This is the Joyvotion I sent out this week. If you want to get a free Joyvotion in your
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“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Everyone has a vice, a cross to bear, a bad habit or an addiction. Call it what you may, each one of us has something that we can overdo or pervert in order to “feel good.” Shopping too much, being stingy with money, watching too much TV, drinking to excess, cussing like a sailor, gossiping and even spending way too many hours on the internet. Everyone has something.
I believe just as everyone has a bent towards a talent or a type of personality, so do each of us have a bent toward a sin. If you know me well, you know mine is overeating or eating the wrong kinds of food. I remember clearly standing in a Chinese restaurant at age 23, having just had my heart broken, and it occurring to me that I could eat two entrees. At the time I was of average weight and a little big boned. Food covered my pain and I discovered that eating more was a wonderful, albeit temporary fix.
At 47, I am obese. I’m not terribly insecure about it, but I, like much of the female population, have tried all sorts of diets. I probably know more about nutrition than the average woman and I’ve probably lost more than a thousand pounds in the past 20 years. Of course, those pounds always come running back, bringing friends.
I don’t write much about this battle because it is the one area of my life in which I have felt both unsuccessful and stubbornly dependent. Whenever someone has brought to my attention a weight loss plan that they know will work for me, I’ve nodded and smiled and expressed interest. Then I went for ice cream. :0)
But a couple weeks ago, I was given a diagnosis for diabetes. My doctor tried and successfully scared me, promising me that I will die early if I don’t change.
My mother, an incredible woman named Sally Ann, died of lung cancer before she met John or Noah. She missed out on so much of my life. She smoked for 40 years until her death.
If I can help it, I want to dance with my son at his wedding and hold his baby.
Ergo, I must change. Philippians 4:13 is a verse I memorized when I was a teenager, and one that I have said so often I don’t appreciate the power behind it. Lately, I have.
I can do all things through Christ. I can. But it is a painful journey.
Thank God I have friends who are helping me. I went to a reception last weekend that boasted a table full of sweets. Beforehand, I called my friend Kay and she prayed for me over the phone. My sister Karen has inspired me with her own weight loss victories. Many have emailed me and encouraged me with stories of others with diabetes that are living healthy lives. Many have promised to pray for me.
And then there’s Sue. I got the diagnosis on Friday and went to church on Sunday, a little shell shocked. I saw her after service at which point she informed me she’d just had a “vision” of me during church. She said she saw me completely healthy and having won the battle of the bulge, I was telling others about transformation. I hadn’t told her about the diabetes.
Sue gave me a cup of her faith. She believes I can do this. I don’t trust myself. As I said, I’ve begun countless diets and always petered out while fattening up. But trust is built with time and consistency. So if I am consistent over a period of time, I will begin to trust myself. In the meantime, I’ve borrowed Sue’s faith.
And lastly, there’s Donna. When I told her about the diabetes, she encouraged me and explained how she, too, had to change the way she ate due to another condition. I told her it was so difficult. She nailed it on the head when she told me, “It’s grief, Robbie. You have to let yourself grieve.”
Exactly. Donna knew exactly how I felt when I went to King Soopers the other night to get an avocado and some lettuce. I picked them up, but instead of heading to the cash register, my feet took me to the frozen food section. I stopped in front of the case with the Pepperidge Farm coconut cakes, my all time favorite dessert. I stood there, gazing it as if it were the Mona Lisa or a check for a bazillion dollars. I began to talk to myself with the usual justifications.
One piece will not hurt me, really.
I can have that and then REALLY start on Monday.
I’ll share it with John and Noah. (This one was a lie, because they don’t like this cake.)
I need to be good to myself. (Using cake? Hmmm.)
I stood there for a good 10 minutes, engrossed in a painful battle. I grieved.
Change hurts. Sometimes, the pain is excruciating. I prayed and asked God for His strength to not buy the cake. I quoted Philippians 4:13.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with coconut cake. I betcha God created it just for our pleasure, a gift to all of His coconut loving kids. But I have taken this sweet present and perverted it into a way of escaping feeling my stuff and dealing with me. Substituting it for dependence on God. I’ll eat coconut cake again, some day. One little piece, maybe. But right now, it is not a part of my plan to change and make sure I see my first grandbaby.
I stood in that frozen food aisle and cried. Then I looked around, saw that no one was there and I pointed at that cake and said aloud, “You are going to kill me.”
And then I left.
We all have something. Maybe we have those vices, habits, or addictions so we can learn to lean on God fully. I so hope this encourages you to lean on Him. I’m not having a pity party, I’m in a battle. But I’m not alone and neither are you. In Him, in His strength, we can say no to death and yes to life. We can.