Saturday, June 13, 2015

Peas and Carrots, Faith and Fitness.

The look of thankfulness after getting through my workout.

Peas and carrots.  Peanut Butter and Jelly.  Cottage Cheese and Pineapple.  Chocolate and peanut butter.  Burger and fries.  

Faith and Fitness.

I recently read an excerpt from C. John (Jack) Miller's sermons turned devotions, "Saving Grace."  Miller says, "Faith is simply opening up your eyes to see what God has done, what God is doing and what God is wanting to do in your life."

I realized very early on in my fitness journey that looking to Jesus regularly concerning fitness was absolutely  necessary.  In going to God in prayer and giving him my struggles and weaknesses, He graciously, faithfully kept me.  He gave me faith to persevere.  That faith certainly did not come from within myself.  More than 13 years after starting this journey, I am still learning this.   

Jack Miller also put it so honestly:

"If you want to be really depressed, take an hour and look inside yourself for faith. Now, don't look for faith.  Look for Jesus.  When you look for Jesus, you have faith."

I naturally tend to look at myself and see plenty of failure.  Failure to lose as many pounds or inches as I wanted in any given period of time.  Failure to not take a bite of that pizza.  Or cake.  Or donut.  Failure to get a workout in.  Failure to care too much about what others think of me.  


If I look to Jesus, giving him the burden of my so-called failures, he lifts those from me and I start to see what God is doing in me.

God is giving me perseverance.  He is slowly but surely bringing me to my HIS timing.  He is using me to influence my husband, my family and my friends, and help them gain fitness.  He is changing my bad habits into good.  He is continuously growing me, molding my spirit into what He desires for me.

I am so thankful for this man, this partner in marriage, parenthood, fitness, and life that God has blessed me with!  To encourage me in faith in the times of abundance and the times of need.

All this may mean that I at times take one step forward and two steps back.  This entire past year seemed like that was happening over and over again.  Last May, I got to my goal weight.  I was stronger than I ever had been.  That was right before I had surgery to remove a cyst.  That put me out for 6 weeks.  I then got a large hematoma on the inside of my incision in my abdomen.  Ouch.  That put me out for several more weeks. By the end of the Summer, I was heading towards my goals again, but was side tracked by re-doing our front yard and getting that done by November.  That took a huge amount of physical work on my part--- quite possibly the most physical work I have ever done.  By the time we finished our yard, I was spent.  God was still gracious and I pressed on.  The end of the holiday season rolled around.  As the busyness started to dwindle, my energy dwindled even more.  From the end of December until the beginning of April, I was sick with infection after infection.  I was brought to tears many times in pain that just wouldn't go away.  Faith does not come as easily in these situations.  My fitness goals were far from my thoughts.  At this point, my goal was to not be in pain everyday and be able to function to serve and take care of my family.  The passage in Phillipians 4:11-13 came to mind often in these hard times...

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me."  

That last verse is used too often without the verses preceding it.  Paul is writing to the church in Philippi from a jail cell.  Yet, he is saying he has learned how to be content in every circumstance... when he is low and when he abounds.  I love how he says he has "learned the secret" to face the times of hunger and abundance in life.  That "secret" is Christ.  Now this doesn't mean if I want to do something, Christ will give me the strength no matter what.  It may mean that I am brought low.  It may mean my spirit may be broken and he builds it back up again.  It means Christ will get us through life, even when it isn't going as we planned it, as we want it to.  It ultimately isn't about our plans and goals for our life.  It's about God's.  And learning to be content in that is a life-long process.  Look to Jesus in that.  That is faith.  Even when you are brought so low that your goals are completely out of sight, look to Jesus.  When you reach your goals, look to Jesus.  In both situations, God is still gracious. 

In regards to my fitness goals, after gaining ten pounds for the first time in two years, I am back on track.  I workout most days of the week and I have started a carb-cycling plan that has put my hypoglycemia in check and has started to result in weight loss and muscle gain.  When I think back to those dark days of pain and sickness I was in during the first three months of the year, I am so very thankful for God's graciousness in giving me the physical strength to get back to where I am now, but mostly I am thankful for Him faithfully keeping me, giving me faith and perseverance when I needed it most.

That, my friends, is why faith and fitness go together, well, like peas and carrots!  May God Bless you with faith and perseverance when you are brought low and when you abound in life. 

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