Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Time for a Spiritual Checkup

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message…

I have struggled with weight issues since I was a little girl. Part of my struggle is rooted in “fluffy” genes lovingly passed down to me through several generations of “fluffy” relatives. The remainder of my struggle is firmly rooted in the fact that I hate exercise, take medications that cause weight gain, enjoy eating, and sometimes use food as an emotional outlet and reward.

I was a young adult and living on my own before I realized that part of the creation process included green things called vegetables. The motto in our family was, “If it ain’t fried, it ain’t right.” Gravy was a condiment and potatoes a staple at every meal. No bread? How can you have a meal without bread? And dessert was a necessity. Get the picture?

Over the years, I have tried just about every diet I could find. I could always lose weight. I just could not keep it off. The day came when I threw in the towel.

My name is Mary, and I am a Carboholic.

I was done. I was burned out on diets and quick fixes. I didn’t want to be a certain size. I just wanted to feel good and to be as healthy as I could possibly be at this point in my life.

I went to a highly-recommended Christian nutritionist who asked me to complete a packet of 500 questions (not kidding), did an EKG, ran more blood tests than I have ever had run in my life, and introduced me to the coolest machine that measures fat and muscle in the body. After all the tests were in, Dr. Tague smiled at me and calmly said, “Mary, you are a malnourished woman.”

My mouth literally fell open in shock. At the time, I was at least 50 pounds overweight and ate pretty much everything in sight whenever I felt the slightest twinge of hunger. How could I possibly be malnourished?

The doctor went on to explain that I was indeed eating … but I was eating all the wrong things … at all the wrong times. In fact, I was dangerously low in several key vitamins and minerals. He handed me a small paper cup filled with a mixture of those vitamins and minerals to take before leaving his office and said, “If you were my patient in the hospital, I would not release you until some of these levels came up.” Now he had my undivided attention.

God often works the same way.

I spend more time working on ministry checklists than I spend in God’s Word.

Prayer is more often a drive-through event than the sit-down-at-His-feet experience it should be.

I give God the leftovers of my day when I should purposefully plan my time with Him.

Rather than investing time in relationships, I follow friends on Facebook or text them to ease my guilt.

I choose what is easiest and more convenient in ministry instead of choosing the best part of ministry, which is often messy and inconvenient.

I often allow the hedges of protection to go untended, resulting in a lack of boundaries and margins in my life.

I allow myself to become a malnourished Christian.

God then lovingly but unquestionably gets my attention in several ways – a crisis that knocks every prop but Him out from under me, or an illness that rips every choice out of my hands and really makes me stop. I can then get the spiritual nourishment that really feeds my soul. Nourishment like sustaining time in the Word of God … significant, life-giving time in prayer … nurturing time with encouraging friends … opportunities to give myself away in service.

After following the carefully laid out plan of my nutritionist for two years, I have lost 65 pounds, but that is not the best or most important news. I feel better than I have felt in many years! My blood work, EKGs, and BMI (body mass index) are all perfect. And the doctor has now pronounced me a well-nourished woman.

I want to be a well-nourished Christian. I am taking the next year to get my spiritual ducks in a row. I am seeking God on what I should and should not do. I am setting boundaries and asking my husband and accountability group to hold my feet to the fire in keeping those boundaries firmly in place. I am practicing saying “no.” I am bringing order to any areas of chaos. I am resting beside the still waters. And I know He will restore my soul just as He has restored my body in so many ways.

How about you? Are you a malnourished Christian? Today is the day to take a step toward spiritual health!

Have a blessed day!

Hope Wissel



Nutrition is the selection of foods and preparation of foods, and their ingestion to be assimilated by the body.

A nutritionist is a person who advises on matters of food and nutrition impacts on health.

I know you are all wondering what the deal is right?  I LOVE the Weight Watcher program and it is with the help of the leaders and my AWESOME WW family that I was able to loose 108 pounds.  Yes, I hit goal but now I am struggling with maintenance.

I could use a million excuses but the fact is – I stopped tracking.  I stopped tracking when I went gluten free.  See, I had the misconception that gluten free combined with fat free would help me maintain my weight at goal.  WRONG!!!  A few pounds creep up – nothing major but it is time to nip it in the bud.

Hubby calls me “spoiled”, I say that I am blessed to have someone who loves me unconditionally and only wants the best for me.  So, this morning I am heading to a nutritionist.  I asked the doctor for a referral, he gave one and unfortunately  she isn’t in our plan.  Believe it or not, there isn’t a nutritionist in our health care plan UNLESS you are diabetic.  REALLY??  I guess the rest of us should know how to eat healthy, right?

My goal is to loose the 5 pounds that crept up as well as find a healthy balance between being gluten free and vegetarian.  I found out that I am severely anemic too so I guess we need to get some more iron in there while I continue to battle with IBS.  I have to admit, I am a little nervous about all of this.  Is it crazy to be concerned that she may take away artificial sweeteners.  Hubby thinks I use the “poison” way too much and wold love me to go back to sugar or something that is natural.  My response “it doesn’t taste sweet enough”.

I am open to hearing AND trying new things.  I am sure this is not going to be easy.  I really just want a list of eat and don’t eat.  I feel like I gave up gluten and now I overdose on corn products.  UGH!  I am a grazer – picking all day long or not eating most of the day and then grazing at night.  I know the worst thing, right?

If you are gluten free AND a vegetarian, I would love to hear from you. What are YOUR best tips for maintaing your weight?  Today is the day that I get this under control or better yet, turn it over to God because I am sure his plan is much better than mine.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!