Another problem-The same deceiver
Satan is so very good at deceiving us. He will use anything he can but one of his favorite ways to bring us down is to use our own minds against us.
I love God, I am heavy. Nothing about those two things has changed very much for very long. I struggle with both at times but at the end of the day, both remain with me.
These struggles, God and weight,seem to come together in certain ways. Satan loves to plant a little seed in my mind and watch as I take that seed, give it all the water and food it needs to go from seed to full blown vegetative bush that bears rotten fruit.
Let me give you an example. I have let my weight be a deterrent to sharing the Word of God. In my mind a good evangelist has to be thin. To be an overweight evangelist seems counter productive. I may be talking to someone about the joy of what Jesus has done for me but in my mind I am thinking that this person is never going to listen to me because what this person is looking at (an overweight me) proves that I talk the talk but do not walk the walk. My mind is throwing out erroneous thinking at a break neck pace. She must not believe in what she is telling me, has she never heard that self-control is a virtue, did she miss that one in her bible reading?
Oh Satan is good, don’t forget he can use everything available to him to fight for what he wants, even scripture. He will distort your thinking. Believe it because he is doing it every day.
He has used Romans 12:1 in that way in my life. I pounded the part of the scripture that told me to take my everyday habits, sleeping, eating working (emphasis on eating for this purpose) and use it as an offering to God beecause embracing what God does for me is the best thing I can do for him.
All it brought was shame because I could not seem to get my eating under control and my weight climbed and climbed. How could I offer to God my eating habits when they were in deplorable condition?
Somehow I never saw the second half to that verse. I had blinders on and you can bet those blinders were manufactured by Satan.
I completely disregarded that sound advice that followed. It says to look up before we look around. We are told to quit conforming to the things of the world we live in. God will tell us what He wants from us if we look for it. Most importantly, He wants us to fix our attention on Him and let His healing change us from the inside out, not the other way around. This scripture also offers the biggest blast of fresh air and good news to those of us who hate ourselves from the outside in. We are reminded that God brings out the best in us.
Scripture does speak clearly to us about honoring our bodies and how wonderfully we are made. It is a beautiful verse.
Let’s take a minute to read this. “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out’ you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God- you are breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration- what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body’ You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth’ all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I had even lived one day.
So tell me, are we taking God’s word for who we are or are we applying social conventions for what society thinks should be the proper size and what we should weigh?
I know it is hard to undo the detrimental thinking that has ingrained itself in our minds since childhood. However, society buys into the lies that Satan peppers our path with. Society not only buys in to his lies, they have made it big business.
Satan says- You are fat, you are worthless and every word you say is tinged by those things.
God says- You are marvelously made. I know you inside and out because I made you. I will bring out the best in you……………if you let me.
Digging deeper into Psalm 139: 13-16
In our mother’s womb what was formed first, our inside or our outside? __________________________How and why is this significant in your life? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
We often berate ourselves for how we look on the outside and what the scale says. Take the part of the scripture that says “I am marvelously made” and thoughtfully, slowly, methodically and truthfully name each part of your body and why it is a marvelous and miraculous creation of God’s hand. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What does it mean to you personally that God knows you inside and out and knows every bone in your body?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Why do you think it was important enough to mention in scripture that God did not throw us together in assembly line fashion but rather created us “bit by bit from nothing into something” ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth’ all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I had even lived one day.” Taking all that you have just worked through about the way in which you were created, name your book. __________________________________________
God loves us not in spite of who we are but because of who we are!
God loves us in spite of what we do.
We hear that and have trouble believing it. We know we are not lovable all the time and we know that our hearts are in deplorable condition. We feel we do not deserve His love even for a little while.
Our narrow earthly vision has trouble coming to grips with the fact that God doesn’t just love us once in awhile and only when we are good. He loves us every single minute of every single day. How do you visualize a love like the one God offers us? What does infinite, unconditional, enduring, sacrificial, and perfect love look like?
We are used to a love that is attached to some sort of condition. Sadly, we both give love and receive love conditionally. It is human nature. It is your nature, it is my nature.
It is easy to believe that we are not good enough to be on the receiving end of such a love. We are used to thinking of ourselves as not worthy, we feel we have blown any chance we have for a love like that.
That is not however, how God works.
God loves us freely- Hosea 14:4. Imagine that for a moment. Don’t skim over the real meaning of a love that is given freely.
God has desires, plans and intentions for us specifically that are for our good benefit. Jeremiah 29:11. I don’t know about you but just knowing that the Creator of the Universe has desires, plans and intentions specifically for me gives me goosebumps.
Psalm 139- Read it and bask in the comfort and knowledge that you have a keeper who has thought of everything. Your keeper will stop at nothing to show you He loves you and is there for you.
God knows when we are feeling whatever we are feeling. If we are in pain, He feels it also. He longs for us to come to Him with our inner most thoughts.
There is no where we could go and no one who gives us the deal God does. He loves us completely for the unique and specific people we are. He loves us with a love that is whole, deep and completely honest in spite of and completely apart from anything we have done or accomplished.
Keep seeking God until you see Him for who He really is. Although God does love you, He is so much more than that. God is love. Love is His nature and His very essence. Who else do you know that lavishes that kind of love on undeserving people?
Seek Him, Find Him, Keep Him. You will not be sorry.
1 Peter 3:4
The loveliness that lives inside you.
“You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within. The unending beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God.”
