Archive | August, 2012

Do You Want To Want To?

4 Aug

I find that the problem most people, myself included, have with persistence and discipline – in any scenario – is that they lose their drive.  Their motivation is not weighty enough, or their reason for doing or abstaining doesn’t have enough draw.  Call it willpower or resolve or whatever, we’re destined for failure after failure until we find a deeper reason; a Want To.

Often we  know how to make changes, but the ‘how’ isn’t enough, it’s not going to pull you through when you’re faced with confrontation or the temptation to give in and/or give up.  This is why quick fixes and crash diets don’t work.  We would rather take a pill or push a button and wham-bam arrive at our destination without the struggle of the journey.  But what one attains from the journey creates within us the solid, foundational truths that we can build on.  Each battle you fight against your unhealthy desires has a lesson and a truth within it, the question then becomes, are you paying attention or pouting through it?

In her book, Made To Crave, Lysa TerKeurst describes the Want To as “really wanting to make changes and deciding that the results of those changes are worth the sacrifice.”  Again, most of us can search the internet and find a list of things that tell us what we need to do, only to jump into the deep end without swim lessons because we’re so excited by the picture in our minds of our better self.  As a Christian, it has become increasingly more apparent that this issue is not just a physical and mental struggle, but a spiritual one too.  We desire something (like smaller pants) and try to anchor our plan into that, and it fails to hold our ship, so we drift away and feel defeated, hopeless, frustrated, lost at sea.   So here are a few thoughts to aid in building a solid Want To:

  • It is FIRST a spiritual journey. Yes, we want to wear smaller pants.  Yes, we want to live healthy and active til we’re 80.  But you’ve already used those motivators.  Shallow desires produce shallow efforts.  Go deeper.  We were designed to crave, but that craving was to be fulfilled by our Maker.  Our world was created perfect as a reflection of our beautiful Creator and when sin entered (through food, might I point out), our cravings went awry.  Now we have to tune in to our cravings and question whether what we are craving is a misdirected craving for spiritual food.  God cares deeply about this struggle because we are His children!  By leaning on and seeking Him for strength and heart change, we will get SO much more from this battle, even when we stumble.  We can change behaviors (shallow), but only the one who designed us can change our heart’s desires (deep).  That is where the Want To begins to change.
  • It is a physical journey.  What you put into your body matters.  It does.  There is no way around that.  The simple truth is that your body is a machine and if you put crap into it, it’s going to run like crap.  So fuel well and move more!  Research the effects of sugar and processed foods on the body and let it freak you out.  You are not an exception!  And it doesn’t matter that 5 or 10 years ago, you could eat all of that stuff and not see effects.  Are you seeing them now?  Are you frustrated?  Pay attention.  Literally pay attention to your body.  You only get one and it’s gonna have to last you as long as God allows, so you should probably put some effort into taking care of it.
  • It is a mental journey.  You’re going to have to change the way you think about foods (or whatever temptation you’re struggling with).  You can change your mind.  And I don’t mean start thinking chocolate cake is disgusting, but try to think past the immediate pleasure and think about how you’ll feel physically, mentally.  We are faced with TONS of choices daily!  So in the event that you do mess up and give in, because c’mon, we’re all human, know that you will have another chance shortly to make a better choice. Lysa also notes that “one wise choice can lead to two, can lead to three, can lead to a thousand, can lead to the sweet place of utter dependence on God and lasting discipline.”  Don’t throw in the towel, keep going forward – even 2 steps forward and 1 step back, is moving forward.  And as I mentioned before, pay attention!  How do feel when you succeed?  When you fail?  What is your self-talk like?  Is it truth or a lie?  Is helpful in keeping you moving through this journey?  How can you change it to something helpful? For me, having scriptural truth to refute negative thoughts is crucial.

Our bodies adapt to consistency.  We generally crave what we eat.  Think about it do you eat something completely different at every meal, every day?  Probably not.  Put some thought into your meals and make them a balance of protein, complex carbs, veggies and fats.  I find that planning out my dinners, at least, and cooking ahead of time helps a lot.  Consider not having dessert, or having it every other evening.  Limit sugars throughout the day.  Get adequate sleep.  Exercise 4-5 days/week for 30 doing something you ENJOY!  Taking that a step further, the next time you feel that craving tug, consider if your body is actually hungry or if maybe your soul is feeling malnourished. (Psalm 42:1-2)  Maybe this is a misdirected craving and your spirit is crying out for a feeding that junk food or even healthy food or tv or shopping or alcohol won’t reach.  My challenge to you amid the above advice is to feed your spirit as much as you feed your body, because that will help your Want To more than anything else you can do physically or mentally.

1 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

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