Updated: Dec 31, 2018
Some time ago, I came to the conclusion that it was time for me to lose some weight. I had denied it as long as I could. For years I could eat whatever I wished and never gain a pound, but after years of marriage, I discovered that middle age and my middle section were ballooning in direct proportion to one another.
Now, I’d like to tell you that I just had this great epiphany, realized what I needed to do, and went on a stringent diet that got the job done. Nothing so noble can be said however. The desire to drop the pounds came after a comment about my increasing belt size from somebody who obviously considered us to be better friends than we actually were. In short, I got mad enough to do something about it.
Over the next few months, I managed to drop twenty pounds, a couple of belt notches, and at least one chin. It really was quite the sense of accomplishment, and I truly learned the meaning of the phrase, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.” I was on my way. And while I haven’t given up questionable foods altogether, I will say that my trips through fast food drive thrus have become decidedly more infrequent.
Of course losing the weight was one thing, but keeping it off was a whole ‘nother deal. If I wasn’t careful, those morning trips to the weight scales revealed a slow but steady climb back up. I soon realized that this was going to be a long term thing, and truth be known, as of this writing I’m still on my quest to reach my “fighting weight” of 165. Don’t ask me how I arrived at the number….it just sounded right.
I also noticed I have quite the vain streak. If I stepped on the scale and was satisfied with what it told me, I just stepped right back off and went on my merry way. If on the other hand, the news was grim, I would step back on and off several times, either to confirm it, or hopefully get a less depressing reading. And I usually went with whatever the lesser judgment was. I also had other people say, “Nah, you’re not fat, you’re just healthy”, which let’s admit, sounds pretty good. I’d take that any day. Some might call that cheating. Others might call it denial. I call it “positive thinking”. You may call it what you will.
But it’s not just weight. We all do it, and we do it all the time. It’s easy to receive news when it’s what we want to hear, and we only have to hear it once. Our day is made and we go our way in peace and joy. It’s a little harder to take in news that stings, or rebukes, or criticizes, and more often than not, we’ll sidestep it, ignore it initially, and look for something that will make us feel better about ourselves.
But scales and mirrors don’t lie. They tell us the truth. Every blessed time. Whether we want to see it or not. There are times I hate getting out of bed in the morning because I have to walk past a full length mirror in order to get to the bathroom. And these are the days that that can be most discouraging.
Likewise, many times the voice of God in our lives can be hard to hear. We don’t like having weakness pointed out to us. We don’t like being told we fall short, and we certainly don’t like being told that we have failed. And sometimes the temptation is there to find comfort in the company of a brother or sister who won’t be quite so upfront with us, who will assuage our concerns with a slightly less abrasive commentary, and be a somewhat less intimidating judge.
Yes, discovering our weaknesses is painful, but pain only hurts for a minute, and it’s a pain we will forget in time, if we only will get off our collective posteriors and do what is required of us to make it right.
I didn’t want to address the fact that I was overweight. I found it much easier to just sit back and endlessly ponder how it happened. Of course I knew, I had gone from a college existence where we walked or ran everywhere we went, to a married life consisting of phrases like “Honey, have you seen that remote?” I let things slide (stop laughing), and soon it was time to pay the piper.
But once I heard it, internalized it, processed it, and dealt with it, I was so much more content. It’s awesome to see things come together and work out in a positive way, especially when it enriches our own lives.
Not everything we hear is going to be peaches and cream (okay, maybe that’s a bad analogy, but you get the point). But sometimes, the stinging rebuke can be a means through which we see amazing transformation in our lives, our hearts, and our spirits. Even Marine Corps drill instructors know that often times you have to tear down before you can begin to build up.
Don’t be afraid of what you see in the mirror, when it comes to the physical or the spiritual, the emotional, whatever. And don’t shy away from words that tell you the truth. Whatever project God has in store for us, may we let the building process begin, and may it begin today.
“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” – Mark 9:23
“God is my strength and power, And He makes my way perfect.” – 2 Samuel 22: 33
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:30-