Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Diary of a Weight Loss Journey: Allowing God to be a part of your story



   I've been reading an Oswald Chambers devotion, "My Utmost for his Highest", and I've loved it.  Yesterday's devotion really spoke to my heart, and rang about something that's been on my heart and mind so much lately, so I really needed to share it on here!


"Where there is no revelation (Or prophetic vision) the people cast off restraint...." Proverbs 29:18


   There is a difference between holding o to a principle and having a vision.  A principle does not come from moral inspiration, but a vision does.  people who are totally consumed with idealistic principles rarely do anything.  A person's own idea of God and His attributes may actually be used to justify and rationalize his deliberate neglect of his duty.  Jonah tried to excuse his disobedience by saying to God, "... I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm" (Jonah 4:2).  I too may have the right idea of God and His attributes, but that may be the very reason why I do not do my duty.  But wherever there is vision, there is also a life of honesty and integrity, because the vision gives me the moral incentive.
   Our own idealistic principles may actually lull us into ruin.  Examine yourself spiritually to see if you have vision, or only principles.
      
     Ah, but a mans' reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?
    
    "Where there is no revelation (or prophetic vision..." Once we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless.  We cast off certain restraints from activities we know are wrong.  We set prayer aside as well and cease having God's vision in the little things of life.  We simply begin to act on our own initiative.  IF we are eating only out of our own hand, and doing things solely on our own initiative without expecting God to come in, we are on a downward path.  We have lost the vision.  Is our attitude today an attitude that flows from our vision of God?  Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done before?  IS there a freshness and a vitality in our spiritual outlook?

    Here's the thing about life.  It's really difficult sometimes to allow God to have his proper place in it.  Even with this weight loss journey sometimes I struggle letting God have any part in it.  Obviously I'm not the only one who struggles with that.  From the very beginning Adam and Eve struggled with putting God in his place.  It was they who first put God away and took things into their own hands, and we've struggled with that ever since.
   I really want this weight loss journey to be really different.  I've bounced back and forth on weight loss in the past four years, and I've really struggled.  I've dropped weight and gained it back.  I've worked out faithfully then fallen off the wagon...  but I really think this time is different.  Mostly because what I'm doing now is working!  I'm at the lowest weight that I've been in four years now, and that feels so good!  I've certainly not arrived, but so much has changed since I started this journey.  I'm faithful to getting up earlier now and doing my daily devotions.  I'm determined to start my classes back this summer and I've really enjoyed leading our Bible study at church now.  I've certainly not arrived, but I've prioritized self-care, as well as taking time out for God.  But I still struggle, with everything, to put Him in his proper place.  
    Sometimes when ministry is your job, it's hard to fall into looking at ministry as your 'job', not a calling.  I think we all struggle with that honestly though.  We try to take things into our own hands, focus on 'doing' instead of growing spiritually.  We can take all the time focusing on the programs within the church and the mechanics of running a church and stop focusing on the growth of the people.  It's easy to stop thinking about giving yourself into the call of ministry to think about buying a house or a new car or the way that we are financially trying to grow and 'settle'.  In honesty, ministry isn't the kind of calling that one normally 'settles' in.  God can call you whenever, wherever, and you have to be prepared for that.  So its so important that you put him front and center and all other things on the back burner.  
   I have struggled with the same thing with this journey. I've put God in the corner and tried to let this be 'my time'.  I wanted to do it my way.  The first couple of weeks I too my workout time as a way to pour a lot of things into my life and my heart that were not Godly thing, for the sake of having a good workout.  Then that part of the devotion really stood out to me...

   "Once we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless.  We cast off certain restraints from activities we know are wrong.  We set prayer aside as well and cease having God's vision in the little things of life.  We simply begin to act on our own initiative.  IF we are eating only out of our own hand, and doing things solely on our own initiative without expecting God to come in, we are on a downward path.  We have lost the vision."

  I could not, for the life of me understand why I felt so 'bad' spiritually after feeling so good physically?  How did a good workout leave me feeling guilty and unsuccessful?  It  didn't take me long to realize it was because I was not giving God his proper place in my workout plan.  Instead of relying on Him to pull me through, I was relying on lyrics from Aerosmith that was clearly something not only that didn't speak of Godly things, but also took me back in my mind and heart to a time when I was completely the opposite of who I am today- which is always a negative thing to do.  I was relying on Greys Anatomy to entertain me, when that has always been a show again that not only gratifies ungodly things, but takes my heart back to a time when I followed hard in the opposite direction of my Saviour, and reminds me of the person that I was back then.  Negative emotions filled up like rain in puddles, and I became discontent and confused.
   One morning I decided to put God back in his proper place on the throne in my life.  I allowed my morning time with him to take priority, and I just told myself- again and again- that I was not going to push him aside in this journey any longer.  Whatever it took, I was going to allow him to be in the center of this journey, so that at the end He was the victor over me, and it was by His strength that I pulled through and reached all of my goals.
   That day, I listened to a praise and worship workout mix on amazon music...  and it was fantastic!  I never thought I could make it through a workout like that without dying of boredom, but I was surprised at how easy it was, and how encouraging!  I felt myself singing praises and lifting my hand, as he pushed me along, and it was incredible!!!  I honestly never thought it was possible, because honestly before I had looked at my workout time as the only time of day that I actually watched anything on Netflix...  but I got through it, and it was great!
   I also have discovered and started a free trial of PureFlix, and it's really great!  I find that once you clear your mind and heart of the sort of sinful nature that we find entertaining, you become entertained by a more clean version of entertainment- and its truly a wonderful thing!  I'm excited about some of the things that I have found, and now I am more open to some of the 'clean' shows that I've seen advertised to be available on Netflix.
   So although it may be hard to change your heart, to push out the bad and absorb the good- its so worth it.  In the end of this journey, when I've reached my goal successfully, I can say truly, honestly, that God pushed me all the way through!  Perhaps my workout was not as effective when I was droning out to television shows?  Perhaps God is pushing me past what I thought I was physically capable of?  Either way, I'm looking forward to see what God can do, excited about the strength he has allowed me to find in myself, and thankful..  OH so very thankful for this chapter of my life.  It's absolutely one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I believe I'll grow from it more than anything I've ever been through.
   God is good.