SCOTT'S STORY -
For my entire life, as long as I can remember, I have struggled with being very overweight and food addiction. I’d go through seasons in the past of doing well, but those were short seasons. The struggle is heightened by the fact that my dad died of heart disease when he was 39 years old, leaving behind a single mom and two boys aged 3 and 6. By the grace of God I recently turned 41, but my health is probably worse than my dad’s was when he passed away.
For me – this has been my issue. There have been others, such as lust and pornography, anger, and low self-esteem and worth; but, God has done some great things with those struggles. This, however, has been one that has been my, as Paul calls it in 2 Corinthians 12, “thorn in the flesh”.
I have been a part of WELL since April 29, 2013. There have been great seasons of success and success of intense, miserable failure. Here are 3 lessons I’ve learned while in WELL. My story is a good example of what we call in re|engage, a “teachimony” as I share lessons while telling my story.
1. Life change often happens best in the context of community.
For years I have been in community, but have not rightly involved my community in my wellness. They would get the full picture for a few weeks and then I would quit, or they would get a partial picture consistently, which meant they got what I wanted them to get.
It was time to do something drastically different for my wellness, my marriage, my kids, and the ministry that I am a part of. On May 8th, 4 days after my 40th birthday, I sent the following email out to a group of 20 guys.
Men (and Kristen),
This is an email that is way overdue in my life, but no better time than the present to get it out.
As you all know, I have struggled with weight, exercise, health and wellness for a very long time – really my whole life. The challenges boil down to overeating, food idolatry, lack of commitment and follow-through, deceit and hiding, laziness and passivity and probably other areas. There is way too much on the line for me to be complacent in this area of my life – the Lord has stewarded to me an amazing wife, 4 boys who need a healthy daddy, family/friends that I love, and a great ministry at Watermark. It is time to make some changes, and not short term changes, but permanent changes.
From there I detailed out some changes I was going to make in eating, exercise, sleep, spiritual disciplines, and how I needed/wanted their help.
Every week I sent out an update to the guys on what I’m eating (like literally everything I put in my mouth), how I’ve exercised, my weight and what the Lord is currently teaching me.
2. Grow in your affection for Christ – see your problem as sin and address accordingly
Wherever we are in our walk with Christ or our life journey, one of the problems is when we don’t see our struggle as a sin struggle. To be clear, thank the Lord, eating is not a sin. It’s when you overeat, have food idolatry, run to food for comfort or sorrow, or when you are mastered by food that it becomes sin. 1 Corinthians 6.12 says “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” I’ve allowed myself to be dominated and mastered by food.
I have a sin problem when it comes to food. For years I justified my eating behaviors and patterns under the excuse of needing to eat and my sins/issues could be so much worse. End of the day, this is pride and ignorance. You won’t change until you call your sin what it really is and when you focus more on your own issues than on the sins of the person you’re married to or compare to other people’s struggles.
3. This is so much more than a 30-day diet or a 12-week ministry
I am the master of the fad diet and the quick exercise program – you name it, I’ve tried it. South Beach, Daniel Fast, p90X, Insanity, Boot camp, shakes, the Shred, watching the Biggest Loser whilst eating ice cream, etc… I am great at jumping on a program and killing it for a few weeks, only to return to the old patterns as soon as the program is done. The problem is when we look for the quick, easy solution for the long-term sin problem. I consistently look for the quick cure with no regard for the long-term. Instead I want to endure like Jesus calls us to endure and persevere in Hebrews 12.1-2
Chances are really good you will not be fixed at the end of the 12 weeks of WELL. But God’s solution to a long-term sin problem is never just short-term obedience. It’s always a long obedience in the same direction. You may have a GREAT 12 weeks in WELL but nothing will change if you don’t keep going when the group is completed and the 12 weeks are over. End of the day – here’s the best program – God’s Word, God’s People, God’s Spirit.
I love this verse from 2 Timothy 2.20-21. Paul says, “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
I am not more or less loved by the master, but I am more useful. Here’s how I have become more useful: more energy for my wife, my kids, my friends, better sleep, the best ministry season of my life, walking closely and obediently with Jesus, stewarding money better, more secure in relationships, and much more.
Bottom line – He isn’t even close to being done with me yet, but being a part of WELL has changed my life in every way.