Prior to a delightful yet unexpected pregnancy in my mid-forties, I did not struggle with excess weight. Five years later, I still carry a fair share of my "baby-fat."
I am in the throes of a “digestive sweep.” I ingest this herbal preparation at least once a year and would suggest a spring clean for the majority of women on this micro-macro-muck world we live in.
There are other steps I have taken to achieve my 2009 weight goals; I walk on a tread-mill for thirty-minutes/five-days a week, I resist the Danish pastries, linguine and sauce covered anything; and I have made a decision to bring my appetite into subjection under God’s eating plan. More importantly, I have purposed in my heart to address an area that presents itself in the Bible as defilement – ouch!
To defile something is to ruin or corrupt its original or intended purpose.
Taking hold of oneself and refashioning character, is what a disciplined woman will do for the rest of her life. In my devotion ‘Birthright Behavior,’ I made this statement: “Lack of discipline reveals itself through our own character traits…Having determined you have a specific weakness, and having determined your desire to become a disciplined person, begin with the simple things.”
If you are new to Bible Buddies and your desire is to either introduce discipline to your life, refashion discipline in specific areas of your life, or reaffirm why you purpose yourself to live a disciplined life (when the majority do not), then I encourage you to read 'Birthright Behavior' - a devotion I wrote on January 8 and which you can read on this blog.
'Birthright Behavior' is a precursor in a series I am writing called A Disciplined Woman.
Some of you may have spotted the title, and whilst scanning the contents, you’ve recognized that becoming a disciplined woman is the goal. Such an attempt may be symptomatic of your need of discipline.
The undisciplined woman is forever seeking ways to avoid the arduous grind of solid work and to arrive quickly at her goal by short cuts. Having said all of this, it would give you an advantage to read ‘Birthright Behavior’ before you proceed with this devotion. That act alone is a form of discipline.
We now begin at the path of a disciplined life by acknowledging that our lifestyle is not always under subjection to God’s principled way of thinking, which is made available to us through His Word. This includes the conquest of our appetites.
We have learned that; the steps of a good woman begin with a more effective pattern of living through embracing the Christian life and the lessons God is teaching us through overcoming our weaknesses. We began with addressing the simple things in our personal lives; bedtimes, getting-up times, a scheduled Bible reading time, order in our home, and tweaking all the minors we have a major mess in.
We will now move onto the next area which should concern us the most – our appetites!
Not forgetting the law of accountability; what we do in moderation our children will do in excess (or those we have influence on); we do not merely exist for our own pleasure but for our Creators’. Does God delight in what we do to our bodies?
Now that I purpose in my heart not to defile myself, what does this entail? The Hebrew translation for purpose is to consider and commit to. Now that I have considered not defiling myself, how do I commit to the task at hand and change my habits?
1. By getting real about our lifestyle – Too often, the mind only serves the purpose of making excuses for what the heart really want to do. We must harness the heart with discipline before we can proceed to train the mind into thinking any differently or changing our current habits. Admit that you eat too much!
Over the years I have researched many theories on patterns of behavior in men and women. Whilst it is easy to be drawn into the likes of Napoleon Hill and the “power of autosuggestion,” the various gurus on NLP (neuro-linguistic programming gobbly gob), or the 2006 release of “The Secret” (which is nothing more than a Law of Attraction lie embraced by so many); the truth of the matter is that gluttony is a “sin problem” not a disability or mind matter minus the heart cleansing factor.
2. By surrendering our weakness to God – Understand, that by His strength alone, we are able to and will have victory!
There are several foods that I find great pleasure in and that I know will have a detrimental affect on my health and any goal of obtaining permanent weight loss in 2009. I have acknowledged to God that I have a weakness for particular foods. How do I stop myself from indulging?
- I make no provision for the flesh
- I make a conscious choice not to eat particular foods or drink certain high-sugar beverages
- I look at the consequences
- I purpose myself not to defile my body with the Standard American Diet (S-A-D)
If we do not allow the power of God to break life-long patterns in our eating habits, we will make excuses for the rest of our lives and will never have victory with weight-loss.
I have been in Boot Camp this past week. No, I did not join the marines at the Great Lakes Naval Base, but I did surrender to God to make a conscious choice every time I ate. This little exercise has proven to be a major lesson in discipline.
Weakness is cultivated through a learned behavior and it can be cultivated by a myriad of excuses. For instance, weight has never been an issue for me – until now! Prior to a 2003 pregnancy, I maintained my weight through a regiment that involved eating only healthy for the majority of the time, and a five-day exercise program. It does not take a whole lot to be healthy, but it takes considerable effort to gain ground you loose through a lack of discipline and an untamed appetite.
Has it ever occurred to you that the majority of women overeat? And did it ever occur to you, that Satan uses this tool to ruin our ministries, our marriages, and our minds? He knows the power of our mouth and our natural tongues. We stand guilty of being human garbage extractors and human vacuum cleaners.
Ladies, Satan has a hidden agenda. His calculated moves target our emotions – the taproot of our undisciplined appetites.
What about men? I’m not writing to men.
