Highlights of The Jesus Diet: How the Holy Spirit Coached Me to a 50-Pound Weight Loss, by Robin Merrill

In the beginning of February, I read Robin Merrill’s book of devotions, The Jesus Diet: How the Holy Spirit Coached Me to a 50-Pound Weight Loss. The book is great motivation. Merill’s sense of humor, and down-to-earthness kept me feeling like I was reading my best friend’s diary. Her story is super inspiring and encouraging. And considering I love to sing, that the book ends with a soundtrack is right up my alley!

Book Review

Podcast Episode 4 features a full book review and brief discussion on how Merrill’s book relates to Blessed Be Today’s philosophy.

Physical

Primal rule to live by #1 is to eat lots of plants and animals. Although Merrill does mention eating ‘healthy,’ she doesn’t really focus on it, and doesn’t describe what she considers healthy beyond a few descriptions of what she ate at particular times.

Spiritual

Meeting the need for will though the power of prayer.

When I first picked out this book, I was searching for a book that would teach me about the specific foods eaten in Biblical times. What did they eat, why, how did they prepare their food, etc. This book isn’t that! Instead, it’s a devotional related to eating. It’s great for anyone struggling with all things related to food—food choices, idolization, etc., the book is more of a day-to-day how-to guide to chart a course that aims to bandage up our battered and abused relationships with food.

From a spiritual perspective, my biggest take away is to chase after God without abandon in asking for help in overcoming the shortfalls of our own will. After reading Terry Toler’s The Jesus Diet, and Robin Merrill’s The Jesus Diet, there are two clear common denominators; our will is simply not enough to motivate us to stick to a particular diet over a long period of time (say, a lifetime!), and our diets really have nothing to do with food!

Philosophy Cornerstones

Learn

The two points in bold above align perfectly with the first cornerstone of the Blessed Be Today philosophy in that we need to learn from past mistakes. Point blank, we’re approaching the whole concept of health from the wrong angle. We’re never going to get anywhere on our own.

Will power is such a common phrase. It’s what so many people think they need to be successful on a ‘diet.’

“If I could just…”

“If I had the strength…”

“If I didn’t…”

“… maybe then I’d be successful.”

But is that really the case? What if we’re all completely wrong about what we need to be successful and truly healthy? My opinion is that the concept of will power is all wrong. Using will power to accomplish goals (i.e. meet our needs) doesn’t work long term. That’s the bad news—identifying the pattern of using will power as a way of meeting needs is a clear mistake. There’s good news though—recognizing the mistake gives us the opportunity to change course.

Survive

The second cornerstone of the philosophy focuses on appropriately meeting needs. So if using will power to control our relationship with food is a mistake, what options do we have? Food is something we need, but even more-so, we need a way to keep our relationship with food in check. The rationale for such a need is this:

We physically need to nourish our bodies, but we also need to make sure the physical nourishment doesn’t cross the proverbial line in the sand and become something we spiritually idolize.

The above statement is the same as putting a round peg in square hole. The real need is critical and two-fold; we must meet our physical need for food, and remain keenly aware of the potential to meet a spiritual emptiness by filling it with food.

They key is finding a way of meeting these two separate needs individually with consideration for the fact that they are so intricately intertwined.

How do we do that? Pray.

Merrill prays not to impact her will, but to get help from God, the one whose got the power. Merrill’s prayers are so raw and real. Her heart is bare for all of us to see. Her words are inspiring and motivating, but even better, her devotions pointedly illustrate that often times the struggles we face with food are when we knowingly, or sometimes unknowingly, jam the round peg in the square hole. A lot of us are in the same boat. We haven’t learned yet that meeting physical and spiritual needs isn’t a two-bird-one-stone sort of situation.

My Action Plan

Do the same thing Merrill did! Pray. Praying is the same action plan I followed after reading Toler’s The Jesus Diet, but it’s a different kind of prayer.

Toler enlightened me with the concept of praying to give thanks for my meals and to seek God’s blessing on whatever it was I was consuming. Just like Jesus turned water into wine, the intent in giving thanks before a meal is not only to praise God for his provision of food and in sending Jesus to die on the cross for my salvation, but also to seek his power in turning what I consume into a blessing for my body.

Now, from Merrill’s vantage point, I again see value in prayer, regarding tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit. This time around though, it’s regarding His power to affect my desires—urge me to eat real food, and help me avoid the temptation of things like sweets.

Lastly, the action of praying exercises my faith. Asking the Holy Spirit, in faith, to impact my desires regarding food disentangles the issue of the round peg and the square hole. When the Holy Spirit helps me meet my physical needs by eating appropriately, my body gets what it needs and my soul gets what I spiritually crave—a closer relationship with God!

WIN!-WIN!

Prayer

Phillippians 2:13 has been on the chalkboard in my hallway for months now, there are no plans of replacing it any time soon!

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

God, please continue working in me. Give me the desire and power you promised in your words above. Give me your desires, and your power. Help me to let go of myself and welcome more of you into my heart with open arms. Clean me, refresh me, empty me of my past mistakes and fill me with your goodness.

Please Lord, make good decisions clear and obvious for me. Make poor decisions taste sour in my mouth before I make them. Grow in me a disgust for things that don’t please you.

Lord with all your power change me, from the inside out. Fill me with good desires, occupy my mind with visions of your will.

And please Lord, let me see you working so my confidence grows.

AMEN!

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