So now come the accusations. No, not from people. No one has ever given a voice to these accusations–not yet. Though I wonder if it will happen in time.
The accusations come from the one who Jesus says comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
I frequent the Thin Within forums and a few other online communities. I try to encourage others in their pursuit of God first and foremost. My desire is to stimulate people to see how God takes this struggle with food, eating and our weight to woo us to him, to beckon us nearer, to draw us closer and to stay longer…to linger with Him. I love sharing with others how He uses these very challenges to invite us to a dependent intimacy with him–an ongoing conversation with the Heavenly Father.
So I flit about on the web trying to point people to this fact. I know it from experience–some days I know it better than others… (I must be aware that this can also be another way of numbing myself but in trappings of “godly” motivation…and be willing NOT to do this at times.)
In one of these communities yesterday I asked a question in response to one person’s post…”How can we encourage you? What would *you* like support about specifically?”
I don’t blame her for her response. Many people say things like this…and I know *I* have. After all, we want to know not just how to “lose weight.” Most of us know how to do that. But what we have been missing in all the years of our dieting history is the “how to” of keeping it off.
So this lady responded honestly and without any ill intent…”I would like to hear from those who have lost all their weight and kept it off about…”
“YOU don’t qualify!”
“You have failed, so don’t even begin to try to encourage her!”
“What do YOU know about keeping weight off? You always put it back on. I told you you would this time, too, and you are! HA!”
Wow. I was bombarded. Still am.
Truth is, I don’t know how to respond to questions that are prefaced this way any more. I am even debating about changing my “before and after” photos at the blog here…I don’t want to mislead anyone. That is never my intention at all.
So a part of me starts arguing in my flesh with these accusations:
“I do TOO know about keeping off weight! I kept it off for a year! And this is a temporary setback. God and I are on a roll again!” Pride isn’t masked very well, is it?
“The only reason that I have more weight on my body now than I did in October of 2007 is because I am healthier now (no more high blood pressure) and the doctor took me off of diuretics! It is water weight!” Again, not a terribly humble response.
“Yeah!” (I support myself quite readily…patting myself on the back arrogantly, I go on…) “And I made the godly sacrifice of removing caffeine from my life which is another diuretic…this is another reason to consider some of that weight water!”
And on and on it goes.
How easy it is to forget that God wants me to acknowledge my sin. Yes, there are facts to consider about the caffeine and the “water pill” that I (praise GOD!!!) don’t take any more.
But the fact is, I have strayed.
So, what will I do with the enemy’s accusations? Will I allow the enemy to render me inoperative? Ineffective? Will I HIDE in shame? God has taught me so much through these many months. Whether I have kept the weight off or not, there have been many valuable lessons he is teaching me…or trying. Some, I have learned and learned well.
Others…obviously, that which I have blogged about recently…I have not learned nearly so well.
I am in process. One thing I KNOW. He is the focus. Not me. Not weight, not food, not clothes and how they fit.
So, I guess for the person who wants to hear from someone who has lost all their weight, has kept it off, and has never struggled with temptation to overeat ever again…ok, sure, I don’t qualify. My pride will just have to get over itself.
For every accusation the enemy throws at me, I sift through what shred of truth there may be in what I hear. I reject the rest and take the truth to the Lord.
I think some of what I struggle with is summarized in the Get Thin Stay Thin book:
Disordered eating can also result when you are “successful” in managing your weight. When you “lose” excess pounds, people make comments like, “Oh you look so good! You’ve lost weight!” You may begin to feel acceptable, loved, and approved on that basis for the first time in your life. Where once life seemed painful and out of control, now there is something within your control that brings positive attention. You may find that the more you focus on [mechanics of weight loss] the less you feel the emotional pain. But always present within us is a hunger we realize isn’t being satisfied. We are hungry, but what are we hungry for? GTST, p. 28
How much have I placed my sense of acceptance, love and approval on what others think of me, be it online or in person? The Lord wants me to move past this. Certainly, he doesn’t want me to gain weight to learn this lesson, but he IS using this temporary setback of mine to bring this lesson home–that my worth has nothing to do with my weight or my behavior or my performance–and not even my “words of wisdom” shared with others. It is based on Christ alone.
Others may decide that I am not “qualified” to answer their concerns. That is ok. It really is! (Or it has to be!) My value or worth in their eyes doesn’t define it in reality. God alone does that. He chose me before the foundation of the earth to be holy and blameless in His sight. In LOVE, he predestined me to be adopted. He did this because it delights him and gives him pleasure to do so!
Thank you, Lord.
On a practical note, the “Experiment in Love” continues to unfold. Yesterday I chose to love my mother–something that is very challenging for me right now. The kids and I drove an hour each way to take her to lunch and then invite her to pick “What shall we do next?” I found, again, that being willing to love another–when there were so many things I would rather have been doing–did something inside of me to change me. Food, again, didn’t have that pull. We had Round Table pizza for lunch–a favorite of mine. Yet one small piece satisfied me and there was no temptation to eat another. The rest of the day, food was incidental again–like it used to be. I delighted in eating when I was at a 0, but didn’t keep grabbing for more when my body was no longer hungry. What a relief!