For someone who takes great pride in their health, it's a punch in the gut.
He said he wasn't all that concerned about it (!), and the conversation stopped there. But in the months to follow, I became increasingly concerned about it. Isn't high cholesterol associated with heart attacks and heart disease?
My dad said it was probably hereditary, my sister said that if my doctor wasn't concerned about it then I shouldn't be either, and my friends said that I shouldn't be so worried about it. Check your good cholesterol, they said. It's probably fine.
When I saw my neighbor walking her dog a few months after the cholesterol panic, I caught up with her to get the full scoop on why she was moving away. (I always hate it when my neighbors move. Plus I'm always really, really curious about the reason why. Just call me Gladys.) Anyway, I heard the full story on the whole move situation, but what I was more interested in was her weight. Which was down several pounds. "Twenty", she informed me.
Now I'll be honest. Anytime anyone says they've lost twenty pounds, I'm extra, super, crazy curious how they did it. Because I like to know how things like that work. Is it extra time in the gym, scaling back on calories, or are you making yourself throw up? I just want to know. Not that I'll copy, I'm just curious.
Unleash Your Thin, she said.
I'd be a total liar if I said that I didn't feel like I could drop a few pounds. I'd also be a total liar if I said I didn't think about it on a regular basis. Aaaaaaaaaaaannddd I be a total liar if I said that even though I write a ton about body image and weight and confidence and all that stuff, I still struggle with finding that confidence in Christ rather than in how I look. Maybe that makes me a total fraud for even suggesting you can find confidence in Christ. Maybe it makes me authentic. I don't know. But I struggle daily with thoughts that swirl around the idea that if I could just look like I wanted to, then I would be happy. Which is totally shallow and circumstantial and also not true, but somehow, I have given credence to the entire ridiculous distortion of truth.
So I checked out the website, and bought the book. Yes, research does show that certain eating plans do lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. If I can do those things, then yay for me! I won't know until my next doctor's appointment if I've actually accomplished lowering any of those things, so I hope the research is accurate.
But when I stepped on the scale and saw that I had lost a few pounds, I almost did a happy dance right in the middle of the locker room.
Because my circumstantial confidence was right where I wanted it to be--based on a number on the scale, a flatter tummy, and a few pounds lost.
Now I will say this: after reading the entire book, and doing a little extra research on the side, I do feel like this is a healthy, manageable lifestyle. And I'm all for healthy and manageable.
But, as has been the case for most of my life, I tend to take things a little overboard when it comes to what I think is healthy. As in A) everybody should do it! and B) I become totally preoccupied with myself.
I just finished a study called Your Move by Andy Stanley, in which he describes what he thinks are the best ways to work through the decision-making process. Definitely a good read, and worth your time. But it was the last day that I've given the most thought to, where he poses this question:
What would be the most honoring to God?
See, I don't believe that I have room in my heart to be all about me and at the same time all about God. It's either one or the other, and when I'm full up on me, I've got no room for Him.
As Sweet Brown would say, Ain't nobody got time fo' dat.
I want to be all about Him, but I'm really attempting to live for my own glory. I like me. I actually love me enough to want to give me some of that honor and glory. Which means I'm giving Him zero.
How is being consumed with my weight, my workouts, my eating plan, my life actually giving God any honor at all?
Two words: It's not.
Don't get me wrong. There is certainly a healthy balance to strike, where we take care of ourselves and our bodies but live for Him. At the moment, I'm not quite there yet.
But consider this, from Andy Stanley: at a great funeral (if there is such a thing), where a life is celebrated, people aren't in awe of the person's huge house, or the last contract the negotiated, or the nice cars, or even the few pounds they lost. They don't post pictures of these things on the boards around the visitation room. But they do talk about, and see evidenced in pictures, is that person's life. How they lived it. What they did with it. Who they helped, and why. Why we loved that person so dearly.
Food for thought, right?
The challenge is to begin factoring into the decision-making process the simple question: what would be the most honoring to God? We owe it to ourselves to at least ask the question.
Taking care of my body with a healthy eating and exercise plan?
Totally obsessing over weight and appearance and self?
Not so much.
Your glory is too small a thing to live for.
No matter how much money you make,
how big your house is...
you can never amass enough glory to fill yourself up.