Prior to crying myself to sleep that night, I ate uncontrollably. Sure I’d been under eating and over training for months but I wasn’t eating to satisfy hunger. I was eating to fill a void. … It wasn’t food my flesh craved. It craved attention. I wanted to be seen. To be known. To be valued. As I lie in bed, uncomfortably full, I wondered, “How did I get here?” …I’d allowed my own desires to drag me away.
“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.” James 1:14
One day while scrolling my Facebook timeline, I saw a transformation picture of a college friend. She had the body of a fitness model. “Oooo, I wanna look like that!”, I thought to myself. If she could transform her body, I could too. I hurriedly sent her a private message. I needed all the deets (details)! I learned that she’d just competed in her first bodybuilding competition where she received a first place trophy. I explained to her that I didn’t care about winning, at least not initially. I was after the body. The abs and muscles would be my trophy. Within hours I was online searching for a bodybuilding coach.
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.” Exodus 20:4
My body had become my idol (Note: God revealed this truth to me during an 8 week faith based wellness program, now Wellness Revelation). I spent thousands of dollars on coaching, hundreds of dollars on supplements, hours in the kitchen cooking, hours lifting weights, and hours and hours of cardio. Finally! It was show day. I was nervous and excited. I was excited to show off my hard earned work. Surprisingly, I walked away with two first place trophies and an overall win that night. That was a BIG deal! Most competitors don’t place at their first competition. I quickly went from having no expectation of winning to striving to become a professional bodybuilder.
I was totally obsessed with my body and overflowing with pride. In my mind, I was the best! I went into the next competition confident I would leave a professional bodybuilder by securing first place. There was no doubt in my mind. I quickly shelled out a couple more thousand dollars for coaching, flights, a hotel room, tanning, makeup and a photo shoot in preparation for the competition. It wasn’t a big deal because I just knew it would pay off. I would become a professional bodybuilder, obtain endorsements, quit my job, become a fitness model, travel the world, and live happily ever after. … So I thought.
I stood on stage anxiously awaiting my number to be called. It never was. Myself, along with a handful of girls, tied for last place. I was devastated! I cried myself to sleep that night. That night, I made it my mission to prove to those judges I would become a professional bodybuilder. Five competitions, and an emptied savings account later, I finally reached my goal. I was awarded the coveted “pro card.” I expected to be on cloud nine. I wasn’t. I ended up where I started this blog post, lying in bed, uncomfortably full, crying. I cried out to God, “How did I get here? Why did you allow this to happen to me? Where did I go wrong? I was so stupid!”
After earning my pro card, people anticipated I would compete at the professional level. After all, why would anyone subject themselves to everything I’d gone through if I was never going to compete professionally? But, they didn’t know the pact I’d made with God. That night in my dark hotel room, I surrendered. I didn’t want to lead anymore. For two long years, I’d been in the driver’s seat. That night, I pulled over and God returned back to His rightful place, head of my life.
So, how do you know when to walk away?
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
If it doesn’t bring glory and honor to God, it’s time to walk! Point. Blank. Period. That goes for anything in life – friendships, relationships, jobs, etc. My pursuit of becoming a bodybuilder only honored me. I don’t care how many times I posted a picture to social media, showing my abs, with the caption, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” it still wasn’t God.
People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives. Proverbs 16:2
All that time, I was searching for something I already had through Christ. I’m known (Psalm 139:1) and I’m a winner (Romans 8:37). Have you been like me, searching for something you already have in Christ?
Most gracious God, thank you for being a wonderful Father who loves us unconditionally. May we come to know, and experience, the glorious gifts we already have in You. Strengthen and empower us by your Spirit to walk away from anything that doesn’t bring glory and honor to You. It’s our desire to please You more than anything in this world. We love You. In Christ name I pray, Amen.
Have you ever had to walk away from something big? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below.