Have you ever come to a place in your weight loss journey where you wonder “what’s the point?” After all, working out is taking time away from your family, friends are asking you to eat out, and you wonder what is the purpose of denying yourself something that you enjoy in this fleeting life.
It’s at these exact times that we need to reflect on why we started losing weight in the first place. What motivated us? And if all the reasons were selfish, chances are this is where we give up, go back to our old habits and gain the weight back that we’ve lost. For truly if we ‘re losing weight to please ourselves, we can also convince ourselves that the food we’re missing is also pleasing and start gratifying our sinful nature. There has to be something more that compels us to keep going when the going gets tough.
This morning my reading included Isaiah 58:4-11, which says:
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
So, when you are fasting (or denying yourself something you crave), why do you do it? I would encourage you to list the reasons and see if there are more you can uncover from the above verses. For me personally, here is a list of why I began and hope to continue on this journey:
- To Untie the Yoke and Be Set Free – I want to be able to say no to food and not feel like I am a slave to my eating habits. I want to be set free from a body that holds me back from being able to run and jump and play with my kids. I want to be able to live life to the fullest and part of that is feeling good about myself and feeling healthy in general.
- To Not Turn Away from My Own Flesh & Blood – I want to be the wife that my husband desires. I want to be the mom that my kids aren’t ashamed of. I want to be there for all the important moments and not having to sit on the sidelines to catch my breath while they keep going. I want to be able to have fun with the people in my life who matter the most.
- To Do Away With Malicious Talk and Pointing Fingers – I want to clean up what’s going into my body and what’s coming out. This may be seem selfish, but generally speaking, I want to be more like Christ and seek ‘perfection’ (while unattainable) and hope for ‘excellence’ in all areas of life. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to God!
- To Share Food With the Hungry, Clothing With the Naked and Shelter to the Poor Wanderer – I’ve been praying lately about how I can be the hands and feet of Jesus. After reading a book where two children were orphaned and a woman took them in and raised them, I began to wonder if I had the same open home and open heart that God desires. Would I share what I have with those who need it? What does that mean or even look like? And if I’m too self-conscious about how I look or too exhausted and out of shape to be helpful, am I really serving God in the way He would desire? Can I be “fit for service” and offer my body to the Lord to be used by Him to help others? Literally, with Jesus in my heart and the Holy Spirit guiding me, I am the physical presence of God on earth, if I’m taking the time to get my eyes and focus off myself and rather onto loving God and loving others as we are called to do.
- And sure, I want to look good. I want smaller clothes to fit. But, I also know that beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive. If I’m only seeking selfish gain in my looks, I probably will again seek selfish gain in food. For being self-centered only leads to more selfishness.
If you’re feeling tired, if you’re wondering why even bother, maybe it’s time to reflect on WHY you felt called to try in the first place. Remind yourself of what being healthy will mean for those around you and even God’s future plans for you. It’s going to be worth it! After all, God promises to meet our needs and strengthen our frame.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word and Your love. Thank You for reminding us to not only humble ourselves for the sake of ourselves but for the sake of others. What does it look like to loose the cords of injustice? What does it mean to share with those in need? How can we best serve you? Please renew our minds and strengthen our spirits as we seek ways to please You and love others. Are there people in our sphere of influence who need to see You? Show us how to be obedient in answering Your call to help. May we be healthy and thin and fit for service. May our healing come through You! And may You be honored as we fast and seek Your will. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!