Faithful Finish Lines are God-Given
Week 1: Eating for Energy Goal & Daily Prayer
Click here to download this photo as a printable: Eating for Energy Week 1
Click here for printable PDF download: FFL Week 1 Prayer
FFL Week 1 Phone Wallpaper
Directions: Come to this page on your smartphone. Right click on the photo and save into your photos. Use on your lock screen or wallpaper as a reminder this week of your Faithful Finish Lines goals.
Day 1 (Sunday or Monday): Welcome
Welcome! Are you looking for your Faithful Finish Line?
Ali is a 43 year old mom of 2 children, ages 4 and 6. Ali is working full time and also taking graduate school classes. She is married to a great guy who works as a financial analyst. They have the boy and girl they always dreamed of having, and their family is based on their strong Christian values.
Ali loves her life and wouldn’t trade it, although below the surface there is more. The stress of kids, two jobs, and everyday pressures takes a toll and she and her husband snap at each other way more than they should. Their little boy is showing signs of a learning disability, and they struggle to manage the behavior outbursts their little girl has developed lately. Ali has put on 20 pounds since having children…okay, 40 pounds if we are being honest. The pounds just don’t go away despite her best intentions. Her diet starts well on Monday but then her efforts slide as the week goes on. She feels guilty and wishes she could do better about taking care of herself, her job, and her parenting.
Sue is a 66 year old retired teacher. She misses teaching and the relationships, but is glad to be done with the daily work. Sue cares for her three young grandchildren 2 days per week. Her relationship with her adult daughter and two grown sons is somewhat strained. They don’t parent the way she parented or the way she was raised, and it’s hard to understand why they make the choices they do sometimes. Sue wishes her grown children would take the grandkids to church and Sunday School, but they seem to be too busy and tired.
Sue has a wonderful relationship with her husband, James, who is still working full-time since their retirement savings is not what they had hoped it would be. Sue worries about James’ health though, because he is putting in long hours next to men half his age. Sue is in fair health but knows she would have more energy if she would exercise on a regular basis.
A Faithful Finish Line is a short-term, specific goal that will recreate fitness and mission in your life.
Ali and Sue need a Faithful Finish Line.
Whether 20 years old or 80, not exercising at all or just finished a triathlon, a Faithful Finish Line is for you. The next 7 weeks will be a journey to refresh your commitment to God, yourself, and your health and fitness goals.
God will get into your life and mess with you in the best of ways!
Here is what the program looks like:
- Each week you will receive an encouraging email from me for the week (on Sunday). Each time you will be recommitting yourself to your goals.
- Every week includes a weekly Bible memory verse, which we have included as a beautiful printable PDF download. Print it and you can put these up on our fridge, in your cars, by your bed, and anywhere you need refreshment and encouragement.
- Each week also includes a prayer for the week. In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow. She prayed over and over and didn’t give up, so we will, too! Your prayers are simple and effective.
- Each week includes an Eating for Energy (EfE) goal. As you will learn, one of the biggest mistakes people make in their innocent enthusiasm when starting a new fitness plan, is taking on too much. I am NOT recommended you start a full diet program. If you already have an eating method that works for you, great. Stick with it. If not, each week you are going to do one EfE goal.
If you need to lose weight, I know the very anxious feeling for weight loss to happen. I had those feelings, too. Trust me and trust the process. It will happen. God will use every step along the way to recreate you into who He wants you to become. It’s the lasting changes that will make the pounds stay off for good! You don’t want to just lose weight. You want to lose it and have it stay gone.
Your specific exercise training plans will begin in Week 2. During Week 1 you will focus on being more aware of your eating and on listening to God’s voice as you begin this important life change.
Week 1 Movement and Exercise Goal: Focus on MOVEMENT. Plan to do something each day to move more than you did last week. Take a walk. Put oomph into your housework. For those of you who are currently exercising, step it up a notch.
Day 2 (Tuesday): A Dangerous Prayer
God wants to start the process of messing with you.
Are you willing to pray a frightening prayer with me? Try this one: “God, I’m tired of being stuck in the life I’m in now. Mess up my life for Your glory.”
You have to be brave to pray that prayer. God will get a hold of you and change your life in ways you have never dreamed. Get ready.
God always starts life change in painful yet necessary places, so this is where this discussion must begin. You must start with confession (ask God for forgiveness) and absolution (God forgives you, and even more, makes it as if your sin has disappeared.)
Notice many worship services start this way, too, because this is how you come to God. You have messed up your life. (We all have.) You are sinful and broken. There is no “not so bad” sin. God is perfect and you cannot come to Him in the state you are in. God restores the relationship – not because of who you are, but because of who He is.
Carefully read the Psalm below. David, the writer of this song, had messed up his life big time. Seriously bad big time. David had an affair, had a man killed, and more. His friend Nathan was friend enough to have the guts to confront David about his sins. David was repentant and this is what he wrote. This is a dangerous, life-changing prayer:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
David prayed the prayer of a broken man. The only way to true life change is coming before God completely, totally broken and ready for God to use us in new ways. This is where we begin. God wants to use the next 7 weeks to mold and change us. Allow Him to work. Real Fitness. Healthy Eating. New You.
Day 3 (Wednesday): Downloadable
Print these and put them in your calendar or hang them somewhere where you will see them often.
(Click on each photo to save and print.)
