I have encountered many wonderful women since entering the parallel universe that is the world of Christian blogging. Y’all are so full of humor, wisdom and wit. But can I be honest? I have a real soft spot for those women who have gone where I have not gone; who have raised their children to adulthood, home schooled through high school, or are now enjoying the pleasure of rocking their grand babies. Women who have been tested and lived to tell the goodness of God through all the ups and downs of life. Granny is one of those bloggers. She shared some wisdom with me back in December and I have been waiting for just the right time to pass it on. Since Brenda left this week’s Fitness Friday assignment open for us to do as we desire, today is the day that I’ll share with you what Granny shared with me.
Our email dialogue started when I wrote this post, declaring that I was approaching my battle to lose these stubborn pounds as a spiritual challenge, an opportunity to cultivate the fruit of self-control. And Granny, being a wise woman, shared this bit of wisdom with me privately and now I’ll share it with you, with her permission, of course. It really helped me to put and keep this quest for fitness in the right perspective. Her words:
I don’t want to start any kind of argument in your comments, but did want to comment directly to you on your statement:
Her O-ness has simply reinforced my conviction that this is a spiritual battle as much as any other. And I’ve got something better than a personal chef OR a personal trainer.
Terry, I believe that in most cases this is a lie that the enemy uses to keep us defeated. I say this after years of watching precious women focus on their weight and use it as a spiritual barometer…bouncing around on the scales and thinking that means they must be bouncing around with God.
I think you’d agree that truth is truth is truth no matter the geography or the time period in history. I’ve often thought how if I could go back in time to, say, 1381, and pop into a little European thatched-roof hut of a middle-aged woman standing by a fire, stirring up the day’s porridge, whether I would look at the pounds around her middle and cluck to myself, “Yep. Definitely. Spiritual problem.” Or today, if I flew to a village mission church in Guatemala and slipped in during a church supper and saw six little round women proudly laying their homemade tortillas and beans on the table, would I be secretly longing to take them to Weight Watchers and do a Bible study with them on self-control? See, it just doesn’t transfer, which is always a clue to me that we might have something messed up in our perspective.
But someone might protest, “Yes, but those women don’t know any better, and we do!” So what is it we “know” better? That politically correct bureaucrats and insurance adjusters and nutrition researchers have decided on charts that tell you if you weigh “too much”? And so now it’s a spiritual problem if we fall 10% above the ideal number?
Think about this: if in the next 30 years some researchers “discover” that it’s unhealthy for us to have skin that isn’t silky smooth…that people with smooth skin actually live an average of 4 years longer than those with rough, dry skin and that we’re therefore ruining our health and lifespan by not doing all the things they say we need to do to keep it smooth, what about those people that just go on with their lives and don’t buy all the creams or buffers or exfoliants or whatever that the experts say we need? Will there be a group of Christians who say, “Look, we used to not know about this, but now that we know it will tack four years onto our lives, you really can’t please God unless you buy and do all these things. It’s evidence of spiritual immaturity! You’re corrupting God’s temple!”
We’re at a place in history where the focus is on weight and I think the focus is way misplaced. I spent a good part of my 20s and 30s obsessed with my weight (between babies, that is) and now I’m a good 30 pounds heavier than I was then and can’t imagine what I was thinking as the scale fluctuated five pounds back and forth and I fell on my knees before God and asked His forgiveness every three days. How much time and spiritual energy I wasted!
Do I believe that gluttony is a spiritual problem? Of course I do. But how are we defining gluttony these days? Any eating pattern that produces a body shape or weight that is not within a few percentage points of what modern, secular man has decided is the right, healthy weight. I’m not going to listen to them about how to raise my children, so why would I let them tell me that 145 is okay and 150 isn’t and then turn it into my spiritual problem?
Oh, how I would love to help free a generation of women from this bondage! God has given us food to enjoy but we look at IT as the enemy and think we must be breaking the gluttony commandment if we’re not thin or if we don’t look like we did in high school. We work hard to plan and prepare food that gives our families pleasure and creates memories and keeps them full of energy and then we think we have to repent if we eat the last corner brownie the next morning with coffee.
Terry, I know that I have grown tremendously as a Christian since my 20s (I’m now 54)…but if I were gauging my spiritual growth by my weight, the enemy of my soul would be convincing me that I’m a total failure and that, for me, sanctification has been a backward slide. I reject his lies, and I reject that message from well-meaning Christians that God is more pleased with me when I have a smaller body.
I know you’re busy and I’m hoping you won’t mind that I’ve intruded on your morning with my thoughts…just wanted to give you a little “food” for your thoughts as you continue to struggle with the weight issues.
Was that great or what? I hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me. I found it particularly encouraging because I have never been what you would call thin, and while it wasn’t an issue for me when I was very young, it became a major issue for me in my 20′s, after I had my first baby, even though I ate healthy and took pretty good care of myself. I think I needed this little admonition as I make the changes necessary to live a healthier lifestyle.
Thanks again, Granny!
Visit Brenda at The Family Revised for more Fitness Friday encouragement.