“Grace is not the ability to keep the law better. It is the enabling Presence that comes from favor to do what only God can do.” ~Bill Johnson
“Roll your works upon the Lord-commit and trust them wholly to Him; [He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.” Proverbs 16:3
How do I write about this journey I’ve been on for the past three + years? JUST DO IT… I started typing and out it came – at least part 1 did. God’s been nudging me, “write it out,” and so many have asked, “how did you do it?” So, jumping in…here goes. First things first.
I’ve lived SO many years with “I can’t” being the first thing that comes out of my mouth… Whether it was just wanting to move around during worship, ride a bike, or simple things like wearing a blouse with no sleeves, I told myself that “I can’t.” You keep telling yourself something long enough it becomes your reality. This is the mindset I was in. The ‘I CAN’T’ reality doesn’t believe that it’s possible to change. I was wrong. It’s a lie, plain and simple.
I’ve been asked what made the difference this time and all I can say is that I came to a desperate place and God met me there. All the well meaning family or friends can tell, encourage, ask, beg, force you to change, but until you get desperate enough, or I should say, courageous enough to jump in with your whole life surrendered, it won’t happen.
Desperation is a real kick in the pants realization that it’s either now or never. For me, my big 50 was staring me in the face… Did I want to live and see 60 in the same condition? NO! Help me God!!! I needed that kick to get on my knees and scream for His help.
Another whole side note that I won’t go into yet (that’s for another blog) is that this journey didn’t start here; it started almost 11 years ago when I became desperate for a true relationship with God that I’d thought I had somehow missed. He met me and guided me thru, building the foundation for this next LIFE CHANGING phase. It was God’s order all the way; I had to have the spiritual foundation in place to enable me to believe for this part, which in some ways felt like it was more difficult…well, sort of.
Grace – THIS was and STILL IS the divine assistance and power behind the decision to completely change my whole way of living. It’s the ONLY explanation as to why “this time” worked when all the other times of trying failed.
God is faithful. Each step of faith taken, He stepped in right with me. Each choice made strengthened the next, making it easier with each day. Living over 20 years with a weight issue doesn’t go away overnight. It’s been three + years of “choosing” to get to this point, but I can honestly say that God met me EVERY time. Now it’s a lifestyle.
Eventually everyone has to get rid of all the excuses – the why I can’t, or that you don’t like that type of food, or there’s too much planning… The excuses are endless, believe me. As with any habit, it takes diligence and time involvement to begin planning out meals, choosing differently, but once you’re in the groove, it becomes the new ‘normal.’
I’M NOT KIDDING – YOUR DESIRES WILL CHANGE!
That’s why God is SO involved here – who else could change my cravings for McDonald’s? A Big Mac (aka #1) with fries & a REAL Coke? Can’t even count how many I’ve had. I seriously don’t even think about or miss the Mac – really! It doesn’t even call at me when I drive by the restaurant anymore either!
When you feel your soul rise up within telling you how awful it will be not being able to eat that wonderful ‘thing’ – whatever it is for you – cast down that lie, because that’s what it is, a lie. I still go through that even now as I’m faced with going forward for an additional few pounds of belly fat that I can’t tolerate any longer. I’m going to give up sugar for a few weeks and my head yells…NO! No creamer, no honey (I’ve come to LOVE honey); even my favorite salad dressing and salsa have sugars listed! ARG! So I’m now a “label hound” looking at the ingredients. BUT the truth is that I’ve been thru this before; I know it’s temporary so I CAN handle it. The end result will be a shrinking belly.
This journey wasn’t without it’s failings either, there were many, but as a friend from work kept telling me, just take a day now and then and do what you want and then jump right back in the next. That wisdom has helped SO much. God sent me many people to “watch”…to glean wisdom from or to see how they lived out their lives without the weight that I carried around. This particular person was very structured… How good of God to give me someone who I could watch every day to see how to live like this, knowing that I needed structure to walk this out. I’d watch her choices and get ideas and learned how to rearrange my food choices for balance. She was invaluable and she didn’t even know it most of the time.
YOU CAN DO THIS, REALLY
BUT, it does take you choosing, walking, moving forward, and putting your faith together with action. As my pastor has been teaching recently, it’s reconciling thoughts, words and intentions with ACTION. It takes tenacity and, sorry I can’t sugar coat it, it’s takes plain old work. Not what you may want to hear, BUT again, remember that God is right there too so get desperate. His Grace-Enabling power is no joke. God doesn’t change – it’s the SAME POWER as when Jesus rose from the dead! Not only Jesus rose, but this power broke open tombs and hundreds of those saints dead and gone came back and were walking around! (Matthew 27:52-53) I’d say that’s amazing power!
Just a few things I’ve learned:
- The journey is one day at a time – a cliché, but very true
- I’ve spent years of eating what I wanted, so I’m NOT deprived – I’ve had enough to last a lifetime
- GOD’S DIVINE GRACE TRULY DOES ENABLE
- Desires CAN change – I stand amazed
- I don’t NEED anything
- Balance is the structure
- No doesn’t mean never again
Each day is still full of choices, but God is there and I live without thinking about it so much. It’s become habit, a beautiful new way of living that has no boundaries or chains holding me down. It’s like a butterfly – the fat pudgy caterpillar goes into a season in the cocoon, a time of change, being made into what it was originally created to be…
A butterfly – with wings to fly.
Coming next…Part 2 – the nitty gritty. First things first!