“What are you doing?”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this lately. When you lose 50+ pounds, people notice and want to know how you did it. When I talk about running and Jillian Michaels and MyFitnessPal and counting calories, I get mixed reactions. Some people respond with, “Good for you!” and ask me more questions. Some have even since joined MyFitnessPal or started running. But then there are others who respond with, “Good for you.” But I can sense the disappointment that I didn’t offer some magic genie response.
I traditionally fell into the latter category. I really didn’t want to hear from someone that they lost weight because they worked hard and sacrificed. I wanted to hear about how the pounds magically melted away and their body naturally took on a nice toned quality. I wanted to know the secret to the magic. I wanted the results without the work and didn’t want it suggested to me that I needed to work for it.
I’ve talked before about how God really changed my heart last spring. I came to a point of surrender saying, “Alright God, if I still have to count calories when I’m 83, I’ll do it. I’m willing to do the work, to make the sacrifice, to have the discipline to take care of this body you created.” Before I hit that point of surrender, I read something in Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst that really hit me over the head with what I needed to hear:
Last spring I took a shortcut through a neighborhood and caught a glimpse of a man planting a flower garden. It was just a quick glance, but long enough to produce a lingering thought: I wish I had a pretty garden.
For years I’ve looked at other people’s flowers and secretly wished for my own lush display. However, the glimpse of this man with his hands digging deep into the earth brought a new revelation. He has a garden because he invests time and energy to make it. He didn’t wish it into being. He didn’t hope it into being. He didn’t just wake up one day and find that a garden of glorious blooms had miraculously popped up from the dirt.
He worked at it. He sacrificed for it.
Day after day. Row by row. Seed by seed. Plant by plant. It took effort, intentionality, sweat equity, and determination. Then it took time and commitment before he ever saw any fruit from his labor.
But eventually, there was a bloom … and then another … and then another. I saw this man’s flowers and wished for my own – without a clue about all the work that had gone into producing them. I want the flowers but not the work. Isn’t that the way it is with many things in life – we want the results but have no desire to put in the work required?
Besides a garden, I also wished for a thinner body for years but was lax about actually changing what I ate. When it came to eating, I excused away the necessary discipline. Then I’d catch myself wishing I were thinner and making excuses about my age and metabolism, lamenting the unfairness of my genetic disposition and blah, blah, blah.
The reality is, I can’t eat like an athletic teenager and then complain about my extra layers of fluff.
Or my pants size.
Or my tummy pooch.
Or my arms that are starting to wave back at me when I raise them.
I can’t wish blooms into place any more than I can wish fat away. It’s just the cold, hard reality.
(Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst, pages 35-36)
I can so relate!!!! I hate yard work!!! And it shows …
So dear friend, if you, like I did, desire to be healthy and fit and trim but don’t want to work for it, I am sorry to tell you that it just won’t happen. There is no magic skinny genie. Sure for some people it seems to come more naturally and easily. But for most people it requires sacrifice and discipline.
Are you willing to do it?
If you answered yes, then I am excited for you. Whether you are just starting out on your journey or you are already at your healthy weight and can run marathons around me, I congratulate you on your willingness to work. I am cheering for you and praying for you. Thank you, God for these women (and men too, if any men read this) that have a desire to take care of their bodies. Help them to stay disciplined when they feel like not caring. Help them to get up out of bed and go to the gym when they’d rather stay under the covers. Help them to not go back for that second brownie. And most importantly, help them to know they are loved by you whether they are on track or not!
If you answered no, then my heart aches for you in a non-judgmental, I’ve been there too, kind of way. Because for most of my life, no was my answer too. I know that place of frustration, of stubbornness, of denial. Yes, denial, I know it may sound harsh, but that’s where I was, so I know some of you may be there too. God, I pray for these women (and men too, if any read this) who know that they need to be healthier, but don’t want to work for it. Thank you, God, that you love them exactly where they are. Thank you, God that you call them the “Apple of your eye.” Thank you, God that you “take great delight in (them)”. Thank you God, that nothing could make you love them more or less than you do right now. I pray, God, that you will speak to their hearts and encourage them to be disciplined in taking care of their bodies. Transform their minds, the way you are doing to mine, to help them surrender to the need to work.
Pressing on Together,