I learned the Lord’s Prayer as a child. Recited it a lot in my adult life. I understood “temptation” to be the big stuff – the Commandments. But it’s been a LOOOOOONG process for it to make sense to me with respect to my health.
I’m a Christian, but my relationship with God is very personal. I don’t discuss it much. I have a problem with being judgemental, so I work on that a lot. I think the way I express myself comes across as judgemental, even when I’m not. I’m just bossy and blunt. (Side effect of how I teach teenagers.)
I’ve tried to articulate this before – I don’t know if I can do it with the humility I feel. There were a couple of missing pieces to my puzzle that prevented me from losing the extra weight and reclaiming my health. Unrelated things happened in the months prior to June 2009 when I started that may not have been unrelated at all. I needed to be patiently and deliberately led to it.
1) I read The Shack. That book challenged my notion of the Trinity. When I read it, I had to stop at times to just cry. I was overwhelmed by what was happening in my head and my heart. The phrase “child of God” was not a figure of speech I used before that time. I’ve always felt connected to God since I was a child. I loved Sunday school. I used to go for walks and talks with Him when I was a teenager. But I never really developed a personal understanding of the phrase “child of God” until that time. I don’t know if there was something in the book that triggered that, or if it was just one of those things that causes connections in the brain.
When that phrase hit me, I knew I was NOT taking care of His child – me. I didn’t know what I was going to to differently, but I knew something was going to change.
2) In March 2009, I had the emergency room visit that scared the life INTO me. I’ve blogged about this visit a lot. (I’ve had several questions about what motivated me to start. Life Is… describes my thinking at the time.) I honestly do not recall if I read The Shack before or after that visit. I just know that the two events are connected.
Last week, a new Facebook friend and I were chatting through email about Christians who refrain from alcohol, but not from food. A day or so later, someone posted something about how we all need to be tolerant of how others “start and stop” their personal fitness programs. I had a very strong reaction to that and the word “discipline” popped into my head loudly. Then this line in the Lord’s Prayer…
“And lead us not into temptation.”
I’m not kidding – this was very clear in my head. Maybe I was being judgmental again?
Over time, I came to the understanding that my body is a gift from Him. It’s mine to use while I am here, and though I do not know how long I’m supposed to be on the planet, I know that neglecting this gift may cause me to leave before I’m supposed to. I believe God gave me free will to choose, but it is up to me to choose thoughtfully.
So for me, I honor Him by not indulging in things that I know are not healthy. I am tempted, but I do not allow myself to be lead into it all the time. I do plan my cheat meals to include treats. But I resist the temptations when it’s not in my plan to have. I don’t miss workouts. I make excuses on some days, but I do it anyway. This discipline is how “and lead us not into temptation” is at work in my life.
I’m not perfect with my diet. But I do try to stick to fueling my body with food grown by God. Real food. Veggies, fruit, chicken, beef, turkey, some pork, and fish. I’m not eating this way because of any program or style of eating. I eat this way because the body my life works best with this kind of nourishment. I feel better and I have more energy than I used to have. I’ve had to limit grains, because it seems they are not grown by God anymore. I didn’t know that. I just started feeling better when I cut out bread last summer. I’ve since researched GMO’s and have learned that most grains are grown from seeds that have been genetically modified to increase yield. I don’t think I have a gluten allergy, but I don’t tolerate whatever has been done to the grain. It bloats me and I don’t feel as good as I normally do.
There will be those who will have a knee-jerk reaction to what I’ve said here. They may think I’m overly religious. I’ve been working on this post for a few days now. I’ve struggled with how to communicate this connection between temptation and food without alienating anyone. I am not pious. I do not attend church. However, I think I am moral. I try everyday to keep my judgmental tendency under control. I try everyday to live with humility. I am grateful everyday – that’s easy. Life is not perfect – not by a long shot. But I’m blessed and I know it.
So to those who believe they are resisting temptation by not cheating on their spouse or stealing, I challenge you to think about the smaller temptations.