January 7, 2005
Encouragement for Today

How Badly Do I Want Change?
Melissa Taylor, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team

Key Verse:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."  Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV)


Devotion:

Weight has always been a struggle for me. I spent many years trying to diet, exercise, or just cover up my large thighs by wearing loose fitting clothes. (I even named my thighs Shamu and Namu.) Despite what you may hear, diets do work.  Each time I followed a diet plan according to "the rules", I lost weight and I was happier.  However, the happiness gained through dieting did not last.  I never could stick to "the rules" for very long and I would gain the weight back every time - and then I was sad.

This cycle repeated itself for nearly twenty-five years.  Up and down, up and down, like a yo-yo, my body weight and size went up and down.  I probably don't have to tell you that this is not a good thing.  Yo-yo dieting is unhealthy for your body as well as your emotional well-being. Looking back, I was in a rut I hope never to re-visit, but by looking back and sharing my experiences, I hope I can help you.

During my yo-yo dieting days, a typical day in my journal would read like this:

8:00 am:  My goal today is to eat healthy and stick to "the plan".

8:00 pm: Well, I started great.  I ate cereal and fruit for breakfast.  I exercised around 10:00 am. I ate a turkey sandwich and carrot sticks for lunch.  After that, I don't know what happened.  I just got so stressed out.  The kids were acting crazy and the house was a mess.  I ate like a pig the rest of the day.  What is wrong with me?  Why do I keep doing this?  Why can't I do this one thing the right way?  I am such a loser.  I can't even remain disciplined for an entire day!  Oh well, there's always tomorrow.  I'll begin again.  God, please help me to do better.  I need you to fix me."

It saddens me to read those words and know I was the one who wrote them.  I was living in condemnation, beating myself up day after day.  In my eyes, I was a complete failure.  If I wanted to change so badly, then why didn't I?

One day, I decided to read my old journals and was amazed that the main topics I wrote about were food and weight issues.  I would never define my life by such things, yet they were the things consuming my thoughts.  Now that is an embarrassing confession!  I consider so many other things more important than food.   I am married to an incredible man.  I have four fabulous kids.  My friends are the best.  I go to a great church.  I love God with all my heart, or at least I think I do.  Come to think of it, I wasn't acting like I did.  I was consumed with the way I looked and even though I knew better, I was not living my life the way God wanted.  As you can see, I was focused on myself instead of Him. 

Enough was enough!  I was fed up!  I was tired of writing the same thing in my journal every day.  I was tired of counting calories, carbohydrates, points, and fat grams.  I was sick of failure and I was quitting!  I was giving up.  I was ready to surrender.  How badly did I want to change?  Very badly!  But this time, I wanted to change from the inside out. No diet can do that.  Only God can.

We can search two ways for God's treasures in our lives.  We can do it our way or God's way.  The treasures I was searching for through weight loss were beauty, acceptance, significance, good health, and worthiness.  While these things are not bad, the way I was searching for them was.  I just wanted to look good; it was all about me.  I was doing everything in "my" own power to lose weight so "I" would look better.

At best, searching "our way" will provide temporary pleasure.  Sure, the diets did work, were quick and easy.  However, they only "fixed" me on the outside. It was only a temporary change because in order for true change to occur, the inside has to change first.  The only way for that to happen is to search God's way. 

S - Stop   Ask for God's help.  Get to know Him better by reading what His Word has to say about you.

E - Examine   Ask God what He thinks about you.

A - Attitude   God is more concerned about your attitude than your circumstances.  Choose a right attitude.

R - Real   Be real and honest with the Lord.  He loves you so much.  In fact, He created you for His delight and His purpose!

C - Change   The only way for true change to occur is through the power of the Holy Spirit within you.  Make changes by relying fully on God alone.

H - Heart   Your heart is where your treasure is. (Matthew 6:21)  What is in your heart?
 
God's way provides permanent treasure, lasting change, the kind of change I really want.  It was not until I surrendered and began to search God's way that I found what I desperately needed all those years.  As I spent more time in the Word of God, I found eternal treasures that are far better than temporary ones. 

In Christ, I am accepted, loved, secure, and significant!  God made me for a special purpose and He will never leave me or let me down.  I am beautiful in the eyes of the Lord.  My Creator unconditionally loves me forever, no matter how much I weigh or how many times I fail. 

When I turned my focus to the Lord, I dropped ten pounds.  Would I like to lose more weight?  Yes!  Every weight chart I read says I'm still ten pounds overweight. How badly do I want change?  If it's in God's plan for my life, then I want it badly. I'll keep searching, changing from the inside out.  If you are trying to lose weight or fight what seems to be a losing battle in your life, I want you to know that you are not alone.  God loves you.  You are His beloved daughter, a daughter of the almighty King.  That makes you a princess.  Princess, I pray you will join me in searching for your treasures God's way.


My prayer for today:

My Lord, You have created me and know me from the inside out.  Thank You that Your Word says I am wonderfully made.  Please examine my heart and lead me to make choices in every area of my life that honor and please You.  Thank You for loving me, no matter what.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Application steps:

Try searching God's way.  Look over the S.E.A.R.C.H. in this devotion and ask yourself if you need to practice these truths in your life.

Take time each day to talk to God, read His Word, and write down what He speaks to your heart.

Surrender!  Give up!  If you have a battle or struggle in your life that you just can't win, it's time to stop and give it all to the Lord.  Make a commitment to do that today.  Tell a friend and ask them to hold you accountable.


Reflection points:

Am I finding my identity in my appearance and the opinion of others?

What does God's Word say about me?

Do I truly believe God's Word? 


Power verses:

"Be still and know that I am God..."  Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

"Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right.  Think about things that are pure, lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."  Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

"Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches.  Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit.  For apart from me, you can't do a thing."  John 15:5 (NLT)

"For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need." Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21 (NIV)


Additional resources:

Coming Out of the Dark by Mary Southerland
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/outofdark.html

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart?  by Lysa TerKeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/key.html

The Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/makeover.html