"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
January 29, 2014
My weight and size have long been a sore point with me, and not one that I like to talk about or discuss; but for the sake of this devotional I will open up about my struggles. I have tried dieting, exercising, praying, crying..... all to no avail. Over the years, those who have had success with a particular way of eating think that if everyone overweight does what they've done, then they'll also have success. But none of those things have worked for me. I do know that God created all of our bodies differently, and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for all; therefore, we all have to find what works for each of us personally.
I do remember that the summer I turned twelve is when I started gaining weight. I don't remember people saying much to me about it until my high school years; then that's when it started. I remember sitting in a classroom and having students sit behind me "discussing" what they'd do if they were overweight and how someone could lose weight if they really wanted to. I was the only fat kid sitting there, so I knew they were saying those things for my benefit. I got a Weight Watchers enrollment for a high school graduation present.
But then in the following years more things were said: "You'll never get married if you don't lose weight, because no man will want to marry someone as big as you." "You'd be pretty if you'd lose weight." "I'll pay you $50 if you'll lose 50 pounds." I got to the point where I started making jokes and putting myself down first, thinking if I said those things first (what I thought everyone was thinking and wanted to say anyway), then it wouldn't hurt me and they would think it didn't bother me. But I did care. All it ended up doing was make my self-confidence and self-perception plummet.
Over the years, I have worked hard at building my confidence back up and feeling good about myself. I have strived to not make negative comments about myself or self-criticizing jokes. I don't always succeed, but am much better than I used to be and on the road to success.
My doctor told me last year that I needed to lose weight, and gave me suggestions on what not to eat or drink. When I told her that I was already doing most of those things and listed off the changes I have made in my diet the past couple years, I could tell from her reaction that she didn't believe me. Her conclusion seemed to be that I was either being dishonest or exaggerating the amount and types of food I ate.
In the christian realm, when the topic of being overweight comes up, the conclusion that is always drawn is that it is due to gluttony. The scriptures are pointed out about the sin of gluttony and their god being their belly. After all, if you're overweight, then it must mean you overindulge in eating and must have the sin of being a glutton.
I have battled those thoughts and the guilt and shame of being a glutton and my belly being my god over my love for God. I have been made to feel guilt and remorse over my weight and have cried and prayed and begged God for help and forgiveness. So not only was I dealing with my weight, but was also dealing with the condemnation of being a glutton. That was a double whammy!
A couple years ago Jon and I decided that we needed to become healthier and eat better. I basically stopped frying any foods, I stopped making desserts for the two of us (about the only time I make anything sweet now is for family things), stopped buying junk food, and we both cut down on the amount of pop we drank. I haven't lost a pound!
The first of this year we decided to give up all desserts, pop, and junk food for 30 days. Jon has lost 4-5 pounds -- I've lost nothing.
Honestly, I generally only eat two meals a day. I normally don't snack between meals, unless it's fruit or a cracker. I don't buy the big gulp drinks or super-size my meals when I eat out. I don't eat between supper and bed time. I don't necessarily have an exercise routine, but do try to stay moving and active as much as possible. I very rarely have second helpings. Occasionally I will overeat (especially if it's a family gathering where there's lots of good food), but overall not as a general principle. I have never been a binge eater. Yet I stay 100 pounds overweight!!
Recently, something was said about the sin of gluttony. I began to pray about this and really listening to God. Over and over again, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to my heart and said, "You are NOT a glutton!" Are you sure -- after all I'm overweight?!? "You are NOT a glutton!" Wow!!! That was an amazing revelation for me!
I looked up the definition of a glutton and found 2-3 different dictionary definitions: A person who is excessively fond of or always eager for something. An excessively greedy eater. A person who eats or consumes immoderate amounts of food and drink. A person devoted to eating and drinking to excess; a greedy person. A person who has a voracious appetite.
I discovered that being overweight does not necessarily equate being a glutton. I have heard that theory for so many years that I had never taken the time to really study and find out what the definition of gluttony was. I assumed that because I had excess weight, and knowing the scriptures speak of gluttony, and hearing the teaching over and over again that being overweight means not being able to control your appetite - which equals having the sin of being a glutton.... then I must be guilty of that particular sin.
