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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, July 28, 2020

Minimizing Excess Weight Through Prayer & Fasting

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
Romans 12:1 (emphasis added)

You may wonder why I am talking about weight loss issues on a blog called Biblical Minimalism.  I realize that this will not apply to many of you, and chances are, you have no weight to lose and/or have already overcame in this area of minimizing.  Even if obesity is not an issue for you, I hope you can bear with me.  Maybe the stuff we talk about here will apply to another area of excess in your life.  Or perhaps you are struggling with another type addiction, unrelated to food, and maybe the things God is teaching me will be beneficial to you for something totally different.  At any rate, I trust you won't give up on me, as I use this space to work through this journey.

I recently published this very raw, unedited, transparent post concerning my ongoing struggles with obesity.  From the number of private emails I have been getting from different readers I have never heard from before, it turns out there are far more of you who share in my struggles than I imagined.  My heart goes out to each on of you because no one else could ever understand or feel your pain more than I do right now.  I want you to know I am praying for you and believing alongside you for victory for every, single one of us.

In our new book and in this post, I talk about the Whole Person Pie©, how our lives are made up of eight "slices" and how God should be the center.


One of those eight "slices" is called "the physical," which, in my opinion, falls right next to "the spiritual" slice of the pie in order of importance.  The physical slice of the pie is broken down into two parts - physical possessions (which you can read about in this post),


and our physical bodies (which I talked about here.)  I say that the physical slice is right next to the spiritual in order of importance because, as Christians, our physical bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit.  "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"  I Corinthians 6:19


One of the parts of the "physical slice" that I focused on in that post is obesity.  


I'll be honest.  I hesitate to write about this at all because I am SO unqualified to talk about it.  Not that I am the authority on ANYthing I write about, but at least I can testify to the chain-breaking power of God and how He enabled us to sell our home and release about 90% of our physical possessions, liberated us from all our indebtedness, and performed so many other wonders in our lives.  Those are areas that I can see such blatant, visible proof as to what He has literally done, and my family and I have walked through those things and can see tanglible victory.  The gray slice you see in the pie chart above called "obesity" is a whole other ballgame.  This is where I am.  This is reality, and this is where I have gained zero victory and why I feel completely unqualified to share since I am still in the throes of this struggle and seeing no success.

When I stepped on the doctor's scale a few months ago and saw that glaring, shocking number staring me down, I could hardly believe it.  I told the nurse who stood next to me that I couldn't believe it.  Bless her heart, she struggles with the same and told me that after she steps on the scales and sees the number, she goes and gets something to eat and forgets about it!  I love her to pieces, but that is not exactly the most helpful medical advice I've ever been given, and it sure didn't encourage me to get this weight off.  When the doctor walked in, and I mentioned my weight gain to him and let him know how distressed I am about it, he began ordering testing, and sure enough, they found issues.  Those, piled on to the other physical conditions I have dealt with for years, in all fairness, are formidable opponents to my weight loss efforts.  Add medically-confirmed menopause to the mix, and you have a sure fire recipe for weight loss sabotage, and to be honest, this has all felt so hopeless.  I have felt completely trapped.

But, " Is any thing too hard for the LORD?"  Genesis 18:14 - this question was raised in reference to God's promise that Sarah would conceive and bear a son at the ripe old age of 90.  Can you imagine how incredulous and impossible this had to have sounded to Sarah?  I don't find it odd that she laughed when she heard that the following year, she would have a son. 

If God can open the barren womb of a 90-year-old woman and give her and her 100-year-old husband a son, can He not help me lose weight, in spite of medical limitations?  Their age was a mighty formidable opponent to childbirth, yet God miraculously fulfilled His promise to them and gave them a son of their own.  

My obesity is a stronghold that looks as impossible to me as having a child must have looked to Abraham and Sarah.  Yet, Jesus said, "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26  

2 Corinthians 10:4 says, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds."  Obesity, for me, is a strong hold.  It is a place in my life that I cannot seem to break through and change through any carnal weapon I have been able to get my hands on.  My many failed efforts in making this happen are living proof that I cannot do this—alone.  

