Jealousy

“Jealousy is counting someone else’s blessings.”

I heard this on the radio yesterday morning as I was sitting in my office getting prayed up for our worship service.  At first it just struck me as fairly profound, but now it’s just eating at me.  I’ve never really thought myself as a jealous person–cynical yes, jealous no.  When I look at it in this context, I am in fact a terribly jealous person.

I often weigh myself up against other’s accomplishments and wonder why I’m not good enough to do those things?  Or why was I not chosen for that? Or…I could go on in a thousand ways.

I wonder “why” a lot.  Am I not good enough? Smart enough? Do I not work hard enough? Is my testimony not dramatic enough because I choose not to wear my hardships that I deal with on my sleeve?  Does God’s redemptive work in my life not matter?

I see a lot of the 80/20 rule (or is it 90/10? I never remember…) in the ministry that I am involved in.  The same people are always chosen to do the same things.  I’ve questioned why before, and have experienced a variety of answers from “that’s just the way it’s always been done” to “no one else wants to do it.”  None of these answers have ever really satisfied me.  I don’t think people know how to break into the small clique of people that are doing it all.  How does one scream from the rooftops “I’m worthy enough” to be able to contribute to the whole without being looked down upon?  I’m getting off my topic here…

Jealousy is a dangerous place to live because too often it leads to judgment.  I was in a text conversation with someone this weekend talking about someone I used to consider a friend, someone that I thought cared about me the way I cared about them, and their accomplishments.  I realize that I am jealous of this person and their accomplishments because they have done the things that I want to be able to do in ministry–the things that I believe God has gifted me to do.  They’ve done it and I haven’t.  Someone along their way has encouraged them to pursue something further and they have accomplished something that no one has seen in me.  I’m jealous.  And it hurts.

I have to look at the flipside of this situation too, and look at the person.  Their accomplishments have changed them.  They are no longer the once humble person they used to be.  They have left behind a lot of friends they had and pursued friendships that appear on the outside to solely be for status and personal gain.  I don’t want to be that person.  That’s a judgment.  And that hurts that I can be ugly like that.

So how do you move past jealousy?  I don’t know.  I do know what I need to do–and that’s to get my nose out of everyone else’s business and mind my own.  Easier said than done.  But that’s reality.  I really have no right to judge–ever–and jealousy is sinful, it just leads to more trouble.  It feels good at the time, but that ugliness builds up.  And then I find myself right where I am.

I don’t want to be ugly–inside or out.  That’s kind of the advent of this whole personal overhaul.  It’s time to stop comparing myself to others in every situation and focus on myself and who I am as a child of God.  I can’t say it now, but I do believe someday I will be able to say that “I am enough.” (cue tears)  God has created me to me, and it’s time that I get to know that person instead of making myself into someone else.  I am called to a particular mission in life that’s all mine, and it’s going to look different from someone else’s calling, as it should.  In the end, it’s all about showing Jesus to a dark world.  May I never let anything, including myself, stand in the way of that.

Plateau

I’ve hit my first stumbling block.

I know there will be many, many, many more on this journey…but that doesn’t make it okay.  I’ve hit my first plateau in weight loss.  I have remained the same weight the last two weeks in a row.  I know, I know–I shouldn’t complain, at least I’m not gaining weight, but I’m not losing weight either.  I know exactly why–some biological factors combined with food vs. exercise.  I’ve increased my exercise, but this last week I increased my eating a little bit too.  Darn you chocolate and your amazing allure!  It’s all a numbers game, and I’ve been playing it too loosely.  Time to reign in my choices and keep on the straight and narrow.  I refuse to be the Nazi I was on weight watchers previously, because that’s just going to end in failure, but I do need to be a little stricter with myself. One step at a time, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Speaking of marathons, I was thinking it would be really great to start training for an event…work towards something.  So, I have decided that in September I’m going to enter the Chamber of Commerce’s Color Your Sole 5k (https://www.facebook.com/coloryoursole5k).  This gives me just under 5 months to get in shape enough for the 3.1 mile jaunt.  Right now, my treadmill speed is 2.5 MPH for 30 minutes.  So, my first goal is to get up to 3.0 MPH for 30 minutes.  Then I’ll be halfway there!