Did you realize that the excess food cycle begins at birth? Feeding our children every time they cry, when they are depressed, or when we want to distract them; we may be responsible for pandering to their flesh and the onset of an overindulgent pattern of living. This equates to an undisciplined life which manifests itself through variables – including excess weight.
I am not merely stating that all overweight women are a byproduct of an overindulged childhood – but the majority of us were overindulged at one time or another and continue to feed this lifestyle.
3. By removing ourselves from the source of the problem – If you can’t get out of the house, remove the source. I have purposed myself to confiscate anything I will be drawn to at my weakest moments. We all accommodate our poor eating habits through the excuses we give ourselves that will allow us to indulge our taste buds.
The week before I menstruate I am extra hungry. Because I understand this about myself, I remove any unwanted, irresistible, “must-have-it” fattening foods from my refrigerator and cupboards. I stock up on rice-cakes, baby carrots, apples, raisins, and asparagus – yes asparagus! We can eat asparagus to our hearts content, and it will have little effect. The rice-cakes get boringly boring after you have chowed several down, the baby carrots come to an end very quickly, and the raisins will give you the runs if you overindulge. The sum total of what you pig out on will have a much lesser affect than the previous food items you wisely eradicated from your kitchen before the ‘hormone hunger’ arrived.
The objective is to introduce an alternative after you commit to changing your eating habits.
4. By stopping the excuses – The more excuses we make, the more excuses we find. For example (and I have used this one): “My life is too stressful to focus on being healthy. What else do I have if I don’t have my food? Oh, this won’t make that much of a difference!” Admit that you overindulge too often!
"Eating is not a sin but gluttony is! When we are habitually self-indulgent in our eating and drinking, without regard to health or need, as if we live to eat rather than eat to live; we are apt to be weak and exposed in other phases of our life. Flabbiness in one area of our character tends to loosen the whole" - Richard Taylor
As a woman, I acknowledge this is a difficult challenge which calls for a good stock of common sense as well as iron will. Without common sense we are prone to faddist behavior. There are numerous shakes, diet pills, eating plans, and purging programs; for the most part, initially there ARE results and perhaps you may have experienced weight-loss at the onset. Unfortunately, targeting our flesh does not conquer the cause, and the greater percentage of women experience total weight gain – and some!
Without strong purpose we will be gourmands. Most women are food lovers who often eat excessively or greedily – including me! I’m not afraid to state this and I’m certainly not shy to embrace it. God wants me to reach my Canaan Land in every area of my life.
Speaking of food, Paul said: “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Cor 6:12)
Anyone under the power of food has little claim to the high rating of disciplined character. We should eat heartily and with enjoyment. But we should know what is good for us and how much, and have the self-control to stop. It has been said, that the best exercise is “push-ups” – from the table. The importance of achieving temperance in eating can hardly be overemphasized. It is a key that controls other areas of our life; general health, efficiency, and longevity are affected, and these are heavy with the issue of God’s glory. Excessive overweight almost always means underproduction in the work of God. If our life is shortened by self-indulgence – what will we say when we stand in the presence of our defrauded Master?
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Cor 9:25-27)
There is nothing expensive or complicated about loosing weight and there is nothing beyond the understanding or ability of any woman, young or old, of average intelligence.
We have made excuses from the very beginning---“And the serpent said unto the woman,”--- and now it’s time to have victory over an area so very mishandled, hopelessly misunderstood, and miserably ignored.
Has God pierced your heart this day?
Forgive me for over eating. For too long I have given rationale to the uncomfortable way I feel and the image I see in the mirror. I’m so sorry for not being real about myself and I now acknowledging and surrender my gluttony into your hands.
Please strengthen me Lord every moment of every day, and grant me wisdom, knowledge, and the strength necessary to overcome my overindulgent lifestyle. I am helpless without you!
Holy Ghost - retrain my eating [gluttony] and bring all these wrong thoughts [excuses = iniquity] into captivity.
May your name be glorified and praised as I anticipate victory – Amen!
As Christian Women, once God pierces our heart with an awareness of our weakness, we have two choices:
- To overcome our undisciplined appetite
- To succumb to our undisciplined appetite
Disciplined Christian Women are women with the ability to surrender their appetites under the subjection of God’s ways and His Divine Diet. Remember, God loves you and has a specific purpose for your life. He also has the means to change your eating habits. His Diet is foolproof---so well thought of and so palatable. God is the perfect nutritionist and fitness trainer. His eating plan is available to every woman and it is free!
A woman who wants to learn will research every verse on her weakness. This week, I looked up every Bible verse with words in them such as appetite, glutton, gluttonous, gluttony, indulge, your body, desire, the temple, a vessel, and defile.
We are purchased; we belong to God; we are His by redemption; by a precious price paid; and we are bound; therefore, to devote ourselves, body, soul, and spirit, as He directs to the glory of His name - not to the gratification of our flesh.
Don’t judge women who struggle with their weight. Our appetite is one of the most complex weaknesses to overcome. Your weakness may not expose itself through excess weight nonetheless, you have a weakness that needs to be conquered.
He is able – are you purposed in your heart?
I Love You,