Endurance – March 27, 2012

My husband and I began this journey to getting healthy physically, emotionally, & spiritually on Monday, August 29th, 2011. It has been exactly 30 weeks of learning, growing, and changing! To date I have lost 57.3 lbs and my husband has lost 55 lbs. Our lifestyle is being transformed most especially our eating habits & regular exercise. The results have been amazing as we learn to honor God with our bodies, channeling our stress or anxieties no longer through food but to God. We are learning to give self care the priority that God requires and how essential self care is to all other areas of life & ministry.

Reflecting on our journey so far I can see so many ups and downs. Let’s be honest here, I am definitely not Super Woman. I wouldn’t have been almost 300 lbs if I didn’t have some major issues with food. At times it is a daily battle to make choices that will honor the Lord. It is a battle to not fall into those old habits that are so engrained after many years of practice. It would be so easy to sit around and watch TV instead of going to the gym. It would be so easy to order a pizza after a long busy day instead of cooking a healthy meal. That is not to say we haven’t done those things from time to time. Lord knows we are and will continue to be a work in progress. We are learning balance and balance is NOT easy.

As I reflect on the journey so far the word Endurance continues to come to mind. I touched a little bit on it in my recent blog “Never Give Up” so thanks for hanging in there with me as I continue with this theme. Endurance, persistence, stamina, patience, fortitude, and staying power all sound like great traits right? Whew they require a lot of hard work. I told you early on that our journey can’t be just about dieting, vanity, and looking good, or only losing weight. It HAS to be more than that in order to find meaning and purpose day in and day out. There is a passage in Romans 5 that comes to mind, check it out below:

Romans 5: 1-5 (NIV)

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

So you might argue that suffering is a strong word for me to use in comparison to my journey to getting healthy. Most days I’d agree with you but I’ll tell you there have been days that are literally painful and for those I’ll whole heartedly make the comparison with suffering. By God’s grace it is endurance that changes suffering into perseverance, then into character, and ultimately hope. Endurance requires a daily connection with my source of Power, aka. My Lord & Savior Jesus Christ via the Holy Spirit. It is literally by His favor which I cleared don’t deserve and could never earn on my own (Grace) that I daily recommit to this journey. Just like toaster that is not plugged into the electrical outlet, if I’m unplugged for my source of power I will not be able to continue on this path.

Endurance also requires me to set aside how I “feel” on any given day and just do what is part of my program. For instance yesterday Adrian and I got up with some possibly horrible news about unemployment which piled an enormous burden of stress. It was tempting in that moment to not stick with our program for that day and go to the gym to work out for 1 ½ hours, eat our healthy lunch & dinner, etc. We could have rationalized that we just didn’t feel like it, weren’t in the mood, or didn’t have the motivation. BUT we endured and went through the motions even without passionate feelings. I’d love to report that at the end we were miraculously free of all stress but that isn’t the case. I can report that endurance does mean going through the motions until your “feelings” are in check. In the end we were glad we went to the gym and followed the program. I realize that my “feelings” have been driving this ship for such a long time, but not any longer!

A permanent lifestyle change requires endurance. It is a hard lesson but a good one. Endurance requires that I stay connected to my source of power and that I learn to not let my feelings drive my choices. It is critical that I stay engaged on a daily basis with Christ to continue to maintain the direction He has for my life in every way, not just on this journey. I want to allow Christ to define the path, NOT my feelings. Feelings are unstable and can be manipulated at every turn. I found this quote recently that I think totally breaks down endurance. As we reach our goal to learn to honor God with our bodies, no matter the cost, It IS Worth it! Check it out!

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