Have you ever felt like a fake? If you said yes, I can emphatically say, me too. In fact, I felt this way more than I even realized — until recently.
About three months ago I was on a walk. The gift of the gorgeous day was a bit lost on me as I murmured grumbled prayers over a series of physical injuries that were plaguing me. I felt as though every form of exercise, even walking sometimes, was being taken from me. I simply couldn’t understand why the Lord seemed to be stripping away every form of movement one after another? After all, I hear from Him more during my workouts, or on walks, than any other time or place. Why, I wondered, would He take this away? It was where some of my most profound connection with Him was enjoyed.
As I prayed, seemingly out of nowhere I heard a voice that was so real, it startled me. “You’re such a fake,” the voice said. Shaken, I actually said out loud, “What?!” “You’re such a fake.” Those four words haunted and taunted me for weeks after. I knew it wasn’t the voice of God, and yet, strangely I recognized that there was some bit of truth buried somewhere in the sinister statement. Rather than turning from it, I knew I needed to press into it. I felt God calling me to dissect it with the scalpel of truth. I needed to understand what was going on.
In doing so, the Lord revealed that I was indeed NOT a fake. Rather, I was living under a fake identity. A difficult truth was exposed. The truth was, I had unknowingly rooted my identity in my physical appearance. So much so, that when exercise, my perceived source of maintaining my physical appearance was taken from me, it actually felt like WHO I was had been taken. I’d unintentionally established a false identity. I’d rooted who I was in a place, and in a way, I was never intended to! The Lord was pruning and stripping away obstacles that held me there and revealing lies that blinded and bound me.
A year prior God had begun planting seeds in my heart instructing me to shift my focus more from outer beauty to inner. “Yes! I totally agree,” I remember thinking. That was it. I gave it the obligatory nod of agreement, then continued on my merry, albeit, grossly disobedient way. I tell our kids all the time, be quick to obey. I tell them to obey quickly because I desire that it go WELL with them. Having to bring discipline when they don’t is painful. I do discipline them though. I do it because I love them. I unapologetically discipline them to help them grow, to protect them, and to train them up in the way that leads to the path of life. Sometimes, that discipline includes taking away something important to them for a time to help teach, grow, and refine them. In truth, while I did (and still do) hear from the Lord, enjoy worship, and pray most effectively is my time of exercise, I’d formed an unhealthy, unholy union and dependence upon it. At some point I agreed with the Enemy that in order to be effective I needed to maintain perfectly sculpted arms. I agreed that any extra fat on my backside would crush my credibility. I agreed that in order to help lead women toward greater health and freedom from food, I myself had to look perfect. Lies! All of it, lies.
I’d lost my way. The narrow path does lead to life. Somewhere in the journey though I’d accidentally gotten off at the wrong exit. One that led me to a dangerous place thick with lies and deceit. As disciples of Christ, we do have the responsibility to steward our bodies well, yes. But friends, we have a COMMISSION to rescue souls. Part of my calling includes teaching people how to live healthfully, but my purpose is to help set captives free. You simply can’t do that if you yourself are living in captivity. At the end of the day, it won’t matter one iota how many people I inspired to enjoy their best body if I’m not first helping teach them how to live their best life!
As with all refining, this learning season has been uncomfortable, at times difficult to understand, and deeply humbling. This I know though, from it I shine even brighter. After being broken down, I’ve been built back up with an even stronger foundation and understanding of my true identity. I’m able to reach out to you today to assure you that no physical achievement, enhancement or alteration will ever anchor you in the true peace and satisfaction you seek.
Yes, take good care of the body you’ve been given, it’s a gift. However, if you’re knowingly or unknowingly living under a false identity marked by anything but the truth of who God says you are through His inspired Word, you’re accepting a counterfeit version of the true freedom He has for you. Friends, you have a high calling! You were made to live a life of impact and influence. You were created for this very time in your life to shine your light into a dark and dying world desperately in need of hope. If, for one second, you’ve been allowing your physical condition to be the basket that keeps you from shining your light, today is the day you say no more! Declare today that you will no longer wait on weight, or size, or level of fitness to step into your Kingdom purpose and start changing lives for eternity’s sake! Tell that Enemy, “No longer will I allow the lie that I must look a certain way in order to be effective and influential for God dilute my power and purpose!” Tell yourself it’s time to burn that basket the Enemy has used to keep you from shining your light. It’s time to hand over that fake ID and step fully into the bold, beautiful, authentic identification of who you truly are! Do not wait one more day sisters! Today is the day that your step into your best life regardless of whether you’re in your best body! Starting today, shift your focus. Relentlessly pursue radiant inner beauty! Pursue patience! Grow in graceful gentleness! Invest in joy! Master kindness. People may admire a pretty body, but they will be impacted by a beautiful spirit.
This is your day! Starting today, determine to live like the woman god created you to be. And, sister, never, never accept less! Let’s pray!
Almighty God, how amazing you are! How great is your love for us! We are your prized, masterfully designed creation. Help us Father, give us this day the ability to discern truth from lies. The enemy can be so sneaky. He can take something that we truly believe we are doing for good and twist it into a mangled mess that entangles us and causes us to stumble. Lord, thank you that you love us too much to leave us there. If there is anything in our lives that has caused us to accept a watered-down version of our true identity, please reveal that to us. Give us the strength and courage to leave it behind and as we do to believe that we’ve lost nothing but unnecessary weight that slows us down. Help us to believe that when we are obedient to lay down what good in trade for what’s best, you propel us into greater purpose. In a world that screams body first, help us to live our lives in light of eternity and place absolute value in the knowledge that you Lord, see not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but you Lord look on the heart. Help us today to relentlessly pursue the unending, imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious in your sight. Lord, regardless of where we are in our health journey, stir our hearts to fully step into the fullness of joy you offer us right now. Help us to be brave! Give us determined focus to dig our heels in and refuse to let our light be stolen from us because of something as trivial as weight, size, or stature. Make us women of impact Lord! In Jesus precious, powerful name we pray! Amen!