Image "My Friend" by Helen Thomas Robson www.capturedmiracles.org (Used by Permission)
Minimalism from a Biblical Point of View —

Biblical Minimalism© is "a complete, whole-person release of anything unlike Jesus, a letting go of everything that hinders us from following Him wholeheartedly and single-mindedly, and a relinquishing of all that brings us under bondage to this earthly, very temporary life." Cheryl E. Smith

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Introducing The P.O.W.E.R. Tool© ~ Facing Obesity Head On

We all know what obesity can do to the temple where God dwells. According to the Science Reference Guide obesity can adversely affect the cardiovascular system, kidneys, immune system, respiratory system, musculoskeletal system, reproductive system, digestive system, liver, endocrine system, and mental health, and it can lead to a plethora of illnesses and diseases.

I said in the last post that I was going to get pretty personal in this one.  I am going to be very transparent here because if we are ever going to make progress and come in alignment with Biblical Minimalism, the first thing we are going to have to do is be honest.  God already knows, right?  

Hebrews 4:13 says, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."  

So, I am going to come clean.  Right here and right now.  I need to lose 60 pounds.  Yes, I said 60.  God help and forgive me.  Granted, I do suffer from a health condition that contributes to obesity, but in addition to that, I have allowed food to become a stronghold —let me just call it what it is —an addiction in my life.

Since my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, I feel deeply convicted of carrying the excess weight that is contributing and adding to a multitude of health problems.  I pray for physical healing, yet my heart, lungs, and other organs are having to work overtime to keep up with the excess 60 pounds I am carrying around.  I am working against my own prayers.

Did you ever have something that God has plainly shown you needs adjustment in your life, and you see the issue and know you need to make necessary changes, but at the same time, you feel utterly powerless to do what needs to be done?  If you have ever experienced this type of what I call behavior paralysis, you will understand where I am coming from.  I see the weight, I know with all my heart that it is not pleasing to God, that it is adversely affecting my health, and I am the only one who can do anything about it.  I hate the way I look and feel, but yet, I hardly know where to begin.  It seems so daunting.  When I think of the number 60 and how hard it is to lose one pound, I can very quickly talk myself out of trying to lose weight at all.

This is one of satan's tactics —to get us so discouraged with how far off track we are that we freeze in place and don't do anything about it all.

Remember, it takes a strong hand to undo a stronghold.  

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds."  2 Corinthians 10:4

Only GOD can help us minimize and release certain addictions, habits, and unhealthy situations and patterns in our lives.  After trying and failing at so many diets and weight loss tactics, it is plain for me to see that my excess physical body weight is most definitely one stronghold that carnal weapons are not going to be successful in pulling down.  I think I am finally seeing the reason why.

Remember how I said we would view each of the eight slices of the Whole-Person Pie© through a spiritual lens?  You can read about that HERE.

My obesity/excess body weight is stemming from a spiritual root.  Food is an area of my life that is absolutely not in submission to the power of the Holy Spirit.  He dwells in me, but I have not relinquished this part of me to Him.  I see other types of sin for what they are, but for some reason, I manage to justify gluttony, lack of exercise, and the overriding of the condemnation I feel for contributing to my own health problems.

I have prayed much over this.  Prayer is a two-way street.  If we are going to talk to God, we must also be willing to listen to His end of the conversation.  God is omniscient, and He knows if our prayers come from a place of wholeheartedness or if we would rather not hear what He has to say.  I think I have finally reached a place of seeking Him with my whole heart, stopped making excuses and justifications for my obesity, and am willing to face the truth for what it is.

Jeremiah 29:13 says, "And ye shall seek Me, and find Me when ye shall search for Me with all your heart."

I am finally there.  I want to hear what He has to say —regardless how it exposes the ugliness of my sin.  Thankfully, God never reveals our problem areas without having the antidote readily available.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  I John 1:9

"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."  I Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

I am very thankful that, by the grace of God only, I don't struggle with drug, alcohol, or nicotine addiction.  But, how can I judge those who do struggle and consistently give in to temptation in these areas while I am guilty of the sin of gluttony?

Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."  Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV)

Admitting the truth and calling sin by its real name is the first step to help.  Once we have overcome this hurdle, successfully minimizing the excess body weight becomes a real possibility.

If you are struggling in this area, I want you to know that you are not alone.  I am right there with you, struggling with all my might, and I would love for us to lock arms and walk this path together.  This is why I am being so transparent here.  Transparency creates a sense of accountability, and if we get really honest with one another, perhaps it will encourage us to try harder and overcome together.

