The very first post in my Scaling Back series addressed the motivation behind any weight loss journey. My friend Claire wrote an exceptional piece about her motivation, and I wanted to inspire all of you.
I mentioned last week how I believe God is directing me towards a more active lifestyle, but within my home and in my everyday life as opposed to joining a gym or partaking in exercise classes. If you’ve read my posts about how this whole thing got started (see here, here and here) you’ll know that I have been taking a whirl wind trip around the Bible with God at the helm. After I read Romans (during which I had a huge revelation) I felt a bit aimless. For some reason God was silent on the subject of where I should be reading next. So I waited. And I waited. And I waited. I wondered why, but I now realise that the revelation had been so huge to me, I needed time to digest it, so to speak.
Lately I have felt pulled to Corinthians, which handily comes straight after Romans. It has been during this time my focus has moved from my stomach to my body as a whole. How blessed am I to have a body which moves (fairly) effortlessly? And that knee pain I used to experience? All gone now, along with the thirty pounds.
I have been reflecting upon the nudging I am feeling towards house work and gardening, in addition to my nightly walk. It doesn’t seem sensible. I googled house work as exercise and about a billion newspapers have just reported recently that those who use house work as their primary exercise tend to be over weight. The NHS has written up a nice, sensible report about the particular research which the papers have based their assertions on. For every report which ridicules house work as a strenuous enough form of exercise, there is another which praises its virtues. So what does God say?
Whilst reading through 1 Corinthians, I am learning that God’s ways are not our ways, and they were never meant to be:
Human wisdom is so tiny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.” (Chapter 1, verse 25)
God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. (Chapter 2, verse 7)
Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. (Chapter 3, verse 18-20)
I know this already, because I have experienced it many times. I think I know best and God gently reveals that I know nothing. ~Claire
I really believe reading Corinthians is God’s way to let me know He is in charge. He will be the victor, not me. But I will reap the benefits:
Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. (Chapter 1, Verse 30)
The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along (Chapter 2, verse 10)
It is so easy to self congratulate when one is losing weight. So easy to pat one’s self on the back, and build up a little pedestal and maybe even climb up on top of it. But that is setting oneself up for failure. If we congratulate ourselves when weight is lost, it becomes natural to blame ourselves when we put it on. And thus a vicious cycle begins of self-congratulation, followed by self-hatred. Neither is helpful.
It is God who will give me the tools I need to conquer this weight once and for all. The only person who should get the credit is Him. And if I fail? Well, God isn’t in the business of failure. I can’t fail. I just need to listen and follow, then thank. Listen and follow, then thank.
It’s important to look at things from God’s point of view. I would rather not see you inflating or deflating reputations based on mere hearsay. (Chapter 4, verse 6)
Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? (Chapter 4, verse 7)
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 in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that. (chapter 1, verse 7-9)
And so I wait. I read where He guides me to read in the Bible; a Bible which has never felt quite this alive to me. The words take on a new power and a new meaning as they jump from the page into my heart.
I am beginning to see my body for what it is – an instrument to be used by God, for His purpose. It doesn’t matter aesthetically what it looks like, but it does matter that it is as healthy as it can be. It matters what I put into it. It matters what I allow it to do. It matters what I choose not to do:
Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food…….Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body! (Chapter 6, verse 12-13)
A body is a vessel, not an ornament. It is a machine to be used, not a picture to be stared at in admiration. It is a work of art, God’s work of art, but is only truly beautiful when it is being used in a way which honours God.
You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple. (verse 16-17)
Look at that – No one will get away with vandalizing themselves. I will not get away with not looking after myself in the name of ‘self-medication’ (ie over-eating). This is a really important concept for me to grasp:
Didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. (Chapter 6, verse 20)
So where does this lead me, with regards to exercise? Why do I feel that house work is my best option when studies are possibly showing that it is not? Well, God likes things to be kept as simple as possible:
So let’s live out our part ………..
…..simple, genuine, unpretentious. (chapter 5, verse 8)
I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple—in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out. I want you to live as free of complications as possible. (Chapter 7, verses 29-32)
Right now, God has me at home. We are a one salary family, living in an area of Britain where it is more usual to have two incomes, or at the very least one large one. We have one car, which Gary uses for work. We spend waaaay too much money on groceries now our older children are heading towards adulthood. All this to say, anything exercise wise which requires money, time and a car is a no no. I need to be at home to home school. I need to be at home to be the wife I want to be to Gary. I need to be at home to be the kind of mummy I want to be to my children. I need to be at home to open up our house as often as I do to friends and family. God has me at home for a reason, and if I am to keep things simple, I need to find my exercise and fitness within these walls. And this makes me very happy. I am a home-body through and through. God knew that and He knows this is the one place where I can probably find a routine I can be faithful to.
This is getting way too long, for which I apologise (if anyone is still with me after such verbosity….), but I want to document all I am learning. Please understand, I am merely documenting all God is leading me to do. It is absolutely not my intention to preach. We are all different and what works for one will inevitably not work for another. Only God knows. He is giving me an individualised ‘program’, if you like, of how to heal. The side effect of this healing will be, I am certain, a loss of weight and a gain in confidence.
Over the next couple of weeks I intend to increase the amount of activity I do at home. It will be interesting to see if it has any effect on my life, weight and energy levels. I shall report back in a couple of weeks.
Thank you so much, Claire, for this wonderful encouragement and devotional! May we all find the right purpose in our weight loss journey, and find a deeper love for Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians as we do!