Good vs. bad
Sunday, April 03, 2011
I had some thoughts while reading in my Bible Friday night and thought I would share them here.
I was reading Psalm 73 and I was reminded of something. In this passage, the author speaks of how being "good" or righteous can be very discouraging at times. Especially when you see people who are not "as good" who seem to be rather successful.
In terms of this journey that I'm on "being good" could be interpreted as eating mindfully, exercising regularly, tracking my food, tracking my exercise, etc...But, truth be told, I've been at this for (nearly) 3 years now (end of April is my 3-year Sparkiversary) and it still feels like more of a burden than a good, freeing, lifestyle.
There's food to track, things to consider when choosing my food, calories in versus calories out, counting carbs, watching sodium levels, drinking water instead of drinking soda (which actually hasn't been too much of a problem), getting up and exercising when I would much rather be sleeping or (in the evenings) watching TV, on and on and on...
My brain starts to get overwhelmed just typing out that list.
All of these things are supposed to make for a "good" lifestyle. I catch myself telling myself that when I do these things and everything seems to be in line, I'm "being good". And when I fall outside of the lines set by these standards I'm "bad".
The discouraging thing is that there are people in my life who do not do these things and yet they seem to be more successful than I do.
In the Psalm that I referred to earlier, the Psalmist began focusing on the rewards that God had promised them regarding the wicked--that they would be wiped out and those that were righteous would be rewarded.
Looking at others causes me to lose sight of the reasons why I need (and choose) to pursue this lifestyle. I'm learning that this journey is very much about delayed gratification and not at all about the instant rewards. To be sure, there are some rewards that can be instant--getting to enjoy my favorite fruits, for instance. Or immediate (occasional) weight loss. But they are only meant to encourage me to press on to the larger reward.
It's hard not to think of that ultimate reward as being a thinner, healthier me. But, I don't think that is really what God wants for me in this journey. He wants so much more for me than that. He wants me to be satisified with Himself and Himself alone. And part of that means acceptance of who He made me to be.
Not grudging acceptance, either. Full-fledged, arms-wide-open, where-have-you-been-all-my-lif
This kind of acceptance is not the kind that is resigned and defeated--thinking that I will never get out of the pit that I have been in for so long. This kind of acceptance means taking a real look at myself, at my life and seeing it for what it is (warts and all), taking it, and then asking "All right, what can we do with this?"
Seth (our high school director at church) pointed out today that we are very much a society that gravitates toward the idea that success comes from God when we are doing things right--when He wants to bless us. And difficulties arise only because of Satan being cruel. But the thing is, some times God uses those hard times--those difficult situations (like losing a job, a loved one, financial difficulty, or health problems) are sometimes God's most powerful way to bless us. It is through those times that we seek HIm out and choose to draw near. And that is when we are free to be truly blessed.
It takes some twisted thinking to see that this journey that I am on, the difficulty I have had with losing weight is meant to be a blessing rather than a curse. It is through this journey that God will make (and has already made) me stronger, make my faith stronger, and ultimately bring Himself glory.
I just need to bear that in mind, though, when I don't see myself being "successful".