But, God has been showing me that I CAN do this through His strength, and He is consistently bringing Matthew 17:21 to my mind, "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."  Sometimes, prayer alone is not enough.  There are some strong holds that cannot be pulled down through any other means than the mighty weapon combo of prayer and fasting.  Fasting requires self-denial and discipline, and I think that is precisely what I need right now.

I mentioned in my last post that I have been reading Kalen Bruce's new book, "10 Branches of Growth," and how Kalen talks about the discipline of intermittent fasting.  I had heard of it, and Kevin, Zach, and I had even tried it for a short time quite a while ago, but I had forgotten about it.  Full disclosure- I am not a doctor, nor am I saying that intermittent fasting will work or even be healthy for everyone.  Please seek the Lord for wisdom, and know that I am only sharing this as my own experience and testimony.  

A few days ago, I started the disicpline of intermittent fasting from 7:00 PM until at least 11:00 AM.  By God's grace, it is my goal to exercise this discipline until it becomes a habit that continues until the excess weight is gone.  I am not making a vow, and I know that I am continually subject to fall off the wagon, but this is my goal.  

Here's the best part.  Through the years, during times that the Lord has called me to fast, I have always been so amazed at the level of intimacy and spiritual depths I am drawn into while fasting.  There is just a special closeness and communion with God that has happened every, single time.  When I began this intermittent fasting a few nights ago, that was the farthest thing from my mind.  My sole purpose in doing this, in the beginning, was to lose weight.  But, the other night it occured to me that I am feeling that amazing sense of closeness to Jesus during the hours of 7:00 PM - 11:00 AM!  This is not just helping me physically.  It is helping me spiritually.  I feel a drawing to steal away in the evenings and go up to our room and enter into extra prayer time.  I am feeling that sense of His presence that is so much more overwhelming than usual.  The sheer act of denying myself those guilty pleasures of snacking and unnecesary food consumption at night is working and producing something good in my soul.  This is a win/win!

As I felt led to write this post, I asked the Lord if it is really necessary for me to share my struggles.  After all, this isn't the easiest thing in the world.  I got an immediate answer and confirmation that He wants to use my intense struggles to help someone else.  I have surrendered my life to Him to use as He sees fit, I have handed the reins to Him, and my life is a living sacrifice.  If He can get any glory out of my issues and discrepancies, and if they can reach out and let someone else know they are not alone, then here I am Lord, send me.  

I deeply appreciate your continued prayers that I will stay strong and be faithful to God in bringing this area of my life under subjection to Him.  This slice of the pie is every bit as important as decluttering the house, giving away possessions, and getting out of debt - in fact, it is even more important than all that because as I said before, this has to do with the very temple in which God's Spirit dwells.  It is my "reasonable service" to do all I can to make it as healthy a dwelling place as I possibly can.  You are my accountability partners, and your prayers mean the world to me.  God bless you all and help you with whatever you may be struggling with today.

18 comments:

  1. I am so thankful that you shared this! I too stepped on the doctors scale and immediately felt hopeless. I have Graves Disease, and so I have lost my thyroid. I too started intermittent fasting. I too go from 7 p.m. to at least 11:00 a.m.
    I have been doing this for 3 weeks, and have lost 4 pounds. I know it’s a all victory, but a victory nonetheless. It also encourages me to keep going.
    Hope this helped you as well. You aren’t in this alone either.

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    1. Oh, Patricia! Bless your heart. I am so sorry you are going through this. But, I am SO proud of you for doing the fasting, and my, that is a HUGE accomplishment to lose 4 pounds!!! It may sound like a small victory to some, but I tell you, it sounds so big to me because I know how much it means to lose just one pound! I am just so very thankful for your comment and that you shared your story with me. It has boosted my courage and let me know that this DOES work. I don't mind how slowly it comes off, just so I lose the weight for good. The slower we lose it, the more likely we are to keep it off forever! Your comment was a huge help to me tonight and came at just the right time. May the Lord richly bless you for reaching out and in your own journey. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing. Many blessings to you!

