Riding the roller-coaster…
I started getting serious about my health in 2012 when Casey and I started jogging and attempting to eat a healthier diet. I started my journey then weighing about 235 lbs. and have seen my weight fluctuate from as low as 193 lbs. to as high as 250 lbs over the years. As you can see on the graph below, my fitness journey has been one that is up and down, much like a roller-coaster.
To share or not share…
I really went back and forth about posting the graph, mainly because I didn’t want to be that vulnerable and open about the struggle that I have had. Health and fitness is a big deal to me. Sometimes I wonder if I worry too much about my weight. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t have to think about it at all. I wish I had the metabolism that would allow me to eat whatever I wanted and not have to worry about what it would do to my health.
I chose to share, not because I want sympathy from anyone; I chose to share in order to put some “flesh and blood” to the giant that I am facing. And hopefully, I can use this transparency to help encourage someone who is also facing a giant.
We’re in this boat together…
There is an old-preacher’s saying that goes something like this: You’re either in a storm, just coming out of one, or heading into one in the future! The point being, everyone has had their share of storms in this life.
The same could be said for the giant(s) we face. You have faced them in the past, you might be facing one right now, and odds are you will likely face one or more in the future. Our giant may not be identical, but we all face them at one point in time.
Identifying your real enemy…
The real key in facing the giant is in knowing who the real enemy is. Jonathan share this week about how the real enemy is often ourselves; the battle is often all in our mind. We have to win the mental battle in order to see victory in the physical battles we might face.
I can tell you with one-hundred percent certainty that if you can win the battle in your mind, you can win the battle in the flesh. As I was listening to Jonathan share, I thought about how negative and defeating my mind can be. There have been so many times that I have lied to myself, cheated myself, slandered myself, and discouraged myself. There have been so many times, too many to count, that I have allowed negative thinking to convince me to quit before I even started.
The first step to defeating your giant is identifying it. Don’t deceive yourself. What you think is the giant is more than likely a mere symptom of the real thing. You might think you are battling one enemy, but the real enemy is deeper and hidden. If you are focused on the wrong object, you will never defeat your true enemy.
Decide to move forward…
The nation of Israel wandered around the same mountain for forty years. We hear that and make comments on how stupid or ignorant someone could be to wander around the same mountain for that amount of time. The trip should have taken less than two weeks. No one in their right mind would wander around the same dumb hill for forty years. And if they did, you would think that they would have stumbled across the right path along the way.
But while the physical destination demanded only a few days, the mental journey required much more. I am not sure who said it first, but I have often heard ministers say, it took days to get Israel out of Egypt, but years to get Egypt out of them.
Before you start judging them, look in the mirror at the things you have been fighting for years. Maybe it’s that addiction to alcohol, drugs, porn, or sex that you have been fighting behind the scenes. Maybe you have been fighting with forgiveness, fear, doubt, or anger. Maybe you have been in an abusive relationship for years, afraid to leave for the fear of the unknown. I could list all kinds of things that people struggle with and if you gave me enough time, I could hit everyone reading this post.
The point is, we all have giants that we face. But if you really want to see victory over this giant, you have to make the decision to move forward.
Pack your bags…
Jonathan shared the passage from Joshua 1 where the Lord gave the command for the nation of Israel to move out. Go back and read the
entire chapter. It doesn’t take long and there is so much there to be digested, too much for one post.
The verse that I really want to hit is Joshua 1:10-11:
“Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you” (NLT).
I can’t help but think that Joshua said this with a bit of an attitude! Maybe it’s just my imagination kicking in, but I got to say that if I was in his shoes I would have probably added in some four-letter words. Before you start judging me, give me a moment to help you understand why.
Go back forty years to when Moses sent out the 12 spies. Moses sent those spies to check out the promised-land, the land that God declared was flowing with milk and honey. The spies came back with a mixed report. While they all agreed that God was telling the truth when He said the land was a good land, full of fruit and blessings, there was quite a bit of disagreement among the twelve about being able to defeat the inhabitants, who happened to be giants. Here is the actual report that they gave to Moses when they returned:
“We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea[a] and along the Jordan Valley.” 30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” 31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants[b] there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” (Numbers 13: 27-33 NLT).
And then, if you read on into the next chapter, you see God’s response to their report:
“‘Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years—a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have me for an enemy.’ 35 I, the LORD, have spoken! I will certainly do these things to every member of the community who has conspired against me. They will be destroyed here in this wilderness, and here they will die!” 36 The ten men Moses had sent to explore the land—the ones who incited rebellion against the LORD with their bad report— 37 were struck dead with a plague before the LORD. 38 Of the twelve who had explored the land, only Joshua and Caleb remained alive” (Numbers 14:34-38 NLT).
So, out of the twelve spies, only Caleb and Joshua trusted that God would do what He promised. Yet because of the bad report of the ten, Caleb and Joshua had to wander for forty years too.
So, when God came to Joshua after the death of Moses and said, “Go take the land”, you can bet that Joshua had a bit of attitude when he shared the news. You have three days to get ready and then we are moving, whether you go with us or not!
What cycles do you need to break…
The Israelites believed that they were too small and weak to defeat the giants that inhabited the land God had promised them. Just like them, we think too little of ourselves and what God can do in and through our lives!
What cycles do you need to break? What lies have you been telling yourself?
Remember, the enemy is most likely in your head!