The title of this chapter was "Made for More". I highlighted several passages from this chapter that I found thought-provoking/inspirational and wanted to share.
"We must ask God to join us in this journey. We need to ask God's wisdom, revelation and intervening power to be an integral part of our food choices from now on. Why not make this a daily prayer, first thing in the morning, before we've eaten a thing that day: 'God, I recognize I am made for more than the vicious cycle of being ruled by food. I need to eat to live, not live to eat. So, I keep asking for Your wisdom to know what to eat and Your indwelling power to walk away from things that are not beneficial for me.'"
"The real reason for grounding ourselves in the truth that we are made for more is 'so that you may know him better'. The more we operate in the truth of who we are and the reality that we were made for more, the closer to God we'll become."
"We would do well to pray for the eyes of our hearts to be enlightened to this hope and power. Too many times, we try to muster up the gumption to make changes in our lives on our own. It doesn't take long for the dark feelings of discouragement, disillusionment and defeat to fill our hearts."
I think about this concept often. There are many days where I live in disbelief that I am still struggling with this overweight lifestyle. You know how when you're a kid, and you look up to those older than you thinking how smart they must be and how much they must know? I always used to think, "I can't wait until I'm an independent adult. I won't be struggling with my weight any longer. Finally, I will be in control of my own food choices and I will, at last, overcome this battle." It was as though, an older and wiser Hilary wouldn't be this weak and food-dependent. Yet, here I am, 28 years old, still fighting this fight. So yes, deep down, I know I was made for more than living like this. I cannot live the full life that God wants me to live if I continue to overeat and, thus, get down on myself. There are many life experiences that I have simply bypassed purely because of my weight. I. cannot. keep. doing. this.
2. When you introduce yourself to someone you don't know, how do you define yourself? By your family relationships (as a wife, mother, daughter, aunt)? By a professional title, or lack of one? By where you live or go to church? What might your introduction reveal about how you understand your own identity?
This question is quite appropriate, seeing as how I'm about to meet a bunch of people this weekend at FitBloggin' (which, by the way, I'm extremely nervous about it! How much of an imposter am I to be going to a FIT BLOGGING conference when I'm clearly no expert at losing weight. *sigh*) I think the answer to this question probably depends on the setting for me. In general, I think I probably tend to define who I am based on where I live. For the last 6 years, the center of my universe has been my pure distaste for living in the DC area. It's no secret to most that I absolutely hate living here. This city isn't me at all.
I would say after I describe where I'm from, my next avenue would be my profession. I'm not sure if this is a product of living in this highly competitive/political city, but it just seems to be a standard introduction to say what you do. It seems to be people's way of classifying you in their mind as worthy or not. Warning: there might be some bitterness coming through in that sentence.
Anyhow, sadly, despite the fact that I just got married, the last way I would use to define myself is that I am now a wife. Being in a relationship in this town seems to be looked down upon. Yes, I have some married friends. But I have just as many single friends too. And I've definitely heard those single friends say: "I cannot imagine being married right now. The fun would be all over." It's like I'm being judged simply because I've found my life partner.
So what does all of that say about how I understand my own identity? I think it says I need to re-evaluate what is truly important in life (i.e. being a wife, an aunt, a daughter), because that is what should define me. Not where I live. Not where I work. Not what grade I am on the G-S scale. Those latter things are superficial in my book.
How does all of that translate to weight loss? For me, I think it says that sometimes I want to lose weight for the wrong reasons. Yes, I want to feel better about myself and be healthy. But I cannot deny that I want to feel more accepted in this harsh, skinny-friendly world. I know I am judged on my weight more often than not. I try to overcome it by having a bolder personality and making jokes, but that can sometimes be a cover up. Anyhow... I need to stop and move on to the next question :).
3. Lysa describes how she once defined her identity by her circumstances: Lysa, the broken girl from a broken home; Lysa, the girl rejected by her father; Lysa, the girl sexually abused by a grandfather figure. Have you ever felt your identity was defined by your circumstances? If you were to describe your identity as Lysa did, what would be on your list?
-Hilary, the girl who has to live in this city that she hates because of her husband's financial obligations.
-Hilary, the girl who was made fun of in the girl's locker room in high school for being fat.
-Hilary, the girl who cannot live her life to its fullest because she's fat.
-Hilary, the girl who feels like she is never going to accomplish anything in life until she loses this weight, because only then will she know that she can do anything she sets her mind to.
-Hilary, the girl who can never seem to get anything right the first time and now has to return to school to pursue the career she truly wants to have.
4. Take a moment to review the following list of statements, inserting your name before each one. How does this understanding of how God sees you impact the circumstance-based view of your identity you listed in response to question 3?
-Hilary, the forgiven child of God. (Romans 3:24)
-Hilary, the set-free child of God. (Romans 8:1-2)
-Hilary, the accepted child of God. (1 Corinthians 1:2)
-Hilary, the holy child of God. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
-Hilary, the made-new child of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
-Hilary, the loved child of God. (Ephesians 1:4)
-Hilary, the close child of God. (Ephesians 2:13)
-Hilary, the confident child of God. (Ephesians 3:12)
-Hilary, the victorious child of God. (Romans 8:37)
Those sentences should be completely enough to negate all that I said in question 3. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. Yes, I should make a more consolidated effort to read the Bible, attend church regularly and pray more often in order to develop a better relationship with God so that I can free myself of those demeaning thoughts in question 3.
5. Refer back to page 51 or your Bible. Reread Ephesians 1:17-20 and reflect on the key themes of the passage using the questions below.
a) Be persistent: "I keep asking". Do you have any reservations about asking God for wisdom and power each day to help you on this journey? How do you hope persistent prayer might help you? My reservations from asking God for help on this journey is because I feel like He's got better things to do. People are dying from cancer. I am simply trying to lose weight. It's not the same. How can I whine about weight loss when much more serious things are going on in this world. I feel that my weight loss prayers are not worthy. I guess I would hope that persistent prayer might reveal to me that what I just said really isn't true. He cares about us all, regardless of the magnitude of our battles.
b) Embrace a true identity: "Glorious Father." With what untruths about your identity have you struggled? How might your life change if you could embrace the truth of your identity as a child of God? The untruths I struggle with are that I'm just always going to be this overweight person who cannot accomplish anything in life. And while, yes, I know I've accomplished some milestones in my life thus far, those seemed so easy compared to this journey. I think that my life would change in that if I truly had more faith that God would get me through this journey if I just asked, I would feel The Big Weight lifted from my shoulders.
c) Find the deeper reason: "So that you may know him better." How might God use your journey toward healthy eating as a way to help you get to know Him better? Oh I have no doubt that the goal of this journey isn't just to lose weight, it is to get to know Him better. I know that