Exercise for Life!

Janet Carr

Though we usually discuss issues of food, reasonable exercise is critical to maintaining and/or reducing weight. Throughout America, people are far too sedentary and need to integrate more simple activity and movement into their lives.

It is always recommended to see a doctor prior to beginning any new exercise regimen. Not only is this beneficial to ensure that your intended regimen is a wise move, but your physician can also prove to be an excellent ally regarding accountability. He or she can help set realistic goals and track your progress over time.

Accountability is often a key piece to success. If not your doctor, tell someone, perhaps a friend, of your goals. (You can even call 1-800-NEW-LIFE to set ongoing phone appointments with a Christian coach). Then check in on a regular basis.

When it comes to exercise, above all, choose wisely and don’t overdo it. You don’t need to exercise one hour everyday; simply set a goal to exercise more than you are currently.

Select an activity you enjoy ‘ something fun like tennis, taking a brisk walk with your dog, golf, visiting a batting cage. There is no need to join a gym or costly athletic club. In fact, unless the weather is not conducive to outside recreation, an indoor facility should be your last resort. Exercising outdoors exposes you to sunlight, invigorating fresh air and the beauty of the world around you. What’s more, it reduces stress and improves your mental outlook.

Remember, thinking about exercise is not the same as actually doing it. Start today; you will absolutely have a healthier tomorrow.

If you haven’t benefited from a Lose it For Life conference yet, we strongly encourage you to join us on our next New Life Weekend.

Maintaining Vibrancy in our Devotional Life

David Mackey

Growing up in the church, a constant theme was the importance of a daily devotional life. As I recall this came in one basic outline: Read the Bible daily every morning and pray. There seemed to be little variation in this edict, only a variation in how much of the Bible one read. Reading more was always better. Basically this was the quest and I failed miserably. For many years I rarely succeeded for more than a few days in a row following this type outline. And when I did read, many times, it was just reading’ there was nothing vibrant about it.

Good news!! Vibrancy can be experienced. I finally did discover that vibrancy could be found in one’s devotional life. What hindered me for so many years? Perhaps several things but I believe a primary hindrance can be found in one’s heart. Consider the heart. The heart is that part of our being in which we find our beliefs and values residing. In the church you often hear phrases like ” invite Jesus into our heart,’ and ”believe with all your heart,’ etc.

When it comes to our devotional life, what do we believe, or what value does a devotional life have? Consider just one belief that might hinder vibrancy. It might go like this, ‘God demands I have a devotional life in obedience to Him and in order for Him to keep me from relapse.’ Variations of this belief might be, ‘It is my duty to maintain a disciplined devotional life.’ Or ”without a disciplined devotional life I will not please God so he will not keep me from falling.’ There are many such beliefs that could hinder vibrancy. What would happen in one’s life if we believed that God does not REQUIRE a devotional life?! Rather God INVITES us to have a devotional life. What would a devotional life be like if we believed that the purpose of this invitation is deep intimate relationship with Him rather then a tool to prevent relapse? How would ones vibrancy change?

God, the almighty creator of all things, invites us to know Him as ‘Abba,” Aramaic for ‘Daddy’ (Romans 8:15-16). Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords calls us brother and friend (Mark 3:35 & John 15:14). If we believed we are invited into this kind of relationship, our devotional pattern might be different and lead to a great degree of vibrancy. Our devotional life may be more akin to pursuing friendship, brotherhood, and sonship. Vibrancy in these earthly relationships is not found in obedient, disciplined habits. Rather it is found as we pursue those relationships regularly and in many different ways. When we desire relationship with our friends, brothers, and Daddy we find unique ways to be in close contact. We don’t allow our busy schedule to hinder us. If we made this belief change, there will also be a change in how we pursue intimate relationship. Rather than one disciplined daily habit we likely will add many creative and changing ways to stay in touch, throughout each day. Consider some ideas listed below:

Read small amounts of scripture several times a day.
Write and pray your own Psalms.
Pray Psalms from scripture that express your heart’s joy and sorrows.
Include worship and praise music in your listening habits.
Read the worshipful writings of early church fathers.
Schedule a weekly 2 to 4 hour time to just meditate, listen, and pray.
Schedule personal weekend retreats.
Find a church whose emphasis is worship and relationship.
Read a different translation of the Bible.
Listen to the Bible on CD as you drive throughout the day.

