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God Help Me Lose Weight
It was quite a conundrum – what would God give me? Which prayer would He answer?
The prayer for me to be thin… or the prayer for God to rule my heart?
Well, hang on. Let’s rewind a moment to the beginning…
Weight has been a problem for me the past decade. I just was not happy with how I looked. I’m healthy, but I used to be thin.
I used to be THIN, and wow, did this thought take over my mind and dominate my life.
When I gained some weight, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and depression. Food became a comfort for me. I really wasn’t happy that I had gained weight, but if you’ve had problems with depression, then you know that it’s hard to pull yourself out of the pit.
Every time I met someone new or went anywhere different, I would think, “I hate people seeing me like this – this is not how I look.” I would strive to go to the gym and workout, which I enjoyed, but I also enjoyed eating and I made slow progress. Without quick results, I then would become defeated and go back and forth on crash diets.
My heart and mind were in a very bad, self-defeating place. A place that didn’t love myself and certainly wasn’t capable of receiving God’s love for me.
I was all consumed with the thoughts of not being thin anymore. Actually, consumed is far too light of a word. Obsessed is more like it.
I need you to understand that all the while weight was ruling my life, I was also continuing to walk with God and follow Him. I was actually a seminary student at the time, and my life had been deeply devoted to God since I was 16. All of this was taking place well over 10 years after deciding to follow Him and working professionally as a Christian minister.
So, I knew the Bible and was studying it academically in preparation for my master’s degree. I also knew God personally, as well as I could at the time, at least. So of course, I was well aware of one of the most prominent aspects of Jesus’ ministry here on Earth – His miracles.
You know the ones where Jesus showed up and people were miraculously healed. Where the blind saw, the deaf heard and the dead were raised from the grave.
That’s all big time stuff, you know.
I thought, “Well if God could do all of that 2,000 years ago, surely He can do it now.”
So I prayed…and I prayed hard.
God, take this away from me. Help me to be thin again. Help me not to run to food. Take this away, I don’t want to live like this anymore.
And believe it or not, nothing happened.
As time passed, and I continued to pray and continued to try to lose weight without making progress, I started becoming very confused. “What is going on here? God, I thought you were a God of healing, the God of strength, the God of power, mercy, and compassion. Why are you not answering my prayer?!”
Okay, that might seem a little brash, but that’s how it really went down. I feel very comfortable in my relationship with God to be authentic, especially in light of David’s honest connection to God you see in many of the psalms he authored. I believe that God already knows what’s in our hearts – it’s us who sometimes do not feel comfortable or right in sharing it with Him.
But more than anything, I was simply confused.
I really thought if I had faith the size of a mustard seed then I could move mountains. I believed what Jesus taught and I believed it deeply.
So what happened?
Why wasn’t I miraculously healed? Why wasn’t the temptation for food removed from me?
Well, it goes back to the beginning of this post, because you see – I had two prayers. I was praying that God would be the center of my life while also praying that God would give me something I desired deeply, to be thin again and feel comfortable in my own body.
See, I thought it was by being thin I would again feel like my old self; feel comfortable going out in public, meeting people and just looking fabulous!
But, you know, an identity in being thin…well, it’s just not from God.
That’s an identity that I concocted, that I created to help me survive this world. Maybe you have heard of this before, but that kind of identity is called your “false-self.”
A false-self is an identity that you have created that is not rooted in God. Instead, the false-self is a sort of idol that takes the place of God in the center of our life.
I love what Thomas Merton states about the false-self:
“Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. This is the man that I want myself to be but who cannot exist because God does not know anything about him. And to be unknown of God is altogether too much privacy.”
Going back to my competing prayers – why would God give me an answer to a prayer that would reinforce and build up an identity that He did not create?
He wants much more for me than to be skinny. He wants me to be whole in Him and not to depend on circumstances to build my security.
God wasn’t going to give me over to my idol, thankfully! He was answering my prayer for Him to be the center of my life, not what I thought would make me happy.
He wants to heal all places of my being, not just surface issues, and weight problems are almost always a surface issue. They are an outward expression of something deeper that is wrong and broken. They represent something that desperately needs God’s mercy, power, and love.
Yes, God absolutely has the power to heal and do miraculous things and I do think it is quite miraculous what He is doing in me. He has been calling me from my false-self into my real identity in Him.
This has been a long process, but a process that is very much worth it.
Over the past couple of years, I have been experiencing God’s love in whole new ways. I’ve seen God more deeply profound and on a daily basis, not just “mountaintop times.”
I truly believe He has my best interest at heart and He loves me more than I will ever be able to receive or know.
I believe He is good and I believe He know’s what He is doing and I believe that His way is the best for me.
So where am I today with weight loss? Well, I’ll tell you this much, it’s not so emotional for me. I don’t feel torn or devastated about my size. I’m still not where I want to be, but I understand that I’m a work in progress and have grace on myself, the same grace God has shown me and gives abundantly.
I really have a clearer picture that weight loss is a call to self-control (a fruit of the Spirit) and discipline. It’s really a simple formula, but when my emotions are out of whack, it isn’t so simple.
That’s where I have to turn to God, take a deep breath, and say, “It’s going to be ok. You love me and I’m learning to love me.”
One day I’ll get where I want to be, and where I want to be is secure it God’s arms and love.
I really don’t say this with rose-color glasses on, I mean it from the bottom of my heart, because friends nothing, I mean nothing -not even your skinny jeans – is better than having your identity rooted and secure in God’s love for you.
That’s my pursuit, and as I walk further down that road. I know God will help me let go of unhealthy behaviors and turn to healthier choices, He already has.
Now, my question for myself is, “How can God become a comfort for me instead of food? How can I run to Him instead of a doughnut? And how can food be a nourishment for me and not an emotional tie?”
I believe this is exactly the type of thinking that God wants for me. He wants me to let go of my old way of living, of taking care of my problems and allow Him to be the One that takes care of me.
While I am not back to being as thin as I was in high school and college, I can tell you I am a person who is learning how deeply loved she is by God. I’m a person who is growing in her relationship with her Creator.
I’m the woman who is allowing God to touch the tenderness of her inner-most being with His wonderful love. All of this is so much better than my skinny jeans.
Thanks for listening to my story!
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