In my book Nourish, I share my story on how I overcome years of disordered eating. In my journey to health, there were countless things that I had to let go of along the way. There were years of hurt, unforgiveness, burdens, and bondages that needed to be uprooted and surrendered to the Lord. As I opened my hands and heart to God, His Word and the Holy Spirit filled in the holes that had been left by the deep and destructive weeds that once had me bound.
For so much of my life I was scared of letting go; I wanted control, but I finally came to the place where I knew I that God’s plans for me were good, and I needed to trust Him. In the process of surrender I learned so much about Jesus and His incredible love and grace. It was in that place that I experienced His ability to heal, restore, transform, and make something beautiful from my pile of ashes.
Changed from the Inside Out
I am still walking out my journey to health day by day, and will be as long as I am on this earth. I have the daily decision, just like everyone, to either submit to the desires of my flesh, which produce death and destruction, or follow the leading of God’s Spirit, which produces life within me. Each day as I make the choice to put God first, renew my mind, and guard my heart, I am choosing life, and am filled with a peace that passes all understanding as I grow stronger in the Spirit.
From the moment I began depending on God, my focus of everything has changed. Instead of thinking about ways to give into my sinful cravings and desires, I now long to honor God with my body, and worship Him with everything I do, think, and say. By no means does this mean that I am perfect or have everything together, in fact, the very reason I am writing this book is because I understand the struggle! I can now face areas of weakness without guilt or shame however, because I know that I am committed to His refining work within me, and that my imperfections ultimately reveal my need for Him.
Of course, there are still moments when I tempted to give into my unhealthy desires, and I will be the first to admit, sometimes I do! In moments of temptation, I have learned that it is best to take action immediately and follow Jesus’s example. So, I open my mouth and begin to declare the word of God with boldness. Not only does this disarm the power of the enemy, but it also aligns my thoughts with the truth, which is where half the battle lies. I also remind myself of my “why”, and think about the aftermath of the choice that I am about to make. Finally, above all else, I lean on the strength of God to pull me through, remembering that Jesus’ resurrection power is on the inside of me.
Although, it’s important to point out that I don’t wait for temptations or problems to arise before I take action. Instead I do my best to build myself up spiritually every day, so when temptation does come, I am already armed with strength for the battle. I do my best to stay connected to the Vine, and put on my spiritual armor, which includes reading the Word and praying scripture every day.
Some of the scripture based prayers that I wrote I have been praying for years, and others I change up according to the season of life I am in. One of the prayers that I wrote years ago, and still pray to this day is based off of Ephesians 4:22-24. I wrote it out as follows: “Today I choose to put off behaviors and mindsets that are according to my flesh. I put on my new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. I choose to walk by the Spirit today and not the flesh. I cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. I put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify it’s desires.” I like to think of this prayer as a way that I can get dressed spiritually at the start of each day. It also reminds me that I have the ability to take off my old man, (the flesh), and put on my new self, which was created in the image of God.
As far as caring for my body, I can honestly say that I have come to a place where I have learned to enjoy the journey! I focus on living a life of balance which allows me to nourish my body, and enjoy everything in moderation. For the most part, this means swapping out some of my favorite foods (that aren’t healthy) with healthier alternatives, and limiting the amount of processed foods I consume, which primarily include white flour and sugar.
I try to limit eating out to no more than once a week, as I have found that it can be challenging to get a healthy and delicious meal at a restaurant, and I honestly enjoy the food I prepare at home! When I do eat out, I choose a healthier option such as a salad (with dressing on the side) or a source of lean grilled protein and steamed vegetables. When I indulge in something that isn’t healthy I choose carefully, picking something that I know I will really enjoy, like peanut butter ice cream. I then make a point to sit down and really take my time enjoying it, without guilt, knowing that it is an occasional treat.
As far as planning, I plan my workouts and meals one week in advance, so I can be prepared for busy days and special occasions that may alter my routine. I start my weekly plan by choosing what meals I will make for the week and make my grocery list accordingly. Not only does planning ahead keep my grocery bills down, but it also prevents waste. When I get home, I wash my produce, cook my protein, and prepare any pasta or quinoa I might be using in recipes. That way I already half of the work done when I go to make a recipe or salad during a busy week day. I also prepare something for a snack just about every other week (such as homemade protein bars or muffins). I then store them in the freezer and pull them out when I need a healthy snack.
Patience & Perserverance
In our society today, we tend to look for quick fix solutions to everything. If we don't see results overnight, we can quickly become discouraged and impatient. When it comes to learning healthy habits, we have to realize that it often takes months, if not years, to develop our current habits, so it will take time to make new ones as well!
One of the keys to overcoming impatience is to develop realistic short-term goals. Start to see every choice (big or small) as a step towards your main goal, and realize that they all add up over time. As you see these short-term goals accomplished, it will bring a sense of empowerment, knowing that you are making progress in your journey. This is often the push that we need to bring contentment and instill patience along the way.
God also encourages us to be patient, reminding us that when we are diligent and faithful, we will reap a great reward. Galatians 6:9 says, "Don’t grow weary in well doing, for if you faint not you will reap a reward.” I like to think of every choice as an act of obedience unto God, knowing that He is cheering us on every step of the way.
Small Steps Bring a Great Reward
It may not seem like a big deal when we make one of these choices in our daily lives, but I have learned that every small step that we take adds up to produce lasting change.
Hebrews 10:35-36 encourages us in this same way. It says, “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” What a great reminder this is is to remain steadfast in pursing God’s will, knowing that as we do we will receive all He has promised! When we make the choice to combine daily actions in the physical (taking practical steps towards health) with the spiritual (prayer, reading the word, and trusting in the Lord), we can be confident that we will receive a great reward!
Dear Lord, I desire to come to a place of balance and freedom as it relates to eating and caring for my body. Thank you for providing me with all of the wisdom and guidance that I need in order to get healthy and enjoy the journey! Help me to live out Ephesians 4:22-24, which says: "Today I choose to put off behaviors and mindsets that are according to my flesh. I put on my new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. I choose to walk by the Spirit today and not the flesh. I cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. I put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify it’s desires." I ask that the Holy Spirit would remind me of this truth and all of the promises of God when I am tempted to be discouraged, overwhelmed, or give up. I thank you that as I do my part, that you will bless all of my efforts. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
-Excerpt from my book Nourish.
To read more, visit www.NourishBook.com to pick up a copy today!