I have an issue with my weight.
There, I said it, I have an issue – whether it was before I became a mama and was skinny, my issue was that I was too skinny. Now, that I have gained substantial weight, my issue is that I have gained substantial weight. The issue is always there – too fat, too thin, never just right, never happy, never finding that middle ground. Never accepting, never being content with who I am. Eating too much or too little – always worrying.
The issue is there. It is always there. Now, I am busy exploring the 21 day brain detox with Dr. Caroline Leaf and although I feel I have made marginal progress, the one thing I have learnt is that what I am thinking matters. Those rampant thoughts that I so love to dwell on has an impact on who I am, and what I am, and what I am feeling. It also has a knock-on effect to other thoughts that enter my mind. However, bringing those thoughts under control isn’t always the easiest of tasks. But, it must be done.
Philippians 4:8 NIV: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Firstly, because it is God’s command, but also for another very important reason. I don’t mean for this to sound judgmental, but this is something I see in my own life:
Christians don't look like they're people living victorious lives.
I mean that with the most gracious respect. This issue of my weight, of eating too much or too little, of fearing I’m going to panic or choke, is an issue that has been with me ever since I can remember. Since before primary school I can remember kids teasing me about what I ate and how slowly I ate. And now I fear choking all the time. How is that living a victorious Christian life? It isn’t – after much prayer, thought, learning and growing, one would expect me to be way beyond this issue by now.
Just this past weekend, I was browsing through the You Magazine, and at the back of the magazine, they have all the News from Celebrityville. And there was a picture of Naomi Watts, looking beautiful in a pale blue dress, with a slight diamond design (the dress she wore to Cannes 2016). She looked gorgeous.
And my first thought was, “why don’t we, as Christians, have women looking so beautiful and living victorious lives”? It’s not that we don’t have Christian women in the spotlight living victorious lives, it should be that ALL Christians should be living victorious lives. And it’s not even that I think that celebrities are all successful and beautiful and put together – I know enough from the paparazzi to know that it just isn’t like that. But, still, as Christians we have the one and only true God on our side, who promises to change our hearts, cleanse us from all unrighteousness and to renew our minds and hearts in Christ Jesus. So, why, when I am nearly into my mid-forties (gulp) is this still an issue to me? And I know why – I hold onto these issues through my thoughts, I hang onto it, and have allowed these issues to become so entwined in who I am that I can tell where I stop and the issue starts, or vice versa. It is so integrated in me – I often feel like that Spiderman III movie when the symbiote changes Peter, but in the movie the imagery is of the symbiote clinging to Peter and him not being able to pull it off. Negative thinking is a lot like that!
The only way to be truly victorious in Christ is to start thinking like a victorious Christian, to think the thoughts of Christ, and to realise that only Jesus can truly change our hearts anyway.
Victory is ours through Christ Jesus. But often we have to do the work. Trust God, do the work, and walk in faith in Him. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?
But, he is faithful and just and will complete the good work he began in us until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6: being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
So, if we’re willing to put the work in, to sow the seeds of victory, to learn how to think like Christ thinks, I know that we can live victorious lives – the kind of victorious that will make the world stop and take notice. But, here’s the thing – we can’t ever give up. I know that many of us are faltering. I am faltering. I have carried baggage around with me for almost 40 years. And I have clung to and nurtured that baggage for 40 years – I cannot expect victory in a day. God can give me victory in a day – but where will my learning and growth and complete reliance on Him be? Remember, God cannot be mocked – we will reap what we sow. And if we’re sowing seeds of healing and victory in our lives, we will one day reap that harvest. Galatians 6:9
I know that if I keep on keeping on I will reap the harvest of the work that I am putting in now. When will that be? I don’t know – when I have learnt and grown enough on these issues to warrant me starting to deal with another, I suppose…
Some of God’s people have wishes. Others, like Joshua, have purposes.
A whole generation of Israel wished—and died wishing. For them, 40 years of wandering turned the Promised Land into Fantasy Land. For those same 40 years, Joshua nurtured a victory just waiting to happen. When God commissioned him, Joshua responded and turned others’ wishes into land, cities, homes and possessions—the inheritance of generations to come.
