How often have you begun your year with high hopes and great resolutions only to be back where you were on December 31st within a few short weeks? The list of common resolutions are: getting into shape, being more organized, dealing with emotions, getting out of debt, developing new skills, overcoming addictions. Many of us find ourselves buying the books, making the lists of things to change and then wanting to throw the book against the wall when things don’t magically change overnight. Yes, resolutions, like diets, don’t work long term.
The definition of resolution/ resolve, sounds easy enough: To make a firm decision to change, to find a solution to a problem, to settle once and for all.
If we just make a decision to change, all will be well, right?
For years I had made a firm decision to change. It didn’t just happen at New Years but many other Monday mornings throughout the year. Yo-Yo dieting and struggling with weight since my mid-thirties, my firm resolve was repeatedly to get in shape and lose that 20-25 lbs. I would start with great intentions on Monday and end up with a hot fudge sundae by Thursday or Friday. So much for my firm resolve.
Why? There are probably many reasons. But one is, I don’t like pain. Can I repeat, I don’t like pain!
It is painful to “not eat” what you want to eat, when you want to eat it. It messes with ingrained ways of satisfying emotional needs and that is painful. And, if it’s not particularly painful, it is hard and I don’t like hardship. There I said it, I don’t like hard!
In particular, I never wanted to give up my beloved sugars. So the times I would go on the latest crash diet with some success, it always included smaller amounts of sugar. So my little addiction to sweet was never dealt with. Consequently I dealt with this issue over and over again until I found myself a good 40 lbs overweight in my 50’s, and even 50 lbs overweight after cancer drugs and treatment. Ugh!
Did I make another resolution? No, I knew I couldn’t do this on my own. But I was open to change. I made a choice to listen to my doctor who explained to me that sugar causes internal inflammation and that I was internally very inflamed. Forget about what I looked like on the outside, my insides were sick. In the same way a very thin woman can be sick and inflamed on the inside too. I was sick and inflamed both inside and outside. God was calling me to look to him, to ask for His guidance and help. He wasn’t asking for my strength or resolve, he was inviting me into His strength and power to deliver.
In 2014 I experienced God meeting me at the crossroads of faith and change. Insanity meant doing the same thing AGAIN and failing. God was inviting me to step off the wheel of self effort and into a place of surrender. I didn’t like surrender when it came to my personal habits because surrender of what I am comfortable with would most likely require change and change is painful….at first.
Where are you this New Years? Do you have areas that need to change but you haven’t been able to stick with anything for very long? Jesus is holding out his power to you. You are at the crossroads of faith and change. If you will look to him, he will guide you into what is right for you and give you the strength to succeed and the power for real change. He will also begin showing you how what you did before really wasn’t so good for you after all.
After losing 46 lbs this year, I gave myself permission to eat the sugars and grains that I gave up for 9 months, during December. Instead of not eating those, I looked to God for the discipline to practice moderation. It worked. I made it through multiple parties and events, enjoying the festive food without gaining a pound. Grace! But, I also found out in this last month of the year that those foods that I once thought were just dieting disasters, actually make me sick. I ended the year with asthma again, psoriasis flaring up, aches and pain, fatigue and headaches. The funny thing is, all of those were normal things I took medications for prior to these past 9 months. My normal was to do what I wanted to do, eat what I want to eat and medicate the physical symptoms because they were just a normal part of aging….but they aren’t… When I am not eating sugars all those symptoms clear up. Ugh! Didn’t I say that God will show us the right way for us?
Now I can go on with foggy brain and headaches, little energy and asthma…OR, I can listen to the nudging of God’s Spirit saying to my own, ” Who the SON sets free, is free indeed” and I can walk into freedom continually by walking with Jesus continually. He cares about the practical parts of living.The choice is mine. The power to deliver and heal is His.
When I began last April, I didn’t have a guide or resource. Since then I have come across one that might be a great resource to you as well. If you, like me, struggle with this same repeated resolution, check out www.whole30.com Surrendering to God for 30 days, just might change your life moving forward.
As for me, back on track and thanking God for his power to deliver and heal. After all, my body is not my own, it’s His. How disrespectful of me to not surrender it to Him. I’m now asking for strength to be more organized and execute that budget resolution. I know it will be hard, often painful, but in every hard area, God uses the pain to shape me…and you…to build in us what we don’t already have…more of Jesus and His Strength.
Happy New Year! May we Look Up to Him continually!