This is a tough post to write – but here goes. I have always struggled with my weight. There, I’ve said it. I have lived to eat, and don’t eat to live. In fact, I am writing today because I am finding it difficult to hold myself accountable and if I come clean, perhaps God will see that I am trying to do something about it. I can make all sorts of excuses, but none of it makes any difference. I could tell you that I travel quite a bit and so I can’t get into a rhythm of healthy eating. Or that I am always in restaurants and they use a ton of salt in their food preparation. Or how about the fact that I work in a cafeteria and it is just too easy to get whatever I want to eat at the time – free… Perhaps I could tell you that I am checking the recipes to make sure the food tastes good to our patrons… Sure!
But you and I both know that all these things attempt to hide the obvious. I need to be more discipled and eat less – that’s all there is to it. Sure, I could attend Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or some other weight loss program, but let’s face it – I know what to do – I just don’t do it as well as I should – and that is a discipline problem; nothing more, nothing less.
Intellectually, I know what I have to do. I can look around and see the evidence. Many years ago, my cousin Lynn said that there were very few heavy people who grew to be old. She’s right… But I figured that I wasn’t old and so I had time to change my habits. After all, my father and his brothers were all heavy. And I know many others who fit the same profile. But I don’t buy the idea that this is only hereditary. There is some element of personal choice here in the balance. Even if I don’t exercise as much as I should, I can always put less in my mouth.
To be sure, I’m not on the brink of some health crisis – at least that I know of. I am just tired of having my weight go up and down. Having areas in my closet of things that I can only wear under a certain weight and other things that I put on when I have been more out of control. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of shopping for larger sizes or thinking that I should buy something because I will lose weight and eventually be able to have it fit properly. I have decided that I don’t want to live that way any longer.
Many years ago, I quite smoking. Granted, it took the change of a decade to make it happen. I remember having my last cigarette on December 31, 1979. I quit cold turkey. And then I quit drinking alcohol on March 24, 1993. I saw the effect that drinking had on my Dad and my uncles, as well as other family members and I didn’t want to be held hostage to the bottle. One again, cold turkey. Throughout the years, I have convinced myself that those things were easier than losing weight. I’m sure you have heard all the arguments. You can stop smoking and you can stop drinking, but you can’t stop eating. Therefore, the temptation is always there…
But you know what? I can do this… Because I have decided to frame the problem in a different light. That is, as a pastoral leader, people look to me for guidance and if I can’t discipline myself, how can I possibly convince others to study the Word or do things that may be difficult for them? Also, I am supposed to be a model of behavior for my family and the Christian community. That has to start with me taking charge of something that is really tough for me to do.
One other thing – I am a steward of those things that have been entrusted to my care – my financial resources, the ministries I lead, the companies I serve and the body I inhabit. The Scripture is full of examples of God as the owner of everything. I am just here temporarily and when I am in heaven, I won’t need this body anyway. But in the meantime, I should be taking better care of it. That means weight loss, more sleep, exercise and maintaining my health to the best of my ability. All those things require discipline for me.
The verse for this evening comes from 1Cor. 6:20, “you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” I don’t think I need to say any more – that kind of says it all if you know what I mean. My encouragement this evening is that God can work any miracle – in you or in me. If you are struggling with an addiction, or have a problem that needs attention, my prayer is that you will confess it and ask God to help you through it. It’s not easy to do – as you can tell from my post this evening. But being free from any type of bondage and living the life that God has in store for you is much better than anything you could possibly decide for yourself. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…