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
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.