For decades, I had the exact same New Year’s Resolution—LOSE WEIGHT! I would tweak it by adding “workout” or “get healthy” but it all pointed to me trying to be what this culture told me I must be in order to be accepted, desired and … loved.
If I had a dime for every minute I ate a carrot or denied myself from some food, alcohol or tasty treat offered to me by an innocent child, I would be a gazillionaire! Not to mention how miserable I was for weeks only to go back to my old habits and feel like a sloth-like failure because I could not achieve 12% body fat.
So, what is my resolution for this year going to be, you ask?
What if I told you I have THE answer! Perhaps we can call it a cleanse for your soul instead of your body?
It wasn’t until I found my faith at the ripe old age of 42 and started my journey deepening my relationship with God did things start to change for me. After going to confession after 26 years on Divine Mercy Sunday I felt the love and mercy of God. I’m talking supernatural love and acceptance beyond anything I have felt from any person or pet in my entire life. And definitely better than any piece of cake, chocolate or any drug I have had … ever. I now know I am a beloved child of God.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)
The more I deepened my relationship with God and the more I learned about my faith, the more I accepted my ‘fearfully and wonderfully made self.’ I came to realize that God made me exactly the way I am for a reason and I have a meaning and purpose. The more I focus on God, the more everything becomes more clear in my life.
I no longer seek acceptance and compare myself to others playing the old ‘I’m not good enough’ broken record I had on continuous play for decades. I no longer buy into what this culture tells me makes me happy and think that life is all about doing anything and everything that makes me happy or gives me pleasure.
I look at the saying, “Life is short, play hard.” completely different through the eyes of faith.
I used to interpret that to live the gusto and do whatever I want when I want and suck up every pleasure this life has to offer. Party hard and live it up because life is short! But now, I interpret it as life is short and it is hard to live the narrow path that leads to Heaven. Make the best of each day, play hard sharing the joy you have living the way God commands us and pray even harder!
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. (Matthew 7: 13-14)
Let’s go back to the issue of me being healthy. That is how I look at my physical body now, not as a body for which others can lust after or find desirous. How can I best take care of this temple God gave me so I can have the endurance, health and joy to share His word as long as He wills me to be on this earth?
As I learned more about my faith I found that I can make sacrifices and use my sufferings and give them to God aligning them to Him on the cross. The Catholic faith is so beautiful in that we can offer God our pains and even find joy in them! I am 100% sure I am not at that joyous part of my suffering and sacrifice like the Saints, but sometimes I get a glimpse of it. I have also been successful asking to God to battle my former hedonistic ways by praying for temperance which is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit against the deadly sin of gluttony.
How do I do this? I use my days of fasting and align it with God. I offer my hunger to Him to give graces to whomever He wills. If I don’t want to exercise, I give it up to God and all of the sudden my workout now has meaning as I know my ‘suffering’ will go to good use in God’s hands. I use small denials and give them to God. “Jesus, I reeeaaaally want that cake, but I choose not to so I can deny my pleasures and wants and live a life denying myself and align it to You.”
My faith has given me a new twist while I manage my health in a way that helps me live my faith every day. I now ask throughout the day questions such as, “Do I want that chocolate or is it better for me to sacrifice that pleasure and give it to God for those who struggle to find food?”
Life is short. Work hard. Play hard and Pray harder! I can do nothing without God—Lord, please help me cherish this body and treat it like the temple it is—with your grace and my sacrifice—if it be Your will.
My forever New Year’s Resolution—Cleanse My Spirit—Go Deeper with God.
Is your resolution similar to mine? I invite you to join me on my mission to inspire others to deepen their relationship with God through faith and prayer. Sign up at https://kendravonesh.com/findsomethingmore to receive weekly inspiration.