Saturday, February 19, 2011

Physical Class

Mark 12:29-30
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f]

When Rhonda first approached me to be a speaker this weekend I went through several emotions: flattered, scared, insecure.  I've stayed with insecure for the duration.
She asked if I would consider speaking on loving God through physical, financial, and spiritual means.  

I guess since this is based on the physical I should start with a bit of my story.  

Nine years ago I joined Weight Watchers and started a journey that changed my life.  I lost 86lbs over the course of ten months.  I was an over eater and used food to salve a lot of pain that I chose not to deal with.  The weight was a symptom not the problem.

I spent a year refusing to eat anything I didn't prepare.  I brought my own food to family gatherings or just chose to not eat.  I took pride in eating as few points (Weight Watchers) as possible in a day.  I set weight loss goals for my self each week.  I lost those 86lbs in just 10 months.  After losing the weight I had a very difficult time.  I decided that in order to maintain my weight I needed to become and employee of Weight Watchers.  I believed that being in that environment, along with having to maintain my goal in order to stay employed, I would be forced to stay disciplined. 

In the eyes of the public I was successful.  I had reached my goal and maintained it.  What was not as obvious to those around me, was I had gone from an over eater to an over manager.  I was still imprisoned by food and was actually in poorer health than I had been at my heaviest.  I forced myself down to a weight that was extremely hard to maintain.  It was impossible for me to continue down this path of self discipline.  I knew I would slip in time and that became a time bomb.  After a binge of 4 slices of Pizza Hut pizza at a friends, I forced myself to vomit for the first time.  I started losing hair and even though I was super thin, I still wore Spanx and control top pantyhose due to feeling overweight.  I was sick, physically and emotionally. 

When I was heavy I felt ignored, even invisible.  Going to the grocery store with two little babies and arms full of bags, no one offered to help me.  Never did a stranger offer to open a door, give a polite smile etc.  Once I achieved my goal, I lived in fear of waking up invisible again.  People finally noticed me.  I began to desire others approval.  I strove for others attention all while ignoring my husbands.  There was no freedom in what I had accomplished.  The thinner I became, God and family were moved to the back burner.  Nothing was more important than losing just a bit more, maintaining a particular pant size, and exercise.  My life, my heart was consumed with the physical.  

Over time the Lord worked on my heart.  I went through the devastation of losing my father.  Priorities shifted.  In time, I began to realize in my obsessive behavior I was worshiping self.  

I had to reevaluate.  How do I maintain overall health without making everything about physical health?

I was being convicted about allowing God ownership over all things including my physical body.  My goals needed to be based in building relationships, not tearing them down.  When I first joined WW my goal was to be "sexy."  Now there's a goal with some depth.  There's nothing about that that was redeemable.  It was completely selfish and self serving. I wasn't even interested in what my spouse considered sexy.  It was all about my perception, my goal, me...   

When we hear the word stewardship we often think of the financial like in the devo this morning.  Truth is, all belongs to Him.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (New Living Translation)

19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

Regardless of where you are on the spectrum; heavy or thin, our bodies belong to Him and they are simply on loan to us.  Our desires for health and fitness should be for His glory and to edify His body and nothing else.

1 Tim 4:8 says:
8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Please understand that I say this to you as a Personal Trainer who loves to run, lift, and train others to be fit.  but…

It says it's of "some value."  We need to take care of our physical bodies.  They are His and when we take care of ourselves we are showing that we value what He values.  He created us in His image and by being physically healthy we are not abusing His creation.

When it comes to the sin of over-indulgence or over-management or even worshiping of self, we have to evaluate the "why" of it all if we ever hope to have healing this side of Glory.

For me it was feeding an emptiness.  I was broken due to pain in my past and eating was a way to have control over something.

As believers we are "born again."

2 Corinthians 5:17 (New Living Translation)
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

I like to think of Lazarus.  He was dead.  Wrapped in grave clothes, bound and placed in a tomb.  He had been dead for 4 days!  They rolled the stone away and Jesus shouted, "Lazarus, come out!"

