Friday, February 26, 2010

My Body's Love Affair with FAT

For the last month, I have thrown myself back into a regular work-out routine. Two years ago, I was regularly running and lifting weights. I was competing in races, and I was feeling great. Slowly but surely, from 2007-2009 I allowed my body to develop a dangerous love affair with fat. WARNING: The longer you let your body hang onto fat, the more resistant it will be to letting go.

Yes, I have been arguing with my body over this unhealthy attachment I have allowed it to form. It says to me, "But fat is so soft and comfortable." I argue, "Yes, but it only weighs you down." I then provide an alternative. Lifting weights and running, I offer it muscle in the place of fat. "Oh this hurts!" It yells. "I know," I reply, "but while fat will weigh you down, muscle will lift you up. The pain is good." My body seems to disagree with this idea entirely. It doesn't want to move. It stiffens on me as if turning its back to me and snubbing the entire concept of muscle. This is much like a spoiled child who has been given only chocolate milk being told to drink water.

I persist, though. I know better. I've been on the better side. I know that fat is only deceptive. It offers comfort and rest--both enticing ideas. Yet, the good things that it offers end there. In the end, it is one of those tricky relationships. The fat draws your body in with those ideas, and you are almost in a trance.

My body fell hook, line, and sinker for fat. It was taken away with the smells of delicious foods..forgetting entirely the calorie and fat content. Before it knew what was going on, the fat was slowly on its way in. All it does is come into your life, move in and take up space.

My body says, "All of this fat is providing me warmth." I plea with it, "At what cost? After it has moved in and taken up all of that space? You can't even fit into those cute jeans you love anymore! Can't you see the havoc it has wreaked?" I sigh in frustration. My body is totally clutching on to fat with all it has. It does not even realize that fat is a selfish partner. It claims peace and rest but only for itself! For you, it makes its way to your heart in a BAD way. It will CRUSH it in the end if you let it go on.

So, I tell my body that, although there are some things fat has to offer, you must wise up. Do not listen to it. Make way for muscle. Does it hurt to let muscle in? Oh yes it does, but you see muscle is one of those relationships that takes time. You build muscle up. It doesn't feel good at times, but those are only the trying parts that are making the relationship stronger and better. Muscle moves in slowly too. YET, it is very considerate. It does not take up much space. It helps your blood flow. It supports your heart. Allow a little pain for a little while, but you can be slow about it. Muscle is very patient and flexible if you take your time with it.

So, tonight, as I marched toward the torture chamber of fitness, my body sensed the smell of Chinese food from the restaurant next door wafting through the air. It tried to lure me in. I said, "NO! We are going in." My body didn't like this whatsoever. It said, "You are going to work out for how long?" "60 minutes,"I reply. "Oh please no," it begs and pleads with me like a small child clinging to a bottle. My eyes are fixed ahead and I silence the cries. My response is, "A good relationship takes hard work, time, and dedication." I resolved that, for my body, I'd go the extra mile. So, instead of running three miles tonight, I ran four.

Yes, I had to ignore the pleas and cries of longing for that old sedentary, yet comfortable, relationship. I had to push on. In the end, I showed my body what was better. It calmed down and actually felt better in the end. "Was that so bad?" I finally say. "Actually, not at all," it responds, "let's do this again sometime."

MORAL OF THE STORY: The longer you let your body form an attachment to fat, the harder it will be to sever the relationship. BUT, if you just persist, it will understand what a good relationship is and accept Muscle as the better partner.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Church is Where the Heart is


My search for a new church here has been an interesting one.  At the same time, it has made me well aware of exactly what I want in a church and what I believe a church should be.  I think once you find the one that you know is right, you feel it in your HEART. When that feeling is not totally there, you know you need to continue looking.

My church hunt has left me feeling like GOLDILOCKS because there was just a little something that made me feel the church was not JUST RIGHT for me.

I started out going to a place down the road.  I liked it in a sense because the people there were very friendly.  I did think it was very considerate of them to reach out to me the way that they did. However, after I listened to some sermons, I just didn't feel right about it.  I do not believe that God is a formula who you can just add up 1+2=3 and say you've got it and go on.  That's what I got out of that church.  Every sermon gave you a formula for how to be a Christian, and I just didn't feel like I was getting much out of it. (MAMA BEAR)

Then, I attended a Baptist church with some family members in the area.  I really enjoyed being there with them.  In the end, though, I actually felt the church was a little big to be my home church.  I felt the need for something smaller and more intimate. (PAPA BEAR)

So, I searched 30 pages of churches online one Sunday morning to see if I could find something that seemed right to me.  I settled on one that seemed okay (I didn't feel that "just right" feeling), and I couldn't find anything better.  So, I just went there.  I was the least satisfied with this one because I felt like I was at a concert.  I just didn't feel like I was worshipping God.  Others may have, and that's great if they did.  For me, I just felt like I was being entertained.  I don't need entertainment, and I didn't really even want it. (UNCLE BUCKY BEAR...I just made him up because I needed an "out there" bear)

After my search, I came to a point where I actually had a set of criteria.

1.) I want a church that isn't trying to prove itself to me as to what it can do for me.  I want one that is not too big.  Some place where I feel like I'm with family.
2.) I want a church that is willing to sing some old-fashioned hymns and not only contemporary music.  While contemporary music has its value, there is nothing wrong with a good hymn to me.
3.) I want a church that doesn't STRESS about DRESS.  In other words, don't be all about wearing jeans/dressing down OR all about dressing up.  Let people dress how they want to honor God.  I personally prefer dressing up because I'm going to the Lord's house.  But others would be focused more on themselves in that kind of dress.  But why is our dress a point that matters? Doesn't our heart to GOD matter more?

I really was wondering if I was going to find this when I happened upon a church's website last week.  It was a Christian & Missionary Alliance church, which did not sound familiar to me.  So, I asked my parents what that was.  Their website sounded great.  Plus, they had posted sermons online for me to hear, and I liked what I heard.  It turns out that one of my favorite veterans of the faith, A.W. Tozer, pastored several CMA churches.  Therefore, I became very excited to attend.  Oddly enough, the church was EVERYTHING I was hoping for down to the last point.  I couldn't believe it.  A nice woman came up to me and invited me to sit next to her.  The church had people of all ages, and I really felt as though they were all there to focus on Jesus.  It was so soothing and comfortable.  My heart felt at HOME. (BABY BEAR)

“In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we're pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker's praise without anxiety.”
- A. W. Tozer