Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Our senior pastor is putting a booklet out for the church and asked each pastor and his wife to write an essay. He had a list of topics to choose from. The theme is called "Bootcamp" and my topic was "the breastplate of righteousness." I was supposed to describe how Christ has given me a new identity. I wrote and turned mine in, but wanted to share it here, too:
I’m one of those crazy people who love to workout. So when I hear the word “bootcamp” I get a little excited. I love the endorphins that come after a good workout, the feeling of accomplishment of reaching a goal. However, I wasn’t always this way. I used to be overweight when I was younger (I had to shop in the “pretty plus” section of Sears when I was younger, and was always so embarrassed.) After I had my youngest son, Josh, I started to get into fitness and researched different diets. At first, my goal was purely for weight loss. I honestly didn’t care how nutritious my food was; as long as it was low-calorie and made me lose weight! I believed that exercise was supposed to be torture, so when I hated it I just “naturally” accepted that. However, as I progressed on my journey, I discovered the benefits of eating healthy, God-made foods. I also found a workout program on DVDs that I absolutely loved.
Eating healthier and working out did not solve my body image problem though. I had a horrible body image of myself. I had dealt with eating disorder type symptoms between the ages of 13 and 15 (right after my mom had passed away) and had found all of the wrong ways to lose weight (but lose weight quickly). Even after losing 20 pounds though, I saw someone about 30 pounds heavier! I looked in the mirror and did see what was actually there.
Finally, I decided to take this to God. I am not sure why I hadn’t before (besides the quick “Please let this diet work so I can get skinny!”) But reading God’s Word, I came across Matthew 7:7 which says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (NIV). God wants us to come to Him with everything. Psalm 139:13-14 tells us “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (NIV). God did not create me to have a negative body image of myself! I started to realize that the purpose of our bodies is to be the Temple of Christ! 1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us, “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?”
So, what started out as a weight loss plan to “lose weight” has turned something much greater: honoring God with my body. With exercise and healthy eating, stress levels go down and energy goes up! I have much more energy to do the things that God wants me to accomplish: taking care of my family, helping patients at work, and ministering to others. The devil loves to have us look in the mirror with a skewed body image, God loves to have us look in the mirror and see what He sees. By believing God’s Word and listening to Him about this area of my life, He has brought me healing: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. God has used this struggle in my life to help many other women by mentoring and encouraging them that with God’s help, they can fight this battle! It’s a common area that a lot of women struggle with, but the devil wants us to keep it in the dark. He knows the power of two or more and he loves when things are kept “secret.” By reaching out and encouraging others, God has allowed me to help others to see themselves how He sees them as well.