John 11:44 (New Living Translation)

44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

We are a new creation and all the things of our past are our graveclothes.  When I was a Weight Watchers leader I would tell my clients there is nothing that has happened to you, or anything you did in your past that has taken away your right to take care of yourself.  It's unreal how often woman punish themselves due to a sense of being undeserving.  God grants you value whether you agree with Him or not.

Lets read 1 Cor again:

1 Cor 6:19-20 (New Living Translation)
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Jesus is calling you to "COME OUT" drop the grave clothes of your past.  Take care of what God has granted.  He will return and you will be held accountable for how you treated His bride.


Realistic expectations,

As women we are naturally "comparers."  We look to those around us to see what normal or even ideal is.  Do you remember when Jessica Simpson was in the tabloids for her "mom jeans" and everyone was talking about how fat she was?  I looked up an interview with her and she was wearing a size 6, she fluctuates between a 4 and a 6.  What a fatty watty.

Or how about in 07' when America's next top model awarded their first Plus sized model winner.  You can imagine my shock when I read the article and found out that Whitney Thompson was a size 8/10.  Everyone was applauding AMNTM for being so ahead of the game and willing to celebrate a chubby model.

Lets talk about truth.  Listen to this quote, "One great study in the USA was eye opening. The average American woman is 5'4" tall, and size 14. In terms of fashion, modeling, and Hollywood, that is a plus size. Yet, if you ask men "who is the sexiest woman ever?", Marilyn Monroe, who happened to be size 14, comes second to "my wife". Men really think that curvy is beautiful."

In order for most to achieve and maintain the waif like figure society tells us is beautiful, we would have to make it a part time job. 

Mark Moore, a professor at OCC, said that worshiping the body is a more dangerous sin than letting the body go.  Think about it...

Who are we starving ourselves for, or beating our selves up over?  What other women think!  Specifically other women who are editors of magazines.  Since when do they get to determine our value?  The images they chose to show us are touched up, photo-shopped.  They are not real!  My favorite line, most convicting statement in his sermon was:

"If we, as women, strive to achieve the fictitious example we see in these magazines, we will not be successful.  They are not real. It is not possible.  And in making this our goal we will not become like Christ."

In the same sermon, Mark Moore also mentioned Julia Roberts.  "Pretty Woman"  Did you know that when they made the poster for the movie, it's Julia's head but not her body?  Even Pretty Woman wasn't perfect enough to have her own body on her own poster for her own movie!  The images we are bombarded with aren't even real.  They're not true, not fact.

Each of us has a size that is perfect for our own unique bodies.  Our goals need to have some criteria.  They need to build relationships not tear them down.  Like I mentioned before my goal had nothing to do with what my husband wanted/preferred. 

Set realistic goals, allow for mistakes, and recognize that in the end...

God loves you.  He loves you regardless of your size, your history, your choices.  He cherishes you.  He likes you, He loves you. 

Listen to Angela Thomas describe what our Father sees:

"When God looks into the eyes of a woman, He sees all the beauty He created there.  He sees every potential and every gift.  He sees what can be and redeems what has been.  He loves the curly hair that you wish were straight.  He is taken with your smile and the shape of your nose.  He's crazy about big feet and knobby knees and every curve that is particular to you.  He is the One who loves the inside and the outside of you.  You were all His idea, and you are physically and emotionally beautiful to Him.  

Do you want to dance?  Does your soul cry out, "Does anyone see me?  Do you think I'm beautiful?"  The hear again Psalm 45:10-11:

Psalm 45:10-11 (New International Version, ©2010)
 10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
   Forget your people and your father’s house.
11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
   honor him, for he is your lord. "


Cindy Coker said...

I'm kinda glad I wasn't there for this one because I cried through most of it. Guess I really needed to hear it. I miss being with all of you this weekend but my house is getting clean. :o)

Anonymous said...

Shannon, this was a great message! God bless you, Honey, in all you are doing to help others! Love, Aunt Vicki