… Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God. Romans 6:13 (NLT)
If you’ve followed my blogs for awhile, you’ll know about my wellness journey. For those who are new, I lost about 60 pounds over two years and have kept it off. People ask me how I did it, and I credit “First Place 4 Health” with playing a significant role. This ministry teaches about nutrition and exercise, but moreso it emphasizes giving Jesus the place He deserves in our lives so we can experience wellness in every part of our person—emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual.
I struggled with my weight for years. Food enslaved me. If I ate at a buffet restaurant, I’d heap my plate full two or three times because I “had to get my money’s worth.” If attending a social event with appetizers and snacks, I’d hang out near the food table so I could refill my plate easily. If I ran into writer’s block in my office, I’d eat chocolate or chips in secret (as though doing so would somehow jumpstart creativity).
Overeating combined with lack of exercise led to obesity. Then came knee pain and leg injuries that resulted in a loss of mobility for three months.
“First Place 4 Health” became a life saver for me, especially through its weekly Bible studies. I’m part of a Wednesday morning online study with about ten other women. Each week we discuss topics related to nutrition and exercise for about a half hour, and then we delve into our Bible study lesson for a half hour. The program also requires that we recite our weekly Bible memory verse, track our food intake, and send our weekly weight to our group leader for accountability.
I consider this program as my lifeline, and this is especially so since Gene and I moved to the sailboat. The transition threw me off my nicely ordered routine. For starters, I’ve had to restructure my exercise routine to fit the gym’s open hours and Gene’s commute schedule. We have only one car, so if he leaves early for work, then I can’t get to the gym—unless I walk there. That means crossing a busy freeway. At first I thought that was impossible, but I’ve been scouting options and I found a crosswalk. I think I can do this. It’ll take at least 30 minutes each direction, maybe more.
I’m having to think of ways to “up” the number of steps I walk every day. Our former house was quite large. My office was at one end, and the kitchen was at the other. I gained a lot of steps simply by walking back and forth during the natural course of a day. But that doesn’t happen in a boat where my desk is four steps from the kitchen. Now I have to be more intentional about leaving the boat to walk, and that interrupts my nicely ordered writing routine.
I’m also having to rethink my meal routine. Back at the house, Gene and I ate our larger meal at noon and a lighter meal at six o’clock. Now, because of his commute, he packs a lunch. For him to eat the larger meal at noon, I have to consciously plan menus so ensure leftovers. Also, he arrives home after seven o’clock three days a week. That means we eat around 8 o’clock. We enjoy connecting over our meal at day’s end, but that’s just too late for my metabolism. Something’s gotta change.
As I look back over the past five years or so, I see God’s direct involvement in connecting me with “First Place 4 Health” so I could regain wellness in preparation for living aboard a sailboat. He knew this transition was coming, and He knew I’d have to be healthy to do it. Now we’re here, living among people who need to hear about God’s love for them. For me to fully participate in His purposes, I need to stay healthy, and that means making whatever changes are necessary.
Health is a priceless gift, but it takes intentional effort to maintain. If we’re to use our bodies as tools for God’s glory, then we need to make that effort. I’ve found it so very worthwhile—I’m healthier and stronger than I’ve been in twenty years and able to do what God’s called me to do during this season of my life. But, through this transition, I see how easily I could slip back into excuses and bad habits. Heaven forbid I go there again. And so I ask for His help to stay on track every day. Every. Day. One choice at a time.
So—what’s your greatest health challenge, and what’s one step you can take to ensure your body is used for God’s glory?
BTW, the Bible study I recently wrote was done in partnership with “First Place 4 Health.” If all goes as planned, it will be released in July. You can use in conjunction with a “FP4H” small group or not—the choice is yours. It will be available both on the FP4H website but also through my website. This eleven week study titled “Forever Changed” will also contain healthy recipes and grocery lists.
#bbg2 #FirstPlace4Health #FP4H
Grace , I applaude you on your intentional determination to stick with this. I on the other have gone backwards. Whendiognosed with diabetes I was determined to beat it .Walked20 is a day in an attempt to keep my bg levels where they neede to be.,lots a lot of weight it could not get the numbers where they neede to be.Depression ,anxiety took over and the will to continue staying the course..It has become a fight I’ve lost the will to fight.and yet I do not like where I am. ?♀️
Oh, Elizabeth, my heart aches for you. My journey hasn’t been an easy one especially with moving to the sailboat, but I keep thinking that “anything is better than nothing.” Baby steps, baby steps. What’s one thing you can do each day to get back on track? I’m going to email you privately, okay?
Good morning Grace,
Don’t you love how God is always several steps ahead of us, preparing and taking care of things before we even know we need him to? I loved your article. I have been involved in FP4H since 2002, I lost 50 pounds by 2004, I was a leader & a networking leader. I had to bow out of my FP responsibilities in 2009 due to my mom being ill. Wait…It just dawned on me as I typed that (light bulb) that I used my mom’s illness as an excuse to back away from FP. I was burnt out as a leader, and had gained about 10 pounds back. I was relieved to have a reason to be done, wow…God just revealed that to me, I suppose I should stop typing and think about that, …anyway, if I would have been unsatisfied with my 50 pound loss, and kept going, I would have been stronger and could have hung in there rather than slowing pulling away. I probably still needed to lose 20 more pounds. My flesh was satisfied, once the compliments started coming in, I guess I thought….I have arrived! I did give God the glory at the time, but, we could have done a lot more together if I would have continued to be His partner in this. I guess once a reached “50” it seemed so significant and I became prideful in that, that I didn’t care if I went any further. Our health journey is so driven by our emotions, emotions are all consuming at times, for me, I completely freeze in time if there is something going on with my children or someone I love. Being healthy & strong spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically gives us a great foundation when we are out of sync or something happens to us spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. Had I not become weak in those areas, the strength I should have had would have prevented me from burning out and leaving FP. But, I have remembered what I am fighting for, and I am ALL IN and on track most of the time. I had no idea my reply was going to go this way….what I wanted to say was….we DO have to remember what we are fighting for, and good for you for finding other ways since your move to stay on the journey that you and God started together. I find it hard to stay focused when big things are happening…like a move, so by having a strong foundation in those four areas of your life, you were able to stay strong and continue on. Anytime I let something get in my way of doing what I know I should be doing…that voice is saying one thing, the flesh is saying another….when the flesh wins, so does satan, and that is not a good thing. Thank you for your article, a great reminder that nothing should get in the way of what we need to be doing, there is always a detour route that will keep us on track. God bless your day!
Sherrie, thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I’m grateful for your vulnerability. I agree with what you’ve said about needing the strong foundation in those four parts of our person. When something’s out of sync, everything else is affected, so we need to keep working on every part of who we are. I’m so very grateful for the Holy Spirit who teaches us, reveals aha moments so we can continue to address areas in our lives that need to change so we can grow and thrive, and gives us both the desire to obey God and the power to do so. We don’t have to walk this wellness journey alone, but we do have to do our part. And that’s not easy sometimes, but again, He’s there to help us. Kudos to you for being ALL IN. He will strengthen you.