All of the above are tools and activities that can be used to know and hear God. Vibrancy will be found when done with the purpose of intimate relationship with God. Don’t miss the point. Disciplined and daily devotions should be developed in a believer’s life. This seems to be especially true as we continue to win the battle. If this discipline is rooted in obedience and approval from God, the disciplined devotional life can easily become a routine of our mind. If, however, our purpose is toward a brother and friend relationship with Jesus, a son relationship with the Father then our devotional life will be quite different. It can be vibrant and it will likely grow as we discover creative ways to pursue God through out each of our days.

For more help on this topic see Being Christian: Exploring Where You God and Life Connect.

Singleness and Masturbation

Sam Fraser

We are familiar enough with the Scriptural mandates about sexual purity so I will say no more. During our season of singleness, masturbation is a very real and present temptation. As a Christian single man I struggled with it in the 70′s and 80′s failing more than I succeeded until I was married. Getting married however, did not cure me. Now having been divorced for several years, I am once again acquainted with the battle anew with masturbation as a single man.

Sex studies have concluded that for most men our sex drive, hormonally speaking, peaks at about age 15-20 or so. Since that is true as we move towards 25, 35, 45 and beyond, even though our sex drive begins to wane I didn’t notice that my frequency of acting out declined. So what gives?

The activity of masturbation is no longer exclusively about the amount of testosterone flowing through our veins. Rather it is an expression of another ‘drive’ taking place.

Of the many forces that could keep this battle raging, I want to address only one, loneliness. Acting out in this way actually may be a substitute for not having a special relationship. For many singles, from 25 on, it can become part of a lifestyle to manage loneliness.

This lesson took me from being an unmarried single into my 30′s, married into my 40′s, to divorced and single again to figure out.

As a single person I was never able to overcome this temptation alone, by myself, in isolation. I could white knuckle it for periods of time but never conquer it.

It was only after I was single again that I learned how much I needed to be connected to others. Having a couple of dear friends with whom I can share my needs, hurts and deepest feelings is like air and food–I can’t live without it! Until I had those kinds of people around me I was never able to have very much success in this important spiritual area of my life. I would masturbate the feelings of loneliness because I wasn’t connected.

For a long time I did not know how to admit this need.

With my boyhood training about being independent, self-reliant, and standing tall, coupled with “big boys don’t cry” attitudes that pretty much shut me down emotionally throughout my formative years and well into adulthood. I was programmed to grow up as a man to stand alone. To ask for help went against the very grain of my upbringing. Some men have been able to battle sexual temptation and succeed on their own. However, for me and many others like me I am unable to do it without help.

As a single man this becomes even more pronounced. Not having the type of friendships, or having the personal communication skills to express my loneliness openly and honestly had been my downfall. Since I couldn’t be real with my feelings, the development of a secret life became the place where I felt and acted in a manner that I didn’t feel was ok in my “real life.” Masturbation became the intimacy I craved in lieu of having a genuine relationship. Masturbation became the outlet I had substituted for healthy expressions of my maleness. It became sort of the social life that I did not have in real life. It was a way to cope with loneliness. It became the way to connect with myself since I was not connecting with others.

One of the great benefits of attending the Every Man\’s Battle workshop is the opportunity, for many, the first time to be open and honest in a safe environment with other men to speak openly and frankly about this problem. We are all aware of the Scripture’s directives about sexual purity. But there are few places that we can openly discuss the struggles we have in this area of or spiritual life.

Churches and Christian men’s groups are beginning to respond to the need for men to talk about the battle. There are people and places that can support you. Find them or you call us at 1-800-NEW-LIFE for help.

