It’s always kind of bothered me to see Christians overweight. Before you shut me out, just hear me out a little. I struggled with obesity as a kid, and through my time in high school and college was able to see how food was an idol for me. I saw that it was an idol for others, too, but fortunately most kids had the metabolism to not let it show. When we’re at parties, we eat. When we watch a movie, we eat. When we want to do something with our friends, we go out to eat. When we’re bored, we get a snack. Instead of turning to Jesus or spending time with Jesus or worshiping Jesus, we eat. I mean, to this day, I make myself a coffee or latte before I study my Bible almost every time. Like I need coffee to do a devotion!? First Samuel 16:7 says, “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” While I believe that being outwardly beautiful by the world’s standards is not what the Lord cares about, I DO think he cares about our health. Don’t read me wrong. I don’t think He cares that all the girls are a size 6. I do think he cares that we feed our bodies with nutritious foods in the right portions, and that we physically exercise our bodies so that they move properly. Because of these views, you can imagine that I felt some extra weight inside when my body was clearly overweight after my pregnancies. Obviously, pregnancies can add some extra weight, but afterwards I wasn’t losing it. I wasn’t one of those people that just loses it naturally while nursing. After my second pregnancy of adding pounds onto pounds I started getting desperate. Not just because I felt horrible and was completely insecure about the way I looked, but I felt like a hypocrite. I knew I wasn’t broken and unable to lose weight, I was just unsure of what to do to get the weight off. That’s why I chose 21 Day Fix. It was a strict plan for eating and exercise, without having to buy branded prepackaged foods, which are hard to find in the country, not to mention expensive.
But here’s the thing, 21 days of eating right is way harder than I thought it would be. Especially after apparently NEVER eating correctly my whole life. My first round I cried no less that 5 times, and said I couldn’t do it. My second and third attempt I quit by day 4. During my forth attempt, which I call my second round, something struck me. I was feeling so incredible from my clean eating and workouts, that when I read John 10:10, it kind of slapped me in the face. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Throughout this journey I have seen my freedom increase as I have lost weight. I have gained energy, and I have become less insecure. While I’ve had a major health problem surface during this (that will be a topic for another day) I’ve had other things I’ve struggled with, like psoriasis and allergies be alleviated. In many ways, my life has become more “abundant”. As if God has said, “Remember when I talked about gluttony? I was serious about that. Not because I don’t want you to enjoy yourself, but because I know what too much can do to the body I created. I know that the body I created starts to deteriorate and not function properly when not well maintained.” Not only that, but this is where the verse really got me. I’m not sure if any of you have read The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, but it’s a story of a senior demon teaching his nephew apprentice demon how to deceive a human. He deceives the human in little unsuspecting ways until he’s under their control. One of the quotes from the book is, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” I have begun to believe that food, laziness and busyness are tools that Satan uses to deceive us. He lies and says, “go ahead and have an extra glass of wine. Indulge a little. You deserve it. You’ve had a rough day.” (Which, by the way, is every day once you have kids.) He tells us, “You have way too much on your plate right now to squeeze in a workout,” or “You have more important things to do than make your body stronger.” In those lies he is slowly stealing from us, and potentially killing us, if we let it get out of hand. He steals our joy by helping us become out of shape and unable to experience all of life. He destroys our confidence. He kills us with aches and pains and diseases. You could say it’s ironic that we will tell ourselves, “one cookie won’t kill me,” when there are SO MANY diseases caused ultimately by an unhealthy diet. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s ironic at all. I think it’s part of a plan. A plan of the Thief to steal, kill and destroy. Now, ultimately, I don’t think ONE cookie will literally kill you, but in my experience it’s not just one. It’s one or two after each meal until the bag is gone.
During round 4 my thoughts changed from, “I can’t, it’s too hard,” to “I can, and I will,” because every time I wanted a slice of pizza, or latte, or whatever, I said, “No Satan. This will not make me feel better. You will not destroy my life one pound at a time. You know what will make me feel better? An apple, some salmon, or a workout.” Satan is not just some devil on your shoulder telling you to do something extreme, like go have an affair, or go do some physical harm to someone you don’t like. He knows us. The devil will use only the things that he knows will slowly destroy YOU. What will steal from me and what will steal from you may be completely different. For those who struggle on the opposite end of the health spectrum, the devil can also work to destroy us by telling us we “need” to workout just one more time, setting us into things like adrenal fatigue, anorexia, etc.
I realize that for some of you this may seem really extreme. For others it will make total sense. The Lord has given us this world to enjoy, but I’m not sure our culture even knows how to properly enjoy in moderation or without extremes. Every day is not just a fight for big things like slave trade and gun violence. While we are born with a sin nature, people are not born with a desire to use and abuse others. It’s a slow, quiet fight for our lives in more ways than just health, but little things like the sugar we consume is one of the ways used to hurt us. I haven’t looked up any statistics on this, but I’d imagine that diabetes kills more people than gun violence. There is so much more I want to say on this, but I’ll save it for another day. For now, I hope that this somehow helps to kick start a healthier decision for you today. I’d love to know how this makes you want to respond? Does it make sense? Does this help you in fighting battles?