Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year = New Me = No Excuses

Ephesians 4:22: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

New Year = New Me = No Excuses.  A couple months back I took a leap of faith & went to a free session of bootcamp instructed by a friend of a friend.  I got hooked right away and started with one day a week, creeped up to two days a week and will be committing to three days a week starting Monday.  And so will my husband :)  Oh, and another friend has joined me...I'm adding more and more accountability partners - one of my BFF's goes with me (my other two BFF's want to come but live too far away) and I have another friend who attends and we carpool...that's major accountability! 

So, why am I getting myself up at the buttcrack of dawn (haha, had to throw that in there)?!  Well, I had three babies in four years.  That is far from kind to a woman's body.  I was in the fittest shape of my life before I got pregnant the first time.  And then I got pregnant again.  And then again.  I had little time to get back in shape in between pregnancies.  So, now that we are Officially done, I feel like I can focus on getting my body to a place where I feel comfortable in my skin again.  Plus, I want to teach my children healthy habits and one of those is through regular exercise.  In fact, my boys ask about us exercising and I love it!  It's so cute too when they try to pick up a weight or do my Jillian Michaels DVD with me. 

Onto my main point here.  This is about more than just getting into physical shape.  This journey is about getting into mental and spiritual shape.  What do you mean, you ask?  Well, this is practicing my self-discipline.  I've been doing some soul-searching lately and have discovered that self-discipline is more than simply mental strength.  It's spiritual strength as well.  Since I was a kid, I have struggled with a mammoth-sized sweet tooth.  I mean finish off a 13x9" pan of rice crispy treats. by. myself.  I could take down a bag of candy or box of cookies in record time.  No kidding.  I would just eat a salad or something light for the meal closest to my sweet tooth attack.  That balanced things out, right?!  Not so much.  I saw that my kids were watching.  I was caught.  Sneaking a handful of M&M's when I had just told my kids "no" to having them.  It's bigger than simply wanting to be healthy, to keep the extra pudge off, to keep my arteries clear.  I was/am dealing with an addiction.  I have used sweets as my escape for years.  Whenever I am tired, having a long day, the kids acting up, fillintheblank I would grab a sweet treat.  I would tell myself I "needed" it to feel normal again, to justify the indulgence.  Whoah.  This wasn't working.

So, for the month of December, our bootcamp group chose to give up something beloved.  Mine was sweet tea.  Eeekkk!!!  I'd already dumped the Coca-Cola (and replaced it with sweet tea...not much better).  The first three days were hard.  Very hard.  Then it got easier (but not easy), until the end of the month.  For awhile, I was dreaming about the day I could get a sweet tea again.  And that day came and went.  And I didn't want one!  And I still don't want one.  I realize how much progress I've made and I don't want to regress.  However, I had to admit to myself that I had replaced sweet tea with sweet treats.  Uh oh.  So, around Christmastime, I decided to give up chocolate.  Baby steps here.  It's been over a week and I'm alive!!!  It hasn't been as difficult as I expected, maybe it's because I had sweet tea to warm me up to this challenge. 

But there's more here.  I've been praying, asking for more, asking for wisdom on how to get this under control, for revelation on why we, as humans, work on self-discipline.  I received a piece of it two weeks ago...I told my husband, I think we work on self-discipline because as God's people, we are in spiritual warfare.  Therefore we must be well-trained and always on-guard to defend what we know and believe.  But if we are not trained physically and mentally (what seems to be the "easier" parts), then how can we be trained spiritually?  It was a lightbulb going off in my head but I felt there was more.  And it hit me this morning as I was reading Matthew 4.  Jesus was tempted after being in the desert for forty days.  He was tired, hungry and alone.  All the same excuses I used to allow myself a sweet treat.  Yet He resisted Satan's temptations to alleviate each of those things.  Boom.  There it is.  If I cannot resist worldy temptations when I'm tired, hungry or alone, then how good of a  Christian can I truly be?  How can I resist any other temptation in this world?  So, this is why my goal for this year is to work on my self-discipline in the areas of exercise and eating healthy.  It is truly about making lifestyle changes, not just temporary changes so that I can go back to how I was before.  And I must "put off [my] old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires...put on [my] new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph 4:22-24). 

As a Christian, I must "honor God with [my] body" for it is a "temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinth 6:19-20).  Who's with me?!   


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