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No More Excuses!

  • 2001 27 Dec
No More Excuses!

As you take some initial steps toward a lifestyle change, your mind will cry out with many different excuses. Here we'll examine some common obstacles and consider some ways to overcome them.

"I Don't Have Enough Time."
Time is one of the major excuses used to avoid starting a new program like First Place. You may groan, "I don't have any more hours in my day to exercise or read the Bible. Where will I find the time?"

Each of us has 24 hours in a single day. The question is, Do you use that time wisely? The average American spends 15 hours a week in front of the television set. "Whoa, I don't spend that much time," you might say. One way to judge exactly how much time you spend at the television set is to keep track for a few days. The results may surprise you. We rationalize watching television because of our love for sports or the need to follow the news, yet it takes up a lot of time. You can free up a few more hours in your day if you simply turn off the television set.

Another way to gain more time each day is to set the alarm clock a half hour or an hour earlier. Then use that extra time in a productive fashion. Monday through Friday, I don my exercise clothes and work out with friends before work. I eliminate the excuse of no time by planning this activity as part of my schedule.

God created everything in the world, including time. He has the hours of the day for our schedule—particularly as we turn over those hours into His hands. Solomon wrote about God in the early pages of Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” The psalmist says, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps.118:24). Finally, the apostle Paul encourages us to make good use of our time because the days are evil (see Eph. 5:16).

“I’ll Never Be Able to Do It”
Sometimes we look at ourselves and hear a little voice inside that says, You are a loser. You will never be able to take off those pounds. This kind of self-talk may have started as a small child when someone in school called you stupid. Instead of responding with a Forrest Gump sort of answer (“Stupid is as stupid does”), you took that message to heart and began to call yourself names. These names and self-talk become another obstacle to your goal of losing weight and changing your lifestyle.

If you have these negative messages spinning in your head (and many of us do), I hope you will open your Bible and remind yourself of God’s great love for you. The Lord told the prophet Jeremiah in 31:3, “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.’”

This truth is only one of the many precious thoughts from God’s Word. We need to hold on to these verses when we feel something inside tell us that we are not able to do the First Place program or when we face any other obstacle.

“I Don’t Have the Discipline”
Sometimes we chafe at the disciplines involved with First Place. You may look at the nine commitments and instantly conclude, “I don’t have the discipline. I admit that I don’t have what it takes.”

Within the First Place program, you are not alone. As part of a small group, you have other members in your group who can help encourage you in the different disciplines, such as reading your Bible, keeping your Commitment Record or finding time to exercise. Or if you’re doing the First Place program with two or three friends, mutual support is going to help you persevere. Many First Place members find encouraging or giving support to fellow members is especially difficult. As a society, we’ve built relational walls around ourselves to keep people from hurting us because we’ve been rejected and hurt many times in the past. Through First Place, God wants to bring emotional healing and encourage you in this particular discipline.

Why do we reach out to other people within First Place? Because we learn to love other people with the love that God has shown to us through Christ. I grew up in a generation that believed if people didn’t conform to what they were told, they were forgotten. Through reading the Bible, I’ve learned that God has a totally different perspective. He says that He loves every individual as much as He loves you and me. It is unimportant what they’ve done or what kind of sin they have committed. In God’s eyes, there are no degrees of sin. However, sin separates us from God. In 1 John 1:9,10, God’s Word says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” When we fail and miss a particular discipline, then we turn to God, ask His forgiveness and try again.

We will not pretend that discipline is easy. It takes a certain type of discipline to attend a weekly meeting, to fill out the Commitment Record with what you eat and to have regular Bible study time. Each of these commitments involves discipline. But what are the results of discipline? Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” If you want a harvest of righteousness and peace, then you must follow the course of discipline.

“I’m Afraid I Will Fail”
Fear is a universal problem. It weakens our hearts, robs us of peace of mind and saps our energy. Unfortunately, fear is alive and well in the world of weight loss. Many people are afraid they will fail again after so many previous attempts to lose weight. After they have been in First Place and have reached their weight goal, some people are afraid they will gain back their weight. Leaders of First Place groups are afraid they won’t be effective and that members of the group will drop out of the program.

In the Bible, the admonition to “fear not” is used more than 100 times. God knows us well enough to know that we need constant reminders to live in trust and dependence on Him, rather than living in fear and anxiety. I have found several things to be true for my own life, when fears overtake me. Here are four steps to help you overcome your fears:

1. Choose to obey God and leave the consequences of life to Him. Joshua 22:5 says, “But be very careful to . . . love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

2. Recognize that God is greater than your circumstances. Romans 8:31 says, “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

3. Ask God to make you aware of His presence. In Isaiah 41:10, the prophet wrote, “So do not fear, for I am with you. . . . I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

4. Praise God for delivering you from your fears. Psalm 34:1,4 says, “I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

Take these four steps into your life and heart as you seek to conquer the obstacle of fear in your life, whether it concerns weight loss or anything else.

Excerpted from First Place, copyright 2001 by Carole Lewis with Terry Whalin. Published by Regal Books, Ventura, Ca., www.regalbooks.com. Used by permission.

Carole Lewis is the national director of First Place, a Christ-centered health and weight-loss program. W. Terry Whalin is a feature writer and the author of more than 50 books.

What excuses are you tempted to give yourself and others when you’re considering making some changes in your life? How have you been able to overcome your fears and successfully make the changes you’d like to make in your life? As we begin a new year, are you making any resolutions? If so, what are they? Do you have trouble keeping resolutions? If so, how else have you been able to make lasting changes in your life? Visit Live It’s forum to respond, or read what others have to say. Just click on the link below.

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