Last fall, I was starting to feel really down about myself. I liked very little about myself: my hair, my weight, my clothes, etc. I really struggled with thought about my worth and effectiveness as a Christ-follower. I wanted to jump into fitness. I wanted to change my diet, cut my hair, buy a new wardrobe – I wanted to FEEL good about myself.
But I didn’t do a thing.
Everybody’s story is different. God uses different circumstances, catalysts and concerns to bring people to the point of trusting Him and helping them walk in the truth. This is mine for believing the truth of who He made me.
I knew last fall that if I jumped into DOING things, that I find only temporary satisfaction with who I am at best. Lasting understanding of my worth and acceptance of where God has me wouldn’t come from doing the right things without the right understanding of the truth of what God thought of me right where I was.
I had to face me where I was, and cover it with the truth of Christ. Christ died for right now me. He looks at me and sees a me I don’t understand. He sees me as a precious pearl, a treasure worth giving everything for. He knows each hair on my head – even if I was losing them quickly through post pregnancy hormones! He doesn’t see me for flab or fab, He sees me as a beautiful creation completed in Him.
I needed that truth to penetrate deep, and really, truly believe it.
So then we come to early spring. I was becoming more disciplined in my home life because I was believing the truth about who I am in Jesus. I was watching less TV and getting my house work done quicker. I was left with all this extra time, and I started to think about working out. I am not a big active person. I enjoy good books and movies, and most things that involve sitting on a couch. I don’t have a ton of energy. But God kept showing me Christ-like friends who honored and worshiped God through their workouts. I REALLY don’t enjoy exerting energy and have yet (still) to see all the benefits of eating right and working out. But God kept bringing it to mind.
Then it hit me one day, “ I am a mom of two kids under two… I will never have energy.” Thus, my excuses didn’t hold me back and I just started to do spend my last half hour before bed to workout.
As I started dedicating time to fitness and thinking more about healthy choices for food, I noticed that I am not making these choices for me. I was established in God’s thoughts before the foundation of the earth. How God sees me hasn’t changed, thus the essence of who I am hasn’t changed. What did change in me was my willingness towards following Christ.
Romans 8:5-7, 12-13 says, “For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God's law, for it is unable to do so.... So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
When we live a life submit to God over to giving into our flesh, we live more to how God wants us to be than how our flesh wants us to live. Our flesh will work more to feel good in the moment, where the Holy Spirit will lead us to lasting joy. Our flesh will want us to find comfort in TV, sleep, food, etc., where the Holy Spirit will lead us to in comfort in God. Our flesh will keep us from seeking real accountability for our actions, where the Holy Spirit will lead us to people who truly care about us to tell us the truth.
Overall, my WHY is so I can die to my flesh. I don’t want to live for myself or my comfort. I want to live according to the Spirit, and denying myself my whims of comfort helps me to follow Jesus and seek what’s His heart. I am not legalistic in what I can and can’t do. I eat juicy hamburgers when they are available, or enjoy cake that I bake without feelings of guilt. But actually thinking about how I can daily die to my flesh helps me make more decisions for the Kingdom of God than the kingdom of Leah.
Lord Jesus, Can you show me more how I can serve you? What areas of my life are done without much thought? What things am I doing that is not by faith? Jesus, I desire to look more like you than looking like me. Help me to be more like the me you have called me to be than the me I see right now, but be okay with the person I am right now.
Leah works with Master Plan Ministries at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Other than watching college students' lives change, she enjoys getting her mind blown by God and His Word, watching sci fi, baking cupcakes, and spending time with her hunky husband.