Put your Faith First, Food and Fitness Second This New Year

“In 2022 I will lose weight, I will exercise weekly, I will give up soda, I will eat more veggies, start meditating, going to yoga, gain financial control, work on being more patient, improve my relationships with my family, grow my business, quit smoking, or try a new healthy hobby?” Do any of these goals sound familiar to you? Yes, me too!  Even as a dietitian and entrepreneur of course I have business aspirations and personal goals I want to achieve with better systems in place for the new year. The most common resolutions for US adults heading into 2021 were doing more exercise (50%), losing weight (48%), saving more money (44%), improving diet (39%), and pursuing a career ambition (21%). These are neat statistics, right? I agree, But what about your faith and relationship with Jesus?

Before you think to yourself, “Wendi thinks she is perfect and all she cares about is nutrition and fitness” that could not be further from the truth. I am as imperfect as they come. Which is just the type of human God needs most. God uses broken and ordinary people like me who come from many failures, challenges, heartbreaks, and adversity to inspire faith and a desire to seek God. I used to be an atheist and a non-believer. I was self-sufficient and believed that if I wanted to achieve something it would be because of me and only me. What a lost and exhausted soul I was. Sure, I accomplished things but with God leading me we have accomplished more, and it’s brought me more joy than words can articulate. Hopefully, I have not lost you. The New Year brings inspiration to “improve yourself”. This is why I am writing this personal blog. I need to prioritize my faith more than what I have been and I am guessing you do too.

The earthly struggle

For the last 16 months, God has been working on my heart, mind, body, and spirit more than ever. I will be honest, my faith has wavered at times.  When I feel overwhelmed with my business, relocating states, sorting through loss of loved ones, trying to salvage personal time but also time to worship and be the best daughter and ambassador of heaven I can be. I have gotten caught up with earthly concerns which are silly because they are all temporary. I bet you can relate to your personal, professional, and financial goals. Trying to hustle for a new car, a new promotion at work, building relationships in your professional network, paying off debt, or upgrading to the next and greatest gadgets that distract you from time with God. Social media, email, ect are all distracting us.

My inability to prioritize my daily devotional time with God is limiting my potential for joy and fulfillment. Likely yours too if you’re not making your faith a priority at the start and end of your day. If we want to grow closer to God we must continue seeking Him and learning about him which requires daily exercise. Much like strengthening your body and muscle, you must put in the work with intent.

If satan can’t make you “bad” he will make you “busy”

When you feel tired, run-down, and it never seems like it is enough or you’re on the hamster wheel without feeling like you’re ever getting ahead or experiencing the fruits of your labor. There’s a saying I have, “not today satan.” In fact, I have this saying as a small decal on my car and a t-shirt with this statement. It works for a while but ultimately it does not treat the underlying origin of frustration which is my inability to prioritize my faith properly. Satan has the same bag of tricks that he knows exactly how to integrate and distract me and you from building a better relationship with God. Check your life, how does satan distract you? Keep in mind that satan is not going to throw some ugly monster in your life that is scary. Satan will disguise the sin as something “desirable” but we ultimately know it isn’t good for us like God knows. That could be binge-watching Netflix, drinking alcohol in excess, choosing to talk negatively to your loved ones, neglecting your health, making poor financial choices, or falling victim to addictions that offer temporary comfort but lasting pain and pressure on your life.

Satan knows us by our sin, but Jesus knows us by our name

Satan has done this by throwing me extra projects, more business, and satan knows I am a people pleaser that struggles to say, “no”. I am working on healthy boundaries with work and personal life which I urge you to do as well. Especially for my type of folks out there. Being busy does mean you are productive. Being busy can rob you of your joy, purpose, enjoyment, and using the best of your God-given talents and abilities.

“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this.”

-Psalm 37:5

I love helping people so much that I did not leave enough time in my weekly schedule for me to properly rest, compartmentalize, and decompress. In the last few months, some Sundays have come and gone where I either attended church online or attended physically but was not there mentally. Sitting in church thinking about the “to-do” list that is overwhelming while simultaneously feeling guilty that you aren’t giving thanks to God for giving your life. After all, my business, life, home, possessions belong to Him.

Prioritize powering up your day with Jesus

Many know I encourage my clients and athletes to, “power up with protein and produce” but really it should include Jesus as well. If you don’t start your day with God, and your faith cup is depleted and you have nothing to keep you going let alone charge the day when the enemy challenges you. We aren’t meant to do life on our own or to be self-sufficient. Otherwise, we wouldn’t need God. Which I most certainly do and I know you do to. He created us with strengths and limitations that require us to depend on Him. Without God, I would not be here nor would Nutrition with Wendi.

