Prioritizing Spiritual Growth

by | Grit + Grace | 0 comments

About six years ago, I was a frazzled mom of two boys. They were five and two and up to all the mischief that all super cute boys get into; my hands were full, to say the least.

At this point in my life, I thought it was some sort of right of passage to be overwhelmed and in survival mode. I didn’t even bother to take care of myself because these boys needed all my time, and being a good mom, I was giving it to them…all of it.  I honestly thought that being a mom meant putting my needs way, way, way last.

Unfortunately, that way of thinking and living left me in an awful pit, as you can imagine. Even worse, I realized I dug it myself. In early 2015, I was bound and determined to do something different about it. I loved being a mom, but I knew my kids needed me to take care of me.

I was in desperate need of help in all avenues – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I opted to dig in first to my physical and spiritual growth. I wanted a better relationship with God, but honestly, more than that, I really wanted to see my 6 pack. Back then, lean bodies were healthy bodies. That would be a body I could love and find worthy.

I would spend about ten minutes every morning reading a devotional. Box checked.

Then I would spend about two hours in the gym training in the afternoon.  Endless hours in the kitchen, prepping my food, cooking my meals, and totally obsessed with my food. I rarely missed a workout, and I only ate “clean foods.”

Back then, I called it dedicated. Now I know I see it was a very unhealthy obsession.

And the thing was, as I was getting the physical results I desperately wanted. Everyone took notice of my drastic transformation. Strangers would comment on my physique and work ethic at the gym.

I got the body I wanted from a physical stand point. But my priorities were way off. And I was racking up a long list of unhealthy relationships – with food, with my workouts, with sleep, the list goes on.

Here’s an example, back in 2015, I showed up to work, and I didn’t have my typical meal packed because I ran out of food. The office would buy lunches from a local restaurant, but there was no way I would do that because I could not control what was in the food. I went to Whole Foods, and after reading all the nutrition labels on their salad bar and buffet area, I decided that it was much safer for me to just go ahead and get a can of tuna and a sweet potato. I ate a can of tuna, dry tuna, and a sweet potato that I cooked in the microwave for lunch. Back then, I was so proud of myself, I called that a big win. Pretty sure I even posted it on IG.

Fast forward to five years. On a recent Saturday, I was helping my parents with a garage sale. I haven’t had a drink in a really long time, and they offered me a Truly’s Hard Seltzer Water, and I enjoyed it. Then I had the Frito Pie my mom made for lunch. 

And for dinner we ordered pizza. Plus, I snacked on Halloween candy. Oh, by the way, I had an emergency dental surgery on Wednesday, which was the same day my husband left on a trip.

By Saturday, I just wanted to relax and not stress. Even though I’m in the middle of a fat loss phase, that day with all the food I ate, paired with no workout and lots of family time, was a win.

This kind of day in 2015 would have wrecked me. However, as you can see, my priorities have shifted.

Today, I wake up with the anticipation of what God will show me in my uninterrupted time with Him every single morning. If I don’t start my day in God’s Word, not just reading about what somebody else thinks about the Bible, but actually studying, meditating, doing the work on my own, then I just feel like I’m lost at sea. Like I feel like I’m just some sort of untethered soul just floating out there. But when I align myself with what God says, then I know the day is His.  

I’m no longer rushing through these quick five minute devotionals to kind of check off this box. With an open heart, I dig into God’s word, and I study it, and I learn it. I desperately want to apply what I know to my life and help people, like you, apply it to your life too.

My workouts and eating habits are no longer made as an obsession to get the results I desperately want and finally earn this love and worthiness. No, no, no. They are done out of admiration and gratitude for one of the greatest gifts that God has given me. They’re done because I know that they benefit my body, my mind, and my soul.

Oh, and another thing, the growth I got back then was so shallow compared to the change I’m getting now- on all levels mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Yes, I weigh about 20 pounds more, give or take; however,  I am so much more confident and who I am and whose I am. And that comes across in everything that I do/

I am so thankful for my body, and I do everything out of love. Not because of some sort of desperate desire to be in a different place driven by hate.  Right now, I am basking in the glow of the Son. Hands lifted up, face turned to the Father, and soaking up life He’s prepared for me.

That’s the power of the shift when you realize that godliness is so much more important than some sort of physical result. When you make daily choices aligned with who God says you are, then those physical results you’ve wanted will be the byproduct of the way you treat yourself and show up.

The shift is incredible, and I desperately want it for you.

If you haven’t made the shift and you’re still stuck in the “I have to do this to earn my worth, I have to do this to earn my love,” I would just ask you to consider your spiritual growth is what matters the most in this life and the life after this.  The body that you have right now, you can’t take it with you. That goes away.

In 1 Timothy 4: 8, Paul wrote a note to Timothy saying, “physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better. Promising benefits in this life and the life to come.”

I love what Tony Evans says in his Bible commentary about this verse. Tony writes, “Godliness provides a deeper experience of God’s reality at work in our lives. Our passion for and pursuit of spiritual growth should be greater than our drive to be physically fit. Our souls need a regular workout program. You don’t become godly by chance.”

Like I didn’t become fit by chance back in 2015, I am not becoming spiritually fit by chance in 2020. I’m not leaving my spiritual well-being up to chance again. I made that shift. I still pour into me, but I make sure that my heart is aligned with God’s heart every single morning before I even start my day.

This shift is necessary. Prioritizing spiritual growth over physical growth is required.  So, so vital. And the return on that investment is far greater than we can ever imagine.

 

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Grit + Grace: Habits taps into the transformational power of God’s Word by bringing in meaningful, intentional, healthy habits. What does God say about water? About nourishment? What does He say about stress and worry? Finding spiritual meaning and connection can help the habits you create finally stick. God wants you to be healthy. To be happy. To be WHOLE. Are you ready to listen?

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