Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Freedom






























I have gone back and forth on whether to do this post or not, only because I don't think I can do it justice on how impactful it was to me, but here goes.

First, I just finished up a 10 week bible study yesterday - it was Beth Moore's "Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit" based on Galations 5:22-23 ~ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Now, as soon as I saw "self-control" in there, I was like..."Let's do THAT chapter FIRST!", but of course, I had to wait until the last week to get there. It did not let me down. She (Beth Moore...and if you haven't done one of her group bible studies, GET OUT THERE AND JOIN ONE!!) focused the chapter on Self-Control by comparing two lives: Samson and Daniel (whoa - huge difference in behavior) and also focused how we as women in particular need self control on that which enters the mouth and on that which exits the mouth.

In the video we watched yesterday she really got down into the nitty gritty of women in today's society and how we live in terms of our nutrition and physical activity and used a great visual of the grid of where we are in this country in terms of our bodies and how we treat them/perceive them/idolize them, etc.

NEGLECT <---------------->OBSESSION (which in another term, can be idolatry). So many of us are neglectful of our health and so many are obsessed and can also be obsessed while being neglectful (think: skipping our workouts and bingeing on food, while all the time immersing ourselves in fitness magazines, trying new "diets", fasting, and all the while being neglectful of our bodies). On the other end is obsession where you cannot enjoy going out on a date or have family dinners because you are so obsessed with weighing and measuring and tracking macros and eating on the hour, etc (Visionquester III and Kelly O. have had great stuff about this lately).

Beth told a story about a previous Ms. Kentucky who shared her own story about this Neglect <---------->Obsession and finding a balance (or as she called it "Freedom"). She shared that she's been a size 4 and she's been a size 14 and that obviously there was neglect at size 14 and she CANNOT stay at size 4 without obsession (keep in mind that this will completely vary from person to person)...but that for HER, there is NO Freedom at either of those extremes. I would guess that many of us have been at both extremes and know exactly what she's talking about. She ultimately determined that FOR HER, a size 10 is FREEDOM. She stays healthy, she doesn't obsess, she IS FREE. I know in my heart that that is truly what so many people on the blogs want for themselves. I'm not talking about someone who is getting ready for a comp (although, there might even be a way for that person to find some Freedom in that scenario as well) but for us who have caught the bug to be fit and happy in our skin and have somehow fallen into the depths of current media that have made our brains not ever let us get to the point of freedom.

Something else that hit home with me yesterday as we ended our study, was that Beth asked her entire audience as well as us watching on our movie screen to pray with her if this message at all hit home with us today ~ to sit in our chairs if we were comfortable there or to drop to our knees with her and I tell you, every single woman in our large room bowed their heads and many many of them dropped to their knees: very gray haired women, skinny women, women you would never guess battle with these same troubles of neglect and obsession ~ they all began to pray in earnest and I realized that it DOES affect us all and we don't even know that the soft sweet grandmother or the slender woman who appears to have it all together next to us is as neglectful or obsessed with her body as the one sitting in our own chair and that we are all searching for freedom in this area. I believe that it (whether you choose to be neglectful or obsessed or both) is blocking so many women and so many women of faith to find their freedom that I want to do something about it. I don't know how to start anywhere but myself, so that is what I am doing.

I am so sad this study is over and I'm so excited that the new one starts up in Feb/Mar. It will be another Beth Moore study ~ on ESTHER. I don't know what I'll do with all this time on my hands (Beth's studies are pretty time intense) so I decided to FINALLY get to my "Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible" study. I hope it's as good as the REALLY bad girls of the bible. If anyone is interested in joining me, I'll open up a side blog for it for discussion.

6 comments:

Jessica said...

Julie, this is a BEAUTIFUL post. Truly beautiful. What a wonderful message - especially for all of us in figure/bodybuilding/obsessive body land. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing. I will check out any of these are happening in my area.
Jess

rockstarmom said...

Love this. All of it. This is so where I am these days and I cannot tell you how happy I am..just letting go but not letting GO..
xoxox
Paula

Visionquester said...

I look forward to freedom.... I like this post as well. Neglect vs. Freedom.. Freedom being the epitome self-love,acceptance and respect I assume.

There are so many people that have not hit that size 4 yet though... they still falsely believe THAT is what they are seeking... THAT is the answer... I did at one time as well.

I just have to add that if you don't like yourself at a size 14 that you won't like yourself at a size 4... but if you like yourself no matter what size... you will most likely end up with that "freedom" you speak of through truly healthy behaviors which are free from obsession.

So many people barking up the wrong tree.

Thank you for sharing... it looks like a great study to be a part of.

~C.

Gina said...

Your insights from bible study classes always make me wish that I could "get it" and participate in a bible study. I appreciate that you take the time to share because I get I find enlightenment through you. Thanks for sharing!

Julie said...

Gina,
I don't always "get it" and for sure it takes work. For instance, my last bible study at the church last year on Daniel...it was a great study but it was a really hard study for me. First, I never got really comfortable in the group, maybe because it was so big, but I felt a bit like an outsider, but I just keep pressing on because I knew what I wanted out of this group and it's to surround myself with Christian women who can teach me and friends I can make who can grow with me. This time around was so much better. 1) I had a better attitude and made myself be more outgoing and 2)the group was much more intimate. We broke away into groups of about 6 or 7. I say, JUST KEEP TRYING and it will all come around someday.

The part about "getting it" really depends on my attitude. Do I just read the study and not involve prayer in it? I don't get so much from it. I did this for most of my adult life and never got it. I remember my parents recommending to me a couple of Christian books here and there and I just had NO interest in reading them and if I did actually read them, I felt like I didn't "get" it. When I truly gave my life to Christ several years ago, it was as if an insatiable appetite for God's word and the study of it came over me - I can't get enough.
Now, if I pray, really apply it to me and my life and involve God in it, I come away with so much more. It's meaningful in ways that oouldn't seem to reach me before.
I hope you'll find what you are desiring, it is so wonderful.

Love ya,
Julie

Kelly Olexa said...

Wow. Thanks so much for sharing this. Everything you share is so right dead on....and I'm enjoying this journey of "getting there" and leaving behind the dark thinking...

;-)
K