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  2. May the Lord bless your willingness to glorify Him in this venue. I pray you are strengthened in body and spirit. May our Lord bring you victory and may others see Jesus at work and be drawn to Him through your struggles. You have many people cheering you on and we stand together with you for health and that self-control is a fruit of the spirit that is revealed in us as we walk this challenge with you.

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    1. Trish, your wise words are like goads to me. (Ecclesiastes 12:11) They always come at the right time and are so edifying. I SO appreciate your encouragement. It is very strengthening to me. God is helping me each day, and I am so thankful for how He is keeping me on track. Thank you SO much for walking this challenge with me. I am eternally grateful for your support and kindness! God bless you richly, my friend.

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  3. Oh Dear Cheryl,
    Thank you so much for sharing your honest and transparent heart as you walk in obedience with Jesus. Your comments about fasting suddenly brought to my mind an article that I read early in my journey with chronic illness, even before I began blogging, and I had to go read my notes that I had taken then. The author had told of a time in her life when God asked her to "fast from mental and physical strength, that He was calling her into holy weakness." Thank you so much dear friend for once again confirming the conviction that He spoke to me as I read your book. HE is the One who calls us into obedience and trusting Him. May I follow His calling for me here.

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Bettie! I am so grateful the Lord brought that wonderful thought back to you! Your comment was such an encouragement to me this morning. I am continuing to pray for you, dear friend, and am so hoping the Lord will soon lay His healing hand upon you and bring you relief. You are such a dear blessing to me.

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  4. And I want to add that I am so glad we can pray for each other here, as we all seek to follow His call. May you feel the Lord giving you such strength as you share your journey with us. Bless you, dear friend!

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    1. YES! I love this precious community and how we can share our hearts and burdens and pray for one another! The Lord is really helping me to turn this intermitten fasting into a habit. I am not sure if I am losing weight - it feels like I might be just a tiny bit. But, I am going to wait to weigh until I know for certain! The main benefit I am seeing daily is that I am entering into that deeper communion with Jesus as I pray during those hours and seek His face. Many blessings to you today, too, sweet friend.

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  5. Thank you for sharing the hard things that we all struggle with. Our son has been doing intermittent fasting for a few years. He didn’t need to lose weight, but it was a discipline to prevent any weight gain. The hubby and I did it for a few months and then the pandemic hit and got us sidetracked. I was a runner for many years, I need to get back to walking. Praying with you my friend.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing about your son's and your and Butch's experiences with intermittent fasting, Pam! I am finding more and more people are doing this, and it seems to be very good for the body from what I have read. The discipline of it is so therapeutic for me, for some reason, and I am hoping the weight loss will come, too. I am finding that it is true - the longer you discipline yourself to do something, the more it becomes a habit. Your prayers are SO deeply appreciated, my friend.

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  6. The dietary laws and statues stated in the Bible are a great foundation to maintain health and wellness.
    I began fasting regularly a few years ago. I never reach my goal but I find every attempt exhilarating.
    I could only imagine you are experiencing similar feelings ;-)

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    1. You are so right, Wideman. Those basic instructions in God's Word hold the answer to every problem and dilemma in this life, and there is such chain-breaking power in every Word in the Bible. I appreciate you sharing your experiences here and trust the Lord will continue to bless you in your journey with Him!

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  7. Hi Cheryl! Don't you just love how the Lord redeems our struggles and pain in ways that we can offer hope and encouragement to others!

    'Restoring the years the locusts have eaten.'

    What a wonderful Redeemer!

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    1. Yes! He is so faithful. Knowing we struggle together and are not alone can bring so much bolstering of encouragement in this life. He surely is our wonderful Redeemer! May He richly bless you, sweet friend.