So, I am now hoping you can imagine the sound of a drumroll —because I am getting ready to introduce something really exciting that God has placed upon my heart!  Are you ready?

 Here it is!  (I am including a link below where you can click and go download your very own printable copy!)


The P.O.W.E.R. Tool© is a system that incorporates five basic components into your daily life.
P - Prayer
O - Outreach
W - Water
E - Exercise
R - Reading God's Word
What do prayer, Bible reading, and outreach remotely have to do with a "weight loss" plan?  To me, they are vitally important because everything springs from the spiritual
NOTE:  Even if you do not struggle with obesity and have no need for minimizing in this area of life, the P.O.W.E.R. Tool© will remind you to do things on a daily basis that will benefit your physical health and draw you closer to God.

So, how do you use the P.O.W.E.R. Tool©?
Here are the steps:
  1. First of all, you print out your very own copy by clicking HERE.
  2. Write tomorrow's date in the upper left corner.
  3. Weigh yourself first thing tomorrow morning. 
  4. Record your weight under tomorrow's date.
  5. Set five basic goals.  
  • P - Prayer ~ How much time will you commit to spending in prayer each day?  Don't place undue pressure on yourself.  If goals are too lofty to be realistic, they set us up for failure.  Start out with the minimal (get it?  Minimal?😂) amount of time that you feel you can realistically devote to quiet, uninterrupted prayer time.  No one will see this, except you.  Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom, and He will show you what is right for you.  This can always be changed, obviously, and if you are like me, you will find prayer time to be its own kind of "addictive."  The more time you spend with God, the more you will long to be in His presence.  When you feel tempted to eat something you know you shouldn't, find a place alone with God, and sit at His feet feasting on "Heavenly manna," instead.
  • O - Outreach ~ This category is all about others.  Set a goal as to a number of outreach efforts you hope to accomplish per day.  Personalize this to make it fun.  Think, first and foremost, of those who live under your roof.  Commit to doing something kind for each one of them every day.  (No need to overcomplicate.  You're probably doing this anyway.)  Then think of those who do not live with you, including strangers.  There are innumerable ways you can reach out and show Jesus' love.  Send an encouraging email or text, make a phone call, bake a cake, pay a compliment, buy a family's meal.  Get creative.  When you are tempted to have an in-between meal snack, fill it with your outreach goal instead.
  • W - Water ~ Staying well-hydrated is vital and a very necessary component of good general health and weight loss success.  Set a reasonable, doable goal that you can accomplish for each day.  Sixty-four ounces a day is generally considered to be adequate.  Replace high-calorie drinks with water.  You will be amazed how many calories this alone will trim from your daily caloric intake.  When you crave something sweet, drink an 8-ounce glass of water.
  • E - Exercise ~ Set a specified number of minutes per day as your goal.  Again, be realistic, because you want to succeed, and you want to do this for the long haul.  As you become healthier, you can increase this as you go.  Start out with what you can reasonably do.  As your stamina increases, so will your self-esteem.  When you are tempted to eat more than you should, push your plate away, and go take a walk instead.
  • R - Read your Bible ~ Decide if you want to set your goal based on time or chapters/verses.  If you are only able to give one verse your full, undivided attention, then set your daily Bible reading goal at one verse.  It is better to really absorb what you are reading than to skim over the "meat" just so you can say you met your goal for the day.  When you are struggling with the urge to munch on something, open your Bible and become engrossed in God's Word.
      6. Write the date each day, and as you go through the day and meet your individual five goals,
          place a check mark beside each category.  Ideally, by the time you go to bed each night, you
         will have prayed, reached out to others, drank a sufficient amount of water, exercised, and read
         your Bible.  
      7. Each P.O.W.E.R. Tool© sheet will last for four weeks.  At the end of the four weeks,
          record the date and your ending weight.  Print another sheet, and keep going!

