It doesn’t happen often, but this morning as I puttered about my kitchen, I found myself drawing a big fat blank on what to talk about today. All that I can come up with has an unfortunate tendency towards the overly personal, and I think it compels me to quote Hamilton by way of an intro:
“Can I be real a second? For just a millisecond? Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?”
Heh, heh. Now that I have that song running through your head, we can move on (Earworms are a bit of an art form for me. My quail and husband do not seem to grasp that I give 84 times harder and meaner than I get. You come at me with the Lion King, I can come at you with a chewing gum jingle from 20 years ago that will make you want to put your head through a brick wall. I’ll never understand their recklessness in humming at me).
So, some of you here are aware that this Author has a before and after. Not just before like back in the day when my skin just looked like skin, but before as in 60 pounds ago. We’ve mentioned my chronic pain in passing (insert curses and epithets here), and for today, what you need to know is that my pain messes with everything and puts my body under constant stress. Bodies under stress don’t drop anything they think they might need — like weight. Basically, my pain has my body convinced that I am Tom Hanks on an island and my love handles are Wilson. With me so far? I have a long history of absolutely nothing working like it is supposed to.
A couple of years ago, a very beloved friend (we’ll call her Abiathar. Not familiar with the stories of David running from Saul? Scamper off and get caught up and then contemplate why if you are spending a lot of time hiding in caves, you need an Abiathar, and then you can imagine my friend) lost a bunch of weight doing a particular program, and she actually went on to become a coach. It has struck me that upon reaching the age of 30, most everyone I knew was finding their “thing” — I hadn’t, but I wanted to be a good friend, so I was systematically trying each and every thing. I burped up vitamins that were supposed to make my skin glow and my intestines sing, cleaned with rags that claimed I could take them from from raw chicken to a baby’s mouth (blech), and then this — what I shall (mostly) affectionately refer to as the Astronaut Diet, because man, this stuff was not food.
But it worked.
I couldn’t believe it. You do not exercise, you eat alarmingly few calories but you get enough of what your body needs, and I dropped from a size 16 to a size 8 (am I bragging? So sue me. I worked my tail off. Literally). And I kept it off for nearly 18 months until (hear the screechy horror movie violins? Yeah, me too) — I started exercising.
We’ve already discussed what workout I have been doing (ba-dum — ARCHIVES!!), so I won’t damage your psyches any further by expounding. Let’s just say, my eating has remained the same, I work out 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, and I learned today that I have jumped up 20 pounds in 3 months. My skinny jeans were sneering at me (have you read Booth Tarkington’s book, Penrod? It has some socially unacceptable moments, but having knowledge of it will help you understand why I say, with vehemence — the DASH DASH skinny jeans), and then the scale finished the job. And I am so hacked off.
Do you ever feel like you have done everything “right” and it just doesn’t matter? As I contemplate how to deal with my current discouragement, and how to never again become someone who struggles with their weight, I wonder whether the answer is to leap back into the life of an astronaut, or change the workouts, or stop working out since apparently that makes my body flip out, or stop weighing and just run around (ok, more of a tense shuffle the way these skinny jeans are fitting…) with my hands over my ears shouting, “LA LA LA LA!!!”
But it isn’t only weight management that makes us do this, is it? What about the sin we feel we cannot beat — that one that even though you are “doing all the right things”, continues to clobber you over and over again? You could download the app that controls the time you spend scrolling social media and still find yourself coveting someone else’s couch, vacation, or thigh gap. You could remove all the busyness in your life, refuse to travel during rush hour, and turn your home into a weird little oasis of so-called peace and tranquility and still have an anger problem. You could hedge yourself in, never overshare to people (I am obviously not trying this one), be always polite and never step on toes and still find yourself struggling to be hospitable, to be a friend. Wherever you go, there you are.
I don’t know what I need to do to feel svelte and happy in my skinny jeans again. But I know that I serve the sin-crushing Savior who was crushed for me, so that my sin would never reign over me. There is even less room for despair in my soul than there is room in my skinnies for my love handles (just to give you some sense of scale), because the Lord Jesus is King of all creation NOW and our sins, yours and mine, even the most besetting sins, have met their match. If you are in Christ, you cannot lose. Press on — press into Jesus for the strength to fight through the sin that so easily ensnares and the discouragement that has a chokehold on you today… even if it feels tighter than your pants. Jesus wins. Be happy.