By Lysa TerKeurst
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 KJV
Have you ever looked at other people and thought to yourself, “How does everyone else have it all together? And why is it I seem to have so many issues?”
I understand. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with my weight and committing to a healthy lifestyle. My soul was rubbed raw from years of trying and failing.
I wanted something to instantly fix my issues.
I wanted to stop calling myself awful names I’d never let another person call me.
I wanted to be naturally thin like my sister.
I wanted to stop crying when I walked into my closet to get dressed in the morning.
So when I lost 25 pounds a few years ago and kept it off for the first time in my life, it was a huge victory.
But my real celebration hasn’t been over the smaller clothing size and reduced numbers on the scale. My real celebration is over the spiritual insights I gained while losing the weight and maintaining my healthy progress.
For me, this has been a spiritual journey — a significant spiritual journey with great physical benefits. I had been overweight physically and underweight spiritually and finally tying those two things together was life changing.
One of the richest lessons has been realizing the amount of mental and spiritual energy I wasted for years just wishing things would change. All the while, I was beating myself up for not having the discipline to make those changes.
If you have an issue with weight and food, you know what I mean. But no matter what issue you are currently dealing with, can I offer a bit of encouragement?
Jesus wants to help you with that issue. He really does. But you’ve got to stop beating yourself up about it and determine to follow His lead.
We like to identify our shortcomings, form them into a club, and beat the tar out of ourselves mentally. Over and over and over again. We label ourselves and soon lose our real identity to the beaten and bruised fragility we call “me.”
We compare, we assume, we assess, we measure and most times walk away shaking our head at how woefully short our “me” falls compared to everyone else. How dangerous it is to hold up the intimate knowledge of our imperfections against the outside packaging of others.
If there is one thing that living 40-plus years has taught me it’s this: All God’s girls have issues. Every single one of us.
But we can make the choice to identify our shortcomings and instead of using them against ourselves, hand them over to Jesus and let Him chisel our rough places.
The grace-filled way Jesus chisels is so vastly different than the way I mentally beat myself up.
My mental scripts are too often full of exaggerated lies that leave me feeling defeated. His chiseling is full of truth that sets me free.
Oh what a difference.
Jesus doesn’t compare.
Jesus doesn’t exaggerate.
Jesus doesn’t condemn. Our key verse, Romans 8:1, confirms this.
He simply says, “Hey, I love you. I love you just how you are. But, I love you too much to leave you stuck in this. So, let’s work on it together. You can do this.
There is something so powerful in really believing that with Jesus’ help you can do this. Say it with me, “I can.” I can is a powerful little twist for a girl feeling deprived and defeated.
I can helps me walk into the dinner party and find the conversation more appealing than the food table. I can helps me stay on the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresher, healthier selections abound and smile that I know this.
I can helps me look at the drive-thru menu and order a fruit tray without even giving a thought to the fried foods I used to snack on. I can reminds me to look online for a restaurant’s nutritional information before going out, ensuring wiser choices. I can reminds me no food will ever taste as sweet as victory does.
Having issues isn’t the absence of victory in our lives. It’s simply a call to action reminding us victory is right around the corner. Today is a great day to start believing you were made to walk in victory and to say to Jesus, “Yes, with Your truth as my guide, I can.”
Dear Lord, help me see myself the way You see me. Remove the lies that defeat me more often than I want to acknowledge. You have set me free. Help me live like I truly believe that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.