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Monday, September 28, 2009

You Are What You Eat

After my jog the other day, I did something I usually don’t – sought out the fitness center’s scale. When I stepped on it, the digital read-out said Lo.

Ha! Crack me up.

The battery in the scale needed changed, so the answer came out Lo.

Instead of a number, maybe scales should use words like low or high or fabulous or wo! It’d be more motivating, I think. As a writer, I respond much better to words than numbers anyway.

I came to a point a couple of years ago when my scale read wo! Keep in mind, I’m a 6’1, big-boned, middle-aged, former basketball player. I’ve measured on a higher scale all my life (5’10 by the time I was 12 yrs. old), so my brain didn’t want to contemplate let alone believe that I could be anything but a big girl. Besides, I did exercise, sometimes, and diet, well, that word is spelled with four letters, if you get my drift.

But thanks to my brother-in-law and the come-to-Jesus meeting he had with my husband, we started on a plan that ultimately allowed my Daniel to loose 80 pounds and me to loose 70 pounds. After about a year, we both look like different people and we feel great.

The change is dramatic enough that people who have known us in the past notice. The first thing they say is, “Wow, you’ve lost weight.” I have to admit, I never get tired of hearing it! It’s only step one, though, in a pattern because the second reaction, following close on the heels of the first, is surprisingly universal – guilt. Most people express some sort of self-conscious regret for not having lost weight. Then the third and eventual product, which has come from a majority of our friends as well, is the question how? Telling them is easy and even a little exciting for us because we want our friends and family to feel great like we do.

As for the people who didn’t know us before, I find it’s pretty easy telling them too because we are proud. And we feel so great we can’t stop ourselves.

This got me thinking.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could represent Jesus like that?

Then I thought…

Who’s to say I can’t? Or shouldn’t?

What would it be like if my spiritual appearance was as evident as my physical changes? Enough so that people would be taken aback and declare in shocked delight, “Wow. You love unconditionally” or “Those mercy muscles are so big!”

When the evidence is there, the other two steps in the pattern should follow.

My spiritual appearance could cause someone to feel desirous of a similar result.

If the evidence is compelling enough, maybe they’d ask me how?

What if I felt so proud of the Cause of my transformation and I wanted so much for them to feel great too, that I easily and gladly shared The Plan? Maybe even volunteer the information when I meet someone who didn’t know me before?

So what’s stopping me? If I can spout off about my weight loss at any given opportunity, why don’t I do the same thing with my faith?

I’ve struggled with this. Whether from selfishness, apathy, fear, pride, conceit (well… I could go on, and you get the picture!), I miss opportunities all the time. Then I feel guilty and the hole just gets deeper.

But as I think about this diet comparison, I think I’ve discovered a couple of answers.

First, I get in the way. I lean on my own understanding. I don’t let God’s glory shine through me because I’m trying too hard to light my own glory. I may do some exercise here and there, but I’m not eating correctly. I’m running on my own power, and golly, how useless is that? I can’t rely on my own goodness or motivations or love or deeds. All of that is rubbish. (Isaiah 64:6)

I need God’s glory, and to find that I must eat right.

I must tie myself to the Vine. (John 15:1-8) No Vine, no nourishment. No nourishment, no fruit. No fruit, nothing to see. (Galatians 5:22-23) But if fruit is there, we’ve got evidence of what a healthy diet can do. With evidence, making a case is easy. It all starts with letting God’s glory flow through me.

Then I can implement some weight lifting, prayer and obedience, coupled with a little cardio, discipline and service.

Before I know it, my spiritual appearance has changed, maybe even enough for people to notice. And ask about it too. And then I can tell with excitement and freedom because it’s not about what I’ve done right or wrong, it’s all about His Glory.

Second, I am way too concerned about other people’s reactions and decisions… I mean, the part where I can’t control them! I want to take on the role of Grower, when I should concentrate on the role of sower. When people ask about how we lost weight, we can tell them, but then it’s up to them to implement the plan. I can’t go to their home and regulate their calorie intake or force them out of bed early enough before work to run the treadmill. That’s up to them just like it was up to me when my brother-in-law told us. We can help each other, be accountable, like my Daniel and I were to each other. But in the end, the decision is personal.

This applies to the spiritual realm as well. I shouldn’t count chickens. Plant the seed, water it even, but I don’t need to have my nose in the dirt day and night whispering, “Grow, grow, grow,” because no matter what I do, God miraculously produces the fruit. That’s why it’s all about His Glory.

Diet and exercise, a simple formula that, if implemented, will change how you look and make an impact of everyone you meet.

Oh, and guess what? You’ll feel great.

Check out Lincoln Brewster's story about his song – Let Your Glory Shine - It Rocks!

OH, and speaking of eating well, TODAY is Chili's Restaurant's day to donate 100% of their profits to St. Jude's Hospital. So, eat at Chili's and support a great cause. Read more about it at Chili's site.

3 comments:

KM Wilsher said...

Of course, congrats on keeping the pounds off! That is just as hard as losing it ;)

I'm going to have to think on this. I'd love for someone to say, "Man, I've seen such a change in your personality lately." And I then could say, "Jesus." :)

Great post!

lynnrush said...

Amen, sister. You really hit home on something with me. When I first became a Christian, people said that about me...but now .. . . not so much and I'm not sure I'm okay with that.

Thanks for getting my rusty mind gears working this morning. Great post.

Jill said...

Lori,

You are truly gifted by God - as a writer and as an encourager.

This posting is nothing short of inspirational!

I'm so glad you are sharing your thoughts on this blog.

Keep them coming!