A State of Stuckness: Part 1

Julie Davis

I buried my truck in the mud last weekend when I mindlessly drove off the pavement and onto the soft shoulder. I probably could have steered back onto the pavement and that would have been that. But for some impulsive reason, I stopped, turned the motor off and hung out with myself and the dark and the crickets. It was neat, sitting there by the side of the road, knowing no one would be driving by at this time of night to interrupt this solitude.

I knew I should focus on getting home and to bed, but I got caught up in the moment and sat there, not really thinking about anything, hanging out. My eyeballs forced me into reality. They were stinging from tiredness and I realized I needed to get home. So I turned on the truck motor and shifted gears to move on. The wheels spun. I didn’t move. With 10 years of driving experience in the snow, I had the experience and training to get me out of this mess, but I relied on neither. I gassed the motor and spun those wheels as if sheer determination would win over physics. It didn’t. I stopped and collected myself, then proceeded with a plan of rocking the truck out of its mire. Too little too late. I was stuck.

This seemed like kind of familiar territory for me (as a therapist, I have a full time job just analyzing myself.’) I realized that what I had done to my truck was pretty much what I had done during my life with food, alcohol, relationships, and a number of other things. Here’s a summary:

How to get stuck

  • Mindlessly drift off track.
  • When offered an opportunity to get back on track, ignore it.
  • Hang out in dangerous territory.
  • When you realize you’re in trouble, attempt to bail yourself out.
  • Realize you’re stuck.

Now for some tips on how to get unstuck and stay unstuck see A State of Stuckness Part 2.

Lighten Up – Facing the Weight Loss Challenge with Optimism

Cheryl Graybill

So it’s already March and how are you doing on your weight loss goals?
Ah, you say, not so well. Getting started was easy in January. There
was all the motivation in the world as 2004 brought in a whole new year
of anticipated change.

But then there was the anniversary party and Valentine’s Day candy and, well then we had those weeks of rain (or snow). And I couldn’t get out of the house to exercise. Then, I wasn’t feeling so well for a few weeks, I think it was that flu, or something. (And the list goes on).

If you’re like me, there is always a reason for not accomplishing the goals we’ve set out to accomplish.. Before we are even aware, we’ve lost our enthusiasm to change. It begins to feel too difficult or too hard. We slip back into the old habits and resolve to try again ‘later.’

Winston Churchhill stated that ‘Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.’ What I think was meant by that quote is that failure brings about frustration, and that is understandable. However, it is what we do with that frustration that keeps us moving forward or gets us stuck.

We get stuck when we fall back into that cycle of negative thoughts. ‘This is too hard, I’ll never get thin.’ ‘Everyone else has more support than I do.’ ‘Well, I just have too much stress in my life’ it is too hard to change.’

Changing habits happens one step at a time. We now know that to change a negative habit takes at least 14 to 21 days of continuous repetition. The most difficult habit to break is what we tell ourselves in the midst of the new behaviors.

We need to become lifelong optimists. People learn to become optimists by thinking the way optimists think.

What is it that optimists think about most of the time? In its simplest terms, optimists think about what they want and how to get it. They think about where they are going and how to get there. The very idea of thinking about what they want makes them happy and positive. It increases their energy and releases their creativity.

So, if we revisit our goals with the effort of being more optimistic, what would that look like?

1. Specific – Become very positive about what you want. I want to lose 20,40 or even 100 pounds Write it down. Know what you are striving for and become specific about it. It is also helpful to write out other specific goals such as lowering your blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, or developing cardiovascular strength.

2. Maintainable – What is maintainable for you? What are changes that you can bring into your daily lifestyle that you can live with? Maybe someone else can go to the gym every morning, but that gives you headaches just thinking about it. Maybe you can get up 15 minutes earlier and begin to walk in the morning, because you are a morning person. Maybe exercising in front of the TV at night works for you. Find out what may be more suitable for you and your lifestyle. Ask yourself, ‘How can I make this more enjoyable or even fun?’

