Becoming a Woman of Strength
By Zoe Elmore

Becoming a woman of strength has never been at the top of my to-do list. All that changed 18 months ago when I woke up one day overweight, overwrought and overwhelmed.

As I wrestled to pull on my slacks, I had a wake up call to sanity, and honestly, a little vanity. No longer could I blame the clothes dryer for “shrinking” all my clothes, I had to own up to the consequences of my lifestyle. For too long I had consumed too much sugar, too many processed foods, and too few fruits and vegetables. The only exercise I got consisted of running to the pantry for a snack. While this realization was hard to swallow, I committed to making some important lifestyle changes.

I began by transforming my perspective on loving the Lord with all my strength. The truth is, it’s not only a responsibility, it’s an act of worship. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, this is your spiritual act of worship.“ This verse exhorts me to sacrifice my desires for those of God. As I read this verse each morning I ask myself this question, “Will you worship the Lord today by choosing His desires over yours?”

“Working out” with the Word of God every day helps me do just that. Philippians 4:8 has particular meaning to me: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.”

This power verse challenges me to examine everything I put into my body, mind and spirit. Allowing God to renew my mind through Bible reading and prayer has caused a reshaping of every part of my life (literally and figuratively).

The next step in the process has been the most difficult for me – gaining strength in my physical body. Ugh! I’m just saying, this princess hates to sweat, I mean glisten! It makes my tiara slip!

Now I want to be very clear about the physical part of this process. My desire was not and is not to look like a model; after all I am a 5-foot-3-inch “fun size” curvy girl. The truth is, a strong physical body is not a vain thing, it’s necessary in order to complete God’s work for me. So how does a princess who hates to glisten begin?

I started by purchasing an inexpensive pedometer and clipped it on my clothing as soon as I was dressed each morning. It was my goal to walk 10,000 steps a day (that’s about five miles). You’d be surprised how quickly those steps add up if you park your car in the farthest spot from the office or store and take the steps instead of the elevator.

After a few months of walking, I added some weight training. I attempted a few women’s push-ups on my bedroom floor and fell face down into the carpet after doing only three. After months of practice, I can now complete more than 20 men’s push-ups without stopping. I lift weights three times a week and that has not only helped speed up my metabolism, it has also toned up those “angel wings” flapping under my arms.

In the last phase of the process, I began to adopt a lifestyle of “clean eating.” I removed all sugar, prepackaged and processed foods from my diet. Basically I’m preparing, not purchasing, the foods I eat. I try to drink eight glasses of water a day and getting enough sleep has been of great benefit as well.

From the spiritual to the physical, I have gone from overwrought to overhauled! Before I began this process, I could barely walk a mile without gasping for breath. I didn’t appreciate the spiritual importance of caring for my body, mind and spirit. I used to avoid physical exercise, and my craving for nutritious food was overshadowed by my desire for pre-packaged and over-processed sweet “stuff.”

My old eating habits left me unsatisfied and longing for something more. Eating clean has changed my food cravings and that unsatisfied longing for something more is a thing of the past. I’m now eating what I crave and craving what I eat (seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables and lean protein). You might be surprised to know how satisfying nutritious, dense food really is.
This lifestyle is a life-long process and beginning each day with Bible reading and prayer to renew my mind is crucial to my success.

By doing the work of memorizing and meditating on power verses I’m no longer consumed by what I’m not. Instead, I’m focused on the work God is doing to reshape me from the inside out. Seeking God’s strength has transformed my focus and frame, and I’m now experiencing the satisfaction and excitement of loving the Lord with everything I have.

Zoë Elmore loves her life in Matthews, North Carolina, with her husband Tom, sons Joseph, Josh, and new daughter-in-law Kelsey. You will find Zoë perfecting her push-ups and polishing her tiara. She joined the Proverbs 31 Speaker Team in 2005. You can learn more about Zoë by visiting her blog at

For more encouragement, see the new health and well-being page of “Everyday Life” on the Proverbs 31 web site,

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