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The Struggle Is Real

Good morning 😊 It is Monday, November 8, 2021

Have you ever wanted change to happen in your life, and you want it right now!?

Have you longed to rid yourself of bad habits or addictions? Have you struggled with anger or judgement or gossip or weight loss and just so desperately wish God would take it from you?

I have. I do. My biggest struggle right now is one that I cannot hide from others. Some struggles can be executed in private, but not this one.

I have struggle with my weight my entire life. BIG struggles. I will lose 50 pounds and gain 60. Lose 70, gain 40. Up and down up and down since the age of 15. I have literally lost count of the diets I have tried, the programs I have signed up for, the commitments I have made to myself and then the failures.

Mom says we were born with terrible metabolism, but whatever the case, it really gets to me at times. I own 3 sizes of clothing. Right now, I am pushing the upper end.

I see footage of myself, and I can tell you exactly what size I was at that time, but more importantly I can tell you how I felt. That emotion of never feeling good in my own body.

IF, I eliminate bread, white sugar, pasta and cheese, all dairy frankly, I have a fighting chance. If I say no to all condiments except mustard, if I replace all salad dressings with a vinaigrette, if I exercise daily, I can do it. But here is the thing, I love food. I love sandwiches and lasagna. Mashed potatoes and butter. Cookies and ice cream. Toast with peanut butter. Poppy seed muffin with my morning coffee....well, you get the picture. And more times than not, in fact every time, my love for tasty food wins.

Each time I would lose weight, or get near my goal, I KNEW I would never gain weight again. Next thing I know I am back up.

John 5:30 ESV “I can do nothing on my own…”

I hate the bathroom scale. In fact, I have thrown my scales in the garbage several times, vowing not to allow a number to define me. But then I turn to get dressed, grab my pants, and I know…I do not need a number to define me but there is no way I can fit in these pants anymore.

If you have never struggled with weight, more than likely you cannot relate, but I cannot think of anything that has brought me down, depressed me more, than this struggle right here.

Trim people always seem happier. Certainly healthier. I know that is an illusion. We all struggle with something. But this is my struggle, and it has gone on for over 40 years. I am tired.

Several years ago, I had a personal trainer at a local gym. I met with this woman 5 days a week. She had me doing things I did not think possible. In no time at all, the pounds melted off and I had curves in places I had no idea existed.

Here is the strange part…I was uncomfortable in my new trim body. Women started treating me differently. Almost like they were jealous of me. Men started looking at me in a different way. I remember thinking, 'I would rather be heavy'.

I can tell you the exact moment I decided I did not like this new body. I was walking downtown and a man, out his car window, whistled and did a catcall. I wanted to run and hide. And then little by little, the pounds started coming back. I quit going to the gym, and just like that, all the hard work was for nothing.

So, you see, I am not comfortable when I am heavy, and I am not comfortable when I am thin and trim. I am very hard to please apparently.

I have gained 20 pounds this year since Wendell passed away and I have no energy. I have no drive to do anything about it. I used to love to walk, if nothing else, but even that is a struggle now. I really hate this.

I want God to step in and take this from me! I certainly have asked Him enough times to do it.

It reminds me of a poem I read several years ago. It is titled “God Said No……but”

“I asked God to take away my habit.

God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.

God said, No. His spirit is whole, this body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.

God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.

God said, No. I give you blessings; happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.

God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.

God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.

God said, No. I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.

God said... Ahhhh, finally you have the idea........”

Is that our goal? To take my eyes off me and instead look at others. How can I make your day better? How can I cause you to feel better about you, in this moment? How can I show God’s love in a deep and meaningful way? How can I show my love toward you?

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” - 1 John 4:7 ESV

I can smile, and I do 😊 I can write, and that makes me happy. I can sing, and that certainly fills me cup. I can pray for you, and I know there is power in prayer.

I, with the help of the Holy Spirit, have had victories in every other area of my life. Some of them were not immediate. Some of them were. But little by little I can look back over my life and see, how God was changing me, molding me, helping me and showing me. Perhaps you can too.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV

Whatever you struggle with, know that God sees you. He hears you. He may not answer the way we wish He would. He may say wait, or no, but He hears. Perhaps our struggles allow us to have more empathy towards others. I know that is certainly my case.

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…” - Matthew 7:12 ESV

So, let’s promise each other, that no matter the struggle, we will give God the glory; we will look out for each other; we will pray morning, noon and night; and we will not judge one another but instead offer encouragement and love.

“…Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV

I know that God is always working toward our eternal salvation. Nothing else matters, in the long run.

Philippians 1:6 tells us that God will finish His work in us, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” ESV

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