mo-ti-vate • verb: to give someone a reason for doing something 

Journey to Wholeness

I hate to break it to you, but change requires hard work, determination, persistence, and the ability to get back up and continue even when we fall flat on our faces. This applies to every aspect of MAPS (Mental, Academic/Artistic, Physical, and Spiritual Wholeness). On the other hand, our quest for MAPS can lead each of us on a different journey.

God created each of us as unique individuals; therefore, no two journeys in this life will look exactly the same. Sharing our journeys and learning from others helps us process past detours and avoid pitfalls.

So, let me share a little of my journey. I grew up sturdy, but active—playing with my three siblings, milking goats, working in the garden, riding horses, playing kick-the-can in the summer time, and walking to school. And then I learned how to read. I learned to balance my time between activity and nose-buried-in-books. Mostly.

When I reached junior high age, I read more than I played, and I discovered things like diets and exercise plans. My parents raised us as vegetarians, and I always thought we ate pretty healthfully. Fresh-baked whole-wheat bread cooling on the counter invited me to have a slice several times a week.

You could say that I had a love-hate relationship with food and exercise. I knew I needed to eat healthfully (but I hated fruits and vegetables), but I loved sweets. Exercise routines promised to give me buns of steel, but I preferred to curl up in a corner and read a good book. I tried a variety of things (none consistently) to look thin.

While pregnant with our first child, I convinced myself that we needed ice cream almost every day—protein and calcium help a fetus grow, right?

Struggle to Maintain

I came to my senses in my third trimester when I received a gestational diabetes diagnosis. The diabetes went away within 24 hours of giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, but the added pounds took longer to shed.

I managed to avoid gestational diabetes and huge weight gains during my second pregnancy. After another beautiful baby girl joined us, I committed to losing all the baby fat. I went jogging around town pushing a double stroller, or biking pulling a bicycle trailer. As far as meals went, I made menus, cooked ahead, and tried to save time and money.

I kept losing and gaining the same 15 pounds over the course of the next eight years. And then Pedro got a cancer diagnosis. Over the next harrowing year, he and I exchanged weight. Pre-cancer, he weighed around 190, and I weighed about 135. Not a pretty picture for either of us. He stands 6’2”, and I a mere 5’6”. You get the picture.

Pedro’s illness provided the perfect excuse for me to indulge in chocolate, ice-cream, fast food, and wallowing in the corner in self-pity instead of trying to stay healthy.

Confessions of a Klutz

motivationUnlike balloons, we don’t inflate and deflate instantly. We often seem oblivious to the weight gain and the steady slide into bad habits and poor health, but unless we have a serious illness, those things don’t happen overnight.

After Pedro’s miraculous recovery, we started changing our diet even more. We gradually eliminated white sugar, white flour, and white rice from our diets. I bought a pedometer and started keeping track of my steps. After taking 10,000 steps a day for a year, I started running again.

By now, my motivation had changed. I no longer wanted to look like a model on a magazine cover, I just wanted to keep up with our active girls. Feeling out of breath and clumsy just made me feel old. They grey hairs didn’t help, either. I went on a low-carb diet. Militant food managing helped me lose weight (but I can’t claim people enjoyed my company).

I lost about a pound a week over the next year, and I’ve more or less kept the weight off. During times of stress or travel, I struggle to maintain my exercise routines and eating habits. I would rather curl up in a corner with a good book than go for a run. No one has ever accused me of being athletic (I struggle to walk up a flight of stairs and drink water at the same time). I’d rather eat pastries (whole-wheat and low-fat, of course) than a salad. I enjoy feeling fit and having muscles, but I don’t enjoy the process required to acquire those things.

Physical Wholeness is a Journey

Physical wholeness requires that we embark on a journey, and promise not to beat ourselves up when we stall or take a side path. Short cuts rarely save time, and if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Ultimately, I had to decide (and keep reminding myself), that my purpose for seeking physical wholeness had nothing to do with external factors.

Embark on a journey to physical wholeness--and promise not to beat yourself up over detours and stalls. Click To Tweet

Physical wholeness makes me happy because I love challenging myself. I love to hike all day and see beautiful places that 90% of the population never visit. Eating healthfully helps me feel better and have more energy so that I can enjoy life. Secretly, I love astonishing my students when I negotiate a difficult section of trail on my mountain bike whilst they push their bicycles up the hill.

Everyone has different motivations for seeking physical wholeness. Use your journal to write down some of your motivations. We seldom feel motivated to do something difficult if we can’t envision the payoff.

Nurture Yourself Takeaway #17—Identify your motivation to embark on a journey to physical wholeness.


  1. I loved learning a little more about your journey and it kind of make the whole story of your marathon even more special. I love to workout and workout regularly, but truth be told i still haven’t lost those last few pound of baby weight and i know it is because i need to watch my diet. Right now, I just don’t have the energy and am happy where i am. But I know that I need to work on changing it for all our sakes. It just is a lot of work. 🙂
    Amanda recently posted…When a Spouse Tags Along for a Year in KoreaMy Profile

  2. i love hearing your story here anita. i see some parallels and some non-parallels. the common thread has been related to diet. when i eat right, i feel so much better! i was doing well, lost 15#, then slid off the grid! i think i need to get back on the horse more strictly for awhile. right now i’ve been focusing on getting back to exercise more regularly. but i think i can do both:) i’ve missed some days in your series, but i’ve loved what i’ve read so far!

  3. It’s so good to be grateful for those ways that the Lord keeps us motivated to press on. Even if I can’t do all the things I used to be able to do, I can still find HIS motivation to be thankful for what I CAN do! Thanks for the great reminder!

  4. Anita, I just love you. I really do. You “get” me without even knowing that you do.

    I’d rather read. Or write. Or have dental surgery. Exercise is a four-letter word. Yeah, I got sick and so I’ve had no choice but to eat better and find ways to keep my weight at a good number. I feel good after the workout. But I just can’t find that, “Oh, yay! I get to exercise!” mindset. I’m suspicious of people who have it. 🙂
    Marie recently posted…31 Days of Feasting on Theology: ChesedMy Profile

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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