It’s just a number. Maybe an important date. Birthday. Anniversary. Number of years married. Part of a phone number. Part of an address.
For me, this morning, this is the number of pounds I have lost since January 1st, 2015.
I did the happy dance and rushed to share the victorious news with my husband. I smiled and pranced in front of the mirror for a few moments and whispered “Thank you Jesus” several times.
As it really sunk in, I started thinking back.
Back to when the weight started piling on.
Back to when I spent hours and hours, alone during the day, sitting on my couch, eating and watching TV.
Back to when I wore my favorite red hoodie every day, not because it was my favorite red hoodie, because I was covering up. Hiding from the world.
Back to that moment when I went to put on a pair of jeans, and realized, not even my “big” jeans would fit anymore. I was literally without any pants to wear. And I sobbed. And my poor husband wanted to help, and couldn’t, because I was in this foggy, lonely place.
Back to smiling and saying “I’m fine” when people asked, putting on the front, and withdrawing and emo-eating at home.
I couldn’t find a way out.
So I finally called my doctor.
Made the appointment.
Made the confession.
I wanted my doctor to tell me I had a medical imbalance that just needed a little tweaking and everything would go back to being “right”. That wasn’t the case.
I remember telling my doctor (who is also a Christian), I felt like a failure as a believer. How can I be saved if I’m struggling with depression? How can I be a believer and be depressed when the hope and joy of Christ is supposed to be in me?
This 22 pounds reflects a long journey of hurt and healing.
I have had beautiful, sweet, wonderful victories.
I’ve also had some hard trials.
I’m not sure what the Lord was thinking, however, the year He started helping me process and work through my depression was also the hardest year of my life with unexpected and unforeseen trials that crushed my heart.
And in 2016, they didn’t magically go away.
There are several lessons I’m learning. Some spiritual. Some physical.
Like it’s OK to ask for help. Because it’s in my weakness Christ can be made strong. So my doctor helped me come up with a plan to dig out of the depression.
I also learned hard truths about weight loss. Like Calories matter. Exercise matters.
If you want to lose weight and help out your stress levels/mood, but you don’t want to count calories, watch your nutrition, and exercise, your odds of long term success are pretty low. Doing one without the other is not doing the full equation. And not doing the full equation means not getting the full results.
Self – control. It’s a fruit of the spirit. It applies here big time.
I learned it’s OK to take care of my health. Even when life is hard.
It’s not selfish to protect myself from depression. To protect my body from harm by exercising and eating better, and setting aside time to accomplish just that.
It does take discipline. It may even take sacrifice, like not watching TV or sitting and playing with yarn. And it absolutely takes a whole lot of prayer.
And then there is the lesson I learned last Sunday.
Sunday was one of those hard days.
Something inside of me broke. Hurt burned red with anger and burned a long time.
So Sunday, I did something I hadn’t done in MONTHS.
I emo-eated. All. Day.
In addition to the hurt/anger brewing inside of me, I felt “blergh” all day. This sinfulness of idolatry (I know you don’t want to hear it, I didn’t want to hear it either, but it’s the truth. Comfort eating. Emo-eating. Whatever you want to call it Christian, it’s idolatry. And if you spend any time in God’s Word, you know how He feels about that) broke my relationship with my Savior so I couldn’t even pray. I was trapped. All day.
That night I suffered the WORST case of heart-burn ever.
So symbolic of what idolatry does to my heart.
I could have allowed this day of sinfulness and failure to define me.
I could have succumbed to the emotions of failure and lived there.
That’s what my old-self did. Strive for perfection, fall, wallow in failure.
What kept coming to my mind over and over again was these words of the Old Testament I’ve been reading this year. I’m currently in 2 Kings.
There is a pattern here I see.
So and so was king and walked with the LORD.
You read about so and so’s life and see how he ended up sinning at some point against the LORD. However, his identity of “and walked with the LORD” is not stripped from him.
You also read about so and so’s who did not walk with the LORD and did not TURN AWAY from any of the sins.
Isn’t this the same message that Moses preached over and over? The Israelites commit idolatry, yet every time they TURNED AWAY from it, God hears their cries and has compassion on them? Isn’t this the message John the Baptist preaches? Repent = Turn away? The message of Jesus Christ?
I thought freedom was never emo-eating again.
Jesus showed me a different freedom.
The freedom of confessing to Him my idolatry,
turning away from it,
and being washed in His mercies, His compassions, His Grace.
Every week on Thursday I have my weigh in day. I ask myself a list of questions I took from Lysa TerKeurst’s book Made to Crave before I step on the scale.
One is Before the scale, did I feel I had a successful, God-pleasing week? My answer today was “not perfect, instead I had a week that reminded me of the goodness of God’s grace and the faithfulness of my Father Abba. it was a reminder I needed to keep me from falling into my pattern of perfection and self reliance.”
22 pounds. Some will just see it as the amount of weight I’ve lost.
I see it as all I have gained.