This article was written by Kim Dolan Leto and published by Jesus Calling
For years I struggled with feeling good in my skin. I would go on a diet and do pretty good for a few days, but then life would get busy, my daughter would get sick, or my motivation would fade. I would fall off track, eat my favorite things, and then plan to do better next time.
This cycle caused a negative conversation in my mind: Why did you eat that? Why can’t you stick to a diet? Why didn’t you work out today? If only you could reach your fitness goals. I lived with an ever-present feeling of failure.
Jesus wanted to eat with me
One day at church, I cried out to God. I couldn’t take feeling this way anymore. I needed a breakthrough. We were studying Revelation, so I opened my Bible and landed on Revelation 3:20:
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (NIV).
I was in shock. Jesus wanted to eat with me! God spoke to me that day through His Word. I started asking Him to eat with me, to work out with me, and to help me see myself through His eyes, and because He did, everything changed.
As I spent more time with Jesus, He showed me why I overate and what caused my poor self-image. I remembered a time in my childhood when someone I loved told me I was fat. I felt shame and started to accept it as my identity. From that moment on, I saw myself differently, and I needed God to heal me.
Through surrendering this to Him, I learned who I was and where to get my worth. This scripture gave me peace about my body: “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8).
Handmade by God
Knowing I was handmade and designed by God made me start to see myself in a freeing and powerful way. I also saw how the world tries to put labels on the way we look because the enemy came to kill, steal and destroy us, but Jesus came that we may have life and more abundantly. Spending time with God to consciously pinpoint the moments in our lives that have created a false narrative in our minds is how we expose the lies and wash them in the Word.
Over time, I learned that my attempts to get fit and feel good about myself never worked because I had been trying to answer spiritual issues with worldly answers. He has taught me that the world created a hurtful relationship with food and our bodies that He never intended for us to have. So many of us aren’t eating healthy or taking care of ourselves because we don’t understand our value to God. This is fueled by worldly ideals of how we should look resulting in worth issues like insecurity and perfectionism
Food and Fitness
God took my struggles with food and fitness and worth, and He made them my ministry. It has been twenty years since I cried out to God that day in church, and He has helped me stay healthy and gain the confidence to pursue the calling He placed on my life. He healed me to help others, and He can heal you, too.
I pray you talk to Him about your area of struggle because He is the only one who can truly help you. God is waiting to hear from you, and He can’t wait to help you. When we cry out to God for more of Him, I believe He is saying, “I’m here. You already have all of Me, but do I have all of you? “Give Him every aspect of life. Nothing is impossible for Him.
Here are a few simple steps you can take today to start your journey to gaining strength God’s way:
1. Take your struggles to Jesus.
Talk to Him about it. Surrender it to Him, and search for scriptures that tell you the truth about what He says in this area. Let God do a new thing here because He is the only one who can.
2. Pray before every workout.
Dedicate your walking, weightlifting, or class to Him. Listen to Christian music as you work out. When you’re done, thank Him for the amazing gift of your body and ask Him to bless your efforts.
3. Trade rigid rules about dieting for eating God-made, whole foods with peace and joy.
Pray before every meal. Ask Jesus to join you at your table, and pause to invite the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to help you walk in the fruits of the Spirit.
4. Offer your body as a living sacrifice.
This will help you create a healthy and lasting motivation to take the best care of your body, His temple, so that you can serve where He has called you.
5. Find an accountability partner.
The Word tells us we need each other, so open up to a friend and ask them to do this with you.