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Here at The Bible Chapel, we began the New Year by studying stewardship and learning that it entails caring for everything God has entrusted to us and using it all for his glory. Now that we are a few months into 2018, we thought this would be a good time to check in on how you are doing with the health and wellness resolutions you may have made, since caring for our bodies is part of good stewardship! Was your goal to eliminate sugar, get rid of processed foods, or start an exercise routine? Or was it to do all of the above within a certain amount of time because goals and timelines are good, right? Well, if you’ve fallen off track a little (or a lot!) with your New Year’s fitness resolutions, it’s ok! Why? Because God still loves you! In Lamentations 3 it says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…”
Keep your focus on God’s love, and allow yourself time to get back on track.
As you continue to strive toward your health and wellness goals, here are four tips to help you persevere when things get tough.
Rest in God’s Truth
Relax, receive God’s love and mercy, and don’t believe the lie that you’re a failure if you’ve fallen off track. Simply get back on the horse and keep going. God is never after perfection, but he does desire progress – he honors baby steps just as much as the huge leaps forward. Philippians 3:13 reminds us, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…”
Slow Down and Pray
Once you are ready to go forward, stop and pray first. Before we do anything, it is wise and biblical to ask God what he thinks and desires for us, and that includes our health. We often leave him out when it comes to our wellness decisions, but since we know that everything is FROM him and FOR him then that would mean our bodies and health too, right? Try this prayer as a first step to including him in this area of your life. “Lord, I surrender my health and fitness goals to you and ask that you lead and guide me. Give me the courage and strength to obey what you tell me. Help me to not compare myself to others or to shame myself for where I’ve gone astray. Please show me a new way, your way, to steward my body and my health that comes from the Spirit and not the flesh. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.” Now, as you put into practice Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” he promises to show up and answer.
This is easily the hardest part of this process. For those of us who have been down this path, we can attest to the fact that starting, restarting and then restarting again is hard! But remember, you are not doing it alone this time. The Holy Spirit is with you, giving you strength, courage and the power to move forward. If you get stuck or need help, call on him. He will never leave you nor forsake you! And this is where we have to put on our big girl/guy pants and get to work. Although it will not be easy, know this truth: you are worth it to God! He desires you to be healthy and whole from the inside out. This is where prayer and reading his Word will be of the utmost importance for stewarding the body he gave you. As Paul said in 1 Timothy 4, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
Be Consistent and Accountable
Consistency is key. In order to make a change that lasts, new habits must be developed. Carve out time each day to pray and not only read, but also study God’s Word. At the beginning of each week plan how you will achieve your health and fitness goals. Once you have a plan in place, ask someone to help you stay accountable to it. Accountability is the hook that keeps our integrity in check and makes us much more likely to stick to a task. Above all else, remind yourself that God is constantly after your heart first and foremost, and he wants the very best for you.
If you are already fervently pursuing your health and wellness resolutions then I say, “Great job!” AND, here’s my challenge to you: Did you invite God into your journey? If you did and you are following his lead, then hallelujah! If not, consider asking him in now.
He may change your plans, but again, he’s after your heart, and he wants the very best for you.