As I prepare for my first competition, I am learning something new everyday. Cutting calories and denying the flesh is HARD (but it’s worth it). Cutting calories for 3 months in a row, logging every single thing that hits my lips (including my 5 calorie gum!) has been exhausting and challenging (but it’s worth it). Dieting 7 days a week, not 4, not 5, not 6, but 7 days a week, for weeks on end has been brutal (but worth it). Going from 18% body fat to 12% body fat (and still dropping!!!) reminds me it’s not for nothing, I am making progress (so, again, it’s worth it).
A few days ago I realized I needed to take my dieting up another notch to break another plateau. I flinched in anticipation of additional struggles, temptations and possible failures. Then I realized this: For some odd reason, I feel God wanted me to step out of my comfort zone to do this dang competition. I would have GLADLY bowed out if He even gave me one inkling of disapproval or a closed door. Instead, it was the opposite. Doors swung wide open, support came, confirmation begun. I began doing it (whining a little as I went – ok whining a LOT! lol), but I’m determined to be obedient. Yes, God. OK, if you say so.
But why in the world does God give a flip about my body fat or me being in a teensy-weensy bikini? Really? As always, His ways are not my ways and I don’t doubt for a second there is a bigger purpose than getting on stage. What am I supposed to learn? How can God use me – backstage, during the training, with our team? These questions are not answered yet, but I have peace I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and waiting for God to fill in the mysterious blanks, even though there is no part of me that wants to be on stage in a bikini in high heels. Talk about awkward!
Maybe it’s for no one but me. For me to learn more about me, and more about relying on him. To learn how to fight the flesh – with both of my tongues; the one that desires food and the one that spews out mean things when I’m grumpy and short-tempered from the training and dieting. Yes, thank you God for pointing out how just out of control my flesh really is. I see I have a lot more work to do.
Now, going back to cutting calories more: I remembered the scripture “Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people” Colossians 3:23. It was this scripture that reminded me who I’m really doing this for. While Steve is the one who really wanted me to do this with him, it was ultimately up to God – and He said Go. So, in reality, I’m doing it for Him. Really? A fitness competition? Scripture doesn’t say “whatever churchy things you do, work at it wholeheartedely”, It says “whatEVER” you do – all of it, EVERYTHING! Yes, even this competition.
That really took things up a notch for me. Christians aren’t whoosies. He deserves my best. I don’t want to be the lame fat chick up there who obviously let my flesh rule me. What a poor representation of God’s power in my life. I’m not giving my best for a trophy, or to get praise from judges or the crowd, but I’m doing it because (for some ridiculous reason) He has called me to this so I am to give my 100%.
Maybe I am supposed to understand what hunger is so I can relate better to clients. Maybe it is so I can understand the pressures of being tempted to enjoy the praise of people, and to be reminded the only praise I need is from God. Maybe it’s for a job opportunity. Maybe it’s just to experience this together with my husband, to draw us closer, to work through our “hangry” arguments from our short-tempered disputes from being low on calories – that might expose stuff in us that we need to continue working on. (God knows I sure have had some ugly come out lately, and it’s made me draw nearer to the Lord in the process).
One thing I know is God can use all of us in EVERY part of our life. Whether in a competition or in a stock room. Whether surfing or singing. No matter how great you are at something, to keep God first – it says a lot. Anyone can run to God when things are tough, or when their life is a failure – but to succeed, to get praise of men and STILL say “that’s great, but I care about only one thing, that I can get to heaven and God say “well done my good and faithful servant” – now THAT’s what I want. The praise of one. My trophy is in heaven.
If you compete, already decide ahead of time, it doesn’t matter what the judges think. That’s merely men’s opinion. Don’t get me wrong, caring what people think about me and fighting my own vanity is just as much a struggle for me as it is to restrict calories or hold my tongue when hurt. However, it’s not a fight I plan to give up on. It’s a lifetime battle – fighting the flesh in every way. So, just as everything else you do in this life, choose to train and diet as if you are doing it for God Himself. I also remind you, He can see if you are cheating or lying to your trainer about what you eat. #JustSaying 😉
You are more than a competitor. You are more than 4th place. You are even more than 1st place. Do not let the crowd’s reaction define who you are. If you compete, use it to fuel you to reach a goal, but realize life is more than looks, body fat or attention. You will get much better, more honorable attention, by living a pure life, an unselfish life, and a life full of love for others. While fitness can be a very vain community if you let it, keep your eyes on eternity and you won’t get caught up in the body-focused world of fitness, but the health-focused self-improvement world of fitness. Work constantly to improve who you are – inside AND out. Remember, your body will shrivel up and eventually not be very attractive, but your spirit can remain beautiful your whole life if you keep your priorities right!
Remember what I posted a year ago – “It would be a shame to work so hard to be fit for this world, and be unfit for the king.”
If you don’t think God has an opinion on fitness and training. Think again! Here’s a great scripture that warns us about bodily training…
“While bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in EVERY WAY, as it holds promise for the PRESENT life and also the life TO COME.” 1 Timothy 4:8