As I have navigated my own health journey and journeyed with thousands of women on the path to healing and health, fear is the most common obstacle encountered on the road to freedom and results. It manifests in a lot of different ways which will be explored below, but the root of so many struggles is fear. And what is so mind boggling is that fear does not protect us from what we fear. Fear actually drives us towards the very things we are fearful of. Let’s explore the stark difference between operating out of fear versus love in our health journey and exchange bondage for freedom...TODAY!
Here are some ways fear and anxiety shows up in women’s health journey. I encourage you to take note of how many resonate with you personally:
- You feel anxious about whether or not you are doing the right “method” to lose weight.
- You are fearful that you are missing out if you don’t do what everyone else doing to lose weight.
- You get anxious when you watch infomercials about weight loss because you feel you may be missing out on an opportunity for the quick fix.
- You are afraid to remove the unhealthy food from your house because you don’t want to be without the option, just in case. Just in case of what? You are not even sure.
- You have an underlying fear that your friends won’t want to hang out with you if you don’t eat and drink like them when you go out.
- You have a fear of being different, standing out and drawing attention to yourself.
- You have a fear of the attention that may come from losing the weight and being who you have fully been called to be.
- You have a fear that your spouse will leave you if you change too much.
- You have a fear that you won’t be able to keep your results if you do get them.
- You have a fear that there will be an expectation for you to keep your results or people will see you as a failure.
- You have a fear that you will fail again, so you don’t really try or you sabotage any results you do get.
- You have fear you might be as unworthy, stupid, fat and invaluable as you were told by someone you trusted.
- You have a fear that you will experience rejection if you become too different from those around you who are not on a health journey.
- You have a fear of being alone, so you eat food to not feel alone.
- You have a fear of being rejected, so you reject people first and use food as a substitute for real intimacy and connection.
- You have a fear of what emotions will come up if you don’t have food or alcohol to stuff them down.
- You have a fear of change, so you are unwilling to let go of the habits that you got you here in the first place.
- You have a fear of being controlled, so you won’t control yourself either when it comes to food because it feels restrictive and controlling.
Whew. I could write pages of the fears I have seen over the years in myself and others. But here is what is common to all these fears.
- They are based on an assumption of an outcome, not concrete proof.
- They are designed to keep us stuck and paralyzed in our current situations - unable to move forward to something different.
- They perpetuates confusion and anxiety which spins us around in circles with no new destination possible.
And here are some truths about fear.
- Fear is a mindset.
- It drives us away from our true identity and purpose.
- It repels change.
- It locks us into our comfort zone.
- It limits our potential.
- Fear feels like truth, but it is not.
The first step in growth and transformation is awareness. We have to open our hearts and minds to hear the truth and then the truth shall set us free. In every area of our lives, we can choose fear or we can choose love, but we cannot choose both. Sometimes, it feels like we are operating from love and our intentions are to do so, but a closer look may reveal the our love is fear dressed up as love.
Love Versus Fear
- While fear makes us want to run and hide, love drives us towards our potential and purpose.
- Fear connects us to what we lack and to our mistakes, while love connects us to the truth of what God says about us.
- Fear makes us want to pull back because we might fail, but love propels us to take risks because we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
- Fear makes us question our identity while love reveals to us the character of the one who created us. And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
- There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
Love never fails. Jesus transformed the entire world in three short years of ministry with this message: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) It’s a simple message that is challenging, but not impossible to walk out. You may be wondering, what this have to do with losing the 20 pounds I need to lose, Amber? I’m getting there and it will be worth it.
Isn’t it crazy that it’s often easier to believe the lies than the truth about ourselves? It’s our human nature to equate our past failures with our identity and project that identity into our future. If you have tried and failed to lose weight or have lost weight and then gained it all back (plus more) - you have probably defined the possibility for your future by these past failures. You have most likely partnered with fear around this area of your life because of the past.
Whether you believe there is a devil or not, doesn’t negate his existence. Scripture tell us the enemy is here on this earth to steal, kill and destroy the abundant life God created us for. He does this through tempting us to partner and come in agreement with lies about ourselves, others and God. He does this through accusation, condemnation, bitterness, unforgiveness, fear, shame, guilt, etc. Have you had any thoughts lately that fall into any of these categories?
Ladies, we all have junk in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we are junk. Jesus died to set us free from our junk (past, present and future). For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17) We can exchange our identity defined by our past and the accusations of the enemy for a new identity in Christ. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
What if we REALLY believed that every person’s body is designed to be healthy, vibrant and strong? We were created to be powerful and confident inside and out, but not for the reasons many of us strive for such as other people’s approval. Our healthy bodies are for the sole purpose of living for the glory of God through the destiny he has created us for. When our health journey is grounded in this fundamental truth, what we choose to do or not do daily to keep ourselves healthy looks and feels different. What once allured and tempted us (because of fear and lies) loses its power because the source of our decisions and ambitions are no longer fear driven (I’m not enough and I have to prove something), but rather sourced from love (I am more than enough and simple need to be me.)
