As a (former) Weight Watchers leader, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the words “I’m just not disciplined enough.” As a person who has struggled with her weight since childhood, I could easily buy into that excuse. It’d be kind of a relief actually. Yep, I’m just not a disciplined person, moving on… However, what I’ve come to realize is that discipline is a choice. Ooooh, ouch! I know. Discipline IS a choice and when we invite God into the mix it can lead to profound change.
In the spring of 2011 I started my (umpteenth) weight loss journey and I reached my goal weight in winter of 2012. I’m happy to report that I’m still maintaining a 40+ pound loss. In the winter of 2013 my husband and I started Financial Peace University (FPU) and by winter of 2017 we will finally reach our goal of being debt free. I share this because it’s been a grueling and slow journey. Eating and spending rank as my top two loves. Well, OK, please add in my husband, kids and Jesus. You get what I mean. For a person who struggles with using food and shopping to make herself feel better, it seems like some kind of crazy to try to tackle them both at once. I don’t have many vices; I need ONE of them, don’t I?
This week on his Facebook page, Dave Ramsay (from FPU) wrote “Money is 80% behavior and 20% math.” Amen brother! Focus on behavior and the results will follow. It wasn’t until we started FPU that I realized how much weight loss and finance go hand in hand, they both require patience, perseverance and MAJOR emotional and behavioral overhauls. I’d like to say that the center of our behavior change is discipline, yet is so much bigger than that.
In the center of our behavior change is God.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]He asks us to be obedient to Him, to call on Him, to rely on Him, in all things. Not some things, not whatever we feel like- ALL things.[/pullquote]We tried for years to lose weight on our own. We tried for years to do finances on our own. And we stumbled, again and again and again. When I set my wellness goals a few years ago, one of them was “to honor God with my body.” I have a vision board and I put God in the center of it. I realized that I could not change without God’s help; the temptations were far too great. I prayed (and still pray) for His help to remain focused on being well for Him. When my husband and I set our financial goals, one of them was to “do finances God’s way” and boy oh boy in this materialistic world this was (and still is) a toughie. We want to do right by Him. To show Him we can manage the financial gifts He has given us. We prayed (and still pray) daily for His help to be disciplined and make wise choices.
Incredible change can happen when you put God in the center of your struggles, in the center of your life.
He asks us to be obedient to Him, to call on Him, to rely on Him, in all things. Not some things, not whatever we feel like- ALL things. The verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” from Philippians 4:13 is not new to me. Yet it was breathed to life in 2005 in the garbage dumps of Cairo. I had the privilege to go on a trip to Cairo to meet the children I had been fundraising for with an organization called Stephen’s Children. Stephen’s Children takes these children out of the garbage dumps, educates them, teaches them trades, provides healthcare and most importantly shows them God’s love. These kids, who sorted trash for income, for food, who played with trash for toys, who lived in houses literally built with walls of trash- they believed with every ounce of their being that their lives could be transformed. You could see it in their eyes, their smiles. Hope. Belief. Trust. In all things, not some things. Every day they read that verse out loud for us and my heart simultaneously broke and swelled. Broke for what they had to endure when they left the school each day, I have never ever seen anything like it. Living barefoot amongst the trash with rats and wild dogs, scavenging for survival. Yet my heart swelled because these children had more faith than most adults I know. The love of Jesus was all encompassing. His presence was electric and so strong in that school that it took my breath away and brought me to my knees. I have never ever felt anything like it.
So here I am, apparently a slow learner and an (admittedly stubborn) follower of Jesus. Doing my best to turn it all over to Him. Trying to remember that incredible change can happen when we do. I can do finance in Christ who strengthens me. I can do weight loss in Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me. God + all things= possibility. God + all things= change. God + all things= peace. God + all things= hope everlasting.