Sunday, March 8, 2009

More on Strongholds

This morning I woke up thinking about how things (ideas, thoughts, feelings) can become strongholds for us. A place of comfort and strength. Things that separate us from God because they are not God. In some ways, these are our idols. Once I got my head around that thought I realized I should supplement yesterday's post with

"How I broke free from the scale"

Up until the beginning of this year I had become addicted to weighing myself. That may sound strange but I was stepping on the scale no fewer than 3 times a day. I watched myself gain almost 20 pounds last year. So this year I committed to worship God and to value the temple He has "loaned" me to house His Holy Spirit. Here is an exerpt from an article I wrote for our church's monthly newsletter:

We have been blessed with the Holy Spirit and the Spirit is in us. We are God’s temple. We are sacred vessels. “‘Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.’”(1 Corinthians 3:16-17) Since we know that overeating, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyles, bad habits, etc. are the path of self-destruction, it stands to reason that healthy living is a requirement for us in our obedience to God’s will. Seems simple enough, but I know from experience that I do not do well with lifestyle changes that are not easily measured. When I was ready to quit smoking, it was easy to measure my success. I could count the days, then weeks, then months, then years (4 -and counting) since my last cigarette. This hasn’t worked for me when I am trying to “lose weight and exercise more”. During the last six months of ’08 I got on the scale every day … and watched my weight creep up! I can’t stop eating completely. I get cranky when I’m hungry (Jim and Travis will be quick to confirm this if you ask). How do I manage to eat less? And exercise? I’ve been working out (15-20 minute aerobics at least 5 days a week) for most of the last year. My schedule doesn’t permit much more. I expected a higher return on the investment I’m already making.

So, as we began ’09, I changed my commitment to one of obedience. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

It’s about changing our habits, changing our lifestyles. It’s about waking up every morning and thinking, “God has granted me another day to worship Him. I promise to take care of His temple.” I am renewing my mind. I am renewing the way that I look at my body. I am renewing the way that I look at the choices I make during the course of the day. I am parking at the far side of the parking lot at my office and walking briskly to the door. I am taking the stairs instead of the elevator. I am conversing with God during these extra moments of worship. Sometimes this is as simple as “God, grant me the strength to make it to the top of the stairs!” Before
meals, I am praying that I can “eat right.” In pulling together my thoughts for this article, I found this Proverb that I will incorporate in my personal prayer for grace before meals: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:7-8)

“God, let me not rely on my own judgment, but let me trust in your guidance as I learn to live in a way that brings health to my body and nourishment to my bones. It is your call to us that we tend your temple and be a sanctuary for your Spirit. Let me obey your will. Amen.”

NOTE: I have broken free from the scale, although I still have to occasionally fight the temptation to check my weight. My focus remains on the lifestyle changes.


BFF Barbara said...

Good for you!

I'm beat! Standing, cooking and cleaning dishes all day for a gaggle of teens - 6 of which are sleeping over in a tent in the yard tonight.

Hoping to feel rested again by Wednesday.

you gotta wonder said...

@ BFF Barbara, I am ready for a break! I'm hoping you're rested by now. I'm looking forward to Spring Break!!!