Trying to live small, not large

A few days ago my daughter and I were having some girls time, wondering through some small shops.  We happened to come upon a store that had books, coffee, cards and an array of gift items.  They had a section of one wall that was covered in wooden signs in a variety of sayings.  I am totally drawn to things like this as I consider myself a collector of great sayings.

I read a sign with two words on it, LIVE LARGE.

This sign got me thinking.  What does it mean to live large?

To me, this sign seemed to imply that bigger was better.  Bigger house.  Bigger car.  Bigger bank account.  Bigger toys.  Bigger burgers.  Bigger side of fries.  Bigger waistline.  Bigger clothes.

Hold on a minute…  Maybe bigger is not always better.  Do I really want to live large?

I know what eating large can do.  I live with the consequences of that every day.  Right now I can tell you that I am overweight.  I’m about twenty pounds heavier than I would like to be.  There was one point in my life that I was much heavier than this.

I told myself lots of silly things in my mind.  I would tell myself that it is ok to be a bit over weight.  I have two kids.  I have stress and eating makes me feel better.  I eat to socialize with others.  If it’s made with love it does not have as many calories, right.  I achieved something great.  I deserve to celebrate.  How much could a little bit hurt?

I still struggle with these thoughts in my mind.  This is especially true when I am tired and when I am strained.  I can be the queen of excuses.  I tell myself I will start tomorrow.  I will try to avoid really looking at my problem areas and the things I need to work on.

It is really hard to deal with those dark corners of my life.  My weight and my eating habits are one of those areas I would much rather allow to slide by then to roll up my sleeves and deal with.

I have heard it said that the first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem.  So I admit right here and right now that I have a problem.  I need to be disciplined when it comes to what I put into my body and the ways that I use my body.

I recognize that I do not want to live by the worlds pattern that says I should LIVE LARGE.  I want to do something different.  I want to LIVE SMALL.

I want to be faithful in the little things like it says in Matthew 25:23 (NLT), “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” 

So where do I go now to LIVE SMALL?

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Yes, that is it, renew my mind.  I want my mind to be transformed from the pattern the world sets to LIVE LARGE, to live as Jesus made me to and LIVE SMALL.  

So how does one go about transforming and renewing your mind?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Think about what is true.  Think about what is right.  Think about what is pure.  Think about what is lovely.

I have a lot of work to do, because I tell myself a lot of things that seem like truths, but are really half truths.  A half truth is a whole lie.

Here is an example for you.  When I am feeling tired and stressed out I tell myself that I deserve a treat.  That big chocolate malt with whip cream on top will make me feel better.  Seems reasonable, right?  I may be tired and stressed out.  I probably to need to do something to make me feel better.  I do have to take in, I can not always be in give out mode.  But is the big chocolate malt with whip cream going to make me feel better?  Is that really a truth.  What about a big glass of water, a nap and a walk?

I find this verse from Ephesians 5:29 (ESV) exceedingly helpful, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”

These are questions that I need to start asking myself on a regular basis.  Is this choice nourishing my flesh?  Is this choice cherishing my body?  Am I loving myself like Christ loved the Church?

Think about that with me for just a moment.  Christ loved the Church so much that He gave himself to be tortured and broken and put to death.  He cherished her.  Jesus would do anything to nourish her.

I can sit here and honestly say that there are a lot of times that I do not think that I deserve to be nourished or cherished or even loved in such a way.  Especially with all of the things I have done wrong and continue to do wrong.  There are so many times that I have just given up on me.  I have given up on the time I have left remaining in a given day because I feel that I have been defeated.

It is another area that I need to have my mind renewed in.  God loves me that much, Jesus gave His life that I might come to know Him and to experience His grace.  Grace is an unearned, unmerited and undeserved treasure that He offers freely to me.  I can have such trouble taking it in and experiencing it.

It is with Christ’s love and help that I will be able to LIVE SMALL. 

So here is my PEP to lift you UP today.

You are Loved!   You deserve to be nourished and cherished!

It does not matter whether you are overweight, underweight or at the best weight for you.  You are loved.  You are treasured.  You deserve the absolute best.

Small steps will get you there!

It is not about all or nothing.  It is not a competition about who can be the biggest loser or the biggest winner.  It is about each of us taking a step away from the destructive things we do in our lives and taking a step towards all that God desires for us.  It can be as small as this, add one glass of water to your day or remove one can of soda from your week.

The world will likely tell you that small just is not going to be good enough.  But check out this verse that stood out in lights for me today, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

You know what makes me smile and really helps me to renew my mind.  Picture the Lord rejoicing over your small beginning.

For example, pick one meal today.  We should leave one bite left on our plates of the most unhealthy dish.  That is a small beginning, but picture the Lord smiling and doing the happy dance because we did not eat that bite.  I am imagining that leaving that one bite will feel a lot better than being a member of the clean plate club.  Why not give it a try?

YOU ARE LOVED!  YOU ARE CHERISHED!  YOU DESERVE TO BE NOURISHED!

Dear and Beloved Lord,

Thank You so much for loving us and thinking of us as great.  Thank You for cherishing us.  Please help us to remember that we are marvelous creations of God, worth taking care of.  Help us to renew our minds with Your truths about who we are, about what we should do and about what You want for us.

Please encourage each of us that in our simple, every day choices You rejoice because we are starting somewhere.  Help us to see that small daily choices, obedient to You, will take care of the big things.  May we feel renewed encouragement, passion and strength.  In our weak moments, may we come to You in prayer so that through You we can overcome the obstacles that keep us from living small.

In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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