“Sanctify them by truth: your word is truth” John 17:17

A few years ago, a toddler under my care snuck a piece of candy, hiding in the kitchen to devour the stolen treasure.  I came into the room and saw chocolate drool dripping down his face, while one fist was clenched tightly behind his back.  I spoke to him softly, asking what he had been doing.  He replied “Miss Ferry (his affectionate nickname for me), I’m just sitting here, doing nothing!”  I asked him what was on his face, and again he denied anything as he attempted to wipe away the smear.  I then asked to see his hand, he quickly dropped the foil wrapper to the floor and showed me his empty hand.  I reached behind him and picked up the wrapper, confronting him with the truth.  Even with all of the evidence before him, he still attempted to deny that he had taken the piece of candy.  After a timeout, he approached me and sorrowfully admitted what I had recognized all along.

We all hear that story and giggle at the toddler’s feeble attempt to avoid the truth.  If we were sitting around a table, I am sure we could all share similar stories of different children in different places.  Children have a knack for avoiding obvious truths despite chocolate smears, broken glass or crying siblings.  We laugh at these stories and marvel at their senselessness.  Yet, as a sophisticated and supposedly wise adult, I too have made equally feeble attempts to avoid the truth, denying to myself facts that I don’t want to face, and appearing just as foolish!

I could’ve started today’s blog telling you that I am down 138 lbs., my lowest in this journey.  I could go on to tell you that I am only 6 lbs. away from my lowest weight ever as an adult.  I could also tell you that I finally moved out of the morbidly obese category that has plagued me for decades.  All of this would be true, and if I continued to list more non-scale victories, I would get a lot of accolades, puffing out my chest in pride, allowing me to continue my journey without introspection.

However, these victories don’t reflect all of the truth about this journey.  Sometimes, I’m still the toddler with the chocolate-smeared face hiding the candy wrapper behind my back.  Today’s scale victory can be seen as an accomplishment because it’s a two-lb. loss from my previously recorded weight.  What it doesn’t tell you is that since November, I have yo-yoed, going up as much as ten pounds.  Furthermore, the last thirty pounds lost have been slower than I would prefer, leaving me occasionally frustrated.

Picture of me with Hershey Chocolate smears!

I could continue to be the toddler, dropping the wrapper on the floor, if I chose to rely on some research I found about holiday weight gain.  According to the research, the concept of holiday weight gain is somewhat false.  Typically, the average person gains 1-2 lbs. during the holidays.  Often, our higher numbers indicate that we are consuming foods with higher amounts of sugar and starch, leading to water retention and bloating.  We also tend to sleep less during the holidays, which can also increase our scale numbers.  I could also attribute the weight gain to the rheumatoid arthritis inflammation that was evident in my body during the holidays, probably due to an increased sugar intake.

These facts may soothe my battered ego, erasing the scale reading from my memory and allowing me to move into January with renewed hope and a fresh start.  Yet, have I really learned anything about myself if I just hide behind research and my RA condition?  Am I really being honest with myself about my relationship with food?  Or am I just trying to find erroneous facts to support my cozy little scenario so I don’t have to be honest?

This denial reminds me of the Biblical story of Rachel stealing her father’s household idols and hiding them in her tent.  Rachel was justifiably upset that she was leaving behind her father and any inheritance due her.  In researching this text, we have no definitive answers as to why she took the idols.  Is it possible that maybe Rachel was not trusting God for her future?  Rachel’s father searched her tent, but because she had so cleverly hidden the idols, he left humiliated because of his apparently false accusation.  Until this year, I had always thought that Rachel had shrewdly gotten away with her sin without obvious consequence.  However, in rereading this passage, a portion of this story jumped out at me.  Before the search began, Jacob had declared in Genesis 31:32, “With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live.”  It’s interesting that shortly after this incident, we find that Rachel dies after giving birth to her second child.  Is it possible that her death was related to the stolen idols? This child should have been a blessing confirming that God had heard her earlier pleas.  She had begged her husband to give her more children, not just a single child.  But upon her death, rather than blessing her newborn son, she names him, Benoni, which means “son of my sorrow”.

The hidden idols may have been a symptom of a deeper problem in Rachel’s life.  She wasn’t just hiding idols, she wasn’t trusting God to provide properly for her life.  She trusted her own abilities and schemed to protect her life in a way that may have led to her death!

If I relate Rachel’s deeper issues to my weight struggles, not only in these last two months, but for all of my adult life, I instantly feel like my toe has been stubbed, and I cry out, “Ouch!”  I, too, have hidden behind my extra poundage to avoid trusting God completely in my life.  I have tried to lose weight by my own self-discipline and sought validation from external sources.  I have used pizza, burgers and bagels, which never truly satisfy, to fill my emptiness, instead of relying on God, who always satisfies.  I have made excuses for my weight issues, instead of acknowledging that this was an area where God was desperately trying to get my attention.  I honestly believe if I had continued on the path I was on 138 lbs. ago, like Rachel, I would have also died an early death due to subsequent health issues, never allowing God to sanctify me the way He wanted to by drawing me into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him.

These pounds signify more than just numbers and categories; they represent a journey of self-discovery between me and God.  It’s rooting out the causes of my excessive overeating since childhood, stuffing food into my mouth as a way to self-medicate, numbing myself to the pain.  It’s looking at a holiday weight gain and being honest with myself and God about what areas I still need to work on.  I love what Asheritah Ciucicu says in her book, “Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction”: “victory comes as part of a journey made of small daily steps toward God.”

I would like to say that my thoughts are original, but I am not that wise or self-aware.  A lot of these revelations I have learned through reading the Bible and applying some of Mrs. Ciuciu’s thoughts.  Again, I echo what she says: “The goal of overcoming food fixation is not to lose weight-it is to bring glory to God through our transformation.”  Not only do I look like a different person from 138 lbs. ago, I am a different person on the inside, as well, prayerfully reflecting more of Jesus, daily!

2 Comments

  1. Major congrats, yes on the loss of 138 pounds, but more importantly, on being vulnerable before The Lord. For letting your successes glorify God and your failures to cause you to run to Him to sanctify you and fill you up with the riches of His glory.
    Love you friend!

    Like

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