When someone is desperate, how hard to they seek to get help? If someone is in pain, how quick to they seek comfort? When someone needs guidance, how much effort do they invest in finding it? If someone loses a job, how hard are they searching for a new one?
Over my years in the fitness industry, I’ve marveled at how many people who desperately need help are not desperately seeking it. I think of the story about a crippled man in the Bible who lay by, what was believed to be, a healing pool for YEARS. He literally lay there waiting for someone to pick him up and take him to the pool to get healed. I think many people (including me at times) are like that guy, waiting on someone or something else to do all the heavy lifting. Sometimes it’s because we are overwhelmed by the task that could be required of us to take action. Many times it is just pure ignorance – we have no idea what to do. Sadly, most of the time, it is just pure laziness. We’d rather hope for a miracle, than exert ourselves in fear doing a lot of work for no reward.
Listen, people who work get the reward. People just have unrealistic expectations, and they have a warped definition of the word “work”. They do a little work, and expect a big reward. They work for a short time, and expect the payoff to keep coming even if they quit.
Seek and You Will Find
It is rare that I see someone really seeking to lose weight who doesn’t lose it. People will often say “I tried, I really tried”, but if you were to reach deeeeep within their soul and could get the truth out of them, the real answer is “I tried a little”, “I tried once”, “I thought I tried”.
If you try to play the piano for the first time, you don’t expect to play Beethoven within a few “tries”. No, you don’t even learn a song at first. You start by learning the basics (#boring #uneventful #nofun). You have to learn the fundamentals before you can even read music or learn a song. With practice, you finally get to learn a song. You celebrate when you can finally play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with one hand. Then, you celebrate again when you learn to add your left hand. Then, after practicing, practicing and practicing, you begin to play the same song a little better, a little easier. Then you are ready for the next song – and it will be just as elementary as the first.
I can remember piano lessons, and I admit I was SO impatient. I would get so frustrated. I wanted to immediately jump in and play a more difficult “cool” song effortlessly without much practice. As a result, I’d take shortcuts. I’d play by ear, instead of reading music. I’d make up things that sounded good just so I could keep appearing to move forward. The problem was, I wasn’t moving forward. I was exactly where I left off. I might have “sounded” better, but I had not improved.
How often do we act like this in life? We do what we want to do to make us appear more successful (with our job, with our weight loss, with relationships, with God), yet many times we are exactly where we left off – exactly in the same place we were when we stopped actually WORKING.
I want to challenge you today to SEEK HARDER. Seek the things you desire to improve in your life with all your might. Seek answers to your weight loss plateau, seek help in your marriage, seek God in your life – and seek until you find.
God doesn’t ever ask us to do work for no reward. A matter of fact, He constantly talks about what we “get” when we seek Him. The key is understanding the word seek. I think we think of the word “seek” more like Steve seeks something in the fridge. He opens the door, looks at the contents and closes the door saying “Bonnie, where’s the BBQ sauce?” I’ll reply with “it should be in the door”. He’ll tell me he looked there. I will go on to list a few other places it could be and he’ll tell me he looked there too. The fact is, he didn’t really SEEK, he looked. Of course, I’ll go right to the refrigerator, open the door, move a few items out of the way and find it within 30 seconds. Why? I wasn’t looking, I was seeking.
Vines Dictionary’s definition of ‘Seek’:
To “seek” to ascertain a meaning (meaning, seek until you understand)
Are you seeking things like that? Are you seeking God like that? Are you seeking answers to your marriage issues or weight issues like that? Striving for, seeking until you fully understand, seeking until you find what you are looking for?
I had to laugh when Joyce Meyer was talking about how people act like they don’t understand what “seeking God” means. She then listed off a few examples of how we seek out stuff in life, like the woman seeking a 75% OFF sale or the guy in the deer stand seeking the deer in the freezing cold.
Don’t you think your life is worth the effort to REALLY seek the things that really matter? Your physical health, your spiritual health – happiness, joy, peace and well-being?
Today, make a commitment to stop looking and start SEEKING.
Today’s Spiritual Workout:
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalms 34:10
Transformation Requires Surrender
People love to learn what they can do to improve their life. They hunger for tips that are easy to apply, like read this devotional, attend this service, do this workout, take this supplement – but BOY do they NOT like to hear what they shouldn’t do, what they need to give up, what they need to CHANGE.
Most people are willing to work a little harder to get something, but most people are not willing to surrender. Surrender requires giving up something you like. Christianity requires giving up doing whatever you want. Fitness requires giving up eating whatever you want. The gain is worth it, but so many people resist surrender, holding on to what is really making them miserable to begin with.
That’s where the bondage comes in. We hold on to it, and it holds on to us – paralyzing us, and preventing us to be all we can be. In both cases, it’s not about doing, it’s about surrendering. Once we surrender, then and only then, can we experience real freedom. After we surrender, major life-changing transformation can begin.
