Over the past few months, I’ve received many emails from people asking me how I’ve stayed on track with living a balanced lifestyle longterm, while not falling back into old unhealthy patterns. I’ve found that it’s pretty easy for people make the initial decision to change, but often times they have a very difficult time ‘staying on track’, which leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and failure.
I’ve come to realize that the question that everyone is truly asking is, how do I “get free” and “stay free?“ … (Really this can apply to any area of our lives where we are struggling to find freedom).
Have you ever had a thought that went something like this, “Wow…I wish I had that, looked like that, or had that ability or talent?” Chances are, you have… And whether you realize it or not, that thought stems from Jealousy. So your next thought may be, well since we all have thoughts like that, what’s the big deal? Jealousy is a very big deal…A much bigger deal that most of us even realize, and the bible has some very specific warnings about it.
One of the verses that God used to show me how dangerous jealousy can be is found in James 3:14-16 which says, “But if you are bitterly jealous and filled with self-centered ambition, don’t brag. Don’t say that you are wise when it isn’t true. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil thing.”
So what is this verse telling us?! Well, there are two important things that we are being taught…One is that when we think a jealous thought, or do something motivated by jealousy, we can’t say that we have wisdom. Jealousy and selfishness shows that we are not operating in the wisdom of God. The second thing we are being warned of is that when we open the door to jealousy, we are opening the door for disorder and every evil thing to operate in our lives. So you see, these thoughts inspired by jealousy are not something to mess around with…We have a clear instruction that it is not wise to be jealous, and that it opens the door to evil in our lives.
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “If I could just lose those last 10 pounds…”, “If I could only get that promotion…”, ” If I could only have nicer things…”(and the list goes on). If you are living and breathing on this earth, then there’s a strong possibility that you’ve found yourself thinking these types of thoughts whether you realize it or not.
As women, much of where we feel our ‘imperfections’ lie are discovered only after we measure ourselves against others. Often times, we may even feel like we ‘look pretty good’, or that ‘we’ve got great things going for us’ only to go outside of our homes and see someone who has something that we don’t. Suddenly, we find ourselves feeling dissatisfied, wishing that we could change or improve something about our lives.
When I was about 14 years old I was the ‘typical’ teenage girl. I enjoyed sleepovers with my friends, flirting with boys, and I was even on my high schools cheer team! I was pretty carefree, much like a teenager should be…Until one day, that sense of being ‘young and free’ suddenly came to a screeching halt when a boy came up to me at school, and handed me a picture he drew. It was a picture of the backside of a woman who was severely overweight, and busting out of her clothes. (Take note, I was a pretty average size teen at the time).
As I sat there looking at the drawing, I still remember the words that came out of his mouth… He looked at me laughing and said, “I want you to know that that is what you look like from behind.” It was at that very moment that I suddenly went from a ‘carefree’ young woman, unaware up until that point of my body, to believing a lie that would have me in a bondage for the next 8 years of my life.
I met up with an amazing young woman the other day who is beginning her weight loss journey. As we were talking and sharing stories, I told her about some of the key things that ‘finally’ brought me to a place of health and balance. One of those things was renewing my mind with The Word of God.
I’ll never forget, one night as I was laying in bed, I heard the scripture Proverbs 4:20-22 so clearly in my heart. I was so excited to read what it said, that I literally jumped out of bed! When I opened up my bible I read these words that would forever impact my life:
20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.