So, I was thinking, at 3am this morning when I was soothing my poorly baby girl about how when there's a change on the inside of a person, it reflects on the outside.
Many people who follow my blog or facebook antics, are aware that in May this year I began a journey with a Bootcamp style fitness club. I made the choice to join and start a committed vigorous exercise programme as after giving birth to five children in eight years, my dress size had increased significantly (from a size 12 to a big size 18 to be precise), I felt sluggish, had poor self esteem with my body image and having just turned 30 knew this was the time to start putting myself further up my list of priorities.
It's been a yo-yo of emotions being a part of the group. The exercise sessions can be tough and now the weather is FREEZING here in the UK, it sometimes feels a drag to go out at 7.30pm three evenings a week to a cold barn with a wet floor.....but I absolutely LOVE the friends I have made there, and the fitness instructor who
What I really love most about the journey I'm on, is what it's doing to me mentally and emotionally. I stated from the start it was a journey I would 100% keep God in with me. I never take being healed from an eating disorder lightly...it is only by His grace and goodness I have overcome the areas there needed change in.
I feel so much healthier inside... I know my heart is healthier, I don't get out of breath as quickly as I used to, I don't feel bloated and yucky in my tummy area any more and I sleep well after getting through long days well! It's great to feel so alive even when life's situations can be tough! It's so true the hormones released when exercising boost you.
But, like with my exercising and eating plan only being able to make my heart healthier, my skin more radiant, my body slimmer and with signs of muscles being toned starting to appear (woohooooo) by me staying committed to my membership and attendance and efforts, I know this is the same of us when we are wanting to be healthy with God.
You may have just thought "healthy with God? Stace, what on earth are you talking about woman?" Well, let me explain abit...
It's so easy to get into a zone of "yeh...I'm a Christian. I attend so and so church, I serve in this ministry a couple of times a week and that other ministry the other days, I know the Pastor well, I attend a bible study group with other Christian women/men, I say a prayer when things get tough and always say grace at meal times....." If we allowed ourselves, it would be easy to fall into a trap of thinking that we are in good relationship with God because of the things we do or fill our week with. Whilst these are nice little factors to life and quite important when it comes to building community and friends, can I be really honest and tell you, they are not what make you a born again Christian!
Accepting Jesus died for you on the cross two thousand years ago is what makes you a born again Christian...but the decisions don't stop there. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour we know a change happens inside of us. The natural form of life enters the supernatural. Eternal destiny with God is promised to us and we are forgiven of the things we have done wrong.
We must however, continue pursuing knowing, trusting, seeking and praising God at every opportunity we get. Reading His word, spending one-on-one time alone with Him...talking but making time to listen, spending time in worship and speaking in tongues. Continually asking Him to refill, refresh, reaffirm His love and grace in our loves. As we do this the change on the inside manifests and spills out onto the outside.
People comment that you don't seem as nervous or angry as you did before...when life throws a curve ball, you may have more strength to fight through it and not crumble at the first hurdle, you feel more love and compassion towards people, you smile more, you walk straighter, you feel a sense of worth. You feel healthier! What's taking place in your spirit, shines out for people around you to see externally.
It's only natural that at some moments we may slip into a lazy few days, weeks, months even for some...whilst God understands and patiently awaits our hand to grasp His out-stretched one.... He wants us to take that commitment we made at the very outset very seriously. If you're in a contract at work or married...how seriously you take those commitments should only be a fraction of how you treat the commitment you made with God. The effort I put into my bootcamp life, I should put as much if not so much more into my relationship with God. Only He can do the changing within us...from the inside out! And He wants to, that's the great thing. That for me feels like a pressure off revelation in itself. Knowing there's a force so much stronger than us ready and willing to help us through is just love in it's finest form!
So, a question...what are your insides looking like? Is what's flowing out a good influence and attractive to the people you encounter? Whilst my physical appearance matters to me, whilst my physical health matters to me, let me be really real and say 10000% truthfully that what I am as a person is not defined by these attributes alone. I could achieve my full weight loss, but be a complete cow-bag to the people God puts in my life...I don't want that...I want to reflect Jesus to the people who have yet to know Him, I want to experience every good thing God has waiting for me, I want to be known as the girl who encourages, loves and is generous to people she meets...I want God to need to continually refill me with more of His goodness because it just keeps pouring out. This my friend, should be your desire too!
Below is the chorus to one of my all time favourite worship songs "From the Inside Out" by Hillsong Church! My prayer for us all is this chorus really!
My heart, my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out
Be Blessed :-)