Monday, August 15, 2011

The Domino Effect...

"He must increase but I must decrease." - John 3:30

"Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." - James 1:13-15

Anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty much built like one of the lollipop kids on the Wizard of Oz... I'm quite short, and I have a rather wide girth. Sometimes with my low estrogen, I think the beard is coming next, but that's a story for another time! HA!

Anyway, my short stature makes for some fun times when I drive. I have some pretty long legs, so reaching the pedals isn't the issue. It's seeing over the dashboard of my vehicle that causes me problems. I am forever hitting the curbs or potholes... and knocking my tires out of balance. This happens to me more than I would like to admit, but I've actually learned something from the experiences. When I knock one tire out of balance, the rest of them don't wear correctly.

I think that's true in the Christian life, too!

Sometimes I think we get knocked down in one area or another and then one by one, the other areas of our life are affected by the one area that is out of balance. It really doesn't matter whether the area that starts the fall is in the emotional, physical, psychological/mental, or spiritual... a failure in one area will affect the other three.

Take for instance my severely neglected health... My failure to take care of my body has caused me to be severely obese. And that puts me at risk for all sorts of horrible diseases. But that also hinders in some ways my ability to serve Christ fully! For instance, I've taken two mission trips overseas in the last year. On both trips, I found myself huffing and puffing, trying to keep up with the rest of my teammates/ co-laborers in Christ because I was just too overweight. Getting buckled up on the airplanes was a task because of my waistline. Working with kids outside in the heat was not an easy task.  Why? Because I was not in shape for the trip!

My witness has also been rendered ineffective by some because of my obesity. One afternoon while teaching at another church, I was trying to share Jesus with one of my students, and he said, "Isn't gluttony one of the seven deadly sins?" He was implying that I was too fat and I had no business talking to him about Jesus, if I was not living for him. I responded to that with, "They are all deadly sins." But I still came home with the thought that I would never get through to that kid so long as I was in his eyes too fat to be talking Jesus!

What did all of that do to my self-esteem??? Let's just say it wasn't pretty!  Yes, I know that God still loves me and that His love is not based on my dress size. But if He had to judge the contents of my heart and whether I trust Him based soley on what went into my mouth (or what came out of it), there are times that I'm afraid that He would be severely dissappointed in me...  (I'm thankful that's not the case!!!)

Soon after all of that, I talked with some of our church staff about starting a face to face group for widows. One of the guys mentioned the possibility of doing a video series of lessons. Can you imagine the horrible thoughts going through my head about how the camera packs on the pounds??? And then we just end up with a downward emotional spiral...

But things have been changing in recent months. For nearly two full months now, my husband and I have been faithfully making changes to our lifestyles. We've started with an exercise program at a local gym/pool. And we're starting to make good choices with nutrition.

For me, that's a decision that has spiritual impact and implications. I don't want to be an ineffective servant of Christ. He's God of all of me, and He is trustworthy and certainly worthy of my worship in this area, too... I don't want my weight to be a hindrance in the effectiveness of my witness or my ability to serve. I don't want my unhealthy body to be a distraction to those that I might tell about Jesus, either...

Jesus isn't just at the center of my life. He is my life!!!! He goes everywhere I go. He knows everything I am doing, what I am thinking, where I am. He's a part of every decision. It's all about Him.

There's a worship song made popular a few years ago by Matt Redmond called, "The Heart of Worship" that we sometimes sing in our churches. "When the music fades, and all is slipped away... and I simply come. Longing just to bring something that's of worth that will bless Your heart... I'll bring You more than a song for a song in itself is not what You have required. You search much deeper within than the way things appear... You're looking into my heart! I'm coming back to the heart of worship and it's all about You... All about You, Jesus. I'm sorry, Lord for the thing I've made it when it's all about You, all about You, Jesus."

Yes, it's all about You, Jesus. Even when it comes to crazy things like keeping in shape.

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