Let Us Throw Off EVERYTHING That Hinders

1
Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy
Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20
you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Philippians 3:18-19

18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even
with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their
stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

In July of this year I had dinner with a friend.  I hadn’t seen her in probably a year or so
and she looked FANTASTIC.  She had really
gotten into Zumba and had lost a lot of weight.
Her confidence was soaring and she looked amazing.  Seeing her immediately sparked something in
me.  I knew that ‘feeling’ and I wanted
to experience that ‘feeling’.

In September of 2008, after having Trinity in November of
2007, I went on a yearlong weight loss challenge to lose ALL of the baby weight
and to get healthy.  I committed this
goal to God and began eating better (in moderation) and running.  Within 8 months I had lost ALL of the baby
weight plus an additional ten pounds.

I have kept the weight off but loosened up a lot after
reaching my goal.  A lot of the tools of
my weight loss challenge stuck with me so I’d say I did make a life style
change all together.

In March 2011 I began suffering from anxiety and
depression.  One of the many side effects
of this disease is loss of appetite (or at least for me).  I would literally be sick almost all day long
and the thought of food made me want to puke.
I’m pretty sure I lived on saltine crackers for four months.  Sometimes in the late evening I would get my
appetite and binge on every carb in site – just to wake up and repeat the
process again the next day.

During those four months I lost about 15-20 pounds in a very
unhealthy way.  I felt weak, I looked
fragile, and I did not feel good about myself at all.

In July of this year the depression subsided.  I went to lunch with my friend (as I stated
earlier) and seeing her sparked something in me.  After our dinner I shared how awesome my
friend looked with my husband, Tony, and told him I want that!  I’m ready to do this! So we started a
journey.

I remember the first time we went for a jog at the
park.  I was TERRIFIED! Put yourself in
the shoes of a depressed person – you’re paralyzed in fear ALL THE TIME.  To go to the park and jog was so scary.  I kept hearing thoughts in my head “You’re
going to die”, “You’re getting too far away from the car”, “You can’t breathe…
you’re going to die”, “You’re not going to stick with this.” – The enemy set
out on a whole new approach to his attack on me.  I remember running and arguing with the
thoughts and shouting out to God “Shut him up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! …. Lord, I
commit this to you and if I die while I’m jogging… at least I’ll die while I
was doing something pleasing to you.”
The voice shut up and I ran.

The first few weeks were pretty hard.  Not so much that I was out of shape or
hurting but the thoughts in my head were so overwhelming.  One day I was jogging with Tony, listening to
my MP3 player and a snap shot of a document I read about depression popped in
my head.  During my journey with
depression I had researched and read all about depression/ anxiety and continuously
listed would be something to the effect of “Change your diet and exercise”.  I pulled my earphones out of my ears and
turned to Tony and said “Do you know how hard it is to get up and MOVE when you’re
depressed or trembling in fear from anxiety? … It’s not that you can’t
physically do it but you just CAN’T … your brain won’t let you.  You are literally paralyzed but now that I am
out here running and have been for a couple of weeks, that overwhelming voice
of the enemy is slowly being silenced.
When I leave from our jog I feel good.
I feel empowered.  I realize that
I am leaning on God for every step that I take and He (God) gets me through
it.  We accomplish it together and I feel
great.  If the enemy can get us in a
state of believing his lies we will become paralyzed with fear, depression,
anxiety, whatever he throws at us and we take on … and we shut down mentally,
physically, spiritually, emotionally.
When you read about depression exercise and diet change are ALWAYS
listed as a way to help you feel better and I see why! Changing your diet and
getting exercise breaks bondage.”

You might read this and say “Duh!” but it was quite a breakthrough
for me.

The next day Tony had a breakthrough moment.  He had this total revelation about how the enemy
uses food as bondage.  EVERYTHING revolves
around food.  Fellowship, parties,
holidays, etc.  Pretty much every social
gathering involves food.  Food makes us
happy!  Having a bad day at work?  “Ugh… I need carbs! Mashed potatoes,
meatloaf, rolls, corn, and a double fudge chocolate brownie or two… or three!”  It’s a cold, rainy day – “Mmmmm…. I need
something warm and filling! Lasagna or a creamy soup and bread, lots of it!”  Ever notice that whenever you’re trying to
take control of your diet and exercise life it seems like people are offering
to take you to dinner (their treat) or people at the office are all of a sudden
bringing in your favorite pastries from Panera Bread or surprising you with an
Iced Mocha Frappuccino with extra whipped cream and extra chocolate drizzle?!?!  This never fails!

So what point am I trying to make here?  We are weak.
We have no self-control.  This is
very true about us and our own strength … BUT GOD… We can do ALL things through
Christ who strengthens us.  Does God not
care about your weight loss goals or your overall health? Ummm… absolutely, He
cares!  He cares about every intricate
detail of our lives.  God actually
reveals so much spiritual truth through my approach to a healthier
lifestyle.  Example – when I’m running a
mile – the run is pretty steady and easy until I get to the home stretch.  It seems the closer I get to the goal the
harder it becomes mentally and physically.
Seeing the finish line from a distance wears me out.  Is that not our spiritual walk?  When God is walking us through a valley,
knowing the finish line for that particular race is just around the corner, the
harder it gets but then once we resolve to hang in there and cross that finish
line we feel AWESOME!

Since July of this year I have lost 15 healthy pounds. [Side
note – once the depression subsided I started eating again and gained a fair
amount of weight since my appetite had returned].  I feel amazing!  I have gone from a size 11 jean to a size
8.  I am watching my body transform right
in front of my eyes.  Every morning I
wake up and recommit my body to my Heavenly Father and I ask Him to give me HIS
strength to make it through another day of discipline with food and hard
training.  He answers my prayer.

I have a couple of Jillian Michaels’ workout videos at home
and at the end of one of her videos (after she has tried to kill you) she says
something like “You should be proud of yourself for what you just
accomplished.  When you can have the
discipline to change your body, it changes every facet of your life.”  So true!

Why do we stare in awe of someone who walks by with a rockin’
body? Because it’s NOT the norm…  we
marvel at them because they have accomplished something our hearts long for but
we can’t seem to accomplish.  Why do we sabotage
a friend, coworker, or spouse when they decide to get their body in shape and
make better food decisions?  Misery loves
company.  Tony says I sabotaged him a few
years back when he was making great progress in his healthy lifestyle journey…
ummm… HELLLLLLLO?!?!? I was pregnant!!!!!!! Haha!  You can’t go on a healthy lifestyle challenge
when your wife is pregnant with her FIRST child!  J

All jokes aside, don’t forget that we are engaged in
spiritual warfare.  The Devil’s purpose
it to steal, kill, and destroy.  Does
this not apply to your eating and exercise life?  Absolutely, it does.

Of course this blog is not to cause any guilt or
condemnation.  I know that God takes us
all through different journeys in different seasons but if you are struggling
with weight, image issues, or just wanting to start a better lifestyle for
yourself and/or your family I would encourage you to hit your knees before you
do anything else.  Ask God to renew your
mind and dedicate this journey to Him.
Then seek advice on how to appropriately begin your journey.  I can tell you it’s going to take TIME.  Crash diets don’t work.  Spend some time with the Lord; ask for His
direction but remember your plan may not look like someone else’s plan but He
will not fail you.

Keep shining,

April

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