That Unexpected Perk from my First Place Bible Study

That Unexpected Perk from my First Place Bible Study

Oops! Why did I just eat that unnecessary snack?

Because I’m bored, social distancing, and no one saw me anyway, so the calories don’t count, right?

If you have ever struggled with comfort eating in secrecy, this quarantine season could be a potential minefield; if it weren’t for the caring people in your group!

With so many activities and events canceled, you might have even been missing your First Place Bible Study. Perhaps these days at home are helping you realize that it was much more than just studying and applying God’s Word as part of a healthy life plan. Your group was a connection with other people who understand your journey.

Without regular contact, perhaps you have drifted away from some of those positive, encouraging voices that help you stay on track.

I am so very grateful that my weekly First Place for Health online group has continued to meet throughout the past months. Even when we finished our book, there was a one-week Bible Study provided, written just for these pandemic times. And we try to text, phone, or email in between our weekly zoom gatherings. I also received daily devotions and occasional recipes in my inbox because I signed up for the First Place for Health membership.

I love gleaning new insight from God’s Word, but my study group has far more benefits than growing spiritually. It has been during these isolated days that I have realized one of the great perks of our continued times together is accountability.

Accountability is knowing that weekly I must submit my weight and food listing to my leader. Accountability is exchanging prayers with my weekly prayer partner and doing follow through for God’s answers. Accountability is vital because it forces us to submit to one another in love, instead of trying to go off on our own (a strategy that has not served me well in the past.)

I don’t know when we will all be able to gather face-to-face again for meetings and fellowship. Perhaps some of your local groups may switch over to online groups for a season. How important it is for us not to hide! To cover our feelings (so you’re struggling with this new normal, who isn’t) or our weight gain (so it happened – just begin again, you already know what to do) or even those hard questions we are thinking about.

Every day while I’ve been in isolation, I have thanked God for the 13 other women in my First Place group because I have learned so much from them – not just what they say, but how they live their lives and serve others. For their transparency and for pointing me to God as “one beggar showing another where to find bread.”

I know that my First Place for Health family is there for me – in the ups and downs of my health and my life. FP4H is the least judgmental safe place I have ever encountered while struggling to be healthier. You may have initially signed up primarily to lose weight, but now you realize there is so much more to gain — a deeper relationship with God, new friends who understand and have your back, and a healthy plan for life!

One of our memory verses this past year was Psalm 27.17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” My prayer is that now and, in the future, our groups will continue to gather, perhaps in fresh ways, to sharpen one another in love.

What have you been learning from your First Place for Health friends?

Want to join a virtual group? Go here to find one that works with your schedule: ONLINE GROUPS

©2020 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping you Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the award-winning author of 15 books, including SoulStrongLife-Giving Choices, and 3 First Place for Health Bible Studies.  Lucinda is known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways. She co-directs reNEW writers and speakers retreat, and blogs regularly at  She will be teaching a First Place for Health Webinar on August 10th – “How to Share Your Story.”