Soft reminder last summer I posted my blog, “The Sixty Dollar Effect “ in which I share how God-provisions if you’re willing to trust Him. Please go read it along with Jesus Does Not Need a Perfect You but a Health You, because that’s what my life’s purpose is for.

My purpose is to serve God and glorify Him which I do through my work as a dietitian, speaker, and writer. I help men and women live healthier lives along with our youth so that they can be healthy ambassadors of heaven. We all play a role in Kingdom work.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you. ” Luke 12:22

God has made miracles out of some major messes in my life that would have broken me had I not had God as my foundation. When we are in need we have two choices, turn away from God or turn towards God.  Turning towards God means spending time in solitude with Him, reading the bible, and attending worship instead of trying to be self-sufficient.

Having a faith like Mary and the story of Christmas always grounds me. The birth of Jesus is such an incredible story that should inspire our faith and desire to grow with Jesus. If a very pregnant Mary and Joseph could travel 90 miles to Bethlehem in extreme temps, and unpaved paths we should be able to carve out some time in our schedules using our comfortable forms of transportation to hear God’s word! Am I right?  In all honesty, some days I don’t want to attend church in person. I want to stay home and rest up from a busy week.

Which is the point of this entire blog and new year’s resolution talk. By putting faith first, we have a secret weapon or ultimate health hack to success and true joy. Our joy is found in our faithful relationship with God and his sovereignty, not the earthly possessions of the world that will someday disintegrate like the “perfect body or “best food journal”. Put faith first with food and fitness to follow.

 

Set your eyes on heavenly things because the best is yet to come

If you’re a Christian, you understand someday the entire earth will be decimated. Yes, that means all the “stuff” and comfort luxuries we stress over like homes, fancy cars, and prized possessions will be burnt and gone. I’m not saying don’t work hard and provide a comfortable and secure living situation for your family, but I am providing perspective here that earth is temporary, but heaven is eternal. Put your faith first and stop letting earthly stressors get the best of you. And of this truly matters you’re not beating the aging process this will all be decimated at some point. The best is yet to come.

Thieves don’t announce when they are about to rob a home do, they? No, that would be silly. Jesus won’t be announcing His arrival either. So, avoid looking down and focusing on earthly temporary prizes and possessions. Instead, look up and prioritize your faith and understanding that heaven offers eternal joy, a haven free of sin, free of disease, stress, anxiety, and blessings beyond imagination in our forever home. Don’t kill yourself or your spirit building an earthly life but fail to build a relationship with God. The best is yet to come. If you’re a Christian you should feel comfort, peace of mind, and hope knowing God is going to come and bring us home. We must be ready with our eyes open looking up with an eternal mindset on heaven. You don’t want to be caught looking for pennies on earth when God is offering jewels in heaven.

Prioritize spending time in God’s word

Set an alarm each morning to wake up and spend 5 to 10 minutes with God in His word before you start your day. Which I refer to as taking your spiritual vitamins. After all, God is the one who knows exactly what is going to happen, who is going to be part of your day whether that be personally or professionally. It seems a little silly we run around every morning tackling our to-do list without consulting the man in charge of that list. I used to be this person who would arrogantly start my day without God, and it wouldn’t be as joyful or meaningful. Until I began doing my daily devotional about a year ago. It’s all about building a habit and being consistent. Start with a few times per week or a minute per day but you must start. Much like finding time to make a proper breakfast and other meals. Make time for your spiritual vitamins which are found in consuming God’s word daily. God uses ordinary people like me and you to do His special work. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Having a strong relationship with Jesus by prioritizing faith first is the ultimate life and health hack that I encourage you to prioritize as we ring in 2022. God is not interested in your performance, but He is interested in your heart. Don’t “do more” this upcoming year. Instead, focus on rest and time with God.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30

This was a very personable blog. The more I grow in my faith, experience as a dietitian and business owner the more I feel convicted to acknowledge God and the value of seeking/growing a relationship with Him. If I can help just one person grow in their faith or seek God with this vulnerable post of encouragement it was well worth it. Go to church and make time for God.

If you’re interested in a daily devotional, Please be sure to follow my personal IG account Devotions with Wendi

Your sister in Christ,

Wendi A. Irlbeck