A New Journey

journeyI was lying in bed the other night, thinking about something I ate earlier. I had mixed up a batch of chocolate frosting and dropped in a couple teaspoons of peanut butter and just enjoyed myself all the way to the bottom of the bowl.  The sad thing?  I’ve done this many times before only without the peanut butter.  So why was I thinking about it late into the night?  Because God wanted me to.

You see, I love going to bed and talking to God and thinking about Him until I fall asleep. I’ll think about the day, what’s coming tomorrow, and this amazing and vivid image I have of Jesus waiting for me under a tree where we can sit and talk.  One day, I think, I’ll be able to do that.  But until then, I close my eyes and talk to Him when the house is dark and still.  And that particular night, God reminded me of what I’d eaten and how drained I felt.  He also reminded me how a car’s performance depends on maintenance and the proper fuel.  I was listening.

I realized this body He has given me is really only temporary, but it’s still my responsibility to take care of it. What if God calls me to do something, to go and encourage someone, but I’m crashed out on the couch because my blood sugar plummeted?  Or what if He calls me to Africa as a missionary and I need to trek miles on foot but I’ve consumed nothing but sugar and potato chips, so I have to turn down the offer because my body can’t take that sort of thing?  (My Mom reminds me from time to time that we need to be ready when God calls us to do things.)  I want to be ready.

I don’t want to miss God’s best for me because I’m not giving my best to the vessel He’s allowing me to borrow.

I have to exhale here. I don’t have just a sweet tooth but a mouth full of them and this is going to be hard.  But when I cried out to God the other night, I asked Him to help me, to change the desire of my heart (and my taste buds), so I can be a better vessel for Him, for His Holy Spirit to work through.  And when I woke up in the morning, something had changed.  Did I jump out of bed and run to make a green smoothie?  Not hardly.  But I decided that I would begin.  I would begin this journey of taking care of something I’ve had entrusted to me for over forty years that I usually leave at the bottom of my priority list.  After this writing project is done, I’ll eat better.  After the first of the year, I’ll exercise.  After the Easter candy, I’ll stop eating chocolate.  Those promises wear me out and depress me every time I fail.

So instead, I’m looking to God for help. I’m revisiting that image of Jesus under the tree and I want to see Him smiling as He tells me, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23).  I don’t want Him to shake His head at me and say, “If only you would have put down that bowl of frosting.  I had so much more for you.”

I’m not on a diet. I’m not starting on a new health fad.  I’m finally beginning to see the gift God has given me for what it is, and I’m going to take care of it.  I’m going to smile and laugh when I turn down the frosting.  And I’m going to reach for God’s hand when I stumble and slip back to an old habit and ask Him to help me begin again.  But I will not be defeated.  That old devil would love to keep me in a wrecked body that’s hyped up on sugar and empty calories, keeping me trapped in my own little prison cell of disliking the way I look and the way I feel.  But he’s too late.  God and I have already started out on this journey and that prison cell is already corroding in our shadows.

Now, on to better health and God’s purpose for my life.

And I’m praying the same for you.  Let’s be healthy and strong together to build up His kingdom.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.” (1Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV.)

The Grip


Grip.  That’s the word God whispered to me yesterday.  And since that moment I’ve been asking Him to make it clear because there are so many ways to look at it.

I thought about all the times I went on roller coasters and my knuckles were white and bulging because I had a death grip on the bar just in case the seat belt gave out.  I remember the tight grasp I had on my daughter’s hand every time we crossed a busy street when she was little.  And I remember the strong hold of my husband’s hand when he grabbed onto my own to help me across the rocky terrain of a gushing river.  There are so many ways we grip onto something or someone, but I don’t believe that’s the “grip” God was pointing to.

The idea here is not about what we grip onto, but what grips us.

So let me ask: What has a grip on you?  Something harmful like an addiction or fear?  What are you allowing to dig, claw, and tear its way into your life, into your thoughts?  What’s stealing your time and health because it’s got a death grip on you and it’s all you can think about so you lose minutes or hours of your life or even sleep as it torments you?  What’s killing your smile because you’re allowing it to hang around, to taunt you and remind you of some shame, guilt, or past failure? Do you sense you’re on the verge of some sort of destruction, a break-down of sorts; mental, physical, or spiritual?

As you may or may not know there is a thief who wants to get his claws into you and steal your life away:  Satan.  You have to realize he’s not the little red guy with a pitch fork you’ve seen on cartoons but a very real, very evil being who wants to trick you into walking right into your own destruction.  And he’s going to make you miserable so you’ll hurry along to get there.

You see, God has a purpose for you.  There’s a reason you’re here, and Satan is afraid you’re going to go to God and ask Him.  Satan’s doesn’t want you to know how important you are and how much God loves you. The enemy would rather you wander around lost and confused and feeling alone, so he can get a tight grip on your mind; prying into it and filling it with his lies.  That makes you an easy target.  And then he’s got you.

But you can stop Satan’s tight grasp from cutting off your circulation, keeping you numb or oblivious to what he’s doing.  Ask God to help you; He would love to free you from Satan’s clutches.

With God, He doesn’t want to grip you painfully in some way, to control you and walk you around on a string like some puppet.  Rather, He wants to hold you.  He wants you to know you don’t have to do it all on your own.  He’s with you.

And as your loving Father, God longs for that moment when you slip your hand into His as His little child.  All you need to do then is stay close to Him and hold on tight as He leads you to the full life He has for you.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV.)