone’s face, words are one of the quickest ways to tell if we resemble Jesus.

 

I don’t know about you, but I see much room for growth in many areas of my own life. In fact, I feel like the older I get, the more work I see ahead of me. But when I look back, I also see that I have come so far. And so, I will keep on going. I know I may not look like Cindy Crawford anymore — it is my guess that, to most people, I never did in the first place — but oh, how I hope I resemble Jesus more and more as I grow older.

I Peter 2:5-11

 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The sin no one wants to talk about

I have been so convicted lately of something in my life that isn’t quite right. Oh, it’s not out of control, but it’s not quite right. I know in my heart that I haven’t surrendered this area of my life to my Lord and Savior. It’s one of those things that none of us want to admit.

The area I am talking about is food. And lest you say, “Oh, I don’t have a weight issue,” might I remind you that this has nothing to do with weight, but instead about your relationship with food? I have seen skinny women who eat like a pig. I have seen healthy women that the world would call overweight. I have seen women who look like a stick obsess over every bite they put in their mouth. I have seen overweight women who fill their bodies with fat, sugar, and carbs, leaving little room for anything healthy…and I have seen extremely thin women who do the same thing.

And, lest I forget, this is not just about women. Men have issues with food, too.  For some of us, this sin is so obvious in the extra weight we carry around. Or perhaps it’s obvious in our unhealthy thinness.  But, then again, let’s remember that God made every body differently, and so this isn’t about judging anyone else, because it is a very private and personal area of our lives so that only we can know personally if this is an issue for us. And that means as you read this, you can only think about yourself. What is your relationship with food?

For many of us food is our comfort, strength, and go-to remedy. But for some of us our ability to control what we eat becomes our source of security and stability in our lives. And then there are those of us who simply love to eat and so we do, giving no thought to the consequences of our big appetites.

Gluttony. When’s the last time you heard that word? Or how about the word “idol” in regards to our relationship with food? So many of us Christians have an unhealthy relationship with food, that we dare not talk about this subject too much.

It’s so easy to talk about things like anger and gossip and slander. It’s easy to preach about stealing and lying and cheating. But self-control in regards to our food? Boy, that hits right at the heart of most of us “good” Christians, doesn’t it?

And maybe I am alone here. But I realized, yet again, that I am to surrender EVERY area of my life to Jesus. I can’t pick and choose. I can’t tell Him that I don’t cheat or lie or steal, so I will eat how much of whatever I want, thank you very much. It just doesn’t work like that. If you are saved, then you are no longer yours, but have dedicated to live your life for Christ and Christ alone. This encompasses everything.

Another thing I have realized as I am working my way through this is that there are no bad foods. Okay, let me take that back– highly processed and chemically generated foods probably classify as bad foods. But it is not wrong to eat dessert or to have fries or a doughnut. In the Bible days, and even in many poor countries yet today, bread is the staple.  Carbs are not evil. God has given us good things, and we should enjoy them.

My problem is I want to enjoy them too much. There is always a special event or a birthday or a bad day or a great day–anything I can do to rationalize an extra snack. It’s about moderation.

And, while there aren’t necessarily bad foods, there are definitely good foods. There are many benefits from eating our fruits and veggies and even most meats.

But this isn’t a blogpost about nutrition. This is about our relationship with food. And, once again, there are women (of which I am not one) whose relationship with food becomes an obsession. They are so concerned about not gaining weight or with how they look, that self and the control not to eat becomes the idol. It goes so far beyond weight or the perception of others. This is a heart issue.

Personally, I find myself looking very forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb mentioned in Revelation 19, where I will be able to eat to my heart’s content, without any concern for the food’s nutrition (I guess it will be nutritionally perfect, anyway?) or the damage it will do to my hips! But, until then, I have a responsibility to have a healthy and balanced relationship with the food I eat. It is a never-ending battle that rages within me, but I cannot quit…and neither can you.

I Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

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