Why did Joshua succeed where others did not? It’s vitally important to first say that the reasons all lay in Joshua’s own heart, not in his circumstances. That’s the difference between what happens for some people and what doesn’t happen for others. Success is in ourselves and God’s Word, not in our circumstances.
Let’s look at the five victory factors behind Joshua’s success, all set out in Joshua 1.
1. Realize your greatness is in God. Twice the Bible makes this wonderful, all-inclusive statement: “With God all things are possible” (see Matt. 19:26, Mark 10:27). Note the preposition with. To you all things are possible, with God. Joshua did not ride into Canaan on the back of an Arabian stallion but marched in upon the basis of the promises of God. God told him: “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you” (Josh. 1:3).
2. All of God’s promises to others are ours by faith. God’s Word is for you as much as if He personally appeared and spoke it to you. Your only requirement is to “put on” His promises by faith. What had God promised to Joshua? “From the wilderness … to the going down of the sun, shall be your territory” (Josh. 1:4). For Joshua and Israel, the only land remaining to be possessed was what Joshua had made up his mind to have. It was theirs by faith. And it happened when he decided. The door of history swung open at his touch.
3. Get a vision of what you should do for God, then work to bring it about. One of the most deeply rooted beliefs (actually, unbeliefs) some have is that God’s presence is greater with some people than with others. But from the beginning God said, “I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Josh. 1:5). He promised this to Joshua and repeated the same statement 1,300 years later by the writer of Hebrews (see Heb. 13:5). God is with us not because we are good or because we have great faith; He is with us because He has committed Himself irrevocably to us. If God was with us only when we had success, success would never come.
4. Know that God is with you as much as He was with anybody. Don’t hang around waiting for the right circumstances. God is your circumstance. He is with you. Others before you simply took advantage of this great circumstance, believed it and acted on it. You can go forth in the name of the Lord with the same courage that God drummed into Joshua: “Be strong and of good courage” (1:6); “Only be strong and very courageous” (v. 7); “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid nor be dismayed” (v. 9).
5. Believe God’s Word and act on it. God didn’t give Joshua much forewarning when He said within three days Joshua would cross the Jordan River to possess the land (see Josh. 1:11). Israel had been on the east side of the Jordan for an entire generation. They were used to thinking of the other side of the Jordan as Fantasy Land. They had become “grasshoppers” in their own sight (see Num. 13:33). If you think you are a grasshopper, you are; because as a person “thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). But in God you are not a grasshopper—ever.
Realize what was happening when God called Joshua. “The Lord [said] to Joshua: ‘Moses … is dead. Now therefore, arise, go’” (Josh. 1:1-2). What a moment for purpose to unfold! It began with a funeral. It was a disastrous hour. However, God revels in bringing life out of death.
Cast off feelings of inferiority. Remember: A person’s greatness lies only in God. That’s why Joshua succeeded—because the same God who was with Moses was with him. He’s the same God who is with you.
I am grateful for:
- Hubby and I went for a 10 km run yesterday. A friend offered to look after Baby Girl and so we got to run. And okay, hubby is so much faster than what I am that a few times I had to tell him to slow down. But, I did a really good time and a good pace per kilometer. But, more than that, it was so awesome to run with him. I really enjoyed it and I am grateful how God is using me exercising to bring us closer together.
- This gorgeous weather – only in Africa do we get 28° Ceclius in the middle of winter. It’s only going to last until Wednesday when a cold front hits, but that’s okay. It is meant to be winter after all – and in the mean time, we get to enjoy.
- On Saturday we had the school fair – and it was awesome. I love going to fairs. I love getting take-away coffee, pancakes and boerewors rolls. And I didn’t get the boerewors rolls, but I did get the coffee and pancakes. And Baby Girl had such a good time with all her friends, and going on the rides, and have slush-puppy. All in all, it was such a good day and I am so proud to be able to send her to such a good school.
- I am grateful that God is with me – that if I continue to sow the seeds of victory and healthy and positive thinking in my life, I will in due course reap that harvest through Jesus Christ.
- I am grateful for this beautiful, delicate little Girl God has given me the privilege of raising. I hope I can do such an awesome gift justice.