This week's memory verse:
"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." -- Psalm 27:13
I think I am a pretty healthy person. The occasional cold or other brief malady may strike me, and I just had a week of a painful back, but on the whole, I don't have any major health issues to be worried about. So when I saw the title of today's lesson was "Healed," I instantly thought it would be about someone else, not me. But, as usual, God had a very different message for me.
My First place 4 Health group has used the phrase "Progress, not perfection" since we began over two years ago. It is a good phrase to encourage us when we feel down on ourselves for slipping. However, we backed off from using it so often because we felt like we were using it as crutch or an excuse. We thought we weren't making much progress toward our goals because we were giving ourselves excuses..."Well, I can't possibly be perfect, so I might as well have that milkshake." The only problem with that statement is the timing...if you are saying it every day, then it becomes an excuse to make poor choices. A milkshake every day is not progress.
I am as guilty of that as anyone. Perhaps I DO need healing. I think I turn to food for comfort...emotional eating. It also becomes a habit. With the schedule I keep, my meal times are different. Without good planning, there are many times I don't eat supper until after work, which could be 7 or 8:00. So, every time I walk into my house, I have the desire to eat...it has become a habit, and a bad one at that.
Ok, so it seems that I am AWARE of my problem. How come I can't seem do fix it?
"I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. (Psalm 30:1, 2 NIV)
If I follow the steps of the Psalmist, first he exalted God and then he called to God for help. THEN, God lifted him out of the depths, didn't let his enemies gloat over him, and healed him.
Even though I read my Bible study every day and write these messages...I don't think I have made total peace with God. I am still running to that milkshake (or any sweet thing will do!) when I need comfort. Perhaps, when I think I am hungry for a milkshake, maybe that is my signal that I need to have a little talk with God. It means changing my old habits and creating new ones that contain God instead of just myself.
"Progress, not perfection" can be a very useful and motivating phrase. I know I am NEVER going to eat the good stuff all the time. I know that I can't cut sweets out of my life totally...it's not realistic. And...I know that I am going to have slips...three steps forward and two back is not failure...it's progress. As long as it doesn't become an every day occurrence...it's progress.
God has many names, regarding who he is and what he is doing. He is known as Jehovah Rapha - The God who heals. I know many of us need healing from our unhealthy habits. If we truly want recovery and progress toward our healthy goals, we need to exalt and praise Jehovah Rapha for what he has already done in our lives, then we must call out to him for help.
Jehovah Rapha, you are the God who heals. We are counting on that! Let us be willing participants with you in the process and may we move forward today with new strength. Amen