Monday, January 14, 2013

Your Struggle Counts

Have you ever gone on a diet and lost a good bunch of weight, only to gain it back again?  And did you then get back on the diet and do it all over again, making yourself a repeat offender?

Congratulations.  I mean it.  What a great effort you’ve made.

We’re quick to congratulate people who have made a mistake, blown it, sinned, or fallen, but who have then straightened up and gotten going again.  “Hooray for you!” we might say.  But for those who have committed the seemingly unpardonable—re-gaining pounds previously lost—well, we’re not so supportive.  “You did it AGAIN?”  It’s almost like they’ve sinned and should go into seclusion.  We only let them give their testimony if they’re succeeding right now, not if they’re failing.  Not if they’re struggling.  We’ve been induced to want heroes, not fellow strugglers.  We’re interested if God has gotten you OVER IT, but not so much if God is with you IN IT.  And in the case of excess poundage, we know if you’re over it or not.

Look, we all know we’re supposed to be in good shape.  We all know we’re supposed to eat smart, avoid fatty and sugary foods, drink lots of water (NO DIET DRINKS!) and get 30 minutes of exercise every day.  EVERY DAY.  But just because we major on this doesn’t mean we’re fit for the major.  Lots of us don’t do well with commitments.  When failure comes, so does judgment, which is often silent, but painful, nevertheless.

And then there’s the well-meaning bunch who say, “To hell with diets!  Just eat what you want and be who you are!”  Well, that’s nice for some people.  But when being who you are winds up recognizably too big (and that bothers you), well, the pressure to slim down is pretty intense.  And who gets more advice, sought or not, than people who are overweight?  My goodness, it’s like they’ve got invisible signs on their heads reading, “I’m out of control. Tell me what to do!”

So I say “Congratulations!” to those who, while feeling the suggested shame of ill-fitting clothing (Horrors!), take a deep breath and return to this world’s crowned effort to look good.  You endure a torture that isn’t often recognized.  I’m not offering any advice today, either; I’m simply applauding your effort.  You must know that, according to God, you’re way better than how you do with diets, so working on one is going to be a challenge to that truth.  Your struggle counts.

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