Day 3: The Right Questions

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29)

Thought for the Day: I must obey God rather than the scale!

My friend, Karen Ehman, was a great cheerleader during my healthy eating journey. On one of her “Weight Loss Wednesday” blog posts she wrote something I found incredibly insightful.* The biggest shift in her motivation from her yo-yo dieting days was replacing the delight of diminishing numbers on the scale with the delight of obedience to God.

Karen wrote:

I was very hopeful as I hopped on the scale this morning. I kept track of my food, exercised five days at the gym for 30 — 45 minutes, and my jeans were zipping up much easier than expected.

So, I whipped the scale out . . . and I’d lost a measly 1.8 pounds! What!?! I was sure it would say at least two or maybe even three. I felt gypped. And I felt like running to the kitchen to make a frozen waffle or two so I could slather it with real butter, spread it with some Peter Pan, and douse it with a load of pure maple syrup to stick it to that scale! Then I stopped and remembered what I felt the Lord saying this week.

Define your week by obedience, not by a number on the scale.

The scale does help measure our progress, but it can’t tell us everything. It can’t tell us if too much salt intake is making us retain a pound or two of water. It can’t tell us if we actually lost a pound of fat, but gained more muscle from weight training. And, it can’t tell us what time of the month it is and give us automatic credit for the extra two pounds or so that those glorious few days bring to us.

So, I had to stop and ask myself the following questions:

  • Did I overeat this week on any day? No.
  • Did I move more and exercise regularly? Yes.
  • Did I eat in secret or out of anger or frustration? No.
  • Did I feel that, at any time, I ran to food instead of to God? Nope.
  • Before I hopped on the scale, did I think I’d had a successful, God-pleasing week? Yep!

So, why oh why do I get so tied up in a stupid number? And why did I almost let it trip me up and send me to the kitchen for a 750-calorie binge? Don’t worry. I had a yogurt and tea instead.

Sweet friends, we need to define ourselves by our obedience, not a number on the scale. We are all in this thing together. And we will get the weight off, even if it is 1.8 pounds at a time!

I love what Karen says about defining ourselves by our obedience and not by a number on the scale — or, for me, what size my clothes are or how I feel seeing models with unattainable sizes on the magazine covers.

Yes, eating healthy and exercising gets our bodies into better shape, but we are never supposed to get soul satisfaction from our looks. Our looks are temporary; if we hitch our souls to this fleeting pursuit, we’ll quickly become disillusioned. The apostle Paul wrote, “We must obey God rather than human beings” (Acts 5:29). I read that verse differently now: “I must obey God rather than human values — like a number on the scale or the size on the tag in my jeans.” The only true satisfaction we can seek is the satisfaction of being obedient to the Lord.

Dear Lord, I don’t want to define myself by a number on my scale or any other human value. I truly want to be obedient to You each day. Help me to follow hard after You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

* You can connect with Karen and read all her great Weight Loss Wednesday’s posts at www.KarenEhman.com.

Buy the 60 Day Devotional Now!

Day 2: What If I Let God Down?

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Thought for the Day: I wept as I realized this would be one of the most significant spiritual journeys of my life. A spiritual journey that would yield great physical benefits.

I recently received an email from a woman who wrote, “Lysa, one of my greatest fears in reading Made to Crave is not just letting myself down, but even worse, letting God down.”

I understand how she feels. When you’ve tried and failed as many times as I have, you start to feel gun-shy about trying again. I’d lose the weight, feel great for a couple of months, deceive myself into thinking I could return to old habits, and all the weight would creep back on. I’d failed at finding lasting victory with every other attempt, even with programs I thought were the sure thing. So, why would this one be any different?

And why in heavens would I want to add spiritual guilt on top of my physical guilt? Why would I risk the shame of making God look bad too?

Guilt wrapped in shame is a terrible burden to carry. Guilt always came when I knew I was making poor choices and could see the scale numbers climbing. Shame came when my weight gain became apparent to everyone else in the world. Battling something so raw, so deeply personal was hard; knowing my failures were apparent to everyone else added humiliation to my toxic stew of emotions.

Yes, the physical struggle was hard enough. I certainly didn’t want to drag down my spiritual life with this struggle as well.

But here’s the problem: whether or not I wanted to admit it, my weight issues were already dragging me down spiritually. When I don’t have peace physically, I don’t have peace spiritually. I can’t separate the two. Nor should I. I need spiritual motivation to step in where my physical determination falls short.

