If you’ve been around my site long, then you know I sometimes write about wellness. I’ve written and spoken about my struggle with eating many times in the past. The posts I’ve shared about eating and exercise are among the most vulnerable and well-liked blog posts on this site.
But when I’m struggling with my wellness I don’t like to write about it. I’m embarrassed and sometimes feel shame about the way I look and the battle I fight. That’s why you haven’t seen or heard much from me in the last year on physical health and wellness.
When I choose to honor God in the way I eat, sleep, and exercise, then I’ll write about it. When I don’t, it probably means I’m struggling and I just can’t and don’t want to deal with it.
I Know I’m Not Alone
Most of us don’t talk about wellness and physical health. We either obsess over or completely neglect our bodies. We haven’t had a carbohydrate in the last five years or we haven’t been to the gym in even longer. And while we often think about food, exercise, sleep, and wellness, we rarely talk about them. We’re hesitant to bring our victories or struggles into the light.
Last week I shared my wellness testimony and struggles with a group of friends. I talked candidly about brief seasons of victory and more about seasons of deep, embarrassing struggles.
Getting to share with this group of friends prompted me to re-open this conversation. It’s time for me to talk about wellness again on this blog. Consider this me bringing one of my issues into the light. I need to let the Lord shine a bright light on it. In the process, I invite you, the reader, to pray for and help me. I also hope this bright light encourages you to share your burdens and struggles with others instead of hiding them in darkness. I’d like to pray for and help you as well.
My Thorn in the Flesh
For as far back as I can remember, my battle with overeating, hiding food, and bingeing has been my thorn in the flesh. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, the apostle Paul writes about his thorn in the flesh. He never reveals the specifics of his thorn, but he does tell us he pleaded with the Lord many times to take it away.
…or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
He says his thorn tormented him and kept him from becoming conceited. I feel the same way about my thorn. The battle with food torments me and keeps me humble.
He closes the passage by saying, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” My friends Todd Wagner and JP often say, “If dependence is the goal, then weakness is the advantage.” Our thorn in the flesh keeps us weak, which keeps us dependent and strong in the Lord.
I have pleaded with the Lord many times to take away my thorn and to set me free from this battle with food. He has chosen to not take it away (yet), but like Paul, this thorn keeps me weak and dependent on Jesus.
The battle is very real for me right now. My weight is high and the numbers that need to go down, are up, and the numbers that need to go up, are down. The thorn is tearing at my skin. It’s time for me to deal with it instead of letting it grow deeper.
This will (probably) be a brief, 2-part series on wellness. In today’s post I simply want to raise the issue, ask you to pray, and challenge you to evaluate how you’re doing in your own wellness. Below are some other posts I’ve written on wellness, including a sermon I preached at Watermark Community Church four years ago. The sermon is called Confessions From a Bathroom Stall. I’d encourage you to check it out to learn more about this confession.
In the next post I’m going to share a handful of reasons why I’ve failed in my wellness battle. Whether you struggle with wellness or not, you do struggle in some area(s). Even though there might be seasons of victory, we all have seasons where we fall short. I believe the lessons I’ve learned and will share in part two can help encourage us all to deal better with our thorn(s).
- How to Honor God with Your Body – Part 1 in a 6-part series I wrote about wellness called “Wellness Week.”
- Check out part 2 in this series where I talk about obstacles to wellness and part 3 where I discuss the most neglected struggle in the church.
- The best book I’ve read about the topic of wellness is by my friend Gary Thomas. His book Every Body Matters is one of my favorite reads of all time. I’d encourage you to check out this book if you want a deeper dive on what the Bible says about how to honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
P.S. Please don’t sell me your product or tell me what worked for you. I have a great plan in place fully supported by my wife and community. Thank you!