I am short. I have always been short and I will always be short. I can’t change that. I want to be tall. I want to be able to reach things. I want to go in and buy a pair of pants or a skirt I don’t have to have shortened. It will never happen. I have grown used to the idea of being short. I used to be skinny, now I am talking really skinny. As a young married adult (before kids) I bought my clothes in the kids department. When I got married my dress was like a three and the arms of my dress was so small none of my daughters could fit their arms in my dress. I liked being skinny.
Then it happened! I began having children. The first one came along and I was still skinny. The second one came along and I wasn’t as skinny. You can see a pattern here, by my fourth child I lost my skinniness. I wasn’t obese, but I wasn’t like I used to be either. Ok, so I didn’t look too bad. After a few years the dreaded disease came upon me; you know the one: Middle age spread. It hit me really hard. I was too busy to accept it or do anything about it. So it settled into my life. Along with all of that I do believe my metabolism has slowed down. I have a missing thyroid that I like to contribute my over weightiness to. I once had some counseling done. I apparently mentioned I would like to be skinny again. I remember him asking me, “Do you know the average woman size is 14? It’s not a two or three like what advertisers want us to think it is?” Great I am average, but I don’t want to be average.
I had a certain pound I had decided I would not pass under any circumstance. One of my doctors suggested I was a little overweight and it would be better to try to start losing before I got any older. I was just shy five pounds of my limit. So, I decided to start exercising. I am exercising by walking with Leslie Sansone’s videos the three mile power walk. I do it three times a week. I am trying to watch my diet. I had lost about three pounds and was feeling great! So excited, well, this morning it wasn’t so good. I got on the scale as I do daily and what? No, it can’t be I gained and I am back up to where I started. Now my wonderful husband is saying to me, “You are exercising and you may be toning and your fat is turning into muscle and muscle weighs more.” I don’t want muscle I want skinny! I know he’s trying to help. God bless him.
As I was thinking about my discouragement this morning God began His usual conversation with me. What is your motive for being skinny? Well, I had to admit it. I really want people to say, “Oh, my you’ve lost weight don’t you look good.” It wasn’t really for health reasons (although that would be a good motive right now at my age) it was purely for myself and for all the compliments. I have gotten into a smaller pant size and still no compliments. I want people to envy me and my skinniness, but it’s not happening now. God reminded me that wasn’t a good motive and I needed to reevaluate why I wanted to lose weight. Ok, so I said, “Ok God it’s so I can be healthier.” I might have said it, but my heart wasn’t in that statement.
Neither are my diet habits. Thanksgiving came and I had the opportunity since it was just my husband and I to scale back on the food (since I am on a diet) and to be careful what I ate. Well, that didn’t happen we had enough food to feed an army and two different pies. My hubby left for the weekend so what did I do? I consumed the leftovers, ate the one pie and still did my exercise without any guilt about what I was eating.
God reminded me of so many things this morning. First, if I want to do something and it be a success I have to follow a strict regimen. I have to follow a pattern with my eating habits. I can’t eat healthy one day and blow it the next. Same thing goes with our faith. If we want to be a good Christian there are things we need to put into practice and maintain daily; prayer, spending time alone with God and reading the Bible are just a few things. We can’t practice being a good Christian on Sunday and then Monday go back to our old ways. It won’t work. If I want to lose weight I have to find a diet that works for me and stick to it. If I want to be a good Christian then I need to find those things that will work for me and stick to it. It might be reading a book from a good Christian author, or reading the Bible all the way through for a year and understanding the meaning, (not just read it), it might be an hour in prayer each day, or a yearly retreat. Whatever we decide the plan is for us to grow deeper with Christ we need to stick to it.
The second thing is my motive. My motive is all wrong. I shouldn’t care what others think of my outside appearance. One of the things I have thought about was my Mom. She had a weight problem most of her life. She struggled with losing weight. I think my Mom tried every diet she knew. I saw my Mom struggle all her life. Did I really want to follow her path? I need to reexamine my motives for losing weight. I need to get in the right mind set about why I want to lose weight and I don’t think having people envy me is the right motive. I really would like to lose weight for health reasons. I see people struggle with all kinds of diseases because they are overweight. Bones and joints hurt, diabetes comes and stays and high blood pressure are some of the reasons I really would like to lose some pounds. Same thing can be said about our faith. Do we want to be good Christians so others can look at us and go, “Wow how great is he?” Do we want others to envy our faith in God in a way that is negative instead of positive? Do we do those things in church so others can look at us instead of the task being performed? Why is it so important to be a good Christian to you? It’s not so much for me about being a “good Christian” as it is having a good relationship with God. Having a relationship with God should always be our motive. I am rethinking my motives in a lot of areas now.
The third thing God really hit me hard. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” God doesn’t care what I look like; if I am overweight or tall or short. What He cares most about is what my heart looks like. I can be skinny and tall and be everything I want to be, but if my heart isn’t right, if I don’t treat people like God wants me to treat people, then I am nothing. It’s true what they say, “It’s not what’s on the outside that counts but what is on the inside. It’s time to examine my heart not my weight.
Finally, God left me with some loving words. Psalm 139:13-17, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!” God reminded me He created me, He formed me and He loves me. He knew I would struggle with my height and weight, but He wanted me to know He loves me just the way I am. I don’t have to be different; I don’t have to try to please people, I just have to know He loves me and always will.
So as I finish this if you are struggling with weight issues like me examine your motives, find a plan that works for you and stick with it and know God loves you just as you are. If you need to lose weight for health reasons God already knows. Ask Him to help you find a plan and stick to it.
This can be applied to our faith as well. If you are struggling, look at your motives, find a plan that works for you and stick to it, but include God in your plan. Talk to Him about it, seek Him first and then everything will fall into place.
When I finish I will exercise today, watch what I eat and continue on, but it won’t be so others will envy me, it will be because I want to be healthy and live a long life; this time my heart is in that statement.
God likes me! God likes me just the way I am and He likes you too!
Dear God: I realize my motives for losing weight was all wrong. My desires were for selfish reasons. Thank you for teaching me and guiding me along this path. Help me to examine my motives in all those things I do. Help me to ask if I am doing those things for the right reason. Thank you for reminding me it’s all about who I am on the inside and not the outside. And thank you most for creating me and forming me into the person You wanted me to be. Help me to love that person and accept her as Your daughter. Help me as I lose weight not for selfish reasons, but to be healthier. Help me to grow deeper in my faith with You as I stick to my plan of having a deeper relationship with you. Amen