Several years ago, one of my obsessions led me to start a weightlifting program. I read book after book, and actually spent big dollars on magazines that touted wellness, weight training, and living an active lifestyle. I read the autobiography of Arnold Schwarzeneggar and started even using protein powders.
What you may not know is that I actually made some progress. My weight was held down with aerobics classes, and I worked really hard to try to budge the scale. Some weeks it worked...some weeks it didn't.
Over time, I got less committed to writing down everything, and the weight slowly crept back on. A few more times I've actually done this...until sometime about six years ago...I just gave it up. I've been regretting that decision ever since.
Most people have things in their lives that they classify as weaknesses or something with which they struggle. It can be as simple as an obsessive desire for chocolate or the inability to spell. Struggle is just part of being human, isn't it?
But there are struggles...and there are STRUGGLES. And no matter how strong you are...or how strong you think you are...sometimes they go from this to THIS before we even realize it.
So what do we do when we do realize it? Well, that's easy. We adjust. Right?
I mean, with my weight, that's exactly what I did. I started buying bigger clothes. Tried vegetarianism, low fat, low sugar, and Weight Watchers. I quit wearing certain items of clothing, and I quit attending some social functions. I was happier at home or with friends that I knew no longer saw what was on the outside because they were primarily concerned with the inside...or at least I like to think so.
At some point, the adjustments get more and more stringent, and the foundation of a stronghold is built. Walls of denial are erected along with the mortar of shame. Eventually, quite an impressive structure is constructed...and you find that you are standing in the middle of it...chained to the floor.
Through the years, my family has learned not to discuss it, my friends have overlooked it, and the majority of my acquaintances couldn't care less. Kind of like the 800-pound gorilla in the room, though. I considered myself blessed that my health was holding out and I believed that people loved the real "me" because they couldn't possibly love what they were seeing. I know I didn't.
That's the thing about strongholds. They'll convince you of all sorts of nonsense. You'll be able to justify the most ridiculous behavior and you'll even hide your gifts under a bushel when we are clearly directed as Christians not to do so. I've blamed comments by a close family member, tough times in life, and even stress for living in bondage.
Because bondage is what happens with a stronghold.
According to http://www.truth.org...%22spiritually/ speaking, Paul defines strongholds as an “argument or high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God”. A stronghold is a point of operation from where Satan can keep the unbeliever captive or the believer incapacitated. See 2nd Corinthians below:"
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
And how does one demolish a spiritual stronghold? Two weapons: The word of God and prayer.
There is a visual representation of armoring the body in Ephesians 6 for spiritual warfare. Sometimes, though, we get taken captive and dragged off into a place we never intended to go. I'm quite sure that what applies to me in food probably applies to someone else in materialism or pornography. Pick your poison.
The truth is that this is a battle that we cannot...and should not fight alone. You have to be public about it and ask people to help you get through it. You have to want nothing more than to glorify God in the process.
That's where I am right now.
Yes, I wish I had taken the initiative to keep those workouts regular and taken steps to lose weight a long time ago. But you know what? There is only so much that one can do in one's own strength. We can have willpower and success and overcome some mighty nasty habits. But at the same time...when we are trying to do this AND are under spiritual attack...well, sometimes that's just a recipe for disaster.
Some people don't believe that spiritual warfare exists...and if you don't...well, that's your opinion. Personally, I believe it exists...in fact I know it. I live it. And while I take full responsibility for my poor eating choices, I also know that the level at which I've experienced issues with food have compromised just about every facet of my life.
That had to stop.
I don't know if I'll ever be the gym rat I was back in the day with my little notebook and dedication. And frankly, I don't care. What I do care about is honoring God in my food choices and in trusting Him to not let this ridiculous stronghold continue to exist in my life.
Today at church (specifically...Sunday School), the demolition team came in. They prayed over me and I trust that the chains have already been broken. God has sent someone into my life that has given me the plan I'm following, my husband and son are "mysteriously" (yeah, right) interested in healthy eating right now, and I have people who are standing by me and praying for me until this stronghold comes crashing down.
Frankly, it already has. Witnessing the aftermath is only a matter of time. I believe this.
If you see me, don't ask me anything but about whether or not I have been faithful to living as I believe the Lord intends for me to live. I'm counting the days of obedience...not the pounds. I'm not concerned about looking "good" - but I'll take feeling good. That would be a change. A welcome one.
In the meantime...please keep praying...and I'll keep trusting God. For those of you who don't understand all of this or think that I may be just a little nuts with all of this sugar deprivation...just know that while that might be somewhat true today...this boldness to be speak the truth is the answer to prayer.
And for that I am very grateful.