Some things to think about and remember —

  • The P.O.W.E.R. Tool© will not work unless you pick it up and use it.  
  • Keep your sheet near the place that you spend the biggest part of your day so you will be reminded often.
  • The goal, of course, is to have five check marks at the end of each day.  You won't always meet your goal.  Don't get discouraged.  Don't beat yourself up.  NO judgment here.  Tomorrow is another day.  Start over, and try to do better.
  • Be aware of empty spaces with no check marks.  Learn from them.  For example, ask yourself why you weren't able to work your exercise into your day yesterday?  Try to avoid the same pitfall today.  
  • The P.O.W.E.R. Tool© is designed as a means to help you achieve success in several "slices" of the Whole-Person Pie© —the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional will all benefit from forming a habit in doing all five of these things each day and will often spill over into the choices you make in the other four slices, also —the relational, occupational, obligational, and financial.  
  • If followed diligently, weight-loss should, hopefully, be a pleasant side-effect of the time you spend in prayer, reaching out to others, drinking water, exercising, and reading your Bible.  
  • This is not really about calories, carbs, measuring, or a list of rules.  It is more about developing these five daily habits and seeking God concerning the rest.  His Spirit is faithful and will direct food choices if we will just listen.
  • You can jump on board any day of the week.  There's no time like the present.  Start tomorrow!
PLEASE let me know if you decide to make the commitment to pick up the P.O.W.E.R. Tool©, by leaving a comment and/or emailing me privately.  I want to pray for and with you.  We can encourage one another along this minimizing journey!  I hope to hear from you!


24 comments:

  1. Dearest Cheryl, I am attracted to your transparency and how you lace your realness with using God's precious Word. So humbling to me when I see others be so very humbled and you are a very humble woman of God by putting yourself out there. We all struggle in some area or another and I am too am guilty of hanging onto things that I have not truly submitted to Christ. Flesh against Spirit. And...being a child of the Risen King...I know the truth of His Word. Where yours might be weight mine is something totally different. I know from teaching ladies Bible Study for 20 years now that each person deals with something different. What might not be a struggle for me might be for someone else and vise versa. Thank you for sharing this today. I am going to copy the chart and save our post. I have some friends that do not blog but I think they would love to see this post and this chart. Happy Day to you Dear Cheryl. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Oh, dear friend! Thank you ever so much for your kind, encouraging words! I would LOVE to be able to sit in on your Bible Study teaching. I can only imagine how deep and rich it is. Thank you ever so much for passing along the chart, and I hope with all my heart it will be a blessing and help to someone. Sending much love to you today!

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  2. Dear Cheryl,
    Thank you Dear Sister for being so open and honest in your struggle. I know that we all struggle to listen and obey the Lord. Recently I have been convicted again of my tendency to analyze and explain away when I know the Lord is speaking something to me. Oh,usually I do obey,but I want to be able to say "YES" to the Lord and not hesitate. He is so good to bring the help to us when He brings the conviction, isn't He? He will provide that way of escape! I am so glad that we can pray for each other on this journey where He's placed us. Blessings, love and hugs to you!

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    1. Oh, how easy it is to explain it away, isn't it? I often tell dear Zach that I have learned that no matter how hard it is to be obedient to God, it is still easier than being disobedient. It took me a long time to learn that, and I still struggle when He is asking me to do something that is so hard or that the flesh in me does not want to do. Yes, He surely does bring the help, along with the conviction. Praise God for His ways of escape, and they are always better than our own. You are such a dear blessing and encouragement to me, and I send you much love and hugs today!

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  3. Wow, I just stumbled upon your blog through the minimalist blog site that comes to my email box. How awesome is our God! I totally get where you are coming from, that is, accepting that my over eating is a stronghold that can be overcome with God’s help. I look to often to food for comfort, or to celebrate with, or to share with others. It’s the urge to eat when I’m not really hungry and my carb craving that have a hold of me. I know that I serve a loving and faithful God. I need to step up to the plate and do my part! The chart will really help me to develop healthy habits and lose the 35# I need to lose. God bless you for your wisdom and honesty!

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    1. Oh, it was SO nice to meet you, Pam! I am so thankful for your visit and kind words! Our God surely is so awesome, and He is so faithful to bring us together so we can encourage one another and help each other through. I surely can relate to the carb cravings...oh, my, sometimes I struggle SO much. I surely hope the chart will help you to keep on track. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how things are going. I will be praying for you. Sending hugs and many blessings your way!

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  4. Hey, ladies! I just stumbled across this....want to highly recommend Trim Healthy Mama! Fabulous eating plan and cookbooks developed by two precious Christian women from Tennessee!!! This plan has taught me some much about leaving out sugars of all types, yet having delicious meals and desserts! Tonight I baked the wonderful Cry No More Brownies! Delicous! No gluten, no white flour, no sugar, and few calories!!!!! Blessings to you all in this journey!~!

