Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
To know what is right and not do it has to be the most exasperating thing about human behavior. I am including you, Dear Reader, as I am beginning to believe it is a universal flaw. I sure hope it is not just my problem. If I am the only one who has this cognitive disconnect, I will be depressed.
I did lose some much-hated weight. I was maintaining for about a year. Then something shifted in the universe. I watched myself start off every day well. I would eat an appropriate breakfast. I would even make it past lunch without a blip. Dinner was often a planned out, balanced grilled or roasted protein with a modest variety of veggies.
Then it is when the alternate universe kicks in.
What begins next is unconscious grazing. I sometimes try to justify it by eating fruit or foods that are low in carbs and sugar, but there is a point at which there can even be too much of a good thing. Calories do not lie. We cannot convince them to not be what they are. They jump in the body and start to hang out to see if they are needed. Not hard to believe that by evening, my body has very little demand for extra energy. Those calories, then, just pop into a fat cell, making themselves at home.
Okay, neither doctors nor nutritionists may verify that is how it happens, but it feels accurate. If that is not enough, the next night I am determined it will not happen again. There is something about moving in the direction of our focus. You got it. It is a collision course. As the apostle Paul says, “I do the thing I do not want to do.”
I have tried several plans to break this pattern. First, and foremost, I have tried to eliminate any snacks that are unhealthy. My next step was to lay down the law and say “nothing by mouth” after 8 p.m. As soon as I set that rule, I was drawn to the pantry night after night.
The next “rule” was that I had to have an earlier bedtime. That is good for so many reasons. Even though I am retired from formal work, I have commitments that require my being up and running early most mornings. Instead of going to bed earlier, I found myself going to bed even later. If I was watching television, I found myself watching the stupidest things on the tube. It seemed to take such an effort to just switch things off. Even then I could not go straight to bed.
You get the scenario. All of this time I was praying for wisdom to break the cycle of self-abuse. I watched many of the pounds return almost as a spectator, marveling. It seemed like a dreamy science experiment. If I eat too much, sit too much and sleep too little, I will get fat. Ooooh.
Just so you do not worry about me, and to fend off a flood of comments with everyone’s theories on how to rescue me from myself, I did have a real epiphany from God. He just said to keep my eyes on the prize. It is not the prize of being slim or even healthier. The prize is God himself.
What God has been impressing on me for almost three years is to be still and know that He is God. My challenge has been the still part. I know He did not mean for me to be still in my easy chair in front of the television. He wants me to still myself, still the chatter, the noise, so I can hear His voice.
I heard Him this week. He let me know that I am defeating myself by focusing on myself instead of on Him. He just wants me to praise Him for all that He is. As I do this, everything comes into focus. The alternate universe disappears. I am on His course.
It is a moment-by-moment endeavor, but being in His Holy presence brings order to my world. I have to wonder what yearnings I was trying to satisfy with mere food. Mostly it is the craving to be one with my Creator. I long to walk and talk with Him. As I am in His presence, I know His balancing love will fill every void.
Now when I feel myself slipping, I do not make a new rule. I still myself, realize I have taken my eyes off the prize, and choose Life again.