Here are some examples and things to meditate on as you take on this topic for reflection. Let it permeate your soul and renew your mind.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient. Being patient with the process of healing our bodies, releasing the weight and reestablishing habits is critical for real, lifelong results. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the microwave mindset of the world that tells us that instant results are possible. But instant results are dangerous. They bypass the process necessary to create the solid foundation required to sustain our results. We can’t get the promise without the process. I find so many women are struggling with the mental and physical side effects of exchanging patience in the healing and weight loss process for the quick-fix solutions.
Love is kind. This involves being considerate of our bodies when we decide what we are willing and not willing to do in the name of health. So often, motivation can be sparked by finding the fast and grueling method. There are many diets and methods being sold that deprive, restrict, eliminate and trick our bodies into results. These are not kind methods. Our bodies take a beating and then we wonder why, years later, we can no longer lose the weight and why we are experiencing all of these mystery symptoms. If you beat a dog or a child, they will eventually shutter and pull away at the slight raise of a hand - to protect themselves. Our body will most likely survive the unkind treatment, but the trust will diminish and our body will eventually go into self-protect mode. Protection in the body manifests as weight gain and an inability to lose the weight. Protect mode also triggers the chronic release of stress hormones that initiate inflammation and damages our body from the inside-out.
It does not envy. We have to ask ourselves, what is our REAL motivation to get the body we desire? Do we compare our body to other women and feel resentful or discontent with what we have? Do we secretly wish we had a body other women would look at and want for themselves? Let’s get honest ladies. When we long to have what other woman have and strive to get it - we abandon and reject what is great about being the unique us. Next time we look in the mirror, instead of focusing on everything we want to change, let’s take a deep breath and lovingly accept each part of our body - imperfections and flaws - and ask God to help us to care for the body he has given us. We can’t have a perfect body, but we can be the best version of what God has given us.
It does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. The extreme to envy is a tendency to have excessive pride and self-satisfaction about how we look compared to those around us. We cannot take pride in ourselves without comparing ourselves to someone else (Galatians 6:4). God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (James 4:6). If the driving motivation for our health journey is to look better than someone else, we will live fueled by envy, pride and strife - all of which are unhealthy emotionally and physically.
It is not self-seeking. We were not put on this earth to spend an entire lifetime on a quest to have a great body. Our life’s worth is not measured by what we looked like in a bikini or skinny jeans. It’s just NOT THE POINT, even though these can be amazing side effects. Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16) Those of us who believe in Jesus have the Spirit of God within us. Jesus died so we no longer go to a physical temple to worship because we are the temple. AMAZING. That is why we take care of ourselves. We house the living God. God has destined you and me to do amazing things and it’s time to take care of this body He has given us so we have the capacity to do all He has called us to do - and to look great while we do it is simple an added bonus.
Love always protects. We have to protect our minds from negative thinking and toxic thoughts. Let’s protect our body from things that are unhealthy and robs us of our energy and vitality. What if we were our own best friend? What if every decision was from a protective, mama bear stance towards ourselves? How would we choose differently?
Love always trusts. Ladies, we can trust that real, whole foods that God created are what is best for our bodies. We can trust that our bodies will work for us and with us - we don’t have to trick them or deprive them or choose extreme measures to get results. We can trust that God designed our bodies to be healthy and to be vehicles for us to do everything we need to do day-in and day-out. We can trust that the process to heal emotionally and physically is a journey that God will provide the resources and strength for us to pursue, so we are no longer held captive by anything. Who the Son (Jesus) sets free, is free indeed.
Love always hopes. I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13) A diet won’t deliver you from the bondage that has kept you shackled to this endless battle of gaining and losing weight. Our hope is not in the current or next fad diet or weight loss method. Let’s put our hope in the power of God to deliver us from what has held us back as we partner with Him through the process.
Love always perseveres. I want to leave you with this thought. The path to health and vitality is not a straight path. It will wind and curve and sometimes we will find ourselves in the wilderness, unsure of where to go. Sometimes we will make a pitstop and revisit old places that didn’t serve us in the past and we will get a reminder that they won’t serve us now. All of this is part of the process. The only way to fail is to quit and love doesn’t quit because love never fails.
The process to exchange a fear based approach to your health and weight loss with love is amazing, transformational and liberating. I guide women through this process in my 8-course Healthy Edge program coupled with personal and intensive coaching, a small online group setting or a combination of both. I will be starting a new online group program soon a limited number of women who are ready for a journey to healing from the inside-out. Contact me directly for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org and or you can click to schedule a free 45 - 60 minute coaching session here. God bless you and keep you!