Day 4 (Thursday): Something Better in Mind
It has been said that God answers prayers:
- Not Yet.
- I have something better in mind.
I can imagine my kids telling me, “When you say, ‘I have something better in mind,’ that’s just a fancy way of saying ‘no,’ Mom!” if I tried saying that every time I rejected one of their requests. That would be true, since I am human.
With God, you see a different scenario.
God does tell us “no” all the time. No, I cannot have a million dollars. No, I cannot have my dream job. No, I cannot even have world peace and an end to injustice (on this side of heaven). But God sees the big picture that I in my humanity cannot see. When He tells me “no,” He knows what He is doing and has good reason.
Ten, 15, or certainly 20 years ago, I never in my craziest inklings would have imagined myself racing a triathlon, doing marathons, or standing up to speak about fitness and weight loss. This whole life journey was completely a God-given experience and not something I set out to accomplish.
Your task is to spend time praying for what God wants you to accomplish in the next 7 weeks. Next week you will plan goals (We will help!), but ultimately this is between each of you and God Almighty, and will be God-ordained.
God is not silent about his will for you. God will guide you in where He wants you to walk.
You must believe your goals are inspired choices.
Today, set 3 timers on your phone (or some other similar way, such as a commute to and from work plus a lunch hour — but be specific!) for random times throughout the day, and when these go off, pray about what goal God wants you to reach for over the next 7 weeks. What is your Faithful Finish Line?
The Faithful Finish Line community we are creating is different from some of the Health and Fitness culture you might see in magazines or on billboards. Your goal is not attempting airbrushed perfection. God wants to recreate a healthy person. He will use each goal to make you more like Him, and more of the beautiful person as He created you to be.
I spent many years of my life food-obsessed, which was a prison of its own making. Then, I spent more years diet and calorie-counting obsessed. I traded one obsession for another, but it still wasn’t freedom. Looks and exercise can also become obsessions, but Jesus brings freedom from all of these! God has Something Better planned for you!
Reminder! Reminder! Reminder! Goal Setting Worksheet.
If you haven’t completed the Goal Setting Worksheet, please do so by tomorrow.
Click here: Goal Setting Worksheet
Day 5 (Friday): The Real Truth about Guilt
I have strong feelings about an important topic: Guilt.
I want to talk openly and seriously about the subject of guilt, weight loss, fitness, and especially a fitness program that comes from a Christian, faith-filled perspective.
Many of us have long-term issues with food, and some of you just here-and-there issues. Heck, anyone human has some food issues. If you have life-long eating problems, you probably have deep, long-held beliefs about food that are wrong patterns of thinking, and guilt ends up a heavy driving force that steers your choices.
We have more work to be done here than I am able to delve into in one short 7 week program, although you will start the journey by focusing on the Finish Line. Even that positive look outward makes a difference. You will be amazed at how much life changes when you take your eyes off of what you are doing wrong and instead look at where you want to go! That one shift in perspective is awesome.
I’ve made it no secret that therapy with a counselor skilled in working with people with eating issues was a huge part of my personal journey to losing over 100 pounds. I highly recommend this if you have long-standing issues with food. You can’t fix on the outside what is broken on the inside.
Many diet and eating programs, and I hate to say this but especially many faith-based ones, use guilt as a motivational factor. I don’t believe this is intentional, but what subtly happens is that the participant ends up feeling like, “If only I had more faith, I would be thinner.” Or, “If I just would pray more, I wouldn’t be eating these chips.”
This is such a dangerous, warped way of thinking that only continues the cycle of guilt, low self-worth, overeating, dieting, more guilt, lower self-worth, and more overeating. I know because I lived it for so many years.
There is only one way to break the cycle: compassion. When you are stuck in the middle of the cycle it seems foolish and crazy, but it’s the only way. You cannot beat ourselves up into being thin and healthy.
God cannot heal you when you are busy guilting, shaming, and torturing yourself about what an awful person you are.
There is a place for guilt in the Christian life. You commit sins, you sin, and you cannot get right with God no matter how hard you might try. Jesus came to save you when you were dead in your sins, praise God!
Come to God, and He totally and completely forgives you. He doesn’t shame you. He looks at you with love and compassion. He says, “I have removed your sin as far as the east is from the west.” (See Psalm 103:12.) When you are busy beating yourself up for overeating yet AGAIN, God is saying, “What are you talking about?” He does not see it! That’s how profound is His forgiveness.
When you overeat, you are trying to take care of yourself in the best way you know how at the time. Now, you will learn new and better ways. When you find yourself caught in the cycle of overeating, you say to ourself, “I’ve messed up, but oh well.” God forgives me, and I will forgive me.
Focus on where you are going. It’s only when you beat yourself up about it and shame yourself that the cycle can continue.
We do not use guilt as a motivator for Faithful Finish Lines. We use compassion. That doesn’t mean we won’t be tough! Sometimes compassion gives us a good kick in the butt when we need it! I am honest and I am real.
Compassion and accountability must be balanced.
But unnecessary guilt — no. Leave it behind. You won’t be needing it anymore. Look ahead to what is waiting for you. Watch out world, for all God has in store for your life! The biggest mistake I’ve seen people make is dreaming too small.
Copyright © 2016 Sara Borgstede, Motivational Speaker and Author, All rights reserved.
Content as part of your exclusive Faithful Finish Lines membership.