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Column: It's not easy being green

About seven years ago I never really ate breakfast--unless you counted the Diet Coke and chips. I ate what I wanted when I wanted. At age 41, standing in my kitchen while eating and drinking what I pleased, I remember thinking: "I feel so great! I wonder how long I will be able to keep this diet going."

I thought, because I was healthy in my relationship with God, reading the Bible and doing Pilates occasionally, that I'd be just fine. Who needs green, leafy vegetables? But, five months after having these thoughts, I started getting sick with a lot of different infections. Then came emotional anxiety and, well, I kinda crashed.

Oh, my goodness.

It's all about balance, right? We need to take care of ourselves, both physically and emotionally. We have to be intentional.

I can read the Bible's promises and instructions, but I have to choose to believe, trust and apply

what I read if I want it to do any good.

Jesus says, "Think on what is good, Debbie." (Philippians 4:8)

"Keep on keeping on and don't give up, Debbie." (Galatians 6:9)

"Don't worry about tomorrow, Debbie. Right now there's just what you need." (Matthew 6:34)

Life is tough. There are the irritating things that seem to almost wreck us, and then there

are the bigger blows: broken relationships, cancer, the loss of a job, bills we can't pay, the

addiction we just can't kick, people talking about us behind our backs. IT'S HARD! It ain't

nice.

So, because it's rough, I put forth the perfect image. Focusing on the outside, on looking and appearing amazing. Attention feels like love.

Look at the photos that are posted on social media (namely Instagram). It's mostly photos of toned, fit bodies and scrumptious-looking food.

It's kind of an oxymoron, isn't it?

We project the successful image. Who wants to project their failures? Jesus is about humility and the need for forgiveness. I guess projecting success is our defense against our own faults.

Oh, but the problems with projecting the perfect image. It's simply not true. We are not always happy, optimistic and in command. Projecting the successful image keeps us from reaching people who feel we just wouldn't understand them.

I know God's vision of me is not what I see. He looks at my character and potential. I look too much at my body and success.

Oh, Lord, I know I should be reflecting your image.

The more we look to Him, the more the glory of His image gets imprinted upon us. Yep, that works.

You know, there were other factors that played into my physical and emotional "crash" in 2009, but I heard God clearly speak to me. He had great plans for me, but I needed to take care of my diet. I needed to put less time into social media and more time into Him and my family.

1 Corinthians 16:20 says, "I don't just belong to myself; I'm God's girl and I honor Him by the way I live my life and take care of myself." Jesus validates us for who we are in Him. Let's care enough to take care of both our inside and outside appearances and health.

Yes, it's easier to chase happiness on the outside than the inside because of the immediate

gratification and "likes." There was a time when I believed my outer appearance, relationships and success would bring me happiness on the inside. It is actually the reverse. Peace that surpasses understanding refers to peace despite the outside, not because of it.

Jesus is the way. There is no real hope or contentment until we care enough about what He says, which is that He loves us as we are. He is always cheering us on to thrive--not just survive.

As said in 1 Corinthians 13:12, "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

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