“Why don’t you just do something about it?”
Ever wonder why some people have crazy awesome transformation stories and some people, well, they just don’t?
I mostly just wonder why I can’t be the one with THE transformation story.
Well, what you probably don’t know about me is that I actually have lost over 300 pounds! Yep, you read that right, 300 pounds. You see, instead of THE transformation story, I have transformation stories, as in plural—more than one. So no I never weighed 400 pounds, but I have managed to spend the last 30 years gaining and losing the same 20-40 pounds. Over and over. And over. Again.
So what gives? Why do we battle? Is it really because we don’t know what to eat and how much to eat? Is it really that we don’t have time or can’t afford to be healthy or go to the gym?
Or is it that, well maybe if we are honest with ourselves, we don’t really WANT to. Ouch.
When I was in medical school I had two (skinny) guy-friends who just couldn’t relate to what I was saying about my body, my eating, and my fitness. In complete honesty and genuine ignorance to my struggle they stared at me confused as I blubbered on one day. And then as if premeditated, the onslaught began as one of them said the innocent words I’ll never forget, “Well, why don’t you just do something about it?”
Oh no he did-ent? Ugh…he did! They did.
As if it was as simple as just making a decision and doing something different, they mocked me for complaining about something I had complete and total control over changing.
I wanted to scream. In their faces. Loudly.
Well, truth be told I REALLY wanted to run to the closest drive-thru for a burger and fries and simply drown the misery of my shaken façade.
But you know what, they were right. Faced with an obvious obstacle I pretended to have no ability to manage, what could I do? What would I do? So guess what. I just did.
For the first time I simply made a choice and did what I knew was necessary to lose the weight I so desperately complained about carrying on my short frame. It wasn’t easy, and I was mad most of the time, but I soldiered on. In the months of change I stopped going to all the yummy Mexican food restaurants at lunch with my classmates and decided to go outside for a run instead. I packed my healthy lunch and ate during the lecture after lunch. A foolproof plan!
Within several months I was down 30 pounds and peacefully contented.
For the moment.
Fast forward about four months. Medical school was busy, life was crazy, and temptations were everywhere. And while I had a surefire plan for lunch, I had neglected to plan for the other 22 hours in the day. Life crept in, and before I knew it, I was pulling clothes from the drawer that I hadn’t sported in months.
It wasn’t until this last year that I realized exactly how familiar this pattern was. You see, I love Jesus and have tried to stay diligently dedicated to him for the last decade. I’d start a bible study or go to a conference, and I’d get fired up. I’d really be spending time with Him and focusing on Him, and I’d just “do something about it.” I was waking up early to read my Bible, praying routinely, encouraging others, and even doing daily study with my kids. And I was completely and peacefully contented.
Fast forward about four months. Work is busy, life is crazy, and temptations are everywhere. Life creeps in, and I’m no longer pulling my Bible from the drawer at all. Hmmmmmm. What gives?
Then he said to them all, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross DAILY and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV, emphasis mine)
Without warning I felt five little letters pressing on me with tremendous weight: D-A-I-L-Y. Suddenly it occurred to me that Jesus didn’t say I could give my life to him and each day would just get easier and easier. In fact, he explicitly stated that following him would be a DAILY decision, and, get this, it would require DAILY denial of things I wanted! Wait…what?!?!
I had clearly fallen prey to the lies of the enemy. John tells us in his gospel that the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and that’s exactly what was happening. Every few months the busyness of life would creep in, and my joy would be stolen as my stress level and my waistline soared. And that’s when it hit me.
Just as we must diligently choose daily to follow Jesus, the same is true for our health and wellness.
It truly is a DAILY decision.
I want easy.
I want simple.
I don’t want to have to think about it.
I’m talking about my walk with Jesus. Oh, and my ever-present struggle with food. Isn’t it interesting how close these two parallel one another?
It’s why the Word of God is so powerful. It works in ways I never see coming, and it awakens me in ways I never dreamed possible.
Sure I want easy, who doesn’t?
With Jesus as my example I must accept that easy won’t always be in the picture. But you know what’s so cool? Self-control and discipline are. I don’t have to rely on my own power. This whole will-power thing doesn’t have to be about me. In fact, none of this is really about me.
The more I can get my eyes off of me and onto Jesus, the easiER (not easy) it all will be.
I don’t have to simply have faith in myself; I must have faith in Jesus.
I never guessed hearing that challenge so many years ago would filter into my life today.
What I want you to hear, dear friend, is that we all struggle. You are not alone in anything at any time. Jesus doesn’t leave you or forsake you, EVER! Revel in that awesomeness, beloved, and sit in His peace.
So I challenge US with a loving heart as I was challenged by my friends when I first started medical school.
Why don’t we just do something about it?
When we are feeling overwhelmed or lacking joy, when we are feeling weighed down or out of control, and when we just want an easy fix (or a bag of salty chips), let’s remember Jesus’ words: DENY yourself.
We must put aside our selfish ambitions and deny ourselves out of our love for God. Most importantly, we must dedicate ourselves daily. Staying healthy and being well is a choice. Following Jesus and living righteously is a choice. And they are choices we must continue to make daily.
My prayer for us all is that we don’t look back on the moment of decision and four months down the road wonder what happened. This is a process and we are all learning. Let’s love each other, have grace for one another, and encourage each other to say “no” to things we selfishly enjoy when they are not what is best for us.
It takes a village and we need each other.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58
I’m counting on you, and you can count on me.
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