Owl's Head Lighthouse, Owl's Head, ME

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Comfort, Food and Success

Health. Fitness. These two words are not ones that I frequently use in my writing. The reason? Well.....I think its because it means hard work. There is nothing about it that can be romanticized or appear beautiful. It is easier to avoid the topic because it can quickly take me out of my comfort zone. For many of us, comfort means food. And who wants to really look at our food choices under a microscope? We want what we want, when we want it!

Yes, I would like to be healthy. I would like to be fit. Who doesn't? But like so many things, we can talk about it and wish for it, but until we get serious about changing, we will never see success. It means denying myself at times and sweating frequently. Hmmmm.....see why I don't write about it?

There is no magic formula for fitness. And yet, from years of experience, I can tell you that it requires more than just following a food and work-out plan. Don't misunderstand. It does take those things. Within each of us, though, is a place that can undermine our attempts at fitness. That place is our personal "safe zone". While we may venture out from there, often with visions of improving ourselves in any of various ways, when life becomes overwhelming we retreat back to the "safe place." At some point in our lives we learned to feed ourselves in that place. The flavors, textures and scents that we have come to associate with it are life lines. I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing.

The problem comes when we dwell in that place of comfort instead of resting briefly. It comes when we continue to depend upon food (or other type of comfort) to be our main source of comfort. Held there by our fears and failures we sink deeper into self-comfort mode. The tremendous need of humans, and especially women, to feel safe and secure is something that the Creator placed within us. Why then, do we fail to reach up to Him who longs to meet that need? Why do we insist on attempting to meet it alone?

As much as I wish cheesecake or swiss cake rolls could make me whole, they never will. So once again I am left with a choice. Do I reach for the ice cream or cheesecake or do I trust the Lord and go for a walk. When will I really understand that I don't need that food? That there is something better that the Lord wants for me?

Walking, I find time to talk with Him. "Why," I ask, "do I always fail at this? Why can't I conquer this area of my life? Is it even possible to lose the weight that has held me down for so long?"

The soft answer comes, and I know that it is not this weight that has weighed me down. The physical weight is only a symptom of a larger problem. The body is science. If I burn more calories than I eat, I will lose weight. There is something else.....roadblocks I have placed in my own path over the years.

As life happens, it is so easy to begin to see yourself as a helpless victim. And maybe in some ways we are. The problem isn't being the victim, its the seeing....seeing ourselves. If our eyes were trained on the Saviour instead of on ourselves and our circumstances, so many patterns of our lives would be changed.

That is why it cannot be that I make time for working out OR for devotions. They must both take place for me to be whole. And I don't mean a stiff, formal reading of prescribed Scripture, and a hurried prayer. There must be a spiritual meeting between my spirit and that of my Comforter. When that takes place, a peace and wholeness pervade my being. The emptiness no longer needs to be filled.

But just as one delicious dinner cannot meet our continued dietary needs, neither can one precious time with the Lord meet all our continued spiritual needs. It must be constant return to the source of fulfillment. We must become more aware of our own spiritual thirst and have the discipline to return for more of the sweetest water available.

No, it is not easy. It is, in fact, more difficult than the most difficult work-out routine. But the rewards are far sweeter than we can ever appreciate in our physical bodies.

I do believe that "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." His strength is real and so much stronger than our own. When He calls me I must bow my knee and acknowledge His Lordship in my life. As I look to Him, the other things of life will be corrected. Yes, it will take physical work and self-denial, but if my spirit is full I will continue to succeed.

Today, may I make each choice looking at the face of the Saviour who gave everything for me. Is He enough???

"Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation. He ONLY is my rock and my salvation: He is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved....Trust in Him at all times: ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Selah." (Ps. 62:1-2,8)

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