Let’s establish one thing first. Food is good. Food is a gift from God. Food is to be enjoyed. Food becomes bad only when we abuse it. Excess food is damaging. Unhealthy food eaten often is damaging. When food begins to rule our life, reshape our body, destroy our self-esteem, control our thoughts, affect our health and slow us down – food is wrong. It’s sin.
I know, harsh words from the skinny girl. Food is a big topic in our house. It’s a constant struggle for us too. We love food. We love to eat, but we can’t let it control our life.
Did you know God talks about food and gives specific commands and advice about it? Why? Why does he care what we eat and how much we eat? Simple! It’s not about giving a list of things to avoid, giving us more rules to be mean. He knows what it does to us. He knows we can’t be who He called us to be while we are fat, out of shape and miserable. He knows what’s BEST for us – and He wants us to have a flourishing, healthy, happy, long, vibrant life! He is not a God of rules, He is a God of love. The same way you want your loved ones to feel good and be healthy, He wants the same for His children.
10 Scriptures Concerning Food & Our Body
Even if you don’t believe in God, there is not one person who can deny that every word written is for our benefit. That it is helpful and good. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.. Even if you just feel it’s a good self-help book, it’s words have great value and shouldn’t be taken lightly. And if you DO believe in God, then you REALLY want to take this even more seriously. Check it out…
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it. Proverbs 25:16
How many people could we feed if we shared our food instead of kept it to ourself. It’s amazing how much we are not willing to share. I bet I could feed an entire family every single day with the leftovers I should be leaving behind. Instead, we prefer to eat until we are stuffed…eating more than we even need.
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. Philippians 3:19
In verse 18, Paul actually calls these people enemies of Christ. ouch! Could it be that our testimony is affected when we don’t practice self control and when we feed our fleshly desires in such a way we are more controlled by our stomach than we are by God? hmmmmm…
…make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14
The New International Version says “do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh”. How often do we think of how much we want to indulge, planning our cheat meal, dreaming of food. We should be thinking of ways to resist it, practice control and think of things that are helpful to us and others.
#4 STUFFING YOURSELF:
When dining with a rich man, be on your guard and don’t stuff yourself, though it all tastes so good. Proverbs 23:1
Matthew Henry explains this verse, “The sin we are warned against is luxury and sensuality, and the indulgence of the appetite in eating and drinking, a sin that most easily besets us.” The next verse (vs 2) says “And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” Don’t freak! It’s not saying slit your throat here and just kill yourself if you can’t control yourself. Matthew Henry explains it beautifully saying, “We must alarm ourselves into temperance and moderation: “Put a knife to thy throat, that is, restrain thyself, as it were with a sword hanging over thy head, from all excess.” It is clear scripture takes this topic very seriously.
They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. Psalm 78:18
The people were rebelling against God, being unappreciative. They wanted meat. This is when God sent down manna, but it wasn’t long before they were complaining about that too. Can you imagine? Complaining about God giving you a miracle of food falling from the sky. Ironically, we do it all the time. God has given us a miracle too. Each plant that sprouts up from the ground and delivers us a beautiful piece of fruit is a miracle, a gift. When did eating fruit and vegetables become such a bad thing? Do we demand the food we crave and have we become unappreciative of the food God has given us? What lengths are we willing to get it?
#6 FOOD ANXIETY
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25-34
How much do we stress about dieting, eating healthy, being around unhealthy food, dreaming about eating foods we love and anxious about eating healthy? I love this line: “Is not life more than food? Powerful!”
#7 FOOD ADDICTION:
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
Many are enslaved to food. We look at food like “we have the right to eat whatever we want. What scripture is saying is you “have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial” you “have a right to do anything, but do not be mastered/controlled by anything”. Sure, you have the right to eat a cookie, but does that cookie control you? Ouch again!
#8 GLUTTONY & ALCOHOLISM:
Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep (laziness) clothes them in rags. Proverbs 23:20-21
This tells me 3 things. One, it’s wrong to drink and eat too much. Two, it’s wrong to be lazy and sleep too much. Three, we shouldn’t even hang out with people that eat and drink too much. Why? It’s not because we are too good for them or that they are bad necessarily. I think it’s because God knows it’s too tempting for us to join them.
#9 UNHEALTHY CHOICES:
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Eating too much and eating unhealthy foods destroys our body – plain and simple. We have an obligation to protect God’s temple, to protect our body.
#10 GOOD CHOICES: (Make God proud!)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
How wonderful to think I can honor God even in what I eat and drink. If we never thought he cares about what we eat or drink, this scripture corrects that. He does care, and He desires us to honor him even when we eat and drink. People are always watching what we do, and He knows we can even be a good example at the table. Awesome!
Please know I struggle with this too. You aren’t alone. I hope you were encouraged by these scriptures. I know some of these scriptures seem harsh, but if your kid jets out in traffic, do you think you’d be gentle and whisper? No! You’d yell and yank them back to safety in a heartbeat. God wants to yank you to safety! He cares about you – even what you eat and drink. What LOVE! ❤
This topic excites me SO much! I would love to write a book on this and a matching devotional! I pray someday I can do this!!!
