My time in Louisville seems forever ago. In some ways, I feel like I’ve never left North Carolina. But, there are some great people in my life that are from that state. Sarah is one of those. We met via blog world and over the topic of food. We have a lot in common and are an encouragement to one another. Thank you Sarah for guest blogging for me this week while I’m in the Rockies.
Thanks, Kim and hello readers! I am pleased to be posting for Kim today as she is a very dear friend of mine and an inspiration when it comes to both faith and healthy living. For me, the two go hand in hand. You can have one and not the other. But for me personally, I am a much better servant of God when my health is in line. For me that means healthy eating, regular exercise and getting plenty of sleep. I am also inspired to stay healthy and active when I study the Bible and attend church and I realize just how much God has blessed me and what a shame it would be to let this life go to waste.
Let’s back up…things have not always been this way. I spent the majority of my first 25 years overweight and unhealthy. I also spent a great deal of it apart from God. I grew up in church, went through the motions and did what I thought was right and expected of me. But I didn’t know much about the Bible and I didn’t really understand the concept of having a relationship with Christ. All of that started to change when I began attending the church I am still at today the year I got married (it was my husband’s church from his teen years to present). I experienced God in a whole new way. I felt connected to Him. I was baptized in February 2006.
But something was still missing. I was still not at my best. At the age of 24, I had reached my highest weight, my worst blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. I was working all day at a desk job, consuming fast food, candy bars and soda, then going home and spending most of the night on the couch in front of the television. I’ve never admitted this publicly before, but also sometimes I drank too much. My job performance was suffering, my relationships were suffering, I was suffering. I knew this was not the way God wanted me to live my life, especially at such a young age.
In December 2006, I had an eye opening doctor’s appointment. Sure, I had gone many times before, been told to lose weight and encouraged to do certain things to get there. But I don’t think I was prepared for any of that those previous times. I had tried diets, exercising, none of it ever stuck. But here I was, getting ready to turn 25, in what should probably be the most happy and fruitful time in my life and I was dying inside, literally. I think my doctor was ready to give up.
I’ve heard many people say that God gives us signs, we just have to be looking for them. That day, on the wall of the doctor’s office was a sign that said “Eat Less. Exercise More.” It was a cheaply made, silly little sign that had been there for years, that I had probably even made a face at one time or another. But for some reason that day it looked different to me. I remember thinking to myself “That’s it? I can do that.” In 2007, I started eating better and exercising regularly with the help of a health management program at my workplace which had just started a new weight loss program that year (no coincidence). I lost 70 pounds and gained a whole new life. I am now happily and energetically serving at my church and I was even able to take a mission trip to Nicaragua in 2008, which I may not have been able (or had the desire) to do previously. What an amazing experience I would have missed!
I know there are a lot of Christians out there who think that things like healthy eating and exercise are not that important, because our time on this earth is temporary as is this shell we are in. I find this sad. Since I’ve changed my lifestyle, I have noticed just how many programs, events, and things at my church involve food and usually it is not healthy. Many children in the church are overweight and it breaks my heart. Many adults are struggling too. I don’t see this personally at my church but there are even some pastors out there that could benefit from a healthier lifestyle, as is suggested in this article that Kim shared in her post earlier this week.
Now, I don’t want to get too preachy here, but I believe in order to better serve God and others, we need to take better care of ourselves. We need to be treating our bodies as the temples God made them to be. I just shared here how being healthy has changed my life and grown my relationship with God and involvement in my church. That is just part of the story, I could probably fill an entire book of what all I have experienced and learned on this journey. It’s not always been easy or fun and I still struggle sometimes to maintain that healthy balance in my life but I keep persevering. I know that if I am not taking care of myself, I am not going to be able to do as much for my church or for others and what I would be able to do would exhaust me.
Because I have been given this second chance of a healthier life, I want to give back as much as I can. I’m not sure what all that means yet but it starts with inspiring people to bring healthier food to functions and putting away the donuts; showing people that fresh seasonal fruits are cheaper than pastries; taking walks with friends; posting about my meals and workouts on my blogs and Facebook to hopefully inspire someone who may be looking to make some changes in their own life.
Now, I am seeking God and waiting for Him to show me what He’ll have me do next. Thank you for letting me share my story.