Patience & Perspective

Love is patient, but I’m not.

Oh, I can patiently wait in a grocery line.
I patiently listen when my son discusses the latest video game.
I’m patient while I hold the door for an elderly person who walks at a snail’s pace.

But I’m not patient with myself when it comes to losing weight.

That’s because if I’m going to “suffer” (the meaning of the Latin word patient) during a diet, I want to see immediate results. And I don’t want to suffer long. So it makes sense that long suffering is another word for patience.
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Last week I had two options: Lose weight or buy bigger pants. Only the thought of counting points, calculating calories, and avoiding certain foods left me nauseous. I decided to try…..

Thin Within which is a grace-based approach to losing/maintaining weight. Don’t eat until you’re truly hungry and then stop eating when you’re satisfied based on a 0-10 scale. Zero is true hunger, five is a satisfied tummy. Ten is stuffed.

I didn’t expect Thin Within to focus on Bible study questions and knowing God’s character. However, if that’s the secret to losing weight, sign me up for the twelve-week ride.

Day One: I patted myself on the back for answering the workbook questions, and waiting for an empty stomach before I ate. I even did leg lifts and sit ups for good measure.

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(No, those aren’t my legs in the photo).

Day Two: I gulped water to appease false hunger pains and chewed my bottom lip instead of consenting to a snack. May I recommend strawberry lip gloss?

Day Three: I bit my white knuckles. “Are we there yet?” Twelve weeks might as well be twelve months.

I also stepped on the scale—although it’s verboten—and groaned. I hadn’t lost an ounce. Doubts crept in. Does Thin Within work? Or is the Bible Study designed to get my mind off the size of my derrière?

I decided to burn calories to make things happen faster. I walked for three miles in the heat of the day. When I stepped on the scale, I’d lost a pound in one hour. Thanks to sweating profusely!

You see, Thin Within isn’t something to try on for size and discard if there aren’t immediate results. It’s a life-long journey that requires patience and a new perspective. That’s because weight loss and toning muscles is a process.

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And that process doesn’t happen overnight any more than spiritual sanctification.

Years ago, I became tired of being a performance-oriented Christian. I wanted to know God more intimately, and ask Him to use every circumstances in my life as an opportunity to transform me into the likeness of Christ. (Romans 8:29)

Suffering succotash! Talk about a slow, painful process.

Thin Within is designed to help people lose weight by renewing the mind with God’s truth. Total makeover.

In less than a week, I’ve had to re-examine my expectations and long-term goals.

Thin Within can be a twelve-week sprint where I arrive breathless, red-faced, and a few pounds lighter.

Or this can be the starting point of a life-long journey where I learn to cope with disappointment and stress without depending on food as my ally. Or having an edible idol that enslaves me.

May sound like a tall order, but if I can be patient—suffer and show self-restraint without getting upset—then I can shed pounds naturally, AND grow more in love with God in the process.

Photos: www.jennywredephotography.com

 

 

 

Weight a Second: The Secret of Good Health and Godliness

Standing on the scale, I watched the digital numbers escalate while my weight was calculated. The final number made me cringe.

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How can I exercise all week, control my appetite, and not lose an ounce?

Five weeks earlier, I faced two choices: Lose weight or buy a bigger pair of pants. I elected to spend my summer eating more fruits and vegetables and exercise regularly.

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I was motivated as long as my pounds decreased. When I hit the plateau, self discipline took a nose dive.

That evening, I indulged my craving for a HUGE bowl of popcorn…smothered with melted butter. Yep, ate the whole thing.

I don’t know how many calories I consumed, but I didn’t taste an ounce of guilt when I licked the bottom of the greasy bowl.

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Contrary to all the weight loss miracle ads, losing weight (in a healthy way) is a slow, methodic process. And when it comes to building and toning muscles, forget instant gratification.  

However, since I began eating healthier and exercising, my pants are less tight. I have more energy; more strength. My mental outlook improved. Isn’t that worth the process?

Or am I only focused on an end result—reaching that ideal number on my scale? If that’s true, my healthy regimen is a temporary fling like a summer romance instead of a necessary, life-long commitment.

The same holds true for spiritual growth.

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Years ago, whenever I wanted to experience more of God’s presence and become a “better Christian,” I’d pray more and inundate myself with reading the Bible and Christian material.

I experienced spiritual growth spurts; glimpsed moments of euphoria. However, I couldn’t maintain that spiritual high or rate of growth. Finally, I realized…

There’s no such thing as microwave Christianity.

We renew our minds by the daily reading of God’s Word. Then we’re chiseled and changed by the Holy Spirit in the minuscule moments of each day.

This slow, sometimes painful, chiseling process is necessary to achieve God’s finished product: molding us into the likeness of Christ. (Romans 8:28,29)

My task is learning how to obey and cooperate when I’m confronted with God’s Word. For example…

  • Do I listen to my heart’s desire to complain, scold, attack, and ridicule? Or make peace?
  • Do I apply God’s Word throughout my week even though the lessons are painful?
  • Do I sweat to do the right thing? Or cave in when something becomes too difficult?
  • Do I rely on my own strength? Or lean on the Lord to make a way in the wilderness?

“Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest).

If I want to strengthen my faith and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22),

I must abide in Christ.

Not sporadically during a spiritual whim, but habitually.

Even in this … endeavor to lose weight and live healthy.