By Brianna Hines
A few years ago, when I was at my parents’ place, my mom asked me my opinion on the furniture arrangement in their living room. They had recently moved to a new house and were still trying to find the best layout for all their stuff. I was happy to oblige. I have loved rearranging furniture since I was a kid. I used to regularly move around every piece of furniture in my room, including the bunk bed, by myself, as an 8 year old!
Anyway, my mom and I spent some time moving the furniture around in her living room to see how it looked in various arrangements. We finally got to a result we both liked, but there was one more chair that needed to be slid into place. I walked over to it, confident from all the other lifting we had done that day and bent down to move it. My mom offered to help, saying that I should be careful I didn’t hurt myself, but I pridefully assured her, “I got this.” Ten seconds later, as I was pulling the chair, I heard a pop and then felt shooting pain like I have never felt before course through my back. Yep, I had thrown my back out. I spent the next week stuck in a recliner trying to regain normal function and all because I didn’t want to admit I needed help.
Gosh, I am an independent, stubborn person! And not just with moving furniture! I do the same thing when it comes to gluttony and laziness. How many battles have I fought to overcome my unhealth with just my willpower alone? For so many years, I said to myself, “You got yourself into this, it is your responsibility to get yourself out.” Oh, how I wish I could have seen earlier what a fool I was for not letting God be the source of my strength, for not asking the Creator of my body to give me the help and motivation to take care of it! My stubborn independence just left me more and more discouraged each time I would fail, year after year.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! God wants to help us win this battle. He longs to be our source of strength in overcoming temptation. The Lord is ready, eager even, to empower us to do things we didn’t even think were possible anymore. But, He always waits for us to ask first. We have to put down our pride and independence long enough to realize we actually do need Him, desperately.
My battle with gluttony and laziness has begun to train me in the art of asking my Heavenly Father for help. Slowly, slowly I am building habits of dependence on the Lord to be wise with what I choose as my daily bread, to pray in the face of temptation, and to beg for the motivation and energy to be obedient to Him with my health. I feel like such a baby sometimes, always asking for help, always needing something from God. But our Heavenly Father, like any good father, loves being the protector and provider over our lives. It is not a burden on Him to be asked for the strength to get off the couch — ten times in the same day! It is not annoying for Him to be asked for the willpower to drive past our favorite fast food restaurant — every single morning! It is His pleasure, His joy even.
To be honest with you, I don’t know if I would ever have learned to depend on Him in such a constant way had I never struggled with my weight. If I had the metabolism of a Greek goddess and could eat whatever I felt like or be as lazy as I wanted without any physical repercussions, I don’t know that I would ever feel a need to depend on God as constantly as I do now. My need for Him is visible even. I am reminded of it every day as I put on my clothes, or I walk by a mirror. My need for Him is also everywhere I go. Each grocery store run or holiday celebration. Each date night or lunch break. I am forced to pray over every meal, not only in thanks, but also in pleas for discipline. There is nowhere I can go to get away from it. My need to bring all of my struggles to the feet of Jesus, daily, will be with me the rest of my life.
The visibility of gluttony in particular also forces me to be more accountable to those sisters in Christ around me who know of my sin. It is pretty hard to hide from them if I am letting things slip in this area of my life. They can encourage me. They can be honest with me. They can come alongside. If I struggled with pornography, for instance, it would be much easier to keep it hidden, to fight alone, with no accountability unless I chose to let someone in. But because my sin issue is on display everywhere I go, I can’t hide it very well, no matter how many layers I bundle over it. God has, in His mercy, made my sin a visible one because He knows how prone I am to try fighting my fights alone. I don’t like to need Him, and I don’t like to need other people. But I am learning how much I really DO need them both, and it is all because of my frustrating, embarrassing, and humbling struggle with health.
So, my battle with these two sins of gluttony and laziness is starting to take on a different light. I have begun to wonder: “Is it possible to be grateful I struggle with these things? Is it possible to actually thank the Lord that I struggle with my weight?” I think the answer is yes. Yes, I am grateful that I now see my need for God’s grace daily, even hourly in my life because of it. Yes, I thank God that I can’t hide my sin from others and that I have been forced to bring it into the light of community with other women. Praise the Lord that I will never be able to escape my dependence on Him, and that I can bring Him every need, every plea for strength, every battle with temptation, and He hears me and delivers me. The deep trust that He is building in me as a result is nothing short of a miracle.
Yes, I am grateful for this curse. Sure, there are days that I go back to my old ways and turn green with envy when I see a woman that looks like she has never struggled a day in her life with her weight, but then the Lord gently reminds me that He gave me this body for a reason, this metabolism for a reason, and I am to steward it in a way that is unique to me, and me alone.
Thanks, God. You are so patient with me.
Trust me, I know how easy it is to hate the fact that we struggle, to wish it away with every fiber of our being! But it can actually become the biggest lifelong blessing if we let God turn it into a constant reminder to need Him, talk to Him, and trust Him like we never have before.
Lord, thank You for the exact body you gave me. You knew before I was even formed in my mother’s womb that I would struggle to live a healthy life. Thank You for always being available, always being eager to help me with it, and using it as an opportunity to get closer to You. I pray for each woman reading this today that You would give them eyes to see the miracles You long to work in their lives. Give them hope for all You are capable of doing and the perseverance to keep fighting the good fight. Show them that You will provide every escape from temptation, every boost in motivation, and all the physical strength needed to be obedient to You when they ask for it. Help us all to come alongside one another in community and be vulnerable and brave as we share our struggles. Thank You, Lord, that You will never leave us or forsake us, and that You gave us the church so we don’t ever have to fight our battles with sin alone. Help us to keep fighting, today and for the rest of our lives. I pray all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I love you, Ladies. Thanks for joining me in the journey toward health and a closer relationship with the Lord. I am so thankful for you!