For some reason the start of the year entices a person into becoming the new you. But I say--why be like everyone else when you can just be yourself? I’m the type of person who likes--no--enjoys being difficult.
For me, it all started on July 2, 2012.
That’s the day I bought a scale, quit with the excuses, and rejoined the gym. I couldn’t remember the last time I weighted myself. I was so nervous. That’s what moving, getting married, and adjusting to birth control will do to you.
When the scale read 225.5 pounds I gasped.
I knew I was over 200 pounds, but the last time I weighed that much was because of a major health crisis. When the doctors prescribed a steroid of prednisone for a skin rash (eczema), which made me gain 100 pounds in ten months. It took me many years and thousands of miles on the bike--including the gym--to get into shape.
But I wasn’t a teenager anymore.
I also wasn’t single anymore either.
Losing the "newlywed-15" is not easy--so why am I talking this now instead of some new epiphany to kick off the year?
Becoming the new you takes time.
It took me half the year to becoming the new me, and I’m so glad I didn’t give up before I started just because the date said July instead of January. I wasn’t ready to go back to the gym then. I wasn’t ready to go make the necessary changes in my life until the summertime.
Once I was determined to start--July rolled into August, then September, October, and November. December has been quite difficult with the changing of the seasons, numerous Christmas events, and let’s not forget-- holiday food.
Becoming the new you requires courage.
This month, I’m proud to say through blood, sweat, and tears, I now weigh 208! It’s quite amazing to start off the New Year in style because change is already within my reach.
I’m so glad I had the courage to follow through.
So what changed?
I found out by reading an old journal entry from June 25. It said,
“Surround yourself with quality friends who are neither intimidated, jealous, or apathetic towards your giftings…I think that’s why things with my exercise aren’t happening. Complex issues such as friendship, [being a] newlywed, anxiety, my career, and health are all new to me. I guess I’m still waiting for things to become a little more routine...”
Looking back, I can see how I wasn’t ready to become the new me until I gained the courage to open old wounds. I asked God to help me and He graciously answered me. A week later I was able to reconcile a broken relationship, which I believe allowed me to move forward.
What’s stopping you?
Maybe it’s not a matter of making a life change, but addresses an old one.
Maybe you’re not so much afraid of the future as you are stuck in the past.
Becoming the new you produces freedom.
I’ve got good news for you. If my issue was dressing up in gym gear, driving myself to the local gym, and exercising--I would have done it years ago.
Life is never that easy.
Routines easily change. Jobs are lost and gained. Relationships come and go. The one thing that remains the same is God.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:5-7, NIV84).
I needed to take the time to pray and read the Bible to understand what I was so afraid of before asking God to remove it. I remember watching Extreme Home Makeover: Weight Loss Addition. I saw Chris the trainer help severely obese men and women overcome the greatest fear of all--themselves. I knew there was something deep within me that wasn’t fully healed yet.
I had to sit my butt down and physically write out in my own handwriting,
“Lord, why can’t I bring myself to go to the gym?”
That’s when He answered and gave me back my friend. The hard part for me was waiting. I’m not the kind of person who likes to shove things into a corner or hide things in a closet. I like to address the problem and move on. It was so frustrating to me that I couldn’t do that with my friend. It took time, prayer, and remaining in God until He opened up a way for me to meet with her.
I wonder what it is for you?
What freedom you are currently waiting on?
Becoming the new you directs action.
After God gives you the freedom to move forward--it’s time to act! A former pastor once said delayed obedience is still disobedience. The last stage is the most critical. There is an element of action required on behalf of the Christian.
God lavishes His grace so you and I can grow and learn and change--not stay the same.
This is the part where I encourage you.
In January, people are more apt to make life changes. Before you do, I want you to use godly wisdom. Like me--you may be itching to become the new you, but until God speaks we have to stand still.
“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:17, NIV84).
I bet you weren’t expecting that gut punch, huh? That’s what I love about God’s Word. Taking the time to breathe and be still before the Lord produces deep treasures (Isaiah 45:5-7).
This January and every month--let the Lord show you which complex issue He wants you to accomplish first.
Don’t be ashamed if the answer takes time.
Don’t be afraid if you can’t find the courage.
Freedom takes time. Action requires courage.
So let’s raise our glass and thank God that He is the one who helps us become the new me.
Renee Fisher aka the Devotional Diva® is a spirited speaker and the author of Faithbook of Jesus, Not Another Dating Book, and Forgiving Others Forgiving Me (Harvest House, 2013). Renee loves her engineering husband and their rescued pit bull Rock Star. She writes at http://www.devotionaldiva.com.