I honestly don’t know how to start this post. So I’m just telling you that. It’s as good a place to start as any. The wordsmith is at a loss for words for two reasons. #1 – God is doing a work in my life and although I know He wants me to tell you about it, I’m not sure I can sum it up nicely in a blog post. And #2 – It’s more than a little embarrassing.
I’ve confessed sins, shortcomings and other foibles here before, but let’s face it, we rank and categorize sin. The grace of God begs us not to, but we humans are a fallible, judgmental brood. We’re the worst. And though I have talked about this issue with close friends and family members and made self-deprecating jokes to strangers and acquaintances, I spend most of my time trying to hide it. It’s not that others can’t see it. It’s pretty darn obvious. And yet I dress myself and avoid taking pictures and hide behind others to try to forget…I’ve gained a lot of weight.
Body image has been a lifelong struggle for me. But in my younger years I kept my issues under wraps with fad diets, appetite suppressants, obsessive calorie counting and extreme exercise sessions. About 6 years ago, I went through some counseling and was encouraged to lay all those things aside. But instead of tasting freedom, I quickly fell into more bondage – that of gluttony. And I fell and broke my foot. Then I tore my ACL and MCL resulting is rehab, surgery and more rehab. And then I got the cancer diagnosis. Each issue left me restricted from the vigorous exercise routine I kept to counterbalance the comfort food I was eating. Each year I bought into the excuses and gained more weight until, frankly, I felt pretty helpless about the whole situation.
When the opportunity presented itself to review the book Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science by Drew Dyck, I knew I needed to read it. As a card carrying member (no really) of the fitness industry, I have read lots of books about health and wellness – even ones with a spiritual component. And I’ve still continued to try to diet off and on (more off than on), so I can’t say that I expected this read to be transformational for me. But it was. While Dyck writes about all issues of self-control, God used it to convict me of my gluttony and misuse of food. The author points out that as Christians we usually speak of “dealing with issues or struggling with sin. But rarely do we speak of defeating it!” In the same way I have tended to view my weight issues as a personal weakness instead of what it is – flat out rebellious disobedience.
I knew I needed the truths in the book after reading this in the introduction: “I’ll never arrive at perfection, not in this life. I don’t expect to. But shouldn’t Christians expect to make some progress? Shouldn’t they gradually overcome bad habits and besetting sins? Shouldn’t they become more humble and selfless? Shouldn’t they look a little more like Jesus with every passing year? Shouldn’t I?” Whoa. The author fills the rest of the book with instructional scriptures and practical tips for fighting against our sin nature and actually growing our self-control like a muscle.
I followed up this read (after making note cards of all the things I had underlined in the first book) with The Power of Christian Contentment: Finding Deeper, Richer, Christ-Centered Joy by Andrew M. Davis. For me, in this particular issue, self-control and contentment are deeply interwoven. My “failure to find genuine contentment in the midst of any and every circumstance” has led me repeatedly to grab it for myself, in the cheapest and most convenient way possible. Davis says, “Much of our discontent comes from our selfishness in pursuing our own agendas, seeking our own glory, feeding our own lusts. We were created to be God-centered servants of His will, moment by moment.” “A discontent servant has ceased to obey the master and is actually rebelling against the commands he is giving.” I’ll leave this discussion of contentment with one last convicting question: “Has Christ, crucified and resurrected on your behalf, done enough to make you content today…or must he do a little more?” If that one stung a little, rest assured it burned me too. I mean, is there really something that bag of Cheetos can do for me that Jesus didn’t?
I was generously gifted these books from Moody Publishers and Baker Books respectively. If you choose to purchase these books or anything else from the affiliate links included here, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you to help offset the expenses of running this site. Thank you in advance.
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