The Best Birthday Present I Ever Gave to Myself
Each year as my birthday approaches, I stop and reflect on the past year, reviewing my goals and what I have accomplished. I take an introspective look at the areas I wanted to grow and improve in. Some years I do better than others. This year, however, I have had some monumental moments which I am very thankful for. I greatly appreciate the work God continues to do in my heart and life.
For years I have lived in fear of my size. I’ve shared before how I have struggled with my weight for a majority of my life. I still struggle, but this year a light switch went on and I learned God has given me strength I didn’t realize I possessed. For years I chose to sit in the background because I felt I wasn’t worthy, or I was afraid I would be laughed at or be an embarrassment to myself or those I was with, by doing something different. The adventure started with doing a Whole30, which honestly changed my life. I learned when you eat good food you crave good food, but more importantly when you realize you are worth the investment you reap great rewards.
I am 50 pounds lighter this year than I was on my birthday last year, and I have lost some serious inches. I feel great, but not for the reason you may think. I feel great because I am allowing myself to embrace the same grace and freedom God offers to each of us, for myself. I stepped outside of my box and faced my nemesis, fear.
This past year I have tried and completed 5k’s and a 6K. One of the runs was at night and I’m still not sure how I made it out alive, but I did. I was running in the middle of the woods where tree roots became death traps. It was called a Glow Run, but trust me, there wasn’t much glow and it was hard to see where you were going. My biggest goal was just to stay upright and not kill myself.
My daughter turned me on to tennis and I love it. I’ve only been playing for a few weeks, but I can’t believe I never played before. She is a very patient teacher and I’m really beginning to grasp the game. It is truly something I wish I had done a long time ago. It is also one of those games you can play until you die. All ages play tennis and now I can see why they do… it is FUN!
I tried “Hot Yoga” and regular Yoga and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I didn’t get every move just right, and couldn’t do some of the moves at all, but I grow and gain more flexibility every time I do it. Yoga provides not only a physical release, but a spiritual release for me. I was never one to even think about yoga, let alone DO yoga. All I could think about before I went for the first time were the flexible bodies which could bend into pretzels while I was lucky if I could touch the floor with my hands. However, the class I attended was about making practice your OWN practice. No one watches you or tells you how horrible you are at a pose, because they are busy with their own practice.
This past winter I took a water aerobics class at the local pool. It was more like Zumba aerobics. We exercised to PitBull and J-Lo. It was easy on the joints, though, and helped me build strength and stamina. Right now I’m taking a Deep Water Jogging class. Do you know what it is like to run in an Olympic size swimming pool for at least thirty minutes where your feet do not touch the bottom and your arms are in the air? Let me tell you, it is hard, tiring and rewarding! As if that wasn’t enough, you spend the next thirty minutes kicking, stretching and treading water while you do exercises like jumping jacks, cross country skiing moves and sit-ups.
I have heard many sermons about how our bodies are a temple. I am confessing that mine was a rundown shack on the verge of collapse. I listened to the lies of the enemy who told me I could only be what I have always been, a failure when it came to making my body a temple for the Holy Spirit. But, I have realized that your body shape is not what makes you fit or unfit. It is your heartitude. It would be impossible for me to move forward without having my heart and attitude on the same positive level. I had to be broken so God could teach me through my brokenness the strength and power which resides in me because of the Holy Spirit who indwells my heart.
I’m not saying I don’t have bad days or struggles, but I can tell you every day God is giving me the power to persevere, and he shows me the difference between listening to His voice and the enemy’s voice. Fear no longer runs my ship or holds me captive. If I go off course, I can trust God to bring me safely back to where I need to be. I don’t do these things to impress anyone but God. I submitted myself to God and the journey before me. I wrote this verse in my journal last year on my birthday.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
What a difference a year can make. I always knew I belonged to God, but I never thought about not belonging to my “SELF”. I knew God paid an incredible price for me, but I never put it together how I was disgracing the gift of the Holy Spirit in me by allowing my temple to be in ruins. I allowed my “SELF” to succumb to the world’s view of me rather than relying on the Holy Spirit to empower me in God’s truth.
I don’t have to fear who I’m not or what I can’t do. All I need to fear (reverence) is the mighty and powerful presence of God in my life which will lead me to do great things in His name as I honor Him with my body. I am rebuilding my temple.
Over the next few weeks as I share my look back over the past year, I want to encourage you to stop and take a look at your own life. Find the place where you struggle and ask God to reveal Himself and help you through it. The world will try to make you believe you are alone and no one understands. I have failed time and time again, yet God continues to love me and I know He loves you too. Let God give you the present of Truth. God will make you strong where you are weak! No one knows you better than the One who created you! Believe in yourself the way God believes in You Click To Tweet