Looking for what you have lost
We as women spend our whole lives trying to define ourselves by the unrealistic expectations that we have either set for ourselves, or have let society set for us. Myself, being one of the female persuasion, often wonder why I do that? I will take my Mom’s view, my neighbors view, the latest trend on social media and televisions view on what a woman should look like. Most if not all of those opinions are based on nothing but a personal judgement and competition. No researched facts, nothing but trends and fads and what feels right at the moment. We fear looking like anything except what everyone else looks like. Once again we are looking around before or we look up for answers. If everyone else isn’t doing it then by golly, it can’t be right. I need the latest book, fashion, exercise equipment etc, then I will be whole and finally happy. If I follow this or that diet and this or that exercise program I can be proud of myself.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that you cannot invent a new kind of diet or exercise program, buy all the latest fashions, there is nothing that is going to work wonders for you long term unless you stop searching fruitlessly for what has thus far eluded you. As Dr. Phil says, how is that working for you?
If we lose ourselves to what society says we must, we are gaining nothing even if the latest program is successful. It won’t last. How many times have we lost 5, 10, 20 or even 100 pounds just to find ourselves putting it all back on and a few more to boot?
Could it possibly be that we are looking for what we need in all the wrong places? We all know the void we feel, you know, the one we try to fill with food or fancy clothes, exercise equipment that we never use. We are so inventive with the things we try to fill the void with but that is because we buy into what society says beautiful looks like and not the truth. It is important to remember where our beauty really comes from.
There are a lot of things that the void inside us can be filled with, but for the purposes of this writing I am speaking only of using food and weight loss to fill the empty place that resides in us. I speak of this because it is a subject that I have some expertise in and have in fact, lived with for every day of my life.
We are looking for what we have lost and the crazy thing is most of the time we don’t know that we have misplaced it. We feel the void but we attribute it to stress of life. This way of living is so ingrained in us that we are unaware we are on a one way trip to nowhere, or at the very least another trip to the Ice Cream Café. The thing is, after the ice cream excursion, we feel emptier than before. We feel guilt for being so weak. We feel stupid in our fat clothes. We feel there is nothing on this earth that is going to fix this for us. Well at least the last thought is correct.
There is sisters, a way forward, there are answers to finding what we have lost, if we know where to look for them. There is victory to be found.
In most cases the lives we live now are all we have ever known. We keep doing the same thing and getting the same results but expecting something different. Maybe the name of this chapter ia a little misleading. We spend our lives not so much looking for what we have lost but searching for what we never knew we had. The thing is we can have no hope of finding what has been eluding us for so long until we figure out just what we are looking for, where we can find it and how to keep it once we find it.
If we are honest with ourselves we ARE concerned with what we look like when we venture into the world. We adorn ourselves with the latest fashion, coordinating jewelry, and shoes. To be sure there is nothing wrong with this as long as it is not our primary goal. We were created to worship the God who created us. We were not created to be thin, fashion horses, exercise goddesses or anything else we try to mold ourselves into.
I have to believe that we are all looking for the beautiful, lovely, gentle and strong person who is inside us. The Bible tells us there is an unending gentle and quiet spirit in all of us. God has placed a beauty in each and every one of us that absolutely shines if we let it. The fact is, we are beautiful simply because we have been created that way. Why is it so hard for us to believe that. Why is it so hard for us to take God at His word?
Because sisters, we live in a human world that treats God’s word as an afterthought and not the unerring Book of Life that it is. Like Ronald Reagan said, within the covers of the Bible lie the answers for all our problems.
I want to open that well inside me that boils with unending gentleness and beauty. I want the loveliness that lives inside me. I want to know it is there and I want to know it will never fail me. Let’s start with what the Bible says about this subject.
In 1 Peter 3:3-4 the apostle Peter wrote the following to Christian wives.
“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
I asked earlier how we can take what the Bible says about Christ living inside us and make it our own story. The answer is probably not what you want to hear and is certainly not easy to live out. However, the truth is that you simply decide to live as God would want you to. Period, that is it. You make the choice to look to God first and the world second. We decide to weave our lives with purity, reverence and holiness. We must clothe ourselves with the things God has called us to do.
I am so glad that I can look at my world with glasses colored with His glory. I stand tall knowing that I am ALL that God created me to be. God does not love me in spite of who I am, He loves me because of who I am! I can live a successful and joyous life because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
Let me remind you of one unconditional truth, the way you see yourself is in no way an accurate picture of what Christ has done for you.
Sometimes I think that we feel we need permission to love (or even like) ourselves.
We need to get to the place where we love ourselves simply because God loves us.
First however, we have to take what the Bible says and figure out how in the world to apply it in our lives.
We live on self-rejection. One time I was asked if I was happy with the person God made me to be. I answered of course I am, well except for (fill in the blank) , ok maybe I think he could have improved the design a bit.
Instead of delighting in how He created us, we call ourselves ugly, clumsy, fat, dumb and worthless. We beat ourselves up emotionally because we do not measure up to the standards we have set for ourselves. Or should I say that we have let others set for us.
Is it to much to ask to love what I see in the mirror instead of throwing the mirror in the closet where it can never haunt me again? I want to look in the mirror and see what God sees.. That means I have to start seeing myself as I really am, right at this moment. Not after I have finally lost those excess pounds, or fixed my chin, teeth or boobs and am wearing skinny jeans.
When I can look at myself and see the real me and love the real me, that is when the chains of bondage have been broken.
When I can base my self worth on my identity in Christ and not on my accomplishments, looks or the job I hold. When I can realize that God loves me for who I am not in spite of who I am. That is when the chains of bondage have been broken.
When I realize that I do no need to be loved and approved of by virtually every person in my life, only God needs to approve, that is when the chains of bondage have been broken.
God offers us unconditional love, through His grace we are saved. However, grace sometimes does not come easily to us simply because of how we have conditioned ourselves to think. We have to start giving ourselves some slack and start believing what God tells us.
Look at Romans 8: 37-39 take a look and breathe in the truth of what can separate us from God’s love. .
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Take a minute and let this verse cloak you in the security of God’s love.