I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but I’m really struggling with my “future view.”  My goal weight is 180 pounds (because you have to be 200 or less to go tandem sky-diving, which will be my goal weight reward).  I don’t know what I would look like as an adult weighing 180 pounds, as I was quite young the last time I weighed that amount.  I’ve been scouring google for images of women that I would imagine I could possibly look like as assigned for our peer-to-peer Christian weight loss support group (man, that’s a mouthful!).  I think I found an image of what I can imagine being a “healthy” size.

Goal Picture

From the brief caption that I read, this woman lost like over a hundred pounds doing Zumba.  Which is awesome, because I soooo do not have the coordination to dance. My Wii Zumba disk started collecting dust long ago.  But I would like to look like her.  No offense, but she’s not a skinny-Minnie, she’s still got some meat on her bones.  She looks strong, in shape, and happy.  She looks healthy.  She’s what I would consider “normal size.”  (and she’s not a size 2)  I think that I can start to wrap my head around this image.  I can’t quite put my head on her body yet, but I can start to dream a little bit of what I might look like.  I could be happy being her size (yes, I do know that size does not equate to happiness in and of itself–hence the emotional and spiritual parts of the gig).  I could be really satisfied looking like her.  So for now, I’m going to stick with this image.

I promise I’m not going to turn into a promoter of products, but I’ve been diving into Lysa TerKeurst’s “Made to Crave” Ministry Set (www.madetocrave.org).  I’ve been reading the trade book as I prepare to lead the accompanying Bible studies with our Christian weight loss support group.  Reading isn’t the right word–devouring is more like it.  Talk about someone who gets the daily battle with food.  I look forward to learning and growing more as I explore my relationship with God and food through this particular study.  I’ve also started another one-on-one discipleship program that I am doing with a friend that is proving to be quite stretching, it’s kind of a rigid 90-day program…rigid isn’t something I’m used to in my walk with God.  This program is based on Proverbs 31.  If I became half the woman mentioned in Proverbs 31, I’d be doing pretty darn well.

And, as Paul Harvey puts it, “that’s the rest of the story”

Confidence 

Two of my deepest, darkest secrets: I have zero self-image and people terrify me. 

Honestly, if you heard my self-talk, you would likely question my salvation. I am horrible to myself in the things that I tell me about me. I set impossible standards that I would never be able to achieve.  Then I beat myself up over it. This is something that I’m working on. I’m learning how to set achievable goals that I can actually meet. It’s still new to me. It’s a strange sensation still for me to meet a goal–that feeling of success, a good feeling, is taking some time to get used to. 

And yes, I am the queen of introverts. People literally scare the crud out of me. Funny thing for a pastor to say, because people are my business. New situations, social gatherings, parties, large crowds, meeting new people–all strike severe anxiety in me. I have to force myself to be sociable. I’m a pretty good faker though, most people can’t tell I’m dying inside when trying to force myself to hold up my end of a conversation. 

Coming out of my shell–and out of my warped head–is definitely a process. I notice lately that it is starting to get just a little bit easier. As I’m losing weight, I can honestly say that I’m slowly starting to feel better about myself. I’m still pretty hard on myself, but there are those moments once in a while that I feel pretty good. 

Today I had one of those moments. I left a meeting and could physically tell that I was holding my head a little higher. I had carried on some pretty decent conversations with people, introduced myself to some new folks, and didn’t feel quite as socially inept as I usually do. Small moves in the right direction….

I’ve also been fairly productive in working on some of those attainable goals too. It’s a good feeling to see yourself getting things done. I’ve gotten some new projects started and I’m excited to see how they pan out. I love that in my work, some of the projects that we undertake not only help others, but are beneficial to my growth and spiritual walk as well. Definitely a win-win. 

Im not saying that I’ll be all cupcakes and gumdrops to myself anytime soon, but in my journey to a better me, there’s definitely progress on all fronts. 

The Awkward Shift

Now that I have lost the weight of a bag of my dog’s food (35lbs), I have *finally* noticed a change.  It’s a positive change, but an awkward one nonetheless.

I lose weight from the top-down.  The last time I lost a significant amount of weight, I lost 4 shirt sizes before I barely lost a pants size (oh, I *love* my genetics that I have to thank for this body shape).  I notice now, sitting here in my uniform shirt, that there is a bit of bagginess that was not there prior and the sleeves fit a bit better.  I’ll take it.  I’ve needed to feel a change in me for a long time.

