Laying aside the weight...
So I've been told that I need to start doing this blogging thing. I did try a few years ago, but it never really caught on. So I'm going to do my best to put out a blog every Friday and get the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head on to "paper". So here it goes, my first blog of hopefully many...
I've lost 30 pounds this year on my way to hopefully entering 2017 a whole 40 pounds lighter than I did when I entered 2016. I feel better than I have in a very long time and my wife says I look a whole lot better too :). I haven't been on some magic diet, taking pills, or even killing myself with exercise. I've lost the weight the good old fashioned way of eating less calories and staying as active as I can. As an added layer of accountability, I also signed up and invested with an online program that basically set goals for my weight loss. If I didn't meet these goals I would lose the money that I invested but if I met the goal I would not only keep my money, but also come out with a little extra. It was a win-win scenario; lost weight and make money! To those around me, and even to myself, it seemed like I had everything together and was finally taking control of a weight issue that I had been plagued with since my freshman year of college.
Let me stop you right here. The above paragraph may seem like a prideful brag fest, but if you stick with me I'm hoping it will be clear that that was not my intention. I say all of this to paint a picture of what has been going on with me over the last year. I could look at all of this and be happy and content with my life. After all, isn't that why we lose weight; to look and feel better?
But I'm not. I'm not happy and content despite the weight loss. It turns out that losing weight doesn't make everything better, despite what every weight loss show will tell you. It became clear a couple weeks ago that losing weight wasn't solving the real issue in my life. It was the day of my last weigh in for the website. I knew it was a long shot to make my goal because I had not been as serious about calorie counting and exercise as I wanted to be. After practically eating nothing for two days straight, I stepped on the scale. Although in the morning I was still 1/2 lb. above my goal, by the afternoon I had met the goal! I reported my weight and then I did as most people do when celebrating...I ate. And ate. And ate. And ate. By the end of the night (of course it was football night, and what football night doesn't come with snacks?) I had stuffed myself till I was sure I was going to explode. After all, I deserved it for all the hard work I had done to meet my goal!
Then it happened. I laid down to go to sleep and I couldn't get comfortable at all. There was one reason why...I had eaten so much that my body was sick and in pain. Looking back, I don't think it was just my body though, I believe my soul was hurting that night too. As I lay there it became painfully (no pun intended...well let's face it, it was intended) obvious that despite my weight loss and improved health I still had a significant problem in my life that I hadn't faced. This problem I speak of is the seemingly unspoken of sin of gluttony.
We so often speak of so many sins that are pervasive in our churches and society such as adultery, homosexuality, gossip, immorality, cussing, blatant disrespect of God (blasphemy), pornography, and the list goes on and on. I have taught on these sins and counseled many people struggling with them. All the while I believe we have ignored and neglected gluttony. It is accepted and almost expected that we overindulge. I'm not only talking about food here, it can also be overindulgence in many other things, but I'll probably save that conversation for another blog. It was on that night two weeks ago as I laid in my bed that I realized that my weight problem was actually a sin problem. My body may have changed, but my heart hadn't.
I experienced the same cycle of sin that I had seen before in my life: temptation ("I'm really hungry and I want food"), justification ("I deserve to eat as much as I want"), temporary pleasure ("that food was delicious!), denial ("It's not really that bad, I didn't eat as much as I could have"), conviction ("I shouldn't have done that"), and finally sorrow and remorse ("I'm really sorry I ate that much, I feel terribly in so many ways, that was so stupid"). I had sinned against God because of my selfish heart!
I say all this to point out that in following this cycle of sin I came to my senses. I realized that changing my behavior didn't change my heart. I needed to be reminded of that. I embraced the forgiveness that I know Christ offers, and am fighting for daily repentance in my eating habits and in my heart attitude. From now on I'm not going to focus on losing the weight of pounds on my body (although I hope to see that continue) and rather focus on losing the weight of sin as I lean into Christ and all he has to offer. I know I wont be perfect, but I pray and hope that the power of Christ will continue to change my heart. In the end, the life Christ offers is so much better than any food or pleasure, lets not forget that!
Hebrews 12:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV):
12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.