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    1. Thank you so much, Melanie! It is so nice to meet you, and I couldn't agree more with you about Trim Healthy Mama! I just recently ordered some of their baking blend, Gentle Sweet, and Super Sweet. Oh, my, I just LOVE the Gentle Sweet in my coffee! The brownies sound SO good...you made me hungry now! LOL! Please always feel free to share any thoughts, ideas, or advice with us here. We are all in this together, and it is just wonderful how God orchestrates our paths so we can encourage one another. I am so happy to have you following along! God bless you. :)

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  5. Oh goodness, Cheryl, you are such a dear person and I am so impressed with this chart and the theory behind it. I, too, need to lose a significant amount of weight 50-60# would be the recommended weight loss from my physician. I have printed out the chart and intend to start tomorrow. In fact, tomorrow is 14 weeks until my big 70th birthday and I will use that as a motivation to just work the POWER tools day by day. Thank you for all your encouragement.

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    1. Oh, sweet friend! Your dear words of encouragement mean the world to me! That is just wonderful that you are starting this 14 weeks before your 70th birthday! What a wonderful goal to see how much you can lose before then! I am so thankful that we can walk this path together. You are such a dear blessing to me. Sending love and hugs to you and praying for you!

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  6. Hi Cheryl, Thank you so much for being so incredibly transparent. When I think of the addictions I have seen in my life, I cannot sit and judge because that is me and sugar, especially C A K E!! Or any sweet such as that. If it is in the house I cannot resist, and sugar is wreaking havoc with my body as I believe I have a candida overgrowth. I know what I should do, but I don't.

    Thank you for the gentle encouragement you share here. My daughter has mentioned Power Sheets to me in the past and asked me to print her one as well. I love the idea of it.

    You are helping me to see minimalism in a whole new light.

    Thank you so much for sharing! You are such a dear blessing to us all! Sending you so much gratitude and love.

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    1. Oh, I can surely relate to the temptation of sugar! God did miraculously help me to give it up almost completely in July of 2007. I only rarely have it now. But, then I eat WAY too many carbs, which turn right to sugar, and that is just as bad. I feel awful about the way I have abused my body through food, but all we can do is just look ahead, sweet friend, and keep pressing toward the mark. Your precious words and friendship and support mean the world to me. It is such a gift from the dear Lord for us to be able to encourage one another along the way. I am SO thankful for your words tonight. May the Lord bless you abundantly. Sending much love to you!

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  7. Well I jumped on the scale yesterday, and to my horror, I discovered that I am 15 pounds heavier than I was last June---and I was about 25 pounds too heavy then. Which means---do the math---I need to lose 40 pounds. Menopause has brought on all the weight, but I also recognize that I have an unhealthy relationship with food. I downloaded your Power tool, and I am looking forward to using it and losing right along with you.

    Blessings,
    Patti

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    1. Oh, Patti! I can surely understand and relate! I am thrilled that you are joining in, and I trust the Lord will enable you to lose the extra weight! Sending much love to you today!

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  8. Hi Cheryl, I too have struggled with weight and so want to overcome it and any other "issue" spiritually. I love that you have provided a very useful tool to do just that. God bless
    Tracy

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    1. Thank you so much, Tracy. I am so thankful to have your support along this journey! God bless you, my friend.

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  9. What a great idea! I especially like the no pressure part : )

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    1. Thank you so much, Tipper! So wonderful to see that you stopped by. God bless you for your support and encouragement!

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  10. Oh, it's so hard isn't it? Working on this myself with an accountability group. Great tool you have developed. I am praying for you and cheering you on. laurensparks.net

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    1. YES, it is SO hard, my friend. Oh, my, sometimes I get so frustrated, I just feel like giving up. But, I am pressing forward, trying my best. So thankful we can all walk this journey together and encourage one another. God bless you, Lauren!

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  11. This is wonderful. What a great way to approach the mountain ahead of so many of us. I'm going to give it a try. I love how each part really does work hand in hand with how the Lord tells us to let be in this temporary home! Thanks Cheryl!!

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    1. Thank you SO much, sweet friend! Your encouraging words mean so much! May God bless you on your journey!

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  12. My addiction: Laziness. I want all these things, but my laziness is stronger. I look forward to implementing P.O.W.E.R.

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    1. God bless you for trying. I fight complete apathy, also, knowing what I need to do, yet finding it so hard to take the steps to do it. But, he P.O.W.E.R. Tool© has been an amazing help to me. Knowing I need to check off those five things each day really provides a sense of accountability, and it is such a great feeling on the rare days I get all five of them checked off. You can do this! God is with you, and you are going to overcome! I am praying for you and trusting Him to help you through. Keep encouraged!!!

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