My name is Gretchen – I am overweight. The harshness that those words represent to me make me want to back space them all away. But since this is one of the biggest areas I plan on working on this summer, I feel that by being vulnerable, I can perhaps be an encouragement to someone else who is feeling the same nudge to “fix” that area of life.
I have struggled with this issue my whole life. While I do not think others see me this way, I definitely see myself as a fat person. I can get hung up on it internally, and I cannot recall a day when the thought of needing to lose weight has not crossed my mind. That is not what I am dwelling on all of the time by any means, but it definitely makes an impact on my decisions.
In the book of John chapter 5, Jesus approaches a pool where many sick and invalid people were waiting.
5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
At first, this question almost seems to be insulting. How could his answer be anything but “YES!” But as someone who has continued to struggle with the same thing for almost that long (at least 28 years anyway), I think my response would be “Maybe.” The man’s response to Jesus mirrors often imitates mine – excuses.
7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”
I can also be very good at justifying my overindulgent choices. They brought that treat for me. The ice cream I really like is on sale. It’s that time of the month. I didn’t get enough sleep – I think I need chocolate for breakfast. I don’t want to put away the leftovers – may as well just finish what’s left.
For the lame man one other reason why his response was not an instantaneous “yes” might have been that being crippled was all the he had known for so long. He was taken care at the pool – he had no need to move on. I get that. I am apprehensive about starting this process as much for fear of success as fear of failure. I have not know anything else for so long – could I handle maintenance? I don’t want to buy all new clothes. I do not want to change.
Possibly there were even legitimate reasons for him not to push forward. I know that for me I have not been able to deal with this area yet. Having four kids is six kids was tough on my body – especially because of the nausea that I had all throughout my pregnancies which did limit my ability to eat healthy and be active. I also have had a lot intense commitments in my life the past several years that have been good yet stressful. They have taken up a lot of my time. I know that I have not had the time or the strength to deal with this yet.
Pushing all of that aside, I have to say there is one reason I am overweight – at different points I have given my body excess fuel. I have eaten the wrong types and wrong amounts of food. As no one forced multiple brownies down my throat, I have to say that I am the one to blame. When I am stressed out, I do turn to food for comfort. I am not a “eat a whole bag of chips or box of cookies in one sitting” kind of girl. But I am definitely a “I think I need an extra pop today,” “I do not feel like or have time to exercise,” and “I think I need 3 cookies instead of one” kind of girl. Those choices have added up to hurt my body.
Jesus’ response to the man was costly. 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk. He did not just point at the man and heal him – He required action. The man had to take the first step. And he did!!!!!! 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. The man took Jesus at His Word – that transformation was possible. I do believe that God can take away this struggle for me, but I do not think that it will be an easy process. Just as we can see later on in chapter 5 that life was a bit more complicated for the man once he could walk around, I do know that although the result will be good, change is always challenging.
The biggest adjustment that I need to make – I need to learn to turn to God when I am feeling overwhelmed rather than chocolate. Not that Hershey’s will be banished from my house, but it needs to have its proper place. Occasional nourishment, not a handful at a time. Besides needing to retrain my mind, I need to retrain my body to crave nutritious food prepared well, as opposed to counting onion rings as a serving of vegetables every Sunday. Moderation will be the key. My goal is to be healthier. If I learn to eat less/better and exercise more, I think that the weight loss will follow.
One of the tools that I had planned on using as encouragement and to remind me that I need to switch my focus from food to God is a book by Lysa Terkhuerst. I was excited to find out that First Free will be offering her book, Made to Crave, as a summer morning Bible Study coming up. I know that most of all, I need the biblical encouragement and support from other women who have some of the same issues that I do. Here are the details.
Made to Crave, Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, not Food study by Lysa TerKeurst will begin at First Free in June.. This 6 week study (5 days of homework) will probably meet on Tuesday mornings. Childcare may be available for a fee.. Please let Jody Klitzke know of your interest by calling/ texting her at 402-217-5818 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I definitely am hoping that being a part of the study will work for me. If this is an area that you also struggle with, I have thought about forming a mini accountability/encouragement group. My goal is not to push a certain program or diet (cavemen seeking raw food need not apply 🙂 ) But my hope would be to have several of us e-mailing verses back and forth. So, if this would be encouraging to you, please e-mail email@example.com Only moms in the group will see the list – we may even start our own private Facebook page if there is enough interest.
Also I see this group as a place to be honest. If I type to you that I really want to eat a bunch of cookie dough, I will probably not follow through with that once I see how ridiculous that idea looks. The one thing I have learned about struggling with my weight is that I do not do well with secrets – if I start hiding the fact that I am eating candy and sneaking bites, that is when I begin to experience failure at making the right food choices. I have hid behind baggy clothes for too long – I want to experience freedom to be who Christ has called me to be and not be stuck in defeat.
One last thing, I want to be very clear on this. God does not love skinny people more. But I do feel that by taking charge of this area, we will not be bogged down and could be able to serve Him easier. I do not want to be weighted down with health struggles – I do not want my times with my family to be limited by my size. I have been blessed with family and friends who love me unconditionally no matter my size. If you do not have that same gift, please know that even if you have felt the sting of rejections from others, God’s love for you cannot change. This is a link to a song that God has used often to minister to my heart.one of my absolutely favorite songs that reminds me just how God sees me. (“You Are More” by Tenth Avenue North).
This is not about where you’ve been
But where your brokenness brings you to
This is not about what you feel
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you new.