Things My Weight Loss Journey Taught Me
When we accomplish a challenge of significance it's sometimes hard to contain our excitement and pleasure. We may even risk crossing that line into boastfulness and insensitivity. But, over the past 18 months, as I have carefully, purposefully, and determinedly whittled away several (actually many) pounds and regained a sense of happiness and self-esteem, I have learned some important lessons along the way.
Weight loss is truly a battle that we all, as humans, struggle with at one time or another in our lives. I watched my beautiful mother battle that mutual foe, with all its predatory pitfalls, relentlessly for as long as I can remember. I find it sad that today's society force-feeds so many false messages to us in this battle. Media telling us, on one hand, to be happy with who we are when we are obese (and unhealthy) but on the other hand, how much happier we'll be when we are waif-like. The truth is, God gifted us with our earthly bodies as 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us , "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;". When we care for our bodies, through exercise and good nutrition, we are honouring God's temple created in us.
When I embarked on my journey, December 27th, 2021, I was at a very low point in most aspects of my life. Still grieving the losses of both of my parents and 2 of our beloved fur-kids over the past many previous months, deeply hurt and disheartened by a family estrangement, and, like all of us at the time, dealing with the stress and anxiety of a world-wide pandemic, I was apathetic to life. My mental health was precarious and my weight was rocketing upward. But when I forced myself to recognize these things, and really prayed on it, I resolved to make changes.
Along the way, with the Lord's help, I have learned a number of valuable lessons.
But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently. ~Romans 8:25~ NLT
As I look back now, I don't remember setting any kind of goal, weight-wise or time-wise beyond 1 week. I knew I had a significant amount of weight to lose, not only to fit into the clothes in my closet, but to fall into a healthy segment of the weight spectrum, and to improve my mental health. As I began each day, I included in my morning prayer, my desire for God to guide me on my journey. I knew it was a long-term commitment and that I would need His wise and abundant counsel every step of the way if I were to be successful.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. ~Exodus 14:14~ NIV
Each time I looked in the mirror, I tried to smile. At first, it was hard because I wasn't particularly happy with what I saw. But, each week, as 1 pound and then another disappeared, I found it just a little easier to smile at myself and say, "Good job this week!". After going so long without a genuine smile, it began to feel good to smile and really mean it. I was determined that next week, I would smile once again. Soon, I was smiling week after week after week.
For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, His Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control. ~2 Timothy 1:7~ GNT
Occasionally, a setback would occur. They always do. But, that's when we need to dig deep and find the perseverance to keep going. Being realistic, I understood that not every week would see success. But that's true in every aspect of life, isn't it? God's plan for us is a mystery to all but Him. However, we should always remember that His plan is filled with lessons to be learned from experiences that were unsuccessful or heartbreaking or painful or difficult.
Don’t praise yourself; let others do it! ~Proverbs 27:2~ TBL
I believe that humility is one of our biggest struggles as humans. Society today pushes us to "stand out" and win at all costs, but that's how we lose focus. There's inherent danger lurking within this mindset and we must recognize that those messages are the enemy talking to us. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus taught us that we must put others before ourselves and in doing so, we declare our obedience to God. In his article "Humble Yourself - Like God: The Power of Christ's Lowliness, Pastor David Mathis wrote, " To humble oneself is not to be less than human. Rather, it is pride that is the cancer, pride that corrodes our true dignity. To humble ourselves is to come ever closer, step by step, to the bliss and full flourishing for which we were made."(1) Allowing humility to wash over us at a time when we'd rather stand in the spotlight blesses us as we give all the glory to the Lord.
Do not let this happy trust in the Lord die away, no matter what happens. Remember your reward! You need to keep on patiently doing God’s will if you want Him to do for you all that He has promised. ~Hebrews 10:35-26~ TLB
Self-confidence is certainly a positive characteristic that helps us find success in our endeavours. However, we must always be careful with this one! Remembering that our self-confidence is God-given, that He is the power behind it, and that the glory goes to Him alone is crucial. We become weak when we rely solely on our fleshly abilities.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. ~Ephesians 4:2~ NLT
Over time, as the pounds melted away, my sensitivity to others struggling with their own weight issues increased exponentially. While inwardly, I was thrilled with my own progress, I recognized that my personal success could lead to someone else's sense of self-doubt, shame, or guilt. In his message to the Romans, the Apostle Paul reminded them to, "Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves." ~Romans 12:10~ and by keeping this in mind, we place higher value to the feelings of others than we do to our own.
" When we trust God, He will guide us. "
My biggest lesson was to listen! When we trust God, He will guide us. I have read a lot of those "I no longer care about what others think" posts on social media. But, the question is, do you care what you yourself thinks? And even more importantly, do you care what God thinks? Once again, the enemy, bolstered by modern media is trying to convince us to settle for (and even embrace) an unhealthy and ungodly lifestyle. The trap is set to propel the health risks of obesity and failing mental health out of control. It truly hurts my heart to see friends who flippantly share these kinds of posts believing they are being open-minded and accepting. In reality, we're doing more damage to each other by spreading misleading and harmful thoughts such as these. Once we break free from the influence of those menacing ideas and remember that our bodies are the greatest gift our Creator could have given us, we will learn the best lesson of all: God doesn't want us to be super skinny, He just wants us to take responsible care of our bodies, and by doing so, glorify Him.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. ~Psalm 139:14~ NLT
Paws To Pray
Throughout the past 18 months, You have blessed me in so many ways, as I have worked to restore my earthly body to a healthy weight. I am ever grateful for the times You walked along side of me through every huge struggle and each small success. But God, I pray that today, You move among so many others who face these same, or even greater challenges, and give them the hope and encouragement they need to find victory in their battles. As we face the dark challenges in which the enemy disguised as social media smothers us, keep us close and ever watchful. Armed with Your truth, help us help each other to success.
In Jesus Name we pray,
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