I cannot tell you how freeing this revelation has been to me!! John 8:32 says, "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." It feels as if a weight has been lifted from off my shoulders. No more guilt, no more shame, no more condemnation for carrying around the load of a sin that I wasn't even guilty of! It's indescribable the peace and freedom I now feel. Yes, I still have a weight issue; but it's not due to the sin of gluttony or allowing my belly to be my god.
Since this revelation, I have been praying that God would reveal to me what the weight issue is caused by and how to deal with it. I've had my thyroid checked in the past and it's normal. A few days ago I have had a book recommended and am in the process of reading and studying it. I can't say with certainty that this is my answer, but I feel hope. If it works and is the underlying cause for my weight problems, then that will be a future newsletter!
A rather lengthy story to comes to a point: Don't allow others to make you feel guilty of committing a sin that you're not guilty of committing. If it really is an issue in your life and you are striving to obey God, then the Holy Spirit will reveal sins that need to be repented of. Allow God to be your judge, not the opinion of others. But too often the voice of others tends to be louder than that voice of God speaking to our heart. We will listen to what someone else is saying, especially when they have a scripture to back up their words, and immediately allow guilt and condemnation to fill our mind. I'm not saying that God doesn't speak through others at times; but He will also speak the same to our hearts, when we take the time to stop and listen.
We can become so focused on the wrong thing that we fail to to search for truth. I was convinced that I must be an overweight glutton, so spent my time and energy trying to change my habits and repenting for that particular sin. But that hasn't been my problem. Now that I know the truth, I can get my eyes off that particular thought and start praying and searching for the underlying cause of my weight. I was being convicted by the opinion of others instead of listening to the Holy Spirit. When we pray, God will reveal truth to us, regardless of what others say or think or what their opinion of us or our situation may be.
Also, be careful when judging others of a sin by what your eyes see. There may be some who will look at my size and judge me as being a glutton; but they don't know the true story. Matthew 7:1 is a scripture that we've all heard, and likely have quoted: "Judge not, that you be not judged." That is often easier said than done! Sometimes it seems as if the evidence is right before our eyes and that we are making a proper judgement; but unless we take the time to really know the heart of a person or situation, then we likely will make an error in our analysis of the truth.
Matthew 7:2-3 (NLT) continues, "For you will be treated (judged) as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye, when you have a log in your own?"
I know that I need to be more careful of my judgement of others and think about what I say, before I say it.... not afterwards! For as these verses say, the standard I use in my judging of someone else is the same standard that others will use in judging me. I want to be fair and honest in my treatment of others and love them as God loves. I have work to do to get to that point, but have taken steps toward the right direction!
Not only can peer pressure convict people falsely, but it can also absolve people falsely. Our mass media seems to be pushing to make several sins seem normal, acceptable, and even respectable. Many christians have gotten duped into living in a sinful lifestyle because they've been told so many times that it isn't really sin if God made you like that. But that argument could be used to absolve any sin.
If the Bible says it's a sin, even if others try to convince you otherwise, it's still a sin, even if someone you like does it; even if someone on TV does it.
But this only applies to yourself. It is up to the Holy Spirit to convict others.
Cheesy Potato and Ham Soup
6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped
6-8 carrots, chopped
1/2-1 lb. Ham, small cubes or shredded
4 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 box Velveeta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
In large soup pan put potatoes and vegetables; cover with water and cook until soft. Add (cooked) ham and Velveeta. Fill remaining pot with chicken broth. Salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer until Velveeta is melted. Ad or decrease ingredients to pot size. Reheats well and leftovers are delicious.
My 4-year old nephew and his mama were playing David and Goliath recently, with mama playing the part of Goliath. When "David" killed "Goliath", she fell on the floor and was somewhat surprised when her son tried to saw her head off with his Black and Decker toy saw! Despite his creativity, his Mama has banned that story from being re-enacted for a while!!
God has a reason for allowing things to happen.
We may never understand His wisdom, but we simply have to trust His will. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon