Saturday, January 12, 2008

Getting Through Your "Hard Stuff"

Over the past year, I have been losing weight for a variety of reasons. So far, I’ve gone from 223 to 180 (though I had been even higher than that after I had Gianna in 2005). I’ve gone from a size 18/20 to almost a 12. I credit God for all my success and with His help, I will lose the last 30 pounds and reach my goal of 150.

I bring this up because many ask me about my weight-loss and how they can lose too. I plan on making a series of blogs about that at a later date; but right now, I just want to share something that has been on my heart for the past few days that I believe God wants to use to help a few people who are struggling right now.

In all actuality, I should already be 150. However, anyone who has ever been down this road will tell you, it’s “hard stuff!!” You have great success in the beginning; then, progress slows (or even stops!) and you hit that dreaded “p” word: PLATEAU!!! I’ve had many in the last few months; as well as a flat out halt (and backslide) on progress. It’s worth pointing out that any time one loses focus on God - whether it be weight-loss or anything else - you CANNOT have lasting success. His blessings can’t flow freely when you’re not submitted to His will. That’s why I got “stalled” and even “stuck.” I even regained a few because I stopped following God’s cues for me on my journey. However, now that the new year has begun, I have been able to re-focus and adjust once again. And, the one aspect that’s been on my heart to talk about, has been my re-inclusion of exercise. My “coach” [God] has showed me some amazing and motivating principles as I began to work out again.

I understand that the very mention of the word “exercise” makes people moan and groan; that was my attitude for a long time too. However, God’s helpful illustrations truly made it enjoyable again. When I was sitting there on my exercise ball sweating, rolling my eyes, and just hoping to “get through it” and endure the pain of struggling to lift my dumbbells, He nudged me to just “keep it up…..you can do it!” Sometimes, I think to myself, “What’s the point!! It’s too hard!! I hate this!! I just want it to be over with! Why do I even bother! I‘ll never make it!” But, that’s not the kind of attitude I should have. If I think like that, I am only sabotaging myself and gearing up for eventual failure. Therefore, I allow God to press me onward and I reject Satan’s attacks on my mind as I remember the good old Nike saying: “JUST DO IT!”

With the right mindset, I’m then able to focus on the end result. All the “hard stuff” is going to be beneficial in so many ways if I just don’t give up!! After a work out, I always feel accomplished, strong, and one step closer to my objective. I also continue to experience more endurance and strength (not to mention noticeable changes in my body and how my clothes start “getting bigger” as I shrink!). All that is worth feeling the heat and facing the fire for because when you do, you WILL find and attain that gold!!

That’s the mentality we need to have in any difficult situation. Sure, it’s hard and you wish that you didn’t have to go through it or that it was over with. But, think about the end result!! How else are you going to learn, grow, and become a better person if you don‘t go through all the “hard stuff“ to get there? A mother doesn’t get the “prize” of a baby without going through hard labor. A gymnast doesn’t win a gold medal without going through grueling conditioning and practice. So, how are we going to lose weight, conquer an addiction, or anything else unless we are willing to surrender to God and let Him “coach” us through all of our “hard stuff”?

We have to have the spiritual muscles to get through the “hard stuff” in our lives. The only way to build them is to challenge and train them to function stronger. The good news is, the tolerance and endurance builds up! It DOES get easier!! Case and point being that I am now lifting ten pound weights. Before, I was only lifting half of that! But, I had to go through the pain and test of the fives to get to the tens! Progress is gradual, and God doesn’t give you too much too fast.

Hang in there everyone!! All of you who have told me that you think you can’t do it or that life is too hard, just cling to the “coach”!! Heed his advice and you CANNOT FAIL!!! Jesus has never failed me - ONLY I DO when I’m not listening to Him!!!

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