Start Small, But Start Now

“Diligently keep the words of this Covenant. Do what they say so that you will live well and wisely in every detail.” Deuteronomy 29:9 (The Message)


At the very first (and only) writer’s conference I attended over five years ago, I remember hearing some sage wisdom I took to heart.  We were told to envision what we wanted our life to look like in five years and then create some goals around that image to ensure that we would get there, or get close to what that image looked like.  The speaker told us also that we could choose to not create any goals, but five years would come regardless.  We would be five years older either way: still waiting to begin living the life we wanted, somewhere along the journey or having completed those goals and ready to tackle the next ones God wants us to achieve.

Looking at my life five years ago, I weighed less back then but was carrying more baggage.  God has taken me on a journey to help heal my emotional eating.  It’s been a long, arduous journey with many detours and pitfalls along the way, but I can honestly say I’m further along now than I was five years ago.  Last year He whispered to me the program He wanted me to use to help guide me into healthy choices and a sobering and honest look at how much food I was really eating.  While incredibly eye opening, it helped me start to restructure my eating plan and incorporate regular exercise into my daily life.

This year He has continued that training and told me specifically that I will win this fight.  I have the tools I need.  It will be difficult but I have already won the battle.  However, I have to step onto the battlefield and start fighting.  He gave me one simple phrase that has helped tremendously, “Slowly cut out the bad,” and that, along with the training and knowledge I received last year has made quite a difference.   I was able to look back over the past year and see just where He has already helped me cut out the bad and replace those choices with healthier alternatives. Instead of my normal protocol of “punish myself, deny myself, take all the enjoyment out of life,” God has shown me a better way.  Small changes, starting now, add up to big benefits later.

I realize I’ve already given up mindless snacking at night, daily desserts or sweets after each meal and replaced some of my unhealthy choices for meals with healthier (and at times tastier) alternatives.  Those changes in themselves mark great progress.  In addition, I had stopped buying flavored creamer for my coffee and was only enjoying it on special occasions outside my house. Within the past month, I have given up all creamer and now drink my coffee black. I never thought I would reach that milestone again, having been introduced to flavored creamer, iced mochas and… you get the picture. I did it more to help with my allergies (getting rid of dairy) but found that it was a good choice overall.  The next area I tackled was the “snack cupboard” and “sugared cereals.” I actually stopped buying sugared cereals altogether because none of us need them, and the snack cupboard was just empty calories that didn’t make me feel good inside or out.

I’m not sure what the next “slowly cut out the bad” area will be, but I do know that when I tackle a big issue by starting small, healthy habits become my new lifestyle.  Then, as our family continues to walk the path God is calling us in the area of ministry He chooses, I will be ready – spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

© Cheri Swalwell 2017


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