Look Great, Feel Greatby Joyce Meyer
The bodies God gives are instruments for experiencing a fulfilling life on earth, for doing good works, for spiritual development. To do the work individuals are meant to do, they need to keep in shape. They must maintain a sound mind, body, and soul. Yet in the modern world, it is all too easy to let one, two, or all three of these slip. LOOK GREAT, FEEL GREAT
The bodies God gives are instruments for experiencing a fulfilling life on earth, for doing good works, for spiritual development. To do the work individuals are meant to do, they need to keep in shape. They must maintain a sound mind, body, and soul. Yet in the modern world, it is all too easy to let one, two, or all three of these slip. LOOK GREAT, FEEL GREAT presents Joyce's twelve-key plan to address the epidemic of "self esteem drought" that appears to be a factor in perpetuating habits that create poor health. Additionally, Joyce will provide helpful resources, like the "Ounce of Prevention Checklist," for self-maintenance.
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Look Great, Feel Great12 Keys to Enjoying a Healthy Life Now
By Joyce Meyer
Warner FaithCopyright © 2006 Joyce Meyer
All right reserved.
Chapter One* KEY 1 *
Let God Do the Heavy Lifting
If you can name a diet invented in the past forty years, chances are I've tried it. I've tried low-calorie, low-carb, and low-fat. I've tried liquid diets, hard-boiled egg diets, banana-and-milk diets, and the grapefruit diet. Some of these even worked at first. You know the routine. You embrace a new diet and you are fired up at how exciting this diet is. It's going to change your life! You tell all your friends about it! Your excitement gets you through the first couple of weeks and you lose a few pounds. Maybe you are really committed, you stick it out for a few months, and you drop ten or twenty pounds. But then you find it really inconvenient to stick to the diet. You eat out, or eat with friends, and none of your options quite fit the diet, so you make an exception. Then your schedule is so booked that you have to eat something on the run. Then the diet foods start to taste really boring, and you begin craving a little variety.
Pretty soon, the diet is gone. Slowly but surely you gain the weight back and sometimes more. I've gone through this countless times. Maybe you have, too. We think we're to blame. If only we weren't so weak, if we had morewillpower, we'd be incredibly thin and healthy. Whether the goal in question is a weight-loss diet, an exercise routine, a change in how we treat other people, or any other self-improvement mission, failure makes us turn on ourselves. Soon we are wallowing in a pit of self-pity and disgust.
We criticize ourselves for our lack of willpower, but what if we don't fully understand the willpower principle? What if there is something we are leaving out that must come before willpower can ever be effective?
The Truth About Willpower
You know willpower. It's that thing that makes us dismiss the chocolate fudge sundae that's sitting in front of us, though every cell of our bodies screams for us to dig in. Willpower is that thing that CEOs and professional athletes tell us they use to trounce the competition. Willpower is what makes you get up and go jogging every morning.
Willpower sure sounds like a great thing. We are led to believe that we have enough of it to fight off every temptation that comes our way. And sometimes it works. But let me tell you a little secret about willpower. Willpower is your best friend when things go well, but it's the first friend to check out when you get weary. Willpower peers out Saturday morning at rain and forty-degree temperatures and says, "I'm staying home today!" The problem is that Willpower is closely aligned with Reason, and Reason is always open to being "reasoned" with and talked out of things. "You're right," it says, "too yucky out for jogging. Sure, you'll go twice tomorrow." Or: "Sure, finish the last piece of pie now so you don't have to put the plate back in the fridge, and then you'll eat a really small dinner tonight. Makes sense!" Reason is always willing to risk the slippery slope that leads to failure.
I have found that if I really don't want to do something, my mind gives me plenty of reasons why I don't have to. My emotion even joins in, saying, "I agree because I don't feel like doing it anyway." Our soul (mind, will, emotions) would love to run our lives, but the Bible says we are to be led by God's Spirit. We are never instructed to be willpower-led, we are told to be Spirit-led.
Willpower and discipline are important and vitally necessary to a successful life, but willpower alone won't be enough. Determination gets you started and keeps you going for awhile, but it is never enough to bring you across the finish line.
Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts.