Weight loss is hard work, man.  There’s a cute quote floating around on Facebook that says something like, “I wish fat screamed when being burned.”  I wish that there were more tangible feelings/rewards/differences along this road to grab onto.  I admit, I’m an incentive-driven person.  I need gratification to keep plugging along.  Things like “you’ll live so much longer” or “you’ll be so much healthier” just aren’t big motivators for me.  Changes I can feel–a more billowy uniform blouse for example–is what does it for me.

There’s another quote I saw I Pinterest that says, “Do it for the “Oh *bleep*! You got hot!””  That doesn’t work so much for me either.  While I am committed to losing a significant amount of weight in this journey to living healthier, you’re not going to someday find me lounging on the beach in a bikini.  My goal weight is 180lbs.  Still considered “overweight” for my 5’8″ frame, I would be over-the-moon to reach that weight.  The slightly disconcerting side of that is that when I reach my goal, I will be what I weighed in around the sixth grade.  Sixth grade.

That’s one of the scary sides of this journey–I have no idea what I will look like when I lose weight.  I have never in my adult life been a reasonable weight.  To me, that is a little bit scary.  I wonder–will I be toned and healthy looking from proper exercise?  Will I have sagging skin? (Which in my research, the jury is still out…I’m young and resilient still, and only about 10% of people that lose large amounts of weight have sagging skin that requires surgery to combat, but I haven’t found any studies on those that have been overweight literally their whole lives)  Yes, it sounds like vanity run amuck, but I think it’s a legitimate fear to wonder what the future holds.

I guess that goes back to trusting God.  I know whatever the turnout will be down the road, that I’ll be just fine.  Whatever may come, I will just have to take it in stride.  Random thoughts for the day…

Exercise Stinks 

I’m a pretty prissy girl. I don’t like to sweat. I’m not one of those people who “glow” after a workout–I’m one of those people who look like they’ve been hit by a Mack truck after exercising. I’m also pretty lazy, which isn’t conducive to exercise in the first place. 

My husband and I are slowly easing in to this exercise deal this time around. Because of my back and him healing from shoulder surgery, we are being careful and intentional about starting a workout regimen. 

About a month ago we started walking around our neighborhood. First just to the end of the street and back, and gradually increased to walking to a local tiny park and back. I’ve been aiming to get 7500 steps daily on my FitBit, working up to 10000 (recommended daily steps). 

Then recently we added some resistance bands for arm exercise and strengthening. 

This week we made the big step to joining a local gym. It’s just too hot here to go walking whenever we want (And again, I don’t like to sweat). Today was day two at the gym and boy do I feel it!  Yesterday I did the elliptical trainer and the recumbent bike. Today I did the recumbent stepper–for twice as long as I intended to, I just kept saying to myself, “just five more minutes” over and over.

Looking forward to increasing my workout at the gym with a little strength training, but my back isn’t ready for that yet. I start physical therapy on my back this coming week and will be getting more exercise from that too. 

Slow and steady wins the race. 

I’m certainly not a fan of exercise, but it is a reality to living healthy. There’s things in life we have to do that we don’t want to do. I’m grateful to my husband for being a good workout buddy. He gets me moving when I don’t want to, like this afternoon when all I wanted was a nap after a stressful morning. 

Just another new beginning on my journey…one (tired) step at a time. 

Tough Decisions

DISCLAIMER:  This is NOT a judgment piece of anyone.  These are my feelings and opinions about me and only me.  I love and respect a number of friends and family that have chosen bariatric surgery in their own journeys as a tool to wellness and support them wholeheartedly in their choices.  That said, happy reading!

I made a difficult choice.  I have chosen not to pursue bariatric surgery as a means to lose weight at this particular juncture in my life.

I’ve toyed with the idea for about a year, convincing myself that it was my only hope to lose weight.  “Toying with the idea” is definitely the right way to phrase it, because in all my research, thought, and prayer, I have simply not been able to truly wrap my mind around the idea of modifying my body from how it was designed.  I just haven’t been able to sit comfortably with that thought.

In my delirium laying in bed the last couple weeks, I have really spent a lot of time in my head–a scary, scary place to be–and started to convince myself again that bariatric surgery would be the answer to my problems.  I would lose weight, get fit, live a healthier lifestyle, and all my problems would be behind me.

