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Not-so-Easy Steps of Faith

27 Mar
stationary-bike

(Photo by Circe Denyer)

 

Abraham, the father of our faith, obeyed God, which took him out of his place of comfort and the place called home. Literally…

“He went out, not knowing where he was going.” -Hebrews 11:8

Walking consistently under God’s clear but not-so-exciting marching orders is the hardest part of faith for me. I have a lot of the Word of God under my belt, soaking it in over a period of 33 years. It makes me feel that my faith is utterly unshakable.

But the testing ground is in the mundane task of doing not what I find comfortable or what I want to do but what I know Jesus has called me to do every day.

Yes, for me, that is the simple matter of adding physical disciplines to my spiritual disciplines. God is supposed to be my Lord. My stupid flesh is not supposed to reign supreme. I actually feel better in my body and more alert in my brain by obeying God’s admonitions. Fortunately, once the flesh has been consistently trained in a healthy life habit, there is tremendous cooperation — unlike the kind of struggle I’m currently experiencing.

I’ve been going my own way of comfort and ease for too long. My daily pep talk to myself today is this scripture:

“I press on  toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phillippians 3:14

God has a plan and obedience is the way to walk on the path to fulfilling that plan.

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Not Caring is Like Falling Off a Log

29 Apr

My goal: Get back to glowing health.

Not caring is so easy. For instance, if I don’t really care that I’m overweight, I don’t have to go through all the bother, sweat, and sacrifice to lose weight.  However, I believe I do care; but apparently not enough to get started today or even first thing tomorrow with a proper diet and fat-burning exercises.

I was asking myself what in life I truly don’t mind bothering about.  What would I go to any lengths to do?  And I was relieved to discover that I had an answer.  There is one thing I will always go out of my way to do, and that is to ensure that my heart is free and open for communication with God.

So while I think I may get heavenly kudos for caring about my relationship with God above all else, I’m starting as of now to pray desperately for help in desiring to be fit.  I need the kind of desire that motivates me to take action.

I’ve posted a photo of me when I was at my top physical shape, and I don’t believe I’ve ever looked better in my life.  That has sparked a bit of motivation to lose weight.  And then some female friends from the neighborhood I grew up in contacted me recently, wanting to get together.  I don’t want them to see me like this; in my opinion, I look like a hot mess, in a bad way.

It’s time to rouse myself with daily pep talks about establishing new eating and exercising habits.  Before it happens, God’s going to have to answer my prayer and inject me with a mind that sincerely gives a care.

 

Caught between Dorothy’s Joy and a Wicked Witch’s Demise

26 Apr
Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the trailer for the film The Wizard of Oz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My spiritual high Monday, which involved an irresistible urge to pray all day long, was a day which produced an unexpected miracle  cluster.  My daughter Maddie is like the lion in the Wizard of Oz who found his courage.  She was hired for a position which represents a significant raise and promotion; she earned it by working hard far below her pay level for years.  My daughter Emily — like the scarecrow who had a brain, after all —  landed a high-paying job the same day she quit a job in which she was unmercifully used and worked much like a slave in management.  Funds I’ve been waiting for were released to me, and I got hired by a generous employer who actually believes writers should get paid well for the difficult job of writing.  It was a river of relief that seemed as simple as a snap, like when all Dorothy had to do to get her heart’s desire was to tap her slippers three times and say, “I want to go home.”

But my financial relief and physically taxing relief aren’t quite here; and, sparing the details, the pressure on me could be compared to being that wicked witch that was unfortunate enough to have a house land on her.

In moments like this, though dramatic, I think of all that Jesus suffered when he was beaten and hung on the cross.  The movie The Passion of the Christ gives a glimpse of what our Savior suffered through.  But the result of all that horrific difficulty and pain was a glorious resurrection and the opening of a stairway to heaven for all who believe in the Son of God.

Through my wincing, I believe that on the other side of this trial is an even bigger breakthrough than what my family experienced on Monday.  God is good, and He doesn’t let His children suffer without good reason.  The life of a Christian is a life of purpose which puts an anticipation of joy into every sweat drop of human suffering.  My rejoicing by faith doesn’t look like much on the outside right now; but on the inside, I’m giving God and His goodness a standing ovation.