3. Acheivable – Maybe you did weigh 110 in high school, but that was years ago. Maybe you did fit into a size 6, but now you are a size 14. Help yourself set goals that can be attained. If we are too unrealistic about the changes we long to see for ourselves, we only become disappointed, frustrated and give up. Develop a picture in your mind of what you want to look like. Continue to focus on that picture and work to make it come true.

4. Realistic – Focus on a goal that is realistic for you. Sometimes, emotionally we become carried away with plans and thoughts of what we want to do differently. We see what has worked successfully for someone else and expect the same results. Anytime we are doing something different from our previous self-defeating patterns, we are changing our life styles toward success.

5. Time Frame – Weight loss takes time. Changing habits that have taken a lifetime to learn, take time. Growth is often a few steps forward and several steps backwards, until we become used to the changes that we are making in our lives. Sometimes, the most difficult change is giving ourselves time ‘ time to make mistakes and time to continue to try again.

Last of all, but certainly not least, remember the children’s book of ‘The Little Engine that Could.’ The little engine was able to make it over the mountain because instead of comparing himself to the other bigger and more efficient engines, he kept his eyes on the goal and continued to say, ‘I think I can, I think I can.’

  This March, face your weight loss challenge with a refocusing of your goals and an optimistic attitude of ‘I think I can.’ And you will.

Need some additional help?  Join our Lose it For Life group at our next New Life Weekend.

Managing Late-night Food Cravings

Jennifer Cecil

According to statistics, overweight folks consume 60 percent of their
daily caloric intake after the dinner meal. I have heard from numerous
clients that they eat according to their food plan beautifully all day
long until night falls. For people working outside their homes, as soon
as they walk in the door, food begins to call their name. High sugar,
high carbohydrate foods call; not fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. The tremendous temptation and pull, if not managed carefully can sabotage our efforts at weight loss and undo the good work that we have done all day. It is crucial to set boundaries around after-dinner food consumption.

Do you remember when you were encouraged to think about and decide what choices you would make BEFORE you were actually IN the situation? For example, the time to decide about drug use is BEFORE you are sitting in a room full of your friends passing the joint your direction. The time to decide about premarital sex is BEFORE you are in the throes of passion with raging hormones in the back seat of the car. If a group of friends are going out for the evening, a designated driver is appointed BEFORE the drinking begins so that all will make it home safely. Does it follow, then, that the time to make nighttime FOOD choices is BEFORE you are at home, exhausted from the day, with your defenses weak and your resistance low? The time to decide what and how much to eat is before you walk in the door from work or before you prepare the evening meal.

Setting boundaries around evening food consumption would look like this:

‘ I will eat one orange 2 hours prior to bedtime’ or ‘I will eat two celery sticks with one Tablespoon of peanut butter 2 hours after dinner’. (Be careful to measure amounts as peanut butter is an ‘expensive’ food).

You might want to commit to a cup of coffee and two vanilla wafers after dinner or 3 cups of popcorn.

Here are some additional guidelines to help you:

1. You want to make sure that the amount that you plan to eat is within your daily caloric limit.

2. The earlier that you eat your snack, the more time your body has to metabolize it before bedtime.

3. Expect that you will want to eat more than you have committed to and be proactive about that.

4. Have an accountability partner who you can call if you are tempted to violate your food boundaries.

5. Know that you will probably feel hungry when you go to bed. Its o.k. Breakfast will taste much better with an appetite.

6. Try going to bed earlier to stave off hunger pains.

7. Drink plenty of water.

8. Remember the gassy, bloated feeling in the morning the last time that you over-indulged at night. It isn’t worth it. Refuse to abuse yourself one more time!

9. Pray for the Lord to give you the strength to resist temptation. He won’t fail you!

Haven’t attended Lose it for Life yet? What are you waiting for? Join us at our next New Life Weekend…your views about weight loss and food will be transformed forever.

Holy and Healthy Sex In Marriage: Part 1

David Wever

When I first began recovery, I thought I knew everything there was to know about sex. My choices to sexually sin and the continual need for greater and greater intensity for sexual arousal had taught me a lot about sex. Or so I thought. My sexual acting out had indeed taught me a lot about pleasing myself or someone else to greater pleasure. However, I began to see that pleasing myself or reaching orgasm was only a small part of the whole of sexual intimacy. In fact, most of my knowledge of sexual intimacy was in many ways tainted by the large amount of hyper-stimulation upon my heart and mind due to the use of pornography and masturbation for years.

