Going Public

Thursday, April 26, 2012  ::  

On January 1st I weighed the most I've ever weighed, had just purchased the biggest pants I've ever owned, and felt the grossest I've ever felt. I knew how to hide all the extra I had accumulated, so some of you may be doubting my assessment. Or, some of you knew and never told me. We had a pact! You were supposed to tell me.

In the fall I went through a book with a group of people titled The Character of Leadership. Self-control was a character trait we read about and discussed. The author shared an example from his own life about his eating being out of control and to master it, he fasted regularly. As I read the short paragraph, I felt drenched in the heaviness of the Spirit's conviction. I knew that my lack of self-control manifested itself in my entitled attitude towards food.

I deserved a Diet Dr Pepper in the afternoon because I had spent so much time carpooling kids all over town.

I deserved french fries at Chick-fil-a because I worked hard in spinning.

I deserved ice cream at the end of the night because I had so many meetings during the day.

I deserved peanut M&Ms because the stress of Second Mile was heavy.

I deserved pasta, bread, refined whatever because I was a good cook and should get to eat what I made.

I deserved, I deserved, I deserved. 

Ironically, "I deserve" is one of my least favorite phrases in the English language and I was abusing it daily without even recognizing my growing, ugly self-entitlement.

Through the last two weeks of December I devised a plan. My heart's desire was to surrender my will and I asked God to increase the fruit of self-control in my life. Chad and I also planned to put one of our Christmas gifts to good work. A good friend of ours said, "Merry Christmas, chubbies! Here is Insanity for you!" Just kidding. She would never say that, but we had shared our desires for health with her and she bought the program for us as a very generous gift.

We exercised our butts off.  Literally. Jumping, kicking, squatting, sweating, crying. So, so hard. I never made it through an entire workout without taking significant breaks. But Chad and I went for it. But, to be honest, this wasn't my struggle. I've always enjoyed exercise. It was difficult to be sure, but not as much as the changes I was making in my eating.

As food was my idol of choice, breaking myself from its grip became painful. I threw a temper tantrum or two. I felt hungry. I was annoyed. I didn't want to measure out portions. I just wanted something salty and crunchy or gooey and sweet. Essentially I was struggling to break my will and focus where my dependence should have been. Stress very often sent me to the refrigerator and not to my knees in prayer.

The change had to be radical. This may not be true for some of you. Remember this is my story. Some of you may need faithful, gradual change. In my life gradual leads to attention deficit. I needed to go all out.

My mantra for many years has been "moderation is the key!" I've discovered this is such a lie! Saying I could enjoy something in moderation was another way of disguising my entitlement. I've since learned that wisdom is the key. Even in eating.

Moderation says, "It's ok to have a bowl of ice cream every night if it is a small bowl." Wisdom says, "Read the labels. One half cup of that premium choice ice cream is 325 calories."

Moderation says, "Diet soda doesn't have calories." Wisdom says, "Do I really need all of those fake ingredients running through my body?"

Moderation says, "Vegetables are good for you." Wisdom says, "Eat as many vegetables as you can possibly pack into your gut." True statement.

"If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5 

"Wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." James 3:17

It's the end of April. I've dropped a couple of sizes, my blood tests look wonderful, and I feel good. There are no before and after photos because the main point of this journey for me has not been about physical change as much as it has been about spiritual change. As I continue to pray for wisdom and self-control in the area of eating, I'm asking for real, lasting change.

"For the kingdom of heaven is not about eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."  Romans 14:17

Let me encourage you to think through your own life. Do you have any "I deserve" areas that may need the attention of the Holy Spirit? If you do, would you be willing to ask God for wisdom in dealing with it? How are you refining your character to be more like Christ?

This journey is a personal one. But, I'm hoping going public with parts of it may inspire you to look deeply into your heart and allow the Spirit to bring about change that impacts not just your body, but your spirit as well.

**I've written Part 2 to Going Public if you are interested in reading the practical side of this life change. Please click over to read it if you would like more of the story.

7 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I love you! Thank you for all your encouragement. I am so proud of you :)

Kelly

hannah singer said...

angel. way to go!
thanks for sharing.
i'd love it if we could chat about this. i need some accountability.

i'll email you:)

Ferial Trammell said...

Oh my goodness, did I ever need to read this post this week! I agree with Hannah, I'd love your accountability with this, as I'm going through much of the same thing. Angel, thank you SO much for your honest vulnerability. Thank you SO much for sharing YOUR story. Thanks for letting our good God use you. Love.

Alisa said...

Wisdom vs moderation is very interesting... reminds me of being a sharp point vs being a rounded circle.

I think a lot of my "I deserve" comes with my time. I've started thinking about this a lot recently as I have felt an increase of time spent with people. Eep!

Tessa Hogge said...

I can identify so much with a lot of what you said!! Thank you so much for sharing and reminding me that I'm not the only one with my types of struggles!! Good luck with the rest of your spiritual change journey :)

Jeff Bajenaru said...

Just wanted to let you know that...........you guys are bad asses!

I will apologize for the language (because that's what I do) but I felt it was necessary here. After reading this post and hearing about the self-control issues it was very inspiring...and I'm married to an
inspired RD! I really struggle with these issues as well and it was extremely motivating. Very proud of you both!

PS: Instead of before and after pics can I just get a pic of both of your smiling faces?

PPS: If Chad has any 6 or 4 or 2-pack pics that would also be cool.

Love and miss you and your family!

Jeff

Jess B said...

You really spoke to my heart with this post. Self control and food are my biggest challenges. I think I am the same as you in needing a big change - 'moderation' is just an excuse for me too. Thank you for the encouragement of knowing that it can be done!

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