 

 

Buying Fat Pants: Big Mistake or Outright Sin?

18 Mar

Finally broke down and bought some pants and shirts that fit my new size, and it was glorious.  But now I’m so comfortable in my clothes, I’ve lost a huge motivation to lose weight.  My health really depends on my dropping pounds.  I got to wondering if it’s a sin that I continue to choose comfort over the sacrifice of doing what’s right.

Actually, it struck me that I am sinning big time by expanding into a bigger size of pants instead of trimming down.  The heart of the issue is that indulging the flesh means more to me than presenting my body to God as a living sacrifice.

Christianity as God intended it involves sacrifice, and I’ve been forgetting that.

I don’t go around struggling with “bigger” sins such as sexual immorality, but I do walk in the flesh rather than the spirit as regards eating and lack of exercise.

The Bible has a lot to say about this topic.  Are you familiar with the huge struggle to do right that is expressed by Paul in Romans 7:14-25?  He longs to do right but continues to do wrong.

Then the good news in verse 8:1 of Romans is that we are not under condemnation, in spite of our weaknesses, if we belong to Jesus Christ.

But I do feel guilty when I read the verses which talk about being set free from the flesh.  It’s like I’m sitting in a prison with bars made of chocolate, and the door is open.  The only thing stopping me from stepping out of this bondage to my fleshly desires is me.  I sit there lacking the resolve to resist the flesh.

My Bible study on this served as a reminder that if I feed the Spirit instead of the flesh, the Spirit grows stronger; and vice versa.  Truthfully, as I’ve been diving into ministry-related activity more and more, I’ve been eating less and less.  So the principle is proving true, even though I haven’t developed an exercise routine.

One thing I did today was drive on the nice hiking/biking trail behind our soon-to-be new home.  If you go to the end, the entire route is 1 mile.  I already envision myself walking there in the cool of the morning five days a week.  I can push Aubrie in the stroller, and Logan will be on the bus headed to school.

Developing these new habits of engaging in more prayer and Bible-reading as well as putting exercise on my daily schedule is all it will probably take to make these new fat pants fall right off of me.

I really would appreciate others’ insights as to whether it’s merely a big mistake or something that seriously separates me from God, this complacency about being overweight.   Please share if you have confidence about your spiritual understanding on this topic, based on scripture.  All related opinions are welcome.

Where’s My Broken Port-a-Potty?

3 Mar

I’m an inspirational writer who tries not to use spotty language, but breaking through barriers of low living is a real…You-Know-What!.  I’ve realized that I’m doing more than trying to pull out of a grid of deep ruts.  I’m trying to lift my life to a level that I’ve never experienced before.  The efforts I put forth since starting this blog already knocked me down flat daily.  

I would compare my situation to the movie “Cast Away.”  The Tom Hanks character couldn’t get off of that lonely island until he had something to help him break through whatever that water barrier was, and God sent a broken port-a-potty (my interpretation of events).  It was a torn up piece of junk, but it helped him move out to the big, wide ocean where he did finally get rescued and live a more fulfilled life than prior to his humbling, desolate years.

Daily Pep Talks are supposed to sort of be my broken piece of port-a-potty.  Combining accountability and determination should help me stay active in my fight to live a rutless life.  But there is so much more that I want to accomplish in my simple day-to-day existence.  I mean, there are people who write hundreds of books in their lifetime and do multiple other impactful things, as well.  Surely I can live in a home that I keep simple and uncluttered, even though I do have little ones underfoot constantly.  It’s not too hard! 

That’s just one goal.  What about publishing an inspirational book series?  And bringing the kids on one awesome vacation every year?  A trip to Europe is a huge dream.  And I grew up all my life living in “owned homes.”  Why should these kids have to live in apartments all their lives?  I want them to have a home and a yard of their own and roots.  Of course, there’s also the absolute determination that none of them will attend public school for middle grades or high school.

This is really hard.  I guess that’s why the people who manage to push past mediocre living shine like stars among the rest of us.  But can I do this?  Do I believe I can?  Do I want it bad enough?  Yes, ye-yes, and I hope so.  Time will tell.