“And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for which I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:7-10
This is not an easy passage for me to wrap my head or my heart around. I am used to being in control or at least having the illusion that I am. I do not understand how when I am weak, I can also be strong. Maybe that is not quite accurate either. I understand that when I, with all my faults and failings, get out of the way, God is stronger in me. How do I make (allow) that to happen?
The passage from 2 Corinthians is definitely the impetus for me to sit down and actually write this, but there have been several occurrences over the last week or so, that disposed me to hear this message. While I can think of so many other things I could be doing, it seems important to at least put these thoughts and reflections to pixels. I can always chose later whether to publish them.
I was very open with my weight loss journey and to some extent the struggle it has been to lose weight. A couple of years ago, when I was writing these blogs more regularly, I even said that I knew it would be a struggle the rest of my life. Over the last couple of years and, more specifically, the last six months, I have lost track of what I knew. At least I think that is what happened.
After having lost 85 pounds in a pretty short time, it felt pretty good. I am sure I was much more prideful than I should have been, but I did really believe and tried to share that it wasn’t anything special that I was doing. Rather, it was God helping my through my weakness. Once I went off the original diet I was on, I regained 7-10 pounds, but that was expected given the type of diet. I was mostly okay with that. I still held in my head that I wanted to lose more weight. After all, I do not have a flat tummy and I won’t even start on my thighs!
While there is a level of vanity in my desire to lose weight, there is an even stronger desire for good health. I want to be around to see my grandchildren and even my great grandchildren and being morbidly obese will prevent that from happening. Since the initial weight loss, I have had more medical challenges than I had in the previous 10 years combined. Maybe that is not completely true, and it sure seems that way now. There was 4 months of vertigo, for no explained reason. There is “pet” which is actually my submandibular gland which likes to expand to golf ball size at random times. Of course, there were random aches and pains which I chalked up to ‘settling’ and my body adjusting to my new size and having been abused for too many years.
The culmination of the physical challenges what my knee. I have never had knee problems, but I developed one while practicing for the showcase Dana and I did in March. The doctor took some temporary measures to help me dance the showcase, but they really only gave me about a month. I had surgery on my knee in early May. Since that surgery, I have regained 25 pounds putting me only 50 pounds away from where I started 2 years ago.
Even as I write that, I question the way I am doing so. Why do I think of it as “regaining” what I lost this time as opposed to the many times I had lost weight before? I do not really know the answer. Maybe it is because that point two years ago really felt like it was life changing rather than just a diet? But was I ever really satisfied with where I was at? I always wanted more loss. Is that greed or is it somehow okay because I was still overweight?
In the almost 10 weeks since my surgery as I have watched and felt my weight climb, I have considered many reasons and excuses. The anesthesia has really mucked with my system. I am constantly craving carbs. I had to do rehabilitation but I really couldn’t ‘exercise’. I am busy with school and work. You can read these with various inflections that will make them sound like a good reason or a rotten excuse. I have. The excuse that makes me the angriest is ‘I am planning two weddings!’ It is frequently offered to me by people who want to help me wallow in my situation and I’ve even let it slip into my head a few times. But my daughters’ weddings are NOT the reason I am fat! I am very happy for each of them and I am thrilled to be able to be part of the planning.
What is the real issue here? Why did I regain weight? I am sure that some of the excuses I offered above may be a contributing factor. Given the timing of the gain, I’d put the surgery and the after effects pretty high on the list. Even still, I think there is more to it than that. I think that somewhere along the line, I lost track of who was working in me and why. I started to think I was doing this. I got lazy in my food selections. I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone to do something different for me when they were preparing a meal. I did a many things and failed to do many things. Perhaps the greatest failure was remembering that it was God who helped me lose the weight and I should continue to let him help me.
Where are things right now? Well, like Paul, “a thorn was given me in the flesh”. I have begged God to remove it but he says, “My grace is sufficient for you”. I don’t think that is an excuse to regain everything I have lost but rather it is a reminder to embrace the cross that I have been given and know that whatever happens will be by God’s grace and not my feeble attempt to control the situation.
“I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Initially, I didn’t want to write or share any about regaining weight. I mean, I failed and unless you are some celebrity wanting to get a book or movie deal, who shares when they screw up? That last week or so I have had many signs pointing to me that I need to share. I shared the wonderful way God worked to help me lose weight and now, I needed to share that I am really struggling not only to maintain, but to avoid gaining it all back.
Where do I go from here? I am not sure. Of course, I’d really like to at least lose the 25 I gained before Christina’s wedding, but I am not sure that is realistic. Going back on Ideal Protein really isn’t an option for me. I’m too active and it does not give me the long term way of eating that I think I need. I really think my best option is a more Paleo plan, but I have been trying to do that the last few weeks and I find the carb cravings are unbelievable. I also get that yucky feeling only a few hours after having eaten. I am trying, though I am not sure what I am trying. Right now, I think it is just to admit where I’m at, stand back and see where God is leading me. It’s not about me being strong, but Him being strong in and through me. Pray for me!