Two years ago at this time, I was caught! Trying to wriggle free from a life-dominating condition based in my own sin nature. Failing with every attempt.
I was around 100 pounds overweight.
When I had retired from the Navy in 2009, the Navy’s standard for my height was 179 pounds max. I had crept up to 210.
The Navy’s standard practice at the time was to measure the neck, waist, and hips of anyone who failed the weigh-in. That worked for me for a while. It did not work for me on my last physical readiness exam in early 2009. But since I was retiring in June, I didn’t worry too much . . .
In fact, since I had just finished a year of breast cancer treatments in 2008, including steroids during chemotherapy, my weight at retirement was 230 pounds. As a retiree, I didn’t have to worry about any further weigh-ins. But I did have to worry about something more important . . . my health after cancer.
I got a good civilian contractor job and I went along enjoying my renewed health after cancer for the next two and a half years. Unfortunately, I also spent the rest of 2009 and the next two years gaining more weight. I finished 2011 between 250 and 260 pounds, although my gynecologist has a documented weigh-in at 263, the heaviest I ever was.
If you had asked me, I would have told you that I was trying to lose weight. I tried several fad diets. I paid attention to what went through my mouth. I worked out sporadically. And, most importantly, I cried out to the Lord every morning to help me lose weight, to help me change.
Unfortunately, this is one of those areas where grace involves a partnership between God and man. If it had been possible to pray off those 100 pounds, I would have done it. I pleaded with God day to day. But I remained stuck.
Finally, I just knew what I had to do. I had lost weight with Weight Watchers before. Not 100 pounds, but a goodly amount. I would go back to Weight Watchers on New Year’s Day 2012 with the idea that I would lose at least 50 pounds and keep it off. I was aware that that meant I had to agree with Weight Watchers that my weight loss was not a diet, but a lifestyle change. For the rest of my life.
The rest is history. I lost 20 pounds in January of 2012, starting the diet with a rather extreme interpretation of how I would eat (I needed that. I truly believe if I had lost less than 20 pounds the first month, I would have quit). Every subsequent month, I lost ten pounds, till I saw my fifty pound loss hit at the end of April. I kept going.
By the end of 2012, I had lost 100 pounds, which had been my secret desire all along, even before I got started. I hadn’t even dared admit that to myself, let alone anyone else.
I became a Weight Watchers lifetime member at 169.
This year, I have fine-tuned things a bit and have settled in at between 145 and 150 as a pretty good permanent weight.
So, all told, almost 120 pounds from my highest weight.
I was stuck and the Lord provided me the grace to get free.
I say that because people become stuck in all sorts of life-dominating conditions. Alcoholism, drug addiction, unmedicated mental illness. They sometimes feel hopeless, as I felt with my weight. They may cry out to God every day, as I did.
God has the power to break these conditions, to set us free from life-dominating sin. We can’t just wish ourselves free. And we can’t do it without Him. His Word has the words of life, but without His Holy Spirit to apply them to us personally, we are sunk (all of us, even those without obvious life-dominating conditions).
I thank God He loves us enough to give us the grace to break free. To walk with Him. In love.