“For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he wills with good things.” Psalms 107:9
Recently, someone asked me if I was still on my weight loss journey. I was a little taken aback by the question, freezing for moment and unsure of how to respond. Questions raced through my mind. Did this person see me at my lowest and know that I keep hovering a few pounds more on the scale? Do I say that I still hope to lose 15-20 pounds more but have been in a stand still for the last eight months? Does the fact that I cannot give an increase in the number of pounds lost mean I am failure? I mumbled something about staying healthy and just being at a plateau, ending the conversation with a feeling of defeat.
Our society likes winners. We cheer for others when we see their victories, whether it is a job promotion, wedding, birth of a child, or weight loss. These big moments are celebrated with pomp and circumstance, glitter and balloons, and blogs posted about 170 pounds of potatoes. On the flip side, we support people during major losses: health crises, funerals, and divorces. Where we fall short is encouraging others when they are doing the everyday ordinary hard things: raising toddlers, sticking it out through marriage difficulties, or exercising on a regular basis. Even more disconcerting is how we view ourselves as we go through the nitty gritty of life. We feel like failures when we lose patience with our children, respond badly to our spouse, judge our friends, or eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting. These may be just isolated moments in our lives, but often we let these moments of negative internal messages define our self-worth.
I had the privilege to watch my sister run two marathons. Marathons are amazing events with runners of all different ages, sizes, and backgrounds. Unlike other athletic events, the majority of those who run are not in it to place first. Instead, most are either trying to run their personal best or just being able to cross the finish line. It is fascinating to hear some of their stories about how they almost gave up, usually between miles 15 and 22. There are usually two scenarios that spur them on. Sometimes, they hit a spot in the course where there are a lot of spectators cheering them on. This encouragement gives them the boost they need to continue. Other times, the runner him or herself will have a moment where a memory of something flashes in their mind, and this gives them the momentum to continue. Whether it is external or internal encouragement, this boost helps them cross the finish line.
When relating my healthy living journey to a marathon, I want to be clear that a certain number on the scale does not equal crossing the finish line. I have had an unhealthy relationship with food for over forty years. In no way do I think that losing a significant amount of weight is going to solve this problem. Rather, it might take the rest of my life of creating healthy habits and consistent pursuit of the Lord to develop a truly healthy relationship with food.
At the same time, I want to acknowledge that I feel like I am at mile twenty and need an internal boost to continue. I have decided to reread Full: Food, Jesus, And the Battle for Satisfaction and reexamine my relationship with food. Readers, you are welcome to join with me and be a part of the discussion in my book club. Click here to join. This is an opportunity for us as a community to gain some external encouragement in finding our full satisfaction in God. This is not just a book for those of us who struggle with food, but any area in our life that we find to be out of balance. Once you join the Facebook group, weekly, I will be covering some of the chapters, sharing some of my thoughts, and listening to others. I want to be clear this is not a diet plan, or how to lose twenty pounds in two months, or a list of foods you need to avoid. Instead, it will help you uncover your current relationship with food and draw you into a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Marathons are hard! Often people take a lot of time to professionally train for a marathon, only to run one single race in their lifetime. I am in this better health marathon for the rest of my life. I need to continue to find ways to educate myself about healthy living. I also need to be honest with myself about my food relationship. I hope you join me as I continue this journey.