Welcome to Part 2 of #WellnessWeek2017. In Part 1 I shared a challenge you and I should take when it comes to our wellness journey. Invite others in to help you better honor God with your body. Today’s guest post comes from my good friend and co-worker, Lonnie Smith. He’s got an incredible testimony and I know you’re going to be encouraged by what Lonnie shares with us today.
Though it happened in 1975, some days it feels like yesterday. His words – so piercing and destructive:
“Lonnie, your legs look like toothpicks, no muscle whatsoever. In fact, we should change your name to “Lisa” because your physique looks like a girl. No wonder you get thrown around on the court.”
My 8th-grade basketball coach critiqued my body and lack of physical strength as I stood humiliated in front of my teammates during an afternoon practice.
I share what happened in my life 42 years ago because that encounter made a profound impact in my life. His words led me to take shortcuts on my journey to wellness.
I became a follower of Christ in 1997. Before Jesus captured my heart, I defined wellness not as making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually), but rather by one’s “sculptured muscularity,” and how much weight one could bench press, squat and deadlift. You get the idea – I was a meathead!
From 1989 – 1996, I immersed myself in the bodybuilding culture. My life was all about health and fitness (or so I thought). In 1989, I discovered a shortcut to quickly and effectively get the wellness results I obsessed over and desperately longed for. For eight years, I chose to use anabolic steroids almost daily. While using steroids to bulk up, I also used crystal methamphetamine to depress my appetite so that I could drastically reduce my body fat. Three words drove my passion for wellness: bigger, stronger, faster. No one would ever tell me again that my legs looked like toothpicks!
After eight years of chasing what I thought wellness looked like by abusing steroids and meth, I found freedom on December 6th, 1996. By the grace of God, I haven’t used muscle enhancing anything or body fat cutting drugs in over 20 years.
As a follower of Christ, a lot has changed in my life. But something I must consistently keep in front of me is the reality of how vulnerable I am to “go back there.” There is a warning from the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth that must be taken very seriously: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). God wants the Corinthians to know that they are all vulnerable to a fall!
Do we take the matter of our vulnerability seriously enough? Recently, I visited a gym where I used to train “back in the day.” Honestly, I didn’t like it that nobody knew who I was or that at one time, “I was the man” at that gym. Then it came out of nowhere! A sense of inferiority. A feeling that I was a nobody. Maybe I would bump into one of my old friends. Maybe I could gain access to steroids to build my body up again. No one needs to know that I’m considering cheating, and besides, how’s a little deception going to hurt?
Here’s something I’ve learned: Temptation and Deception (on some level) will always haunt us. For me, when it comes to wellness, it’s the desire to cut corners with performance enhancing drugs or dietary drugs and then lie about it. How about you? Where does the desire of your heart want to take you?
- A pattern of binging and purging with food?
- Do you avoid food at all costs and obsess over appearance and weight?
- Or, do you look for the quick fix and latest fad diet?
- Do you go hard for 12 weeks and then fall back into the old pattern?
- Or, do you just neglect your body completely?
We need some biblical and practical help to position ourselves to be “battle ready” on our wellness journey when our various temptations surface. These temptations have a singular purpose – to render us to a fallen, shameful, guilt-ridden state.
Here are four ways to stay pure on your wellness journey:
1. Remember that God doesn’t make mistakes, and He’s already given you a remarkable body.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).
Always remind yourself that God hates the misuse of the parts of the body He intended to be blessings (Proverbs 6:16-19). Allow that to soak in – God hates our misuse of the sensational tools He gave to us.
2. Remember that God is good, loving, powerful, and present. Remember He is for you.
“If God is for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)?
It’s true, God is for you, and your desires will only change when you know God. In other words, God will appear more impressive, fulfilling, and satisfying than the temptation when you know Him for who He is, in all His glory and perfection.
3. Remember that honesty is the best policy and dishonesty has a way of backfiring.
The Bible condemns deception of every kind.
“You shall not spread false report” (Exodus 23:1).
“Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 12:22).
“Do not lie to one another” (Colossians 3:9).
Ask yourself two questions from a practical point of view: When you lie, does it do any good? Do you avoid accepting yourself as you really are, or do you just postpone that acceptance?
4. Remember that your temptation is not uncommon, there is a way of escape, and Jesus sympathizes.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
This is great news! Your temptation is not unique. Even Jesus experienced temptation and sympathizes with you. Trust that He knows and understands, and in every situation, He will provide power for escape. We will never experience anything that’s uncommon to man or uncommon to the God-man!
Are you struggling? Pray, confess, bring it into the light, and remember!
- What are some ways you are tempted to shortcut your way to wellness?
- Of the four things we need to Remember, which one most resonated with you?
Lonnie Smith: husband to Anita, dad to three girls with one son-in-law and one grandson, and Director of Single Adults at Watermark Community Church. Lonnie is passionate about giving leadership, vision, and direction to single parent families, to anyone going through divorce, and to all single adults in the 30s – 50s age demographic.