To change, really change, is magical.
And to be a Christ-follower is to change, because he is in constant motion, a strong walker, blowing like the wind, and sometimes we need to walk briskly to keep up with him on the winding roads of holiness.
Change can happen dramatically, or slowly. God can speak to us directly in an emotion-packed worship meeting. He can progressively heal our emotions. He can set us free by teaching us to forgive. He can use counselling and prayer ministry.
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I have had an intense couple of months. At Cwmbran, I asked God’s help for my weight problem, and I felt him forcibly say, “Take up your pallet and walk.” Stop eating sugar, and white flour. Stop eating between meals. Stop eating when you are not hungry.
And reader, I did. I felt an intense yearning for sugar and chocolate for 3-4 days, and then sugar cravings faded. Similarly, I fiercely battled the urge to eat when bored, sad, stressed, whatever, for 3-4 days, and gradually the urge shrivelled. And I am 22 pounds lighter–through lifestyle change, rather than dieting.
* * *
I had an experience last month in which God hijacked me into further healing. I realized I was tired. It was taking me longer and longer to settle down to write, and longer to produce work.
We usually go away every six weeks during the school holidays, to Europe mostly, and completely recharge—sleep in, walk, taste local food, explore gardens, museums, beaches and impossibly winding cobbled streets, and come back re-invigorated–new people, really. I hadn’t done that as a daughter had had exams, and now I was flagging.
So I decided to go away on my own, and googled Christian retreat centres. All I wanted was to sleep, eat and walk, a sort of Elijah cure.
There was a vacancy at the Harnhill Centre for Christian Healing, and so I went, wanting to rest, hear from God, and just enjoy Him. And found I had got myself into a full-fledged conference, very regimented: elderly volunteer ladies coming to your room and waking you up if you napped when they had planned fluffy activities; bells rung outside your room at meal times, etc. Breakfast was served in bed at 8 a.m., which meant you had to be up at 8. Trays to be left outside by 8.45 a.m. “This is gulag healing,” I said to Roy.
So I was in a very grumpy mood indeed, and certainly not in a conducive frame of mind for life-changing anything.
But the prayer-ministry—3 hours of it!!– was life-changing.
* * *
I knew the way for me to lose weight was eating mainly vegetables and fruit. Severely limiting carbs because they pack in too many calories for the nutrients. Eliminating meat and eggs, and limiting cheese, because again the calories are high for the nutrition, and besides, I am not keen on ingesting the hormones and medicines fed to the animals, or the animal’s toxins stored in their fat. But I felt rebellious about dramatically reducing my bread, carbs, cheese, eggs and meat. I would say to myself, “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,” (I Tim 4: 4-5).
So I went to prayer ministry. “I know a fruit and vegetable based diet is the way forward, and I do lose weight on it,” I say plaintively, “but I like something nice at every meal.”
“Everything God made is good,” the South African counsellor says bluntly. I stare. My verse. That I had been using to justify all sort of delicious meals which took time to prepare and were not optimal for my body.
But if everything God made is good, then I could savour the taste of simple fruits and vegetables and still lose weight. While eating things which are a blessing to my body, rather than a curse to it.
Why, I could even eat like a billionaire.
Mona Simpson describes her brother Steve Jobs’ eating habits, “Dinner was served on the grass, and sometimes consisted of just one vegetable. Lots of that one vegetable. But one. Broccoli. In season. Simply prepared. With just the right, recently snipped, herb.”
So that’s what I have been doing. Eating simply. Tasting and savouring the broccoli or asparagus or watermelon. Losing a pound a week, more or less effortlessly.
The word of God, wielded prophetically—wow! Just a sentence can set you free.