Perhaps the trickiest place for me in the midst of finding health and wholeness alongside the journey God has me on is this question: Is it possible to lose weight and stay free at the same time? By this I mean, can I make wise choices about what I’m eating and the activity I’m engaging in without feeling like I’m on a “program,” without counting points or recording every little thing I eat, without making the process itself an idol and the goal something unrealistic and ultimately take me captive?
I am starting to believe that it IS possible. Thanks to Revelation Wellness and the beautiful Jessi Connolly (myfreedombell on Instagram), truths like this have been rolling around in my head.
Food belongs to him. AND this is for the heart that feels confused and struggling to fight the voices of what they “should” be eating. If anyone is feeling FREE and good with where they are, then this is not the call for them. I want to serve the heart that is frustrated. I hear the cry for help. So…we are going to take back AND get our hearts clean. And let food be to his glory alone. No rules! Only freedom for the frustrated heart. – Alisa Keeton
I have done the same thing with the phrase “losing weight”. Even now, I cringe saying it. But there it is: I’m trying to lose weight. I have been half heartedly trying for about two and a half years, but in the last few weeks and months I’ve felt the freedom to REALLY TRY. At the root of it, my heart has shifted so much and I wouldn’t say I’m losing weight to be more beautiful or I’m losing weight to be more at home in my body. I’m losing weight because to be at my optimal health, there is weight to lose. And more than any of those things – I don’t crave skinny or tiny or beautiful. I crave freedom. I crave the day when this is NOT A THING for me any longer. And I know that the Holy Spirit can do that work whether I lose 0 more pounds, 20 more, or gain 100. – Jess Connolly
Do you feel that? It’s the belief that freedom is possible. It’s pressing in without fear. I want that so badly.
Before, when I would think about food, body and Christ I would often think of food and body as something in a box in the corner. I would have conversations in my heart with Jesus like this (His part of course, is not an audible voice that I heard, but what I imagine He might want to say). Needless to say, where the conversations used to end at an earlier point, they’ve taken a turn recently:
Me: “I mean, if you WANT to touch the box, you can, but…I understand if you don’t want to.”
Jesus: “Why is it in the corner like that? Did you put a LOCK on that thing?”
Me: “I mean, yes. Yes I did.”
Jesus: “You don’t want it to be open to me? I can bust that sucker open without your permission, you know. You think it’s too hard for me?”
Me: “It’s not so much that, it’s more like…you have better things to worry about.”
Jesus: “Like what?”
Me: “You know, babies in Africa. People on food stamps. Not girls obsessed with their bodies who so badly want to be free.”
Jesus: “I care about free. I created it.”
Me: “I know. But…”
Jesus: “No buts. I love you, you know that? I love you. Let’s do battle. I’ll win it for you. Stand behind me and take the win. It’s going to take some time. Not because I can’t do it faster, I can do it with a word, but you would miss MY GREATNESS in it. So, let’s go for it.”
Just about a week ago I sent out an e-mail with a question to some friends about how they have found the best ways to stay free and lose weight. Most of the answers were quite helpful. Some were vague, but thoughtful. Those were all fine- I’m vague, I’m trying to be thoughtful, I don’t have it all figured out. It was one in particular that really squished my heart and made me want to climb back into the box and lock it up. Someone, very well meaning, I’m sure, suggested that my interest should not be in body weight percentage at all but should instead be on being at soup kitchens and getting muddy in Borneo. Truly, he made a great point. We should be serving with our bodies, with our hearts. God calls us to that. But he completely disregarded my question. I felt hurt, not heard. Instead of addressing my question, he seemingly “spiritualized it,” which may have even been what he truly believed Jesus wanted him to do. He just doesn’t know my heart. He doesn’t know how strong my desire for Jesus is. By His grace, stronger than my desire for less fat on my body. Way stronger.
Also I’m learning: nothing is “secular.” Me thinking about my body fat percentage and wanting it to go down is not sinning, unless I make it an idol. Yes, I am tempted that way. Yes, I have to watch out for it. But God is not disqualifying me from offering this portion of my life up to Him and asking for freedom. He isn’t telling me to go to Africa and get muddy and scrub floors in orphanages INSTEAD of caring about my body. He may call me to that, but it will still be in this body. And I am too far down the road of freedom now to believe He doesn’t care.
I really think Jesus believes I can walk into a greater fullness of freedom in food and body without falling into idolatry. Without making corn or a cupcake little gods. Without checking my reflection in every shiny surface. Without turning to the doughnuts at church because they look tasty and for that reason only. Without weighing myself. While moving my body in love. While leading others into freedom by his grace. While starting a new business. While not having it all together. While walking by faith.
I long for this. I pray for it. I beg for God to show me the second I slip into idolatry. I pray he will kill all of my tiny gods and absolutely demolish them before my eyes.
Everything is sacred. He cares. I cannot keep the box closed any longer. I let him open it, place it in my lap, see all the grime and the darkness, and even still, a light shining trough that can’t be darkened. He stands in front of me, war ready, and yells a battle cry that the very depths of hell hear, and shudder. With fire in His eyes, and delight in His heart about me, He smiles and says “Let’s go.”