Zechariah 4:6, NKJV
Now, what happens if, instead of turning first to willpower in your time of need, you turn to God instead? God releases His power into your willpower and energizes it to bring you across the finish line. Willpower does not get the credit for our success, God does. Jesus said in John 15:5, "Apart from Me you can do nothing." This is one of the most important and most difficult lessons we must learn if we want to enjoy the life Jesus died to give us. When we go to anything or anyone before God, He is insulted and is obligated to let us fail so we will realize that "except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it" (Psalm 127:1).
We must learn to let God do the heavy lifting. Let Him supply the ability to energize our choices. We can choose to exercise or stop overeating, but our choice alone is not enough for complete victory. As I said previously, willpower and determination will get us started, but they've been known to quit in the middle and leave us stranded. God never quits in the middle.
There are some people in the world who claim to be a self-made success, but if we follow their lives all the way through, they usually end up falling apart. God has not created us to function well without Him, and the sooner we learn that the better off we will be.
Start by asking God to get involved, to do the heavy lifting. Continue on with God and finish with God. What should we do when the burdens in life seem too heavy? Jesus said, "Come to me."
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
Breaking Your Bonds
Whether your weakness is overeating, substance addiction, or simply well-worn patterns of poor personal maintenance, you are in bondage and unable to lead the life God intended for you until these things are dealt with. God has an awesome plan for you, but it requires you to learn the power you have as His child and begin exercising it. You can break out of old patterns that are destructive and start living the new and exciting life of freedom that God has for you. This is a terrific responsibility, and some people fear it. Freedom is our natural state, but if we haven't experienced it in a long time, it can be scary. We may instead prefer the ease of our familiar bonds. A prisoner who feels safe in his cell may stay in it, even when we fling open the door to his freedom. His prison cell might be dirty or confining, but it doesn't matter to him because he is accustomed to it and does not want to venture out into the unknown. His confining quarters are the only life he knows.
Like that prisoner, some people would rather endure the familiar tortures of diets, low energy, poor health, self-abuse, and exhaustion than taste freedom, because to be free they must learn to do things a completely different way. Change is difficult for many people. I have discovered that only one thing is more frightening than change, and that is the thought of never changing. Genuine and permanent change concerning the truth about why we are not taking care of ourselves may require some deep soul-searching, and not everyone is willing to do that. Only the truth sets us free (John 8:32) but truth is not always easy to face. In fact, facing the truth about ourselves is one of the bravest things we can ever do.
How many prisons of our own do we mistake for shelters? Many of us labor for years or even lifetimes under the burden of our bondage, believing that it is helping us and wondering why we never quite manage to succeed and move on. The diet is helping us lose those twenty pounds, even if we always slip back and start over. We may experience some temporary success using our old methods, but what we truly desire is permanent freedom. It is much better to be free from overeating than to live a lifetime of going on a diet, losing twenty pounds, gaining it back, and going through the same cycle again.
When you are discouraged about the condition your life or body is in, or struggling for the umpteenth time to lose weight, that first step seems like the heaviest one in the world. The burden of getting better, and the immensity of the journey before you, feels unbearable. A short-term diet may appear easier than a lifetime change, but it never brings freedom. Temporary relief is not freedom! I want you to be free!
If you turn things over to God, you will finally find the power you need to break free.
Soul-searching, facing truth, and making necessary changes will be unbearable, so long as you try to "bear" it yourself. The bonds are too strong, the powers arrayed against you too formidable. Only God is strong enough to lift that burden. If you turn things over to God, the Source of Divine Strength, you will finally find the power you need to break free. Draw on the limitless power of the Holy Spirit, rather than your own very limited power. He will always lead you to victory and freedom.
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
Science Catches On
You don't have to take my word about God's ability to help you succeed. Even science is finally starting to come around to the fact that faith works. Study after study proves it. By monitoring people's physiological responses, scientists have learned that meditation and prayer lowers heart rate and blood pressure and improves the function of the immune system.
What about letting God help you with your goals? Well, compared to non-churchgoers, according to recent studies, those who attend church weekly are thirty-nine percent more successful at overcoming alcoholism and seventy-eight percent more successful at quitting smoking. They get fifty-four percent more exercise than non-churchgoers and are a whopping 131 percent less likely to be depressed! (And remember, this is after factors like socioeconomic level are taken into account. The only difference between these groups is their amount of faith.)
