Well, God hasn’t created the ugly you are about to see in me… And no matter if you think this creature IS ugly, he (she?) is definitely not uglier than what you are about to read…so here it is…
I’ve become aware of how much I tend to make excuses for sinful choices…quite frequently, in fact. “I am tired.” “I am stressed.” “I am too busy…” These excuses seem to be a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) way of justifying my sin! Usually, the truthful “excuses” are used to justify why I should let down my guard and eat what I want when I want or not care quite so much. All the while, my heart knows, God has made it clear that this choice, in this moment, is sin. Excuses, even if they are truthful (I AM tired. I AM stressed…etc…) don’t minimize the fact that sin is sin.
The reality is, I need to *always* remain vigilant against my flesh. I am trying (still, after all this time) to train my mind. There are many lies I believe and I need to replace these lies with God’s truth. I must remain vigilant to the fact that my “default” setting is actually NOT God’s plan for me. Excuses keep me from depending on the Lord. As long as I allow for and welcome these excuses, I will struggle with this stronghold. I have a choice to make. NO excuses or NO lasting victory. Which will I choose?
As I read about the pendulum illustration for the umpteenth time, it sure was brought home in a new way. It has become an ever-so-accurate a portrayal of my life. Bleah! I thought I was free of that! Yet, here I am again…
I think it started off innocently enough. I was on this road back in November 2006, experiencing victory in the moment, leaning on God, needing him. NOT making excuses, but giving my choices to the Lord fairly consistently.
Then, as I realized that I could minister to others about this issue, I began to feel an understandable sense of responsibility… This isn’t necessarily wrong. Though in my case, pride wasn’t far behind. A sense of responsibility to those we minister to can be a good thing. I should be accountable for what I put out there to share with others. If I teach it, if I proclaim it, I need to live it. In the case of this material, there should be physical evidence if I am doing that…or so it seems to me. Not perfection, no…but a willing transformation. Sometimes it is three steps forward and two back, but the direction is set and consistent.
For the past 9 months, though, I have gone from 3 steps forward and 2 back to 1 step forward and 3 back. Now, I feel like I am on this path heading the WRONG direction completely! I am heading backward at break-neck speed now. Very few steps are heading forward.
At some point, I went from a God-calling awareness of ministering to others and the responsibility that brings with it in a godly way, to a fixation on PERFORMANCE for the sake of my reputation! Now I am stuck in a place where I am all about “What will so and so think?” or “How do I *appear*?” YUCK! If I were even half so concerned about GOD’s reputation and glory because of my behavior as I am my own, I might really be able to make headway once again.
While it IS true that God doesn’t look at outward appearance, that he looks on the heart, man, nevertheless does look at outward appearance.
I do believe there is some place in the Christian life for appearance since humans will use it to evaluate the validity of my message…how DO I appear? For instance, I don’t go to another church for a Monday night service because the appearance can cause others in my own church to stumble right now. I have the freedom to do so, but with so many having left our church during a difficult transition time, I don’t want it to appear that my heart is divided–and I don’t want my heart to BE divided! Since agreeing to be on the search team for a new pastor at our church, my sense of responsibility is all the more heightened. So I willingly give up my freedom in Christ to go to that church on Monday night for teaching and worship so that others aren’t caused to stumble by my appearance to be divided in heart.
Likewise, I know that my walk through the Thin Within material–dropping the weight and then finding some again–can cause others to stumble. I think part of my motivation to CLING to the lowest weight that I was initially had to do with an honest desire not to cause others to stumble. After all, my appearance has been what has caused people to be willing to listen to the message…that of depending on the Lord and the heart transformation that he will bring, causing a physical transformation, too! My physically releasing weight, gave validity in many peoples’ eyes (understandably) to the message! So it stands to reason that just as many people would feel prone to think “Ha! That must not work, look at her now!” :-/
The number of people who say things like “I would like advice from someone who has lost all their weight and kept it off” is quite high. What it means, is that I am disqualified from having anything to offer them or to encourage them with if I have gained any weight back for any reason. Again, people aren’t nearly so concerned about the heart issues as they are the physical body and outward appearance. I see this more and more and have trouble with it myself.
I know that some of my physical appearance changing is directly related to my ongoing struggle to give God my heart. Frankly, I bow before my tastebuds often enough! My heart IS divided! I want to honor the Lord, but when I want something sweet, well… “I want it.” (I heard myself saying that to my husband this morning…eek!)
So some months back, in order to be able to minister to as many as possible, I wanted to keep the weight off…but then something shifted…the heart may have been in the right place initially (I guess that is in question!)…but then it shifted to MY reputation as I stated above. It began to shift toward serving pride.
Now it is once again a full blown obsession with how I appear…not for God’s sake, not for ministry’s sake… (though, this is a part of it, too) but, mostly, for my own sake. I am humiliated and embarrassed. With this has come a TRUCKLOAD of head junk that (in my pride) I thought I would never struggle with again. When I was thin, I didn’t have to worry about these kinds of things. Of course, maybe I am looking back at Egypt forgetting some of the heartaches I *did* have. Right now with my size bigger than I am comfortable, I have a ton of junk messing with my head. More than in a long while. It is absolutely devastating for me.
Frankly, I have felt like I want to just let some things go (for instance, my intention to be free from nutrasweet and caffeine) and get back to a size that I like…and sort out the idols later. That has been my thinking! I know this is what in recovery is called “stinking thinking,” but it seems so reasonable to me right now. I can take worrying about idols later so much better than I can take the mess my head is in right now.
So I end this blog entry where I started…sharing that there are many lies I have been believing in spite of how long I have been on this path. Right now, I believe the lie that says “Get thin again at all costs and deal with the rest of the damage later…” In my rational brain, I can know this is a lie. But my heart so wants to break free of the junk that being overweight brings with it. When I was thin…I didn’t have *that* heartache. I had others. Right now, I would rather have those than these old familiar things that I thought I had left behind forever. This really stinks…I know that in my mind everything seems way worse than it all actually is…but I need it to go away. I just want it all to go away!
Wow…when I began this blog entry, this is NOT what I had planned to share with you. This is authentic, though. Yuck. Nothing like letting the entire world in on the whole ugly picture.
Yuck…as I read and re-read this blog entry, I began to feel so hopeless! I went to the fridge and opened the cookie dough tub, took out a finger-full. Took a bite…and instantly spit it out…and gave the rest to the dog…I guess I am not totally a goner. In the past I would have actually felt like it tasted good and was soothing. Right now, it mocks me…it is repulsive to me…but my having been drawn to do that sort of blows me away. Nevertheless…there is a MARBLE in my JAR today! LOL!
I need yet more time with the Lord, quiet before him, still…clinging to him…begging him to save me from lies I believe!
I warned you! This post is UGLY!
If you can at all identify with any of this, hang in there. I am not giving up. I am going to press on…