Thankful for Struggles
I know, right? Last words you would be expecting to come from my mouth. I was working on my personal Bible study time for this week and came across the question, “If you were to thank God for your struggles with food, what “rich treasures” would you say you have discovered on the battlefield?”
Treasures? In battling food? You’ve got to be kidding me, right? Doesn’t God know that basically everything surrounding the idea of food absolutely makes my head spin?
And then I gave it more than three seconds of thought and came up with a few things…
- My struggles with food and walking this journey (this time) with a reliance on God has given me a HUGE recognition of the things that make me weak, far more than I have ever been able to see before. This has the capacity to be overwhelming to see so many weaknesses in myself exposed, but by not doing this alone, and tapping into God’s strength, I come to a point where I again realize that it’s not an overnight job. Some weaknesses I may have forever, and that’s okay, just recognizing them as weaknesses is a positive step in self awareness. Others, will be conquered over time and turned into strengths.
- My struggles have shown me that I possess the ability to persevere. Five months so far in the grand scheme of life isn’t that much, considering my longest previous weight loss effort was eight months, but it’s a solid start. I can see the capacity in myself to continue on in the long haul. Some days I grow weary and simply don’t want to make a single adult choice, justify myself out of right thinking, and want to sit on the floor and throw a toddler-grade tantrum. That’s okay. There will be days like that. I just have to pick myself up from those days and carry on. I know I have what it takes to see this life transformation through, day by day, for the years to come.
- My struggles have shown me that I can find joy in the journey–any journey. It’s the little things that I have to grasp onto when motivation is fleeting. I have so many little things that have added up to being huge sources of joy for me in the recent months. Compliments from unlikely sources, truly worded encouragement from friends and colleagues, beautiful things that my husband says. These are some of those tangible things that I talked about previously that I hold on to like a chubby girl guarding her cupcake. I love my new life of routine, even though there’s still days I want to buck it, I find joy in learning to live life abundantly.
- My struggles have helped me to see God working in my life. I find greater satisfaction in my relationship with God. Employing regular spiritual disciplines in the way they were intended have influenced the way that I feel, and are slowly but surely, invading my thoughts as well. The fruits of the spirit that I so desperately want to see manifested in me–love, peace, joy, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, kindness, patience, and of course, self-control–are starting to take root. The seeds are being nurtured, and in due time, those godly attributes will be more evident in my walk with God. I am a, but will be a stronger, testament to the work of God that He can accomplish in ANY person at ANY time.
- Realization of my struggles have helped me to relate to others. I’m not an addict in the eyes of many, because, well, food is an “acceptable sin.” Many people don’t see an addiction to food as the same as nicotine, alcohol, or drug addiction. But here’s the reality, in many ways a food addiction is harder to recover from because you can’t just stop eating. You have to eat to live. A smoker, drug user, or alcoholic completely abstain from their vice to recover. That’s a touchy thought for a lot of people–and maybe I’ll expand on that sometime, because I’ve got a lot to say on that topic–but I don’t want to deviate from the idea of relating to people. No, I am not an alcoholic. For the most part, back in my party days, I could drink like a lady. But I can easily see how my addictive tendencies toward anything and everything could have thrown me into a lot of trouble with alcohol had I continued to live the way I lived in my early 20s and the decisions I made then. My struggles have gained me insight into being a little less sympathetic and slightly more empathetic with those that face demons in their own life of any kind. That’s an asset.
So, there we have it…I sure have a lot to be thankful for today. Instead of questioning why I have to deal with the struggles that I face, I can see the value that lies in the broken places. And rely on the promise that those parts won’t be broken forever.