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    2. How's this going for you, friend? God keeps you on my heart and I lift you back up to Him ...

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    3. Oh, how I appreciate you, your thoughts, your friendship, and your precious prayers! Praise God, by His grace and help, I am continuing to do the intermittent fasting for at least 16 hours each day (since July 25). The discipline is forming a habit, and my goal is to try to do this until Christmas just to see how much I lose. I haven't weighed because I don't want to get discouraged if there is no success. I am going to wait until I make sure I am noticing weight loss, then I will weigh, at some point, Lord willing. You will never know how much I appreciate you checking on me and knowing you are praying for me means SO much! Sending much love and gratitude to you today!

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  8. I believe, that God led me to your site! I was casually going through emails and was intrigued to find a link to Biblical minimalism. I am astonished that you wrote so honestly about your struggles with weight. I too share your pain over my many defeats as I am only 5' tall and have at least 50 pounds to lose, making me obese. On one day, I had two doctors ask me what I was going to do about it. I know what to do but lack the discipline to start. I have prayed and prayed for help from God to no avail. I know I need to do my part but I fail over and over. So I need to know how is intermittent fasting working for you? How hard is it? I have toyed with it, hoping to get to 8 hours of eating and 16 hours of fasting but have been unsuccessful. It seems something comes up that interferes with maintaining it. How do you handle things like friends inviting you to dinner, eating out, birthday gatherings, and all the other food occasions that happen outside of 11 to 7? I hate what I am and don't feel like my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. How do I even start when the goal is so difficult and far off. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you. I am so happy I have found this blog.
    Thanks, Barb Bamonti

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    1. Oh, Barb! My heart goes out to you SO much more than I could ever put into words. I understand every, single thing you said. I know how it feels to hear make such comments and also to see the word "obese" in a medical report. I must say that God is helping me stay on the intermittent fasting. Whatever time I stop eating, I wait 16 hours to start eating again, with 7 PM - 11 AM being my daily goal. If something is going on that I have to stop eating a bit later, I just adjust my starting eating time the next morning. I am praying a LOT, and the fasting time draws me closer to Him, as I lean so hard on Him to give me grace to not eat during those 16 fasting hours each day. I am not going to lie and say it is easy. It is NOT easy. Sometimes at night, it takes everything I've got to not head to the kitchen and snack, but I keep thinking how displeasing to the Lord it is for me to keep abusing my body in this way and how many of my health issues would improve if only I would rein in the flesh in this area. I completely understand how difficult it is to keep on the right path during the hours I am eating, especially for special occasions like you mentioned, but I do have to say that one of the benefits of this daily fasting is that I am not as hungry when I CAN eat! It sort of frustrated me, at first, because I thought, wow, here it is between the hours that I can eat, and I am not even wanting anything to eat!! LOL! I know that is a good problem to have, but I start panicking a bit thinking how I need to cram in my eating before 7 pm because I get so tempted to eat after that at night. But again, the Lord is helping me. I am leaning SO hard on HIM to give me wisdom and help me to do the right thing. I am not limiting myself too much as far as WHAT I eat during the hours from 11-7, except I do not eat hardly any white sugar, but that is something I have been trying to do since 2007. But, though I am not limiting myself as to what I am eating, I am just not eating as much because of not feeling as hungry. I know it is SO hard to start. I think starting it is the hardest part. I would just suggest setting a day that you want to start, and just really praying hard for God's help and just press through the hunger. Day #2 will be a bit easier, Day #3 even easier, etc. It will never be completely easy for us because the enemy wants to keep us feeling defeated in this area, but we CAN conquer this through the blood of Jesus. His blood and power can conquer anything we face in this life. I will be praying for you, Barb. I am so happy you wrote to me today. Please always, always feel free to reach out to me for support, either here or via email at homespundevotions@gmail.com. God bless you, sweet sister. I am looking forward to hearing back from you as to how you are overcoming in this area. You can do this!!

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