Week 4 – Rest in His Strength and Sufficiency

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever,”

Psalm 73:26

Being on a health journey has it’s ups and downs. It brings challenges and temptations, especially around the holidays! There have been times that I have feared failure, yet again, and other times I fear success…afraid of what losing pounds may cost me, or even worse, the expectations I may put on myself if I reach my goals…will I become extreme? Will I become prideful, or full of vanity? Will my personality change in a negative way? I think that these fears are what can keep us stuck, or going back to old habits.

Food is a good gift from God. It’s really not the enemy here. But, it becomes the enemy when we make it more than good, and turn it into an idol…something that we go to instead of God. I know I’ve been an emotional eater. It became my comfort when I was sad, stressed or mad, and my celebration during my happy times. God wants to be our comfort and our celebration. And, only He truly satisfies. I’m learning that all that food really does when I’m hurting or celebrating is bring further guilt and shame!

Because of His strength in me, I can overcome the temptations! I think we have underestimated His strength in us! We have to stop going into battles within while looking back at what was. We want to find comfort in what we always have, we longingly desire that one thing that we think will satisfy. Our love is our food, something that can never love us back! We are relying on our own strength in these moments! Romans 8:13 says, “If you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

We think that if we are strong enough, we can do anything or be anything. But, Jesus warns us in Mark 14:38 that our spirits are willing, but our bodies are weak. I’m learning that it’s in my weaknesses God is giving me opportunities for growth. He is showing me so many areas that I can work on and improve. So many people, including my past self, have lost weight, or gotten healthy. Some have even reached their fitness goals….and most have done it in their own strength, not seeing the relation between body, mind, and spirit. But, the happiness is always short lived. Because when we are led by the flesh, we are working towards weight loss goals for all the wrong reasons. We think if a little is good, then a lot is better. We look in the mirror and cannot see the truth. A focus on the flaws increases the lies. This way steals time and energy from the most important people….God, ourselves, and our families. When we focus on willpower to lose weight, we become consumed by what we want our new identity to be. Then, we transfer our bondage to food to vanity. Satan is there waiting on the other side of good health, ready to show us any and all remaining imperfections. He’s sneaky like that!

There’s nothing wrong with improving ourselves. But, if we are going too far the other way….God has every right to step in and say “That’s enough!” He wants to show us freedom, not lead us into another form of bondage.

Others who are working on getting healthy, but doing it in their own willpower lose the fight, and their strength fails. It’s easier to give up and find comfort in what was familiar. (This has been me, over and over again!) I think it’s just uncomfortable and hard, and easy to just remain where we were than to keep fighting (especially when doing something like this in our own strength)! First Corinthians 1:25b says, “…the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” What I’m learning through this Wellness Revelation study is that until I connect to the Spirit, the true source of all power, I will continue to fail. True and lifelong self-discipline and obedience to the Lord does not come from ourselves, but from God in us by the power of the Holy Spirit! When I am physically or mentally weak, I must draw on the power of God within me. For so long, I have pushed that power aside, I think I just didn’t believe His power could work in me, or within me for something like weight loss. I felt like I would never succeed, but we must never believe our feelings. Feeling are meant to be felt, not control what we do or don’t do.

I now know that being connected to the Lord in this journey is the key to my success. No more yo-yo dieting! I want more than weight loss, I want to gain my life back! In the process, I’m finding freedom! And, when we have life, we can give that life to others, which is what I hope I’m doing! I am so passionate now about helping others, especially when it comes to the limiting beliefs that play over and over in our heads when we are in bondage! Now, I know that I must renew my mind on a consistent basis through His Word, and through godly mentors, teachers, preachers and podcasts that fill my mind with truth. The truth of who I am in Him. And, trust me…I thought I had been doing this all along in my Spiritual walk, but I was still in bondage when it came to my mind and how I thought. I believed the lies, and couldn’t see the truth, even when it was right in front of me. Living with the right mind-set helps us to remember that every choice we make is important. When we’re living intentionally, we can be His agents of change here on earth.

I’m learning to slow down, way down, and to stop living on auto-pilot in my daily routines. And, when I do this, I am more aware of the choices I’m making, the words I’m saying, and the actions I’m taking. I’m being more present in the moments, more engaged with people around me, and fully present. (I definitely have not perfected any of this….but, it is something the Lord is working on in me.)

I used to try to “balance” everything. I was trying to be a good housekeeper, a good homeschool mom, a good wife, mom, friend, Sunday School teacher, and working on myself by working out, eating right, and being consistent in my own time with the Lord. Now, I know balance is a lie. There is no such thing as perfectly balancing all the areas of my life. I was failing at ALL of it, when I was trying to balance it all. I was relying more on my management skills, and not being present in much of anything, nor was I enjoying life. Now, instead of trying to balance everything, I’m seeking wholehearted living. I wake up and ask the Lord to direct my day and to help me accomplish exactly what He has for me. I can show up as myself in every circumstance that comes up, and give what I can. I allow the Lord to direct me and live with a much greater passion and purpose. I know we all have a uniqueness about us, and I want to give my own voice, heart, mind, and body to whatever He has for me each day. And, I hope that He will use me to create hope, love, and joy in others. And, this takes belief! We can’t give away what we don’t have. We have to believe and act on truth. The truth is that God loves me and accepts me, and because of Jesus I am right with Him. He makes me righteous because He is righteous. He thinks, feels, speaks, and acts right in all circumstances through me. But, I must believe He is, or else my sinful nature takes over once again. I can trust and believe only if I’m seeking His heart throughout my day, every day. I also have to believe He loves me despite my mess, despite my failures. He met me where I was, and began His good work, transforming my mind, heart and body. We have to trust Him to strengthen us when we don’t feel like we are enough, (because those thoughts will still try to creep their way in), and trust him to remove pride in our hearts when we are again tempted to follow ourselves rather than Him. And, when we live wholeheartedly, drawing on the unconditional love and acceptance of God, that leads to true wellness.

He is sufficient for me. Sufficiency means adequate. When we live in sufficiency, our circumstances will have no power to define our worth. When we realize who we are is who God called us to be, we will be set free. Have you been held back by the chains of self-condemnation, doubt, or ridicule? When we trust the Lord is sufficient for us, these things will no longer have the power to control us. He gives us what we need, but not necessarily everything we want. We can be selfish, we sometimes are not satisfied with not having it all! But, I know I need to listen to my God-given body and be satisfied with everything about it, regardless of what I want, whether that be food or the way I look. I don’t need to have it all. I don’t want to be fixated on a number or a body shape. None of us will be enough or have enough apart from God. Only He will truly satisfy.

Many of the health struggles we have today could be avoided if we would just be proactive in eating whole foods, living wholeheartedly because we know we are wholly loved by a holy God, rather than seeking after things we think will give us the comfort or pleasure we desire. Our nation is sick. We get too much of what we want, but not enough of what we truly need (which is hearts that are healed and made whole by unconditional love, and that are set free to help set others free). We must engage our souls and spirits in shedding the access pounds. The flesh will not be strong enough on it’s own to fight a war greater than itself. We must continue looking in the mirror of our souls and spirits so that we can do the work of change. James 1:23-24 says, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” We are missing out on the freedom God has called us to when we go away and forget to do the work He’s calling us to. We are invited to be a part of the solution, not the problem in the world. We can and will win this battle, not by our own strength, but by His. Now is the time to let the Scriptures search us, know us, and change us. And, we must always remember to work on ourselves before pointing out the flaws in others.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around-life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.”

Romans 12:1 (The Message)

With Love in Christ,
Dena

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