Think about your last workout. What if, after that workout, I asked you “was that the best you could do?” What would your answer be?
During the Nixon presidency, a speech writer by the name of Winston Lord was writing a speech for Henry Kissinger & President Nixon. According to an interview, Kissinger asked Lord for a draft of his speech. The next day Kissinger asked Lord, “Is this the best you can do?” Lord replied “Well, I thought so, but I can try one more time.”
Lord turned in another speech and Kissinger gave the same response, “Is this the best you can do”. Well, this went on eight times – Kissinger asking Lord if this was the best he can do and Lord giving another crack at it. Finally, on the 9th time, when asked the same question Lord replied “I can’t possibly improve one more word”. Kissinger’s response was, “In that case, now I’ll read it.”
Giving Your Best
Obviously, Kissinger wanted to know that Winston Lord gave him his very best work. This made me think about whether or not “this” is the best “I” can do. Can you imagine if God swooped you up and asked you that question? I would be BEGGING for another chance to come back and do things better. I would want to redo many things. I’d want to treat my body better, be a better wife, be a better friend, be a better boss, be more patient, be more loving, be more giving (the list would go on and on). All in all, I would have to be honest and say “No, this is NOT the best I can do”.
Can you imagine how much harder we worked if we worked for God himself? I bet you wouldn’t cheat on your diet or skip a workout if HE was your trainer! However, that is what he asks us to do – He asks us to treat everything we do as if we are doing it for Him. I think we only apply that principle to the areas WE feel are most important. Yet, scripture doesn’t say “in SOME things” it says “in WHATEVER you do – that means EVERYthing”. Yep, you guessed it – that means the way you act in traffic to what food you choose to eat.
So, if you think you can have great work ethic at home, but a crappy one on the job – think again. If you think you can not cheat on your taxes, but cheat on your diet – the answer is no. We should strive for excellence in ALL we do, whether we are managing our bank account or our weight.
Every day we wake up, we get to “write a new draft”. We get to look at yesterday and ask ourself the question “is this the best you can do?” – and we get a chance to make corrections. If we treat every single day like this, our life will be very different – and it would be far from mediocre.
I challenge you this week to treat everything you do as if you are being tested – like you are running a race and going for a new PR. Your work, your workouts, your diet, your family, your decisions – make them your best today.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain that prize…” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
Be YOUR Best
Today was my first day running again after I injured my ankle. First, I must say YAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!! I have to admit I was totally dreading even trying. My brain had to talk my fat lazy butt into it, but it didn’t take a quarter mile to start feeling encouraged and feeling so good!
While I was running, I caught myself wondering when my ankle would start hurting. So funny, how negative we can be. I had to tell myself to stop thinking that! It was like I was running, expecting to fail. Dumb! Dumb!
Then, I heard a very profound statement, “you can’t pick and choose what you will trust God with. You can’t have faith that he will work in our life, but not trust that He will do a work in your spouse, your workplace or your children”, paraphrased from Joyce Meyer’s podcast (I listen to her while I run).
I have to admit, I have trusted God with a LOT of things in my life (key word: MY life). I’ve trusted that He knows what’s best for me. Yet, when it comes to other people, or even ailments, I think I struggle to trust Him in those things too. Instead, (as if He can’t handle it) I tend to take things into my own hands. Many times that comes in the form of telling someone how to change, correcting someone when we have no business correcting them, trying to convict someone before God does, etc. We begin to make poor decisions, out of pure impatience, rather than sit back and wait – and just let God work in US, while He is also working (at HIS pace) on everything else.
Who’s Behind the Wheel?
If you reeeally think about it – we trust complete strangers with our life more often than we trust God. I never once called the manager of the department where my car was built to see if everyone did their job. When I drive my car, I trust that other people will stop at the stop lights and drive in their own lane. When I have new tires on my car, I assume they put all the lug nuts on properly. Sadly, I often times trust people more times a day than I trust God. That’s the reality.
So next time you want to test God, question God, doubt God …maybe we need to get our priorities straight and treat Him juuuust a little better than people. Ya think? We can’t keep trusting people more than we trust Him. What an insult. Shoot, we can’t even really trust ourselves sometimes!
Maybe we should let him drive our life, and quit being the worst backseat driver ever – telling Him where to go, what to do, when to stop, when to go, go faster, go slower… Honestly, it’s ridiculous! Frankly, it’s amazing He puts up with any of us! BUT, like a daddy loves his child, He loves us and He wants to give us a million chances to learn, to grow and to become all that He created us to be.
We’d do the same for our child right? Would we lead them astray? Would we not be SO quick to help if they needed us? Sometimes I think we need to remember He is not just God, he’s our Father – and as great as my daddy is, He loves me even more.
Let go and let God.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
(read the entire chapter if you are hungry for more) 😉