Shrinkin' Thinkin'

 “God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”  II Timothy 1:7

Dear friends,

When you start thinking about eating better or getting back to your morning walks, what comes to mind?  Does your tummy start a’twirling?  Your heart commences flutterin’ and you know it’s not about romance.  Does exercise anxiety haunt your heart?  Your brain goes to brooding on all the reasons it’s unpleasant.  You’re sure you’ll fail, so shame joins the dirge ringing in your brain.

My pastor made a comment on Sunday that sent me to reflecting:  “Fear makes us small.”  I’ve been thinking a bunch about that, and I do believe he’s right.  What happens when we worry?  We retreat.  Hide.  Turn negative and sometimes sassy.  Why?  ‘Cus we fear we’re losing control.  We’re afraid we’ll fail.  We convince ourselves a disagreeable outcome is inevitable.

Now if there was a hurricane hurtling your way, or the doc just gave you some grievously bad news, I surely could sympathize with tummy trembling.  But angst over the anticipation of going for a walk?  Or trepidation over eating more greens?  Now saints, does that make any sense?  Especially when you know you’ll feel so much better when you commence takin’ care of your temple.

So how do we combat fear and anxiety?  The Word!  The Word!  The WORD!

“God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”  II Timothy 1:7

Now let’s look at this logically for a moment.  What is it exactly that’s giving you the jitters about losing weight?  What causes you concern over committing to a food and fitness program?

Is it fear of failing?  Let’s muse on that a moment.  We’ve all done it.  With verve we stock the fridge with colorful fruits and veggies, go to Ross and get ourselves a dandy new exercise outfit, then declare to all the world we’re really keeping our commitment to exercise this time.

But you don’t.

And you feel dumb.

And embarrassed.

And defeated.

Yep, get it.  Been there.  Done it.  Now for me it isn’t exercise generally because as you know I’m an avid walker, but strength training is my downfall.  I have the dainty pink dumbbells and a big ol’ fitness ball sitting right in my living room.  But when was the last time I used them?  Dust tattles on me.

So what if you flub?  What if after three strong weeks of walking every day you get distracted and miss several?  Will this ol’ globe stop spinnin’?  Will you be the laughing stock of Facebook?  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, my friend, but honestly few will care.  It’s just you banning yourself to Pity Prison.  What word can you claim to overcome your fear of failure?

I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 3:13-14)    

There it is.  It’s not about Facebook Fame or looking fine for that upcoming class reunion.  It’s about keeping our eyes and reliance on our Savior Jesus to help us in times of need, declaring you’ll always need His help with maintaining your temple care.

Maybe it’s not failure per se but more accurately you’re just plain embarrassed.  The thought of you going inside that gym or Park and Rec class with your pudgy tummy is absolutely unbearable.  Who’s winning the war with that mindset?  Brother Paul reminds us our battle is not against flesh and blood, but with the one who works to keep us in the ditch of defeat.  That wily dog Satan loves to see you shamed and downtrodden!  When you stay home pathetically poutin’, the king of death is dancing!  So get yourself into that cute exercise suit, put a little red on your cheeks, walk into that class with your head held high, shoulders back, tummy tucked and be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might!

Now church family, I also must remind you as Jesus-followers, anywhere you go, including that Body Sculpt class, it’s not all about you!!  Who else in that room is feeling timid, self-conscious and uncomfortable?  Find her and encourage her! 

“Hi!  My name is Rosie.  What’s yours?  I’m feeling a little awkward ‘cus I haven’t exercised in awhile.  You too?  Really?  This is your first class too?  Well I’m glad to meet you and looking forward to enduring this – I mean enjoying this time with you.  I’m claiming a Bible verse about keeping my eye on the prize to keep up my confidence.  Church?  Oh yes!  I go to the First Church of Blue Springs on Main Street.  You’ve been considering coming?  Well honey, I’d love you to join me this Sunday!”

See what I mean, sisters?  Any time we put ourselves out there in the Name and strength of Jesus, He’ll bless our efforts!

So what else is hampering you?  Don’t worry.  I have plenty of time to help you knock down strongholds with the belt of Truth.

Oh right, fear of the unknown.  That’s a BIG one.  What will it be like to go from a size 22 to a 12?  It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?  Especially since you’ve heretofore held a slight grudge against any gal whose size is in single digits, right?  So what does that look like?  Will your Plus Size pals un-friend you?  Will you be excommunicated from Bunko?  Seriously now, are you scared they’ll resent you?  Yes, it’s true, when you transition from pie and coffee to walking with weights your shared interests can be discombobulated.  But can you discuss these concerns with your girls before you’re sporting your new slimness?  If they’re really your best buds they won’t hold you back.  If they passive-aggressively retaliate, are they truly friends?  Just like those of us who were forced to find new connections when we became the 5th wheel with our long-time couples friends when our husbands passed, life is full of character-building transitions.  There’s a big world beyond pie and coffee, girls. Don’t miss it.  And cling to God’s promise:  

“1 Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Isaiah 43:1-3

We humans sure prefer our comfort zone to stepping out and trying new things, don’t we?  “I’m aware this chair is a little tattered, but it’s like an old friend!”  From our daily routines to where we sit every week in church to the foods we eat regularly, we like our ruts.  So one of your fears could be altering your well-intrenched habits.  For instance, when you consider purging your pantry your brain starts telling your heart,

“Nothin’s gonna taste good without ground beef.”

“Vegetables just never appealed to me.” 

“I’ve had coffee and OJ for breakfast since I left home for college.  It’s what I prefer.”

It’s what you do.

It’s how you eat.

And you like it just fine, thank you.

And it’s why you’re a size 22 sister. And if you keep doin’ what you been doin’ you’ll stay a size 22.  It’s just how life works.  What does the Word say about us staying stuck in our ruts?

“Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:18-19 

“ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  II Cor 5:17 

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth – in my life – as it is in heaven.”  Matt 6:10 

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”  Ps 119:37 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2


You may have other misgivings about getting fit we haven’t discussed.  Please talk to me on Facebook at But the end result of fear is always the same:  It makes us small.  Shrinkin’ thinkin’ overtakes our world – our hopes and dreams – our achievements.  And that’s just where the Deceitful Demon wants us.  So in defense and preparation for his opposition and falsehoods, memorize II Timothy 1:7:

“God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” 

Embed it in your heart.  Pray it when the devil is attacking you with baseless anxiety.

And for extra-credit, commit Isaiah 41:10 to memory:  Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you.  I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

A faceoff with a donut can feel just as intense as an advancing army.  Bad foods lure us like any other seductive sin.  And when those times come, claim your protection under the mighty I AM.  

Live Well,