So I started reading the Bible from the perspective of someone struggling with food issues. Though I had read the Bible many times and have even taught Bible studies for years, I’d missed how much God cares about and talks about this issue. Tucked within this book written thousands of years ago are some of the most astounding and life-changing truths directly applicable to this modern-day unhealthy eating epidemic that plagues women.

I wept with joy. I wept with relief. I wept as I realized this would be one of the most significant spiritual journeys of my life. A spiritual journey that would yield great physical benefits. And what about my concerns with letting God down?

My pastor, Steven Furtick, put that to rest one day with a simple but very profound truth, “How can you let God down when you weren’t ever holding Him up?”

I had to choose to operate in the reassurance of God’s love, the remembrance of God’s grace, and the reality of God’s power. And, according to Isaiah 41:10, God is the one holding me up, not the other way around. To that I say, “Amen!”

Dear Lord, this is one of the most significant spiritual journeys of my life. Help me to focus on You as I battle this raw, personal issue. I need You today. In Jesus’
name. Amen.

Buy the 60 Day Devotional Now!

Day 1: Unsettled

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3)

Thought for the Day: Unsettle me in the best kind of way. For when I allow your touch to reach the deepest parts of me — dark and dingy and hidden away too long — suddenly, a fresh wind of life twists and twirls and dances through my soul.

The year I finally got my eating issues under control, I started with a very simple New Year’s prayer. I didn’t write a long list of resolutions as I had in previous years. After all, my list from one year to the next could have simply been a photocopy from the year before. It was the same stuff, year after year. I started out with great gusto to eat less, move more, make this a healthy lifestyle, and live in victory. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

But each year around January 7, I’d get invited to a party where treats were plentiful and motivation scarce. My stomach would soon be overstuffed and my resolve worn quite thin.

Year after year.

But this year I just couldn’t bring myself to write the list again. So, I prayed this simple prayer: Unsettle me.

These are the words I wrote in my journal . . .

Unsettle me. These are the two words rattling about in my brain today. I almost wish it were a more glamorous prayer. Surely more eloquent words could be found for what I’m feeling led to pursue during this New Year. But these are the words, this is the prayer for my 2009.

The funny thing is, I’ve spent my whole existence trying to find a place to settle down, people to settle down with, and a spirit about me worthy of all this settled down-ness. All of this is good. A contented heart, thankful for its blessings, is a good way to settle.

But there are areas of my life that have also settled that mock my desires to be a godly woman — compromises, if you will. Attitudes that I’ve wrapped in the lie, “Well, that’s just how I am. And if that’s all the bad that’s in me, I’m doing pretty good.”

I dare you, dear soul of mine, to notice the stark evidence of a spirit that is tainted and a heart that must be placed under the microscope of God’s Word. Yes, indeed, unsettle me, Lord.

Unearth that remnant of justification.

Shake loose that pull toward compromise.

Reveal that broken shard of secrecy.

Expose that tendency to give up.

Unsettle me in the best kind of way. For when I allow Your touch to reach the deepest parts of me — dark and dingy and hidden away too long — suddenly, a fresh wind of life twists and twirls and dances through my soul.

I can delight in hope that this is my year to change.

I can discover reasons to appreciate my body and find softer ways for my thoughts to land.

I can recognize the beauty of discipline and crave the intimacy with God it unleashes.

I can rest assured though the journey will be hard, I will be held.

Goodbye to my remnants, my justification, shards, and tendencies. This is not who I am — nor who I was created to be.

Goodbye to shallow efforts, self-focus, and suspicious fears that I’ll never find victory in this area of my life. I am
an unsettled woman who no longer wishes to take part in distractions or destructions.

Welcome deeper love for God and the realization I am made for more than this constant battle. Welcome my unsettled heart.

Are you ready to be unsettled in a good way?

Maybe you are at the beginning of your journey and feel intimidated by the long road ahead. Or, maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum and need ongoing encouragement to stay healthy.

Whether you’re in those places or somewhere in the middle, will you make a renewed commitment now? Will you ask God to unsettle you in the midst of where you are? And then dare to keep turning these pages and holding tight to God’s transforming truth.

Dear Lord, make me a courageous woman who isn’t afraid to pray this prayer over and over in the days ahead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Buy the 60 Day Devotional Now!

Designed by Scott Stafford. WordPress Coding and Website Development by Lisa Boyd. Marketing expertise provided by WildFire Marketing.