New Year. New You?

by Jen Ramlet

So it's a new year and what's the first thing I do? Sign up for weight watchers! Why you ask? Because it's the New Year and that’s what I always do. I fast, I juice, I take supplements and always end up signing up for some expensive program promising results in two months. After all, that's what we women do right? I mean what kind of American women would I be if I didn't try to lose the holiday love handles? Know what I mean!?!?  Then it dawned on me; “What if all the time I spent weighing myself, counting points and drinking water was replaced with Bible studies, alone time in the word and blaring worship music while in my car? How much of my life would change emotionally and spiritually?” You see it's easy for us ladies in the New Year to say, “This year I'm going to ________." (You can go ahead and fill in the blank with your own answer) Honestly, how many times are our New Year's resolutions centered on looking better physically? It might not be just losing the weight. It could be to take better care of your skin, dress nicer, change your hair color or style. I wonder if we put at the top of our New Year’s resolution list to study the Word more or get on our knees until we heard Him speak, how much better we would be, not just spiritually and emotionally, but physically. You see the thing about me and my weight is I can lose and gain weight like nobody's business. I mean seriously my whole life I've been like Oprah’s twin.  I can gain 20 pounds just as easy as I can lose it; I just need to put in the work. The problem is is that I never have looked at my relationship with the Lord like I look at my weight. I've never said, “Oh I can get to know the Lord better or grow in Him just like that.”  The truth of the matter is, the more I'm in the Word, the more I know the Lord.  Just like the more I'm at the gym, the more weight I lose. It's so hard for us to comprehend, as women living in a society that is so focused on looks and how we present ourselves, that what we do in our spare time with the Lord actually affects us more than the time we spend at the gym or boiling our chicken.

Now I’m not saying that we should not take care of our bodies. The Lord clearly states that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.  When any of my girls that I mentored who were struggling with eating disorders came to me, I’d always tell them that the Lord doesn't want to live in a ghetto, he wants to live in Beverly Hills.  Meaning, always treat your body with love and respect. Take care of yourself, for that is where your Savior dwells.  The question I am simply asking here is: “What if we changed our resolution list to have Christ be at the top and everything else below him?”  I wonder how different you would feel. How much more beautiful and attractive you would be if you let the Lord shine from you instead of you letting society shine in you? The answer is simple. You would feel much more beautiful and attractive because you would finally see yourself the way the Lord sees you.  And in that, you would naturally start to love yourself the way He does, which would change your appearance.

I was in a Bible study a few years back with a couple of girls. I knew all of them but one. The newbie, who was invite by my best friend, was just as beautiful inside as she was out. She was tall with beautiful brown hair and long legs. She had a killer smile and a fun personality. One night the topic of weight came up. I was interested in hearing what she had to say as I couldn’t imagine her ever struggling. She looked at me after I ranted and raved for about 10 minutes and said, “You know Jen, I used to be 100 pounds heavier” My mouth almost hit the floor! There is no way!  I was in shock. She went on to say that everything about her weight loss journey began with her mind. She was not a believer but had joined the study to make some new friends and see what this God thing was all about. As I began to ask her questions she went on to explain that every day she would make herself say 5 things she liked about herself. As the days went on she began to believe some of those qualities which gave her enough courage to start walking. She never went hard at the gym or counted every single calorie. She simply began with the root of the issue, which was the mind.  Joyce Meyer says, in the book Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind, “Remember, you become what you think. Think discouraging thoughts, and you’ll get discouraged.”  And in another chapter, “Satan frequently steals the will of God from us due to reasoning. The Lord may direct us to do a certain thing, but if it does not make sense - if it is not logical - we may be tempted to disregard it. What God leads a person to do does not always make logical sense to his mind. His spirit may affirm it and His mind reject it, especially if it would be out of the ordinary or unpleasant or if it would require personal sacrifice or discomfort.” 

You see it is uncomfortable for us to think we are beautiful. It is uncomfortable for us to look at our bodies without clothes or our face without makeup or our height, whether short or tall, and be completely satisfied and content with who that women looking back at us is. This stems from the insecurity within our mind. As I mentioned in my last blog, insecurity comes in many shapes and sizes. It does not discriminate within one person or type. It attacks us all and the root of that insecurity comes from lies that the enemy is feeding us. Reread the quote by Joyce Meyer again, she says that our mind will reject logical sense if it is out of the ordinary or uncomfortable. You telling yourself you are beautiful and being content with your physical being is uncomfortable for a lot of us. So what do we do? Fast, diet, juice, take supplements and sign up for expensive weight loss programs. 

But I wonder if we did what the girl in my Bible study did and began to affirm ourselves and actually go to battle with the thoughts that are not from the Lord. How much stronger, confident and beautiful we would become as a child of the Lord? So Long, Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us by Beth Moore is one of my top 5 books. It has kicked by booty far more than I’d like to admit, in a good way of course. It is something that has stayed with me and helped many times throughout the past 6 years or so.  She says: “We're going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.”  The enemy has won enough when it comes to how we see ourselves. He has conquered our thoughts and ideas of who we are for the last time. It is time for us to stand up against him and proclaim the truth of who we are; of how God sees us.

You see in a world that is full of rejection, judgment, superficial and narcissistic people telling you to be one way or another or look this way or else you’ll be rejected, The Lord says; “I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” -Isaiah 41:9-10. 

As 2017 begins, start tackling your mind. Begin to renew your thoughts. Tell yourself the things you like about yourself, even if they seem small, they will begin to make a deep impact on how you view who you are. And yes, drink water, take a walk and treat your body with respect. Those things will always help, but the battle you are fighting is not solely at the gym or in the food pantry, it’s in your mind.

I want to challenge you to ask yourself these two questions “What are three things I love about myself?” and “What are three lies I have believed about myself?” Go to the mirror and tell yourself that those are simply lies. Then speak the truth about who you are! How you are chosen and not rejected. Only you and the Lord can renew that which was destroyed. Now go to battle!

Jen Ramlet is a hilarious, fun, wise woman who will have you laughing till you cry one moment and bearing your soul the next.  She is a writer and speaker with a passion for mentoring women and helping them find true freedom in Christ.  Jen lives in Denver, CO with her handsome husband and super cute pup.  You can find more of fabulous Jen at her blog, Rustic Glory (seriously, check it out, you’ll love it).