This time last year I was desperate for a change in my life. I have been following Christ since I was 6 years old and doing ministry for almost 25 years, but I had honestly never even contemplated that my physical body had anything to do with anything. I assumed that if I was reading my bible and serving people that I was doing all He asked. Last year I realized I was slowly becoming unable to do anything well because I was lazy and completely overweight. My health was affecting my ministry to my family, my church, everything! And I tried every Monday morning to do better. But it NEVER worked. About Tuesday night I would give in and eat something I thought was "bad" and then I'd give up,..only to try again but not until the following Monday. The cycle was pretty endless. And in it all I would say to myself, "Well at least I am a good person who loves Jesus and follows Him. I may be unhealthy but my heart is right."
Here's the problem, my heart wasn't right. I was NOT letting Him be Lord of my body. I wasn't taking care of the physical place where His Spirit lives. I honestly thought He didn't really care about my body. And just to make myself less depressed about how I felt and looked, I reasoned that people who did care were shallow and didn't care about their relationship with God.
Then my husband had the audacity to preach a sermon about surrendering your physical body to Christ. He even had the audacity to ask me to lead a follow up small group focusing on diet and exercise.
One year later I've lost 30 pounds and feel so much better. I recently ran a half marathon...last year I couldn't run for 13 minutes much less 13 miles. I have relationships with sweet friends at church that I would never have come to know because we journeyed together on this Daniel Plan ride, and they love me unconditionally but hold me accountable.
My life is very different because I obediently did some really hard things to practice letting Him control ALL of me. My life is so VERY far from perfect, but I can better handle the struggles that are inevitable in this world because I know that He is even more faithful than chocolate, ice cream, sugar, and every other earthly craving!
Do you want this? Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to be able to serve Him more effectively as you love your family, your friends and coworkers/clients, your church?
Let's do this together!
I'm leading a Daniel Plan (DP) group at our church, but many are unable to meet with us because of distance or time. We can do this online I think. I'd love to give it a try and see what happens! Now remember that you will do better with someone you can actually see and touch, so do your best to enlist a friend or family member who is also committed to it or at least committed to you!
For this first week take these steps:
1. Buy or borrow The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life. There are several items that go with it, but I think this one is the only one you need to start. Later you may want the cookbook. Our church group uses the DVDs, which are fairly inexpensive, and the study guide. You decide how much you want to spend, but definitely get the main trade book.
2. Read the first 3 chapters, focusing on the third chapter regarding faith. As you read, underline every bible verse that is quoted. Think about how faith affects the decesions you make about what to eat and when you are active.
3. Choose one verse to memorize this week. Write it on an index card, put in on your phone, make it visible and accessible all week. Memorize it. Yes, I said memorize it. Don't use the excuse that you can't memorize things because you can. And please don't make me every say this again, but if Christ can live and die for you, I believe the least you can do is memorize some of His works. In fact, for accountability, tell us in the comments below what verse you are memorizing.
4. Start doing one healthy thing. Maybe you want to commit to drinking 64 ounces of water every day. Maybe you want to cut out caffeine or added sugar. Maybe you want to do something active every day this week. It won't always be easy, but when you are tempted to not do it, repeat your memory very 5 times...or 50 times! God can give you His power to overcome! Do the hard thing to show that obedience to Him and taking care of His temple is important enough to deny yourself. With each small step, He will bless and empower you. Next week we will begin the chapter on food, and many of you will jump ahead because you want to see how to do this "diet". Feel free, but don't skip the faith part. It's the absolute most important thing you'll ever do!
5. Do one thing to take the next step in your relationship with Christ. If you don't already spend time in His Word, make a way to read it everyday. Maybe you need to start a devotion book, or join a bible study, or start reading a book of the bible. I have been doing those things, but I needed to begin memorizing scripture! Maybe that's you too. Do something that's one step more to your part of your relationship with Him. Yes, that takes time, but it's the most important thing you can do. What makes DP different is the faith factor, so we focus on it first. When we put Him first, it's amazing how much we come to trust that He really does know best and want the best for us. We are much more willing to say "NO" to some less than healthy habits and cravings. You'd be amazed at how much His power can equip you to do/eat the better thing.
6. Peruse the danielplan.com website. They have great videos and articles that help. Here are 2 great ones:
That's it for week 1 and getting started. I think it is important to commit to this and let me know you're with us. Please comment below with your name and memory verse ASAP. If you have trouble commenting, feel free to FB message me or even email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you are all in.