One of the neatest aspects of our recovery is to actually learn about something we may have always thought we knew everything about. Part of the premise of this thinking comes from a misperception that our greatest need has been sex. When a need is that great, we often put a great deal of importance on it leading us to a false sense of security. Think about it. What young man in high school, when the subject of sex came up, would not want others to know that he had a pretty good knowledge base about sex? Part of our feeling secure is often based upon how sexual or how much we may know about sex, even if we never divulge that it is that important to us. So, to that end, I want to propose something. Allow God to not only transform your mind and heart around your shame and sin but also around your perspectives and practice of sexual intimacy now and in the future. 

Whether you are currently married or single, I believe that a healthy understanding of sexual intimacy and sexuality is essential to our continued growth in recovery, both for ourselves and our marriages (including future marriages). We will cover topics such as sexual development, sexual intercourse, emotional connection in sexual intimacy, and oral sex. As I stated before I had so many misperceptions of these and other areas of sexual intimacy.

In order to grow and have healing sexually in our lives I believe our misperceptions must be challenged. Unfortunately, my misperceptions and hyper-stimulation through sexual acting out influenced my pushing the limits of sexual intimacy in my marriage bed. I attempted to bring into our sacred union the acts and over the top sexual practices that I saw in pornography. Those attempts only reinforced my misperceptions about sex. The pushing of the limits left my wife feeling unsafe within our marriage bed and left me empty and frustrated with her and myself. This eventually brought us to stagnation in the true oneness God had for us.

In Genesis 2:24-25, it states, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (NIV). One of the tenets of oneness is that the man and woman felt at ease with one another ‘safe. My misperceptions made it very difficult to be fully ‘naked’ with my wife thus making true oneness suffer. Becoming a man who understands sexual intimacy from a holy and healthy perspective will mean being transformed. Our sexual sin has caused us to conform to the world’s way of looking at sex. But God wants to cause a metamorphosis of your soul and your mind (Romans 12:2). A transformation of your thinking in every area of your being, even your sexuality. Just as giving ourselves to reading of scripture, daily prayer time and regular fellowship helps us transform our lives into a lifestyle that is pleasing to God, being an understudy of how the Lord has created sex within His parameters leads to a holy lifestyle in that area of our lives as well.

As we begin this journey of exploring healthy and Godly sexual intimacy in marriage, I invite you to open your hearts to the changes the Lord may begin to cause within your thinking and your heart. It is so encouraging to know that as we move along this path of recovery and healing, God replaces our sin with His love and strength. And it is also encouraging to know that He also replaces our old thinking and perspectives with His wisdom and understanding that far surpasses what we have ever known or thought about sex before. I look forward to the journey of discovering with you God’s design for holy and healthy sex in marriage.

See Holy and Healthy Sex in Marriage Part 2

For additional help, we encourage you and your wife to join one of our marriage groups our next New Life Weekend

Reality Sets In

Wes Mason

This past weekend I helped teach junior high boys at our church’s Disciple Now weekend. The group was made up of kids of all shapes, sizes, and levels of maturity, but all sharing the awkwardness common to the age and matching bright yellow t-shirts that bore the retreat’s theme in big, black letters across the chest: Reality Sets In. These young men were challenged to respond to the reality that they needed God in their lives. For many of them this reality apparently did set in, as several of them accepted Christ during the retreat.

As the retreat progressed my thoughts strayed to another group of men more than a thousand miles away. At that same time 74 men were gathered in the Washington, DC area for our monthly Every Man\’s Battle workshop, having traveled from more than a dozen states and as far away as France and Russia. It occurred to me that some of these men may have also made their decision to accept Christ way back in junior high, just like these retreat kids. But now they were challenged to respond to a new reality they were facing. It was a sobering thought. These young guys at a retreat in Melissa, Texas have no idea the kinds of struggles that may be headed their way in the years ahead; these men in Washington probably could not have imagined when they first became a believer that years or decades later they would become so ensnared by sexual temptation.

