Drop the Weight!
Losing what holds you down
by Alisa Keeton
If you are one of the blessed ones who have crossed over into the new year, there’s a high chance you’ve entered the race for change. Inside the heart of every man and woman with breath is the deep-down desire to stop doing the things they don’t want to do and to start doing the things they wish they could. The new year gives all a chance to go public, to link arms in solidarity and storm the castle together. Before we lace up our marching boots, or running shoes, it’s important to remember that at some point we will be on our own. Breaking up with old, unhealthy habits and beginning transformational and sustainable new ones is an inside-out and one-on-one job. It’s something that only the Spirit of God, uniquely working inside each of us, can do.
If getting in shape is at the top of your list, I am sorry/not sorry to break it to you that God is for your health and wholeness more than He is for you getting skinny and lean. The world, your flesh and the enemy of your soul and God-designed body will demand that you go for skinny and lean—a slow kind of death and a vanishing away through starvation and self-control.
Pursuing health and wholeness feeds the spirit and has eternal value; skinny and lean only momentarily comforts the flesh. The good news of God’s love did not come just to save our souls, but to feed our hearts, our minds and our bodies too—to grow us up in spirit, soul and body as we become more Christlike. After all, it’s our bodies that give each of us the ability to carry out the requests of God.
Before you start making your list of dos and don’ts to get what you want, be sure to check in with God. There’s a difference between making a list of your personal goals and receiving your assignments from God. Assignments from God are the things He has for you to do that line up with who you were made to be and that help you become your new self in Christ. Your assignments from God are not going anywhere, unlike personal goals that can shift like the wind. Let’s take Christ at His word when He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, ESV).
It’s important we learn to identify unhealthy habits that creep in to keep us from our assignments. How do we do this? We must always check our motives before making any life decisions. Any goal or desire in our lives that is driven by fear, shame or guilt is not an assignment from God. It’s a ploy from Satan, the anxious one, to steal, kill and destroy our life. Or at the very least, it’s a selfish desire that sets us up to fail, and when we fail, we can be sure the accuser of our souls will be right there to call us losers and kick dirt in our faces while we lie on the ground stunned and wondering what went wrong. On the surface, a new habit can look good, while inside it is killing our peace and joy.
Wanting to lose weight so our spouses will find us more attractive is a motive driven by fear of man. Desiring to get healthy so we can have more energy is the motive of love, a love that is patient and kind. Restricting our food under the guise of a holy self-control because we have something to prove is an unhealthy habit, versus choosing to eat more foods that would be loving and kind for the energy of our life—the ability to complete all the good assignments God gives us.
God-assignments always have something to do with pushing back darkness: driving out fear, shame and guilt, which drive us and eventually others into a sense of hopelessness and despair. Locating these places in us is the first step to getting healthy and whole in body, soul and spirit.
Here are some practical, healthy habits to consider for keeping your God-assignments this new year:
GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING STILL.
Establishing new habits is never comfortable. But do you know what’s even more uncomfortable? Being still. We are living in distracted times. Keeping something that God has given us to do will require an ongoing ear to hear. He leads, we follow. Practice the habit of being still.
DRINK MORE (LIVING) WATER.
Ask someone who hasn’t had something to drink in 24 hours what she needs, and she is not likely to ask for a cup of coffee. Water is to the body like oil is to a car—without it, all the systems (systems that work the heart, the lungs, the blood, the hormones, etc.) begin to break down. God’s Word keeps us hydrated and leads us to His heart, where rivers of living water flow. In the “flow” of living for who God is and the assignments we have been given, the workflow of our day will continue to foster and feed our healthy habits.
EAT REAL FOOD.
If what you take into your body doesn’t expire in your refrigerator or on your counter within a few days, it’s not something that contains life-giving nutrients. When God fed His people in the desert with manna for 40 years, every day it expired. God likes things fresh! When we eat primarily real food, food that can expire, we keep our bodies and minds fresh to best support our daily assignments that we hear from the Word of God—our daily bread.
MOVE IN LOVE.
Whatever you do, whether eating, drinking, exercising, talking—however you choose to harness the power of your body, the ability to carry out your assignments—make sure your motive is love. Love keeps the lights on, and darkness (fear, shame and guilt) gets swallowed up by the light.
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