Over the year that I released 100 pounds, I received accolades, praise, encouragement. It was wonderful on the one hand, but I battled with my pride…and lost. For the better part of the following year, I coasted along maintaining the weight loss pretty effortlessly (said rather smugly), but during that year, my focus shifted. I sensed it…and began to grab earnestly–desperately, even–for some way not to let the goal for which I had worked slip through my grasp. During that time, my focus definitely went OFF of listening to the voice of God in the moment by moment walk of life and on to the food, my weight, performance.
As I look back over the past 2 months, I see even more how I have strayed. My desperate attempts to focus on the Lord have been about performance…reading this book, doing that bible study…DO DO DO!!!
I feel like the people spoken about in Isaiah 28:11-13:
12 to whom he said,
“This is the resting place, let the weary rest“;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
but they would not listen.
13 So then, the word of the LORD to them will become:
Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there—
so that they will go and fall backward,
be injured and snared and captured.
Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, a little here, a little there…
I fasted sweets, began the 60-60 experiment, fasted the bathroom scale…did The Lord’s Table bible study, did the Freedom From Emotional Eating bible study and began reading numerous other books, all designed to GET ME CLOSER TO GOD again.
Talk about frenzy!
One thing, though…I haven’t been still. My frenetic grasping at straws has just further promoted the very problem I am desperately trying to solve.
Jesus says, “Peace be still.”
“Be still and KNOW that I AM God…”
“Come to me and rest…”
“Let the weary rest…”
“Child, I lead you beside still waters…”
TRUE CONFESSIONS: (Oh, this is hard and I want to edit this OUT of this blog entry…) As I noticed that the jeans I have worn for 15 months have begun to be uncomfortable, I got on the scale yet again and noticed the number is TEN pounds up from where I landed in October of 2007.
Dread, shame…what I have feared is happening….
This is a ruse, though. Fixating on the number hasn’t helped me at all, so why would it now?
So, today I step off the scale by which man weighs my value…off the man-made platform that says, “Look at my success, world! I have maintained my weight loss!”
But I don’t do this in shame. I do it in relief. The jig is up, the performance has ended. The curtain has closed. Now I can just be. Whew!
Today, I emailed my accountability partner and let her know that I think I should stop reporting about food. I want to focus on something else. Like GOD, maybe? Having responded to God’s leading in this, I am so much more at peace with food, eating and my body already!
I think that, for this season, just as in my earliest years of this “Thin Within” journey, I have to set aside scales, charts, reports, graphs, numbers…I have to BE. I have to LISTEN. I have to REST. No more striving.
I went to the Lord yesterday and today. Instead of turning to my “quiet” time basket filled with workbooks, “how to pray more powerfully” books and other “aids” to make me “more effective” in my walk with God… I stilled my heart. No…I let HIM still my heart. I asked, “Lord, where do you want me to turn in your Word to hear from you?” Then I did the unthinkable…I waited… GASP!!!!
He wasted no time telling me something that surprised me… “Join me in Jeremiah 3,”came the whisper.
I obeyed–as if to walk through a gate of promise–and set my eyes on the page ordained for my heart in this moment and asked God “What, Lord? What do you have for me here?” Nestled in the midst of this chapter, He showed me this:
‘I will frown on you no longer,
for I am merciful,‘ declares the LORD,
‘I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt—
you have rebelled against the LORD your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods
under every spreading tree,
and have not obeyed me,’ ”
declares the LORD.
God beckons to me. He is merciful, not angry. But he wants me to quit trying to throw “godly” band-aids on a cancer. My zealous hustling and bustling spiritually has an appearance of godliness, but devoid of it’s power. How many bible studies and books can one really complete? If I fill in yet more blanks, will it make me more godly? The one who dies with the most filled in workbooks wins? No…
I must acknowledge that I am eating out of his will. I am living out of his will. I am pursuing that which is out of his will. Acknowledge your guilt he says to me. Quit trying to cover it up by more bible study, more doing, more avoiding.
Child, You have rebelled.
Child, You have not obeyed.
That is at the heart of this.
Child, I love you.
In fact, all of my frenetic searching and doing and performing is actually contributing to the very problem I hoped to solve. It isn’t my JOB to solve it, in fact. In Jeremiah 3 he spoke to me about that as well…
I will cure you of backsliding.” (vs 22a)
“Yes, we will come to you,
for you are the LORD our God.” (vs 22)
Is that not precious? He tendered my heart to him further…How can food, or weight, or being “Miss Thin Within USA,” compare to One such as this who speaks so tenderly?
Today, I again overlooked the “quiet” time basket filled with distractions and stilled my heart. I asked again and before I could even get the question out, “Lord, where do you want me to turn in your Living Word, today?” The impression was “Joel 2.” What? Huh? I couldn’t have made that one up either…so skeptically, I turned to Joel 2.
Listen to the song he sung to me there…
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
God beckons to me yet more…oh, it tenders my softening heart further…
13 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
I love how God’s invitation to return, fast, weep, mourn, rend is coupled with his graciousness, compassion, slowness to anger, and his love. Wow…
There is so much in this chapter that God used to speak over me, soothing me, delighting over me with singing with His Living and Loving Word:
enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
an object of scorn to the nations.
I reject the path of shame for being a number higher on the bathroom scale than I have been in 15 months. I choose to take this moment captive and surrender my thoughts, my mind, my body to him for obedience.
I am becoming. Gah..I don’t like the term…it sounds so 70s-ish, but it describes what is happening.
It doesn’t mean I cast aside the principles of 0 to 5 eating. Far from it. But I must quiet my spirit. I have allowed “this”…what…journey? process? Thin Within THING?… to become something so different than he intended. HE is sending me abundance and richness…and HE will satisfy me fully.
As if to keep me from becoming confused about my latest leg of the journey to process the Get Thin Stay Thin material, however, he made sure my eyes fell upon:
This, he does want.
Those years of my life that were eaten up by dysfunction…he will somehow redeem. This is a promise for my future. He wants me to continue this path, but with a stillness of heart…not a desperate attempt to make something happen, to win yet more accolades, or to really “get thin forever.”
26 You WILL have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you WILL praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you WILL know that I am in Israel,
that I am the LORD your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.