When it comes to sexual temptation, there isn’t just one reality that sets in, but a series of them; in the workshop we call them crises of truth. As a man moves down the path from small-scale flirtation with sexual temptation to sexual addiction, these realities get more difficult to face; the consequences become less controllable. In this way sexual addiction is like cancer. Most are not terminal, and even the bad ones can often be conquered or managed if caught early enough. If left too long without attention, however, the options to control the outcome become more limited.

So, what do you do when you’re finally serious about working on your sexual integrity and then discover that there are consequences to your past actions that don’t easily erase? Maybe you’ve done all the right things: surrendered, disclosed, gotten into a program, taken actions to make amends, and gotten an accountability partner. You felt the freedom that comes from finally seeing the burden of your secrets lifted. You had reached the darkness at the bottom and are on your way up and out. Unlike your failed attempts in the past, which had an action plan consisting of willpower alone, this time you’re taking this seriously and you’re finding success. Nice feeling.

But it’s at this point, when the battle’s momentum seems to finally be turning your way, that you may face one of the most difficult realities and least nice feelings of all: the consequences of that past behavior. Sexual sin damages relationships most of all, so it is not surprising that relationship repair is one of the most difficult steps in the road to recovery. How do you face this reality and repair the damage to these relationships? Here are some ideas on how to start with the two most affected relationships a man in this situation faces: with God, and with his wife

Relationship to God: We are fortunate that God has a long history of restoring broken relationships. He is well-practiced at it after interacting with us over an entire human history filled with our failings. Our failures, no matter how serious, do not shock God. He is also committed to relationship restoration, going so far as to send his Son to the cross to demonstrate that commitment. We see the historical examples of men who have fallen much further than we have, such as David, who was restored to be a man after God’s own heart. We relate intimately to the words of the apostle Paul in which he shares his pain with the believers in Rome, where he says,

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do’I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord’Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
In your desire to restore your relationship with God, you have the benefit of God doing much of the work. You have a guarantee from God that if you want to restore the relationship with Him, and take the steps toward restoration mentioned above, restoration is yours. No exceptions, no concern that God will reject your repentance and heartfelt commitment to change.

Relationship to Our Wives: Perhaps you’re on that steady path of recovery; you’re action plan is in place, you’re reassured by the knowledge of God’s still loves you and forgives you despite your failings. But your wife isn’t sure she loves or forgives you; worse yet, she may be convinced that she is no longer capable of either. What do you do?

First, it’s important to understand that your wife is not obligated to simply put the past behind her, and isn’t likely to do so, at least not quickly. Worse yet, she may never be able to get over this completely, or at all. Recently on our radio program Steve Arterburn was talking to a caller who was involved with this kind of problem. He asked the caller to go through a mental exercise that is worth sharing. Imagine that you are standing on a floor with your feet together. Draw a line on the floor around your feet, about two feet out. Inside this line is everything in this world you have control over. Talk about reality setting in; you can only control what you do with your recovery, not how someone else responds to it. That small circle of control can make a man feel a bit claustrophobic, especially if he’s the controlling type, a common characteristic of the sex addict.

The good news is that what you do with your recovery is likely to be highly influential in how your wife responds. If she is listening to good counsel, she’ll be giving little attention to your words and a lot of attention to your actions. She needs to see with her own eyes, over time, a man who is living a life of sexual integrity. Very slowly, depending on what she sees in your life, the trust may begin to return.

This slower approach may be difficult to accept, and there may be a temptation to pressure her to come along at your pace, rather than her own. Professional counselors will tell you, however, that if she is too quick to forgive and forget, without resolving her feelings of betrayal, her anger will find its way back into your relationship in less obvious ways.