But that’s not reality.  None of those things happen as a direct result of bariatric surgery.  Bariatric surgery is simply a tool to aid in attaining those things–it’s not a means to an end.  I could get into all the science and research and pros/cons and blah, blah, blah…but what it comes down to is a choice.  Is this tool for me?

I went as far this time as to do my homework and seek out a doctor.  And boy, I found a good one.  One of the leading bariatric surgeons in the country who performs the surgery at the hospital that leads in the nation the number of bariatric surgeries performed.  I even called and scheduled a consultation, which I am cancelling.

So, why isn’t bariatric surgery a choice for me?

Well, I mentioned before the whole idea of altering my internal organs is a pretty substantial reason, but there’s more to it.  I have very little reason to believe that I have the follow-through to be successful in using this particular tool.  It’s not like a diet where when you get tired of it you can just walk away–you’re stuck with the changes.  I would be making a commitment that would affect the rest of my life in how my body works.  I’m just not sure that I’ve got that in me to take on.  Just the precertification process with my health insurance takes almost a year to navigate…and finding out all that’s included in that process has been a huge turn off, even with the support of this “amazing doctor” and his staff that commit to make this a “fun” process.  If I can’t commit to a year to prepare for such a surgery, what right do I have on God’s green earth to think that I’m willing to make a decision that’s going to affect how my body works for the rest of my life?

This was a hard choice for me to make.  I’ve grieved over it.  I’ve cried over it.  I had a tearful conversation with my husband when telling him that I felt like I couldn’t pursue this anymore. (which again, I have an amazing husband, who supports me unconditionally)

Is this the end of the road? Nope.  Will I ever revisit this idea? Maybe.

Here’s what I do know:

I serve an amazing God who will provide what I need at the right time.  God has provided me with great family, friends, and accountability that support me right now.  Right where I’m at.  Yes, absolutely, there’s huge changes that need to be made in my life to live a long and healthy life.  But I have time to make these changes methodically and intentionally to have them become permanent changes.  I’m not staring down the barrel of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.  (Yet.)  I’m just fat.

I’ve made a lot of changes in a short amount of time, and it’s paying off.  I want to see where this leads.  I have a lot of peace in the journey I’ve chosen to take.  It’s not a sprint to the finish, it’s pacing myself for the marathon.  Let’s see what happens next…

Changes

Well, a new blog platform calls for a new blog post. I’m not a WordPress fan, but now that I discovered they have an app I can blog from, they scored a few points. 

Officially today I am 35 pounds down on this journey.  This brings me to my first milestone. Basically it means to me that I’m not “too fat” for a particular item anymore. That feels pretty darn good. Finally, something of tangible value!

I still don’t see changes, I still don’t feel any different, and my clothes don’t fit any different…but to fit into the weight capacity of something feels good. I feel a little less like a freak of nature. 

Today my husband and I joined a gym. It’s simply too hot here on the face of the sun to go out walking whenever we please, plus I like having the accountability of paying for it–then I’ll use it. I just have to get my back a little better to get to start using it for more than the stretching classes.

Update on the back: waiting to have some more tests done when we go to Las Vegas later this week to teach some classes on Friday/Saturday.  Starting physical therapy and pain management in the meantime. Pain management is starting to work, I can sit up longer and walk at almost normal speed, but standing in one place and bending are still tough. This (excellent) new doctor I saw thinks that in addition to the herniated disc, I probably have arthritis too, so the tests will confirm that and we’ll get a course of treatment figured out later this month. 

Taking some strides in the emotional and spiritual realms of my journey too.  At our community Christian weight loss support group last week, I was asked to lead us through a 12-week study starting in May. I’m excited for that. I just got all the leader materials and my workbooks last week and can’t wait to dig in. Also, tonight my husband and I and some members of our church are going to begin attending Celebrate Recovery–a Christian 12-step program. Somewhere I definitely belong. 

All-in-all, things are getting better and going well. I’m feeling more hopeful.  Change is a process and not an overnight fix…that I have to constantly remind myself. I’m not on this road to get skinny, I’m here to be the best version of me–the one that God created me to be. There’s going to be good days and bad days, and setbacks along the way. 

I’m not walking away. Not this time.