I spoke with a friend recently who asked about the two years or so I was a bodybuilder. I went looking for some pictures of my “glory days” to send her and I came across these words in an email from an old professor: “God loves you in the valley, he loves you on the mountaintop, and he loves you when you come down the mountain”. After reading it I just had to pause because the memories of that season in my life almost brought tears to my eyes. I had a wonderful time competing as a bodybuilder, specifically as a figure competitor. But it was also a very emotionally painful journey for me. I reached my mountaintop at 150lbs, and then I slid right back down and gained about 70lbs in under a year. The short time I competed was glorious, but the aftermath brought deep wounds of shame, body image issues, and disappointment. I was so disappointed that I still had the same food issues I had started with. In some sense, they had never gone away. I still overate while I was training. I just overate on healthy food. I would just eat, sometimes mindlessly. If you know me, you know I LOVE trail mix, which I affectionately call crack mix because once I start eating that stuff I just can’t stop! A lot of you have some painful moments connected to your weight issues. There are heavy emotional burdens that are weighing you down and you feel as if your life is out of control. You are angry at yourself for gaining so much weight and disappointed that your last diet attempt failed miserably. No matter how hard you try you just can’t seem to beat this weight problem. Some of you have given up entirely on finding freedom from this burden. You have resigned yourself to live the rest of your life overweight.

For those of you for who this a reality, I want to tell you that God loves you. No matter how many times you have fallen short of the mark he still loves you deeply! More so, Jesus died to relieve the pain you are feeling right now.  He doesn’t desire for us to live with these deep emotional wounds and with the physical ailments caused by our overeating. He wants to heal that pain. He wants to heal the wounds our eating covers up. His death on the cross paved the way to freedom from sin. Yes, our inability to eat in moderation consistently is sinful behavior. But we do not have to live life like that; we don’t have to accept a life sentence of being overweight! There is hope! My story is a living testimony to that. So if today is a bad day for you, or if you have fallen off the weight loss bandwagon now is the time to get back on! For those of you who have never gotten on the bandwagon to begin with, now is the time for you to start your journey. Believe that obedience to God results in freedom. Have faith that what God says is true and have faith with your feet. I challenge you to apply the principles we’ve been sharing for one week. Give it 100% (eating when you’re hungry and stopping when your full) for one week.  I believe that you will see some results both on the scale and in your relationship with God.

Keep fighting for freedom. God loved us enough to send his son to die for us, let us love him enough to honor his perfect gift.  For God’s mercies are new every morning and they are new at EVERY meal!.

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