The challenge for a man who has fallen but now strives for sexual integrity is to demonstrate, over time with consistency, that he is a changed man. If he does that, the reality is that everything else is in God’s hands; not such a bad place to be for a believer, regardless of whatever other consequences may come his way.

If you would like additional help in restoring your marriage, we encourage you to prayerfully consider attending one of our couples groups at our next New Life Weekend.

Creating a Safe Environment!

Steve Arterburn

Are your surroundings sabotaging your attempt to lose weight? Take a look around you and think about the times you are eating. What’s in the house, the snack box at work, or in your ‘stash?’ You are in the fight of your life and the pantry isn’t helping!

Take heart, help is on the way!

Create a safe environment in which you eat and a new environment inside your head–a place that is free of anxiety. Call a truce at dinner; avoid controversial topics and choose to find topics that promote relaxation and peace. Put the answering machine on or turn off the ringer on the phone. Limiting the distractions also can create a sense of calm so you can truly enjoy mealtime.

Get rid of high impulse foods that are in your house. If you know cookies are a weakness, don’t stock up on them and expect to pass them by when hunger strikes! Reduce sugar intake or eliminate it from your diet. Sugar is addictive and you will have to support the habit! Substitute high fat, high sugar foods with lower fat, more protein and complex carbohydrates. Make little changes over a long period of time for lasting results.

Change your schedule to make room for exercise. Turn in an hour earlier in the evening, and get up an hour earlier to exercise before the day begins. Start exercising gently. You need to find a way to move your body everyday! So find someone to partner with in the need to exercise.

As you experience a new environment, you will also experience a new life! All of us have an equation that equals weight loss.

We’re here to help. Join our Lose it for Life group at our next New Life Weekend.

Working Through Hurts in a Relationship (part 4)

Dottie Pickett

Forgiveness and Freedom! As you may know, I’ve been writing a
series of articles on Working Through Hurts in Relationships.  The
steps I have already covered include: identifying your feelings
surrounding the situation, looking at the situation and person who hurt
you in context, and finally, examining how you may have contributed to the problem. The fourth step in working through hurts is forgiveness. I believe that we as Christians talk about forgiveness a lot, but often don’t do the work of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is one of the main things that sets Christianity apart from the world. The world says don’t forgive unless the other person is sorry for what they did. God says forgive no matter what (Mt. 18:21&22, Col.3:12 &13). God knows that forgiveness equals freedom for those doing the forgiving. In the world’s way of forgiveness, our freedom depends on another person. I love what Anne Lamott says about un-forgiveness, ‘it’s like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.’  When there’s un-forgiveness we almost always suffer more than the person we are not forgiving.

Some people use forgiveness as an avoidance tactic. They forgive people without giving thought to what the person did or how it affected them. In the Steps to Freedom in Christ’ by Neil Anderson, there is a wonderful forgiveness prayer that reaches deep into one’s heart rather than glossing over painful feelings. The prayer goes as follows:

‘Lord, I forgive (name the person) for (say what they did to hurt you) even though it made me feel (name all the painful memories and feelings).’

Once you have dealt with every offense that has come to your mind, and you have honestly expressed how that person hurt you, then concluded by praying:

‘Lord, I choose not to hold any of these things against (name) any longer. I thank you for setting me free from the bondage of my bitterness toward (name). I choose now to ask you to bless (name). In Jesus name, amen.’

I really believe that leading people into forgiveness is probably the most significant work that I do as a therapist. In my practice, it often seems that the person that my clients have the most trouble forgiving is themselves. I know there is little else that makes Satan happier than when we play God and hold things against ourselves or others.
(II Cor.2: 10 &11)

Just because we’ve made the choice to forgive someone, doesn’t mean we should automatically plunge into trusting them again. (John and Henry make an important distinction between forgiveness and trusting.) Certain boundaries may need to be set so we don’t continually get damaged by the same people over and over.

Let us walk together in the freedom of forgiveness. God bless you.

On our own we cannot forgive–this is a work of God’s Spirit in our hearts.  If you need some help forgiving the painful hurts in your life, we invite you to join our Forgiving the Unforgivable group at our next New Life Weekend.