One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in Matthew 14: 24-31
“Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
I think we can discover so many truths about our journey to better health through these passages. You are probably like “What??? What does this have to do with my health journey”
Here is what I believe about this story from Matthew:
- When we are struggling to exercise and eat healthy Jesus is saying “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here” He cares about everything you do and He wants you to talk to him about all the things that worry you. He promises to be with us always. It’s our choice, do we want to want to put our trust in Him and step out of the boat or do we want to stay in the boat and live in fear? It might seem easier to stay in the boat but the joy comes in trusting and walking on water. Are you ready to trust God and ask for His help on your health journey?
- When Peter finds the faith to get out of the boat he walks on water! But what happens as he is walking? He takes his eyes off Jesus and he looks at the waves. He fears the waves are too much and he starts to sink. What wave are you looking at? What is causing you to take your eyes off Jesus. What is causing you to fear that you won’t be able to make the lasting, healthy changes you know you so badly need? You must remember that “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Turn your eyes away from your challenges and keep your eyes glued on Jesus and you will succeed.
- When we mess up and start to sink, all we need to do is extend our hand and allow Jesus to pick us up and get us back on our path. Too often if we skip a workout or eat something we know we shouldn’t, we right away think, “Oh, here I go again, I’ll never do this”. Don’t do that to yourself. We all make mistakes and all we need to do is cry out “Save me Lord” and He is there extending His hand. I love this quote, “Failure is not the falling down, it’s the staying down.” (Mary Pickford)
- The last part of this story really touches me because I think this is so true for many of us - We doubt if Jesus can really help? We ask for His help but there is something deep in us that doesn’t fully understand the true power of the Holly Spirit who lives in us. I mean think about it God’s Spirit is in you - of course He can help!! Cast all doubts away, have complete confidence in Jesus’ power.
**Spend some time thinking about the questions mentioned in the above passage:
What wave are you looking at? What is causing you to take your eyes off Jesus? What is causing you to fear that you won’t be able to make the lasting, healthy changes you know you so badly need?
If you are willing to be vulnerable discuss this with someone close to you. Ask them what they think your wave is and, with love, let them know what you see as their wave.
One night, my son Quinn and I were talking about what they discussed at youth group that night. He said they talked about the story of Peter walking on water. It was the same story I had read that morning. We both talked about how much we love that story and how much there is to learn from it. I asked him if he wanted to talk about what he thought was my wave and what I thought was his wave. He was willing to dig into this. What he said to me took my breath away. He said, “Mom, when it comes to Faithful Workouts don’t worry about the money, just keep doing what God is asking you to do and it will all be OK”. (Isn’t he not the cutest thing ever!) I will never forget his words and I believe God was speaking to me through Quinn.
Never Say “Diet” Again
I have said this before and I will say it again and again – don’t go on a diet!! Let me say that again - don’t go on a diet, don’t try the latest fad - diets don’t work. A diet might help you initially lose weight but chances are extremely high you will gain back all you lost and then some.
The word “diet” typically stirs up feelings of deprivation and sadness. A diet is something you typically do temporarily. When you finish your diet, you usually go back to your old habits and the weight comes back on.
The goal of most diets is to lose weight. Please hear me when I say this - losing weight doesn’t always equate with better health. You can be extremely unhealthy even though you are at your ideal weight. If you drink nothing but diet soda and eat nothing but low calorie frozen dinners, you might lose weight but you definitely aren’t healthy.
My hope, is that your #1 reason for wanting to change the way you eat is because you want to be healthier. To move towards better health you should eat the proper amount of calories but much more importantly you need to give your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs. You need to properly fuel it.
Instead of saying, “I’m going on a diet” say “I am going to start eating healthier” and “I’m going to properly fuel my body”. Doesn’t that sound a lot more exciting and fun!
Healthy weight loss takes time. Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself. In fact, don’t set weight loss goals. Set goals that will move you closer to better health. Remember, weight loss in not always healthy. Eat nutrient dense calories, eat the foods God created, watch your portion size and you will get to a healthier weight, but don’t make it your only goal.
**Are you convinced that “crash diets” aren’t the way to go? Be honest, if you are still tempted to follow a diet that “guarantees that you will lose 6 pounds in 6 days” what can you do to change you plan?
Each week you will be asked to set goals. Your goals can be about faith, fitness or food (or all 3). I highly recommend that you write them down and post them on your mirror or someplace you will see them often. When setting goals make them action oriented goals, not result goals. Stay focused on doing the next right thing and be patient with the results.