"I'm going to start acting and behaving as though I am already fit and trim!" I firmly announced to my husband.
It was the week before my fourth month-long challenge, and I was fighting discouragement and frustration. Taunting me, the scale refused to move. My food choices hovered at 60%, well below the 85% I had set for myself. Afraid of failure and slipping, I had set my goals with cautious optimism, keeping the bar low, but I still struggled to meet even those goals.
A favorite author of mine had once said that she prayed for wholeness, and when it didn't come, she asked God why - His answer was that she was still thinking like a sick person, and that He could heal her one day, and the next day she'd think/act herself right back into sickness.*
Phew. That's deep!
But here I was, in a similar boat. I understood what she was experiencing. My thoughts reflected an overweight, depressed, discouraged, middle-aged woman who barely believed that she would ever be strong and fit and active and healthy. Even as I exercised and read my bible and cooked my plant-based foods, I dreamt of sleeping in, eating white toast and sausage gravy for breakfast, sitting on the couch for hours reading and eating popcorn, and riding a slow horse leisurely through a quiet forest.
Comfort. I was lamenting comfort and ease and a life of ease!
As I was praying about our devotional today, I realized that my mind-shift needs to include a different hero! I've been focusing on re-becoming who I used to be at 32 - slim, trim, sassy, and hopeful. Rather, I need to be focusing on me at 58 (ten years from now**) - trim, strong, brave, energetic, bold, trusting. My Father moving me past hopeful - thinking like someone who doesn't know what is ahead and hoping God will see me through; to TRUSTING - thinking like a woman who has walked with God side by side through fire, and built a life of grit and discipline and determination and joy as a recipient of GRACE!
Week two of our challenges tends to be the most difficult - week one is full of hopefulness and initial ambition. Week two is where we begin to develop grit and perseverance and discipline. If this week is difficult for you, please don't respond with self-recrimination, discouragement and frustration - it's tempting to go there! Instead, objectively reflect on what you are struggling with. Ask yourself what needs to be adjusted: your goal, your schedule, your attitude, or your beliefs.
If you are in an accountability group, this is the week where it is critical that you dig in, choose transparent authenticity and vulnerability, and allow your group to help you along.
And remember. He has brought you to this place so that you can grow. Your struggles don't turn him off. This is part of your spiritual adventure, and God will redeem every minute of your struggle! "God, who got you started on the spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of His Son and our master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that."
TODAY'S BIBLE READING
Abraham [Insert your name] was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him [him/her] right.
It's not just Abraham, it's also us! The same thing gets said about us when we EMBRACE and BELIEVE the One who brought Jesus to LIFE when conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us RIGHT with God.
Romans 4:7-9 MSG (emphasis mine)
All through these difficult days I keep hoping, waiting for the final change - resurrection. [I will wait for my release, renewal to come. - NIV] Homesick with longing for the creation You made You'll call [to me] and I'll answer! You'll watch over every step I take, but you won't keep track of my missteps. My offenses [sins] will be stuffed in a sack and thrown into the sea - sunk in a deep ocean.
Job 14:14b-17 MSG
Just think - you don't need a thing, you've got it all! All God's gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the finale. And not only that, but God Himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus.
God, who got you started on the spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of His Son and our master, Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.
1 Corinthians 1:7-9
* thoughts from author Susie Larson
** concept from actor/author Mathew McConaughey
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)