Knowing this, perhaps you won't be surprised at the biggest finding: the life expectancy of a non-churchgoer is seventy-five years, while weekly churchgoers live a healthy eighty-two years, and those who are involved more frequently live even longer. A large Duke University study of elderly adults found that those who engaged in prayer or Bible study at home were forty-seven percent less likely to die during the six years of the study than those who didn't.
Believe it or not, scientists can't figure out why those with faith do better, are healthier, and live longer than those without. While you and I smile and shake our heads, they pursue their little theories and studies like rats in a labyrinth, not seeing the Elephant in the middle of the room. They keep looking for answers when The Answer is right in front of them.
Five Ways to Trust God with Your Burdens
You will be amazed at what a huge difference it makes to directly invite God into your life to help solve your problems. It's astonishing how few people actually try this-even Christians! You need to take the time to quiet your mind and open it to God. Ask Him to be your partner in your personal restoration. Ask Him to forgive you for all the years you have ignored Him and tried to do things without His help. Open up this "God-space" in your soul and feel Him rush in to fill it with joy.
Even the most talented people in the world, with vast willpower, need this help. When Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling woke up the morning of his 2004 World Series start, his ankle was in such pain that he was sure he wouldn't be able to pitch. So, said Schilling, "I went to the Lord for help, because I knew I wasn't going to be able to do this myself." Hardly able to walk, Schilling pitched one of the most brilliant games of his life.
2. Attend Church
Some people manage to maintain very special relationships with the Lord for years without any support. They are few and far between. Most of us find that the weekly boost of prayer, education, community, and sacred space we get at church gives us a far stronger bond. If you are struggling for ways to make contact with God, and you haven't tried church yet, what on earth are you waiting for?
3. Attend a Support Group
Support groups exist for a variety of problems, from alcohol to drug-addiction to overeating. They can help you admit you are powerless in the face of your bond and encourage you to turn your restoration over to God. If you work best when you can share your struggle with others who are going through the same thing, then I encourage you to seek out one of these groups. Even a group of trusted friends who meet once a week for coffee can be a big boost. Some people are more likely to exercise if they go to a class and do it with other people. If you need support from others, don't be afraid to ask for it.
4. Begin Each Day with an Affirmation
First thing when you wake up in the morning, before all the craziness of the day comes flying at you, take a moment to renew your vows to God and refresh your spirit with His strength. This will give you the mental and emotional peace that is the foundation of success. You can write an affirmation that addresses your specific needs, or you can use this one that I wrote:
"God, I am free by the power of Your Word. I believe You have given me the strength to break free from the bonds that have been holding me back from all the beautiful things You have planned for me. I thank You that I am free by the blood of Jesus and the sacrifice that He made on the cross of Calvary. Thank You for making me free through the truth of Your Word and for empowering me with Your power, strength, and wisdom. Help me to be all You want me to be. In Jesus' name, amen."
5. Pray in Moments of Doubt
No matter who you are, you will find moments when your determination weakens, when you are sorely tempted to blow off some action that is one of your keys to lifetime health. When you get that feeling, don't quit, but don't blindly bull forward with the activity, either. Step back, take a moment, and call on God to come to you and carry you through. Renew your strength in that moment of peace, and then journey forth with new passion, trust, and confidence.
*** TAKING ACTION ***
"Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only."
Choose at least one action you can take to have a closer walk with God and begin letting Him do the heavy lifting. Write it down, commit to it, and start today.
Excerpted from Look Great, Feel Great by Joyce Meyer Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Joyce Meyer has been teaching the Word of God since 1976 and in full-time ministry since 1980. She is the bestselling author of more than seventy inspirational books. She has released thousands of audio teaching and a complete video library. Joyce's radio programs are broadcasted around the world, and she travels extesively conducting conferences. She lives with her husband in St. Louis, Missouri.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book is great for anyone who needs a refreshing difference and start when it comes to the area of health! Joyce takes biblical principles and practical health tips and information and packages it all up into this book. It's not a diet, it is a life style change. This book is very down to earth, very easy for anyone to understand, and the changes that are suggested can be made at this very moment. This is a very instrumental tool for anyone who is looking to build a better life in this area of looking great and feeling great.
Thanks GOD **********
I am toward the end of the book and I have learned quite abit. Information that I had not concerned before.