Please bear with me…this is a long journal entry, but it is significant. It is a “coming clean” and I don’t want anyone who visits this blog to miss it…
On Monday we were slammed with a beautiful but surprising coating of 12 inches of snow. Given that this rarely happens, our community was unprepared. My four-wheel drive Yukon was down in the valley having some body work that was taking longer than estimated. The one time I “needed” my truck, it was tied up in a repair shop in the lowlands!
As long as the snow plow didn’t come, we couldn’t leave our home without 4WD. The plow that supposedly was going to clear ALL the roads in our community forgot our little street, even after numerous calls by our family. Only two homes rest at the bottom of our steep hill. For all intents and purposes, the snow that might have been passable with 4WD when it first fell, morphed, and coated our street with a sheet of ice, carefully (it seemed) protecting the asphalt and any hope for traction that lay beneath!
On day three, after a friend with a jeep arrived and determined that attempting to pull us out would be too risky (he slipped coming down our road), my husband put chains on his car to get up the hill. Even so, we slipped a lot. Finally, at the top, we unchained hubby’s car just as snow plow came. I wondered if the condition of the street would be suitable for me to return with my Yukon after dark when the temperatures again froze any melting snow.
After getting my Yukon from the body shop (I have never loved my vehicle so much) and running much-needed errands, I drove the 40 minutes back from clear and dry “civilization” to our snow-shrouded community. Now, at the top of the hill in the dark, my lights shone over the top of our little street. I wasn’t sure if it was black ice I saw or asphalt, but it appeared that things looked passable. I deliberately began the steep descent down the hill. (The picture to the right is this same stretch this morning.)
All seeemed to be going well as I inched carefully, trying to remember what my friend had said, “Feather your brakes–don’t hold them tight–or you will slide…” To say I was intimidated would be a gross understatement. I was definitely daunted. My husband had already decided to park his car at the top of the hill behind me and hike down to our house. That way, he would be sure to be able to get out in the morning.
As I proceeded past my nearest neighbor’s house and around a slight turn, I noticed that everything changed. (The picture to the left was taken this morning of the same stretch.) The road went from the dark color of pavement in my headlights to the white-gray shininess…of ICE! Surely, the entire length of the steepest part of the road couldn’t have been left like this by the snow plow! Peering around the turn ahead, I tried to predict if I was going to be able to continue safely all the way to the bottom.
Stopping, I prayerfully evaluated if I should continue. If I continued and slid, I could end up off the road, colliding with the propane tank that is our home’s source of heat! Nothing like an explosion to ruin your day (what can I say…I have an imagination!).
I decided that SURELY, after making us wait for THREE days to get plowed, the driver of the plow wouldn’t have left the road with a sheet of ice yet on the roadway. So I continued down…
Inching carefully, I suddenly felt my wheels lock up! I began to slide and kept sliding! Gripping the steering wheel so tight that I thought my fingers would break, I remembered, in spite of what felt counter-intuitive during a free-fall slide, to tap on the brakes instead of hold them fast…and to steer! I began to careen down and around the hill. How I ended up not going off the road or into a tree is beyond me!
I stopped at the bottom and thanked God that he had kept me from hitting anything or getting stuck off the road…I took some deep breaths before carefully maneuvering my Yukon into the driveway.
I was so confident that four wheel drive would enable me to cope with this hill. How wrong I was. My confidence had been misplaced and the results could have been disastrous.
I have had this same sort of misplaced confidence in myself and in “all my years of experience” with “Thin Within.” I have eaten 0 to 5 and lost 100 pounds that way. I kept it all off for a year, too. That creates a lot of confidence…a lot of pride. During the last year and a half, I have minimized the significance of choices I have made, one after another. As I have felt my body change in response to this…getting bigger again…I have maintained that this is just a slight slide. It is like the top of the hill last night. It appears to be passable…and, besides, I have the tools it takes to stop any downhill out-of-control slide…
This morning, upon awaking, I had the same realization that I had mid-way down the second part of that hill last night…I am out of control.
As with all parallels and analogies, this one breaks down at this point. The truth is, when it comes to my own downward slide emotionally, spiritually, and physically…the one that I find myself in the midst of right now…I don’t have any tools to blame. I haven’t used the tools that I know God wants me to use. I have justified that the slide won’t be so bad. I have claimed that I could stop at any time. Like my misplaced confidence in the 4WD of my Yukon last night, I have had confidence in myself, assuming that I could stop the slide at any time. The fact is, my brakes seem locked and my life is sliding downward…and fast.
“Return, faithless people;
I will cure you of backsliding.”
“Yes, we will come to you,
for you are the LORD our God.
– Jeremiah 3:22
For weeks now…no, for MONTHS…I have been trying to prop myself up by believing any setback is temporary that I was always one choice away from turning things around. I have seen some amazing changes that God is making in my heart, but now it is time to do yet another truth inventory and evaluate what truly IS the condition of my heart…right NOW, today.
While the size of my body isn’t the point, it IS telling. I should probably live comfortably in size 14 jeans. At my thinnest, I was in 12s. Now I am pushing out if size 16s. I have no idea what weight I am. I still believe that getting rid of the scale was important for me–that God wants to see me through this backslide without my dependence and worship of the scale over his voice.
What is worse, is I can tell shame has begun to return. Snapping at others, allowing a wall to be built between the Lord and me…these are signs that sin and shame have begun to take their toll on me. Maybe it is just cyclical. In a week or so, I will be ok and not bothered so much. (I don’t think so!) But I am so disappointed in myself right now. I haven’t felt this way in years! Here is the thing…I am so much more disappointed that I am bigger than I am that I have been sinning. I want to hate sin that causes me to eat for pure lust and greed. My heart isn’t quite so God-loving as I have claimed. I must come clean about this.
I haven’t stopped the downward slide at all. In fact, the downward slide has intensified, amplified, and accelerated. Because I didn’t deal with it “at the top of the hill,” it has now taken on a life of its own. I don’t like where it is taking me, either.
In the days, weeks, months ahead, I will be writing here at the blog about this leg of my journey. I have slidden down a hill…a LONG ways…and I am still sliding. I hope to stop the thing…Actually, no, that isn’t right. Jeremiah 3:22 says that as I return to HIM, HE will cure me of backsliding. I say, “Yes, Lord…I come for YOU are the Lord MY God…”