Decisions, decisions, decisions...
Thursday, February 24, 2011
I wrote this post in response to some stuff going on in one of my teams earlier, but it had some insights in it I wanted to share here as well. For those of you on my team who have already read this, thank you for bearing with my long post. :)
The other day, I read an article on The DailySpark Blog about some books that have come out lately relating to weight loss and healthy living. These books seek to address an issue that has been ignored by the dieting community. That we know "how to", but we're lacking significantly is our "want to".
The fact is, we know too much. We know what we should eat, we know what to avoid, we know that we need to get off our lazy butts and get them moving. We know that drinking water is important. We may even know that in order to be successful at losing weight, we need a motivation, a reason to do so. The thing is, with all this head knowledge, we are still not able to succeed.
I know that for the past three years one of the things that I have found myself lacking was a motivation that would compel me to continue through the hard times (like right now for many of us) and endure. I thought that I had to have some significant reason like "I want to be alive to see my grandkids graduate from high school" or "I want to avoid the health issues that have been plaguing my family for (literally) generations". But the truth of the matter is, we really only need a simple reason.
Because God calls us to.
Before you go thinking that I'm getting all preachy on you, please hear me out.
Here's the deal: One of the things that most of the books out there will never address is the fact that each of us have a void in our lives, a void that some people try to fill with alcohol, possessions, drugs, pornography, etc... In our case, we just happen to choose to fill that void with food.
But those things will never truly satisfy our needs. They sometimes can even make us feel more empty inside. I'm sure you guys know what that's like--I know when I've gone on eating binges before that, while my stomach remains full, my heart just feels so empty.
And here's something I'm learning: Over the last three years I have done nothing but tried to see how God fit into MY weight loss plan. MY PLAN for MY LIFE. But I've been frustrated. I have felt like I've been running on a treadmill. Lots of movement, but never really getting anywhere. I never really stopped to consider that perhaps there may be another plan out there that would be better than what I had in mind.
The truth is, God is so much bigger than my plans. And what He has in store for me is so much bigger AND better than what I have in mind. Rather than praying about this journey and saying "Okay God, here's what I'm going to do...I'm going to eat a new vegetable this week. I'm going to try to workout 5 times this week...Okay?" I wouldn't wait long enough for an answer--I'd just head out on my merry little way, expecting Him to bless those ideas. I mean, surely He wants me to take care of my body (it says so in Scripture, right?) and wants me to lead a healthy lifestyle. Why shouldn't He bless me for doing something that He asks of me?
That just isn't how God operates, though. And thank the Lord (literally) for that. If it was left up to me and my own little devices, I'd still be running on that treadmill. But He wants to help me go places. He has His own plan, His own agenda in mind. And whatever it is, it will be good. Part of that involves something that I have been learning lately.
I need to take ownership of my choices. Good, bad, indifferent, they were my choices to make and I made them. I think that's why I love when Michelle May pointed out that we have three choices when it comes to eating when we aren't hungry:
1) We can eat anyway
2) We can try to distract ourselves
3) We can address the root of the issue
We can eat anyway...it is my choice to pick up that handful of M&M's and throw them into my mouth. It is my choice to go to McDonald's and get a burger and fries rahter than a salad with grilled chicken. It is even my choice to large-size my meal. It is my choice to keep a bag of tortilla chips at hand and continue to eat them while I'm watching TV. Whether I'm conscious of those decisions being made or not, they are still my choices.
I love that we have a safe place to come and talk about the choices we've made--the good, the bad and the ugly. I love the freedom that comes when we admit to having made those choices. But then comes the next step:
All right, so I've admitted they were my choices, but what do I do with that? Do I feel guilty about the choice that I've just made and let it send me into a downward spiral? Do I get angry with myself and frustrated because it never seems like I will get it right?
Or do I let it drive me to make a better choice the next time around?
There is a Bible verse that kept running through my head as I read through your posts about the choices that have been made the last few days and how they've made you feel. And I'll confess, I've been there, too, the last couple of days, so this is just as much for me as it is for you.
"THERE IS NOW NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS." ~ Romans 8:1
If nothing else sinks in tonight, let the truth of this verse go right to the depths of your hearts. We are not to be condemned for the choices we have made regarding food--God's grace through Jesus has covered those sins and washed them away. The thing is, there will always be another sack of M&M's that come floating through the house or donuts hanging out on the counter in the office kitchen, or any number of things that can throw us off track.
Knowing that, we can choose to look at those opportunities in two different ways:
1) Dread and fear that we will not be able to resist the temptation to give in.
2) An opportunity to redeem ourselves and make a better choice.
My hope and prayer for each of you (and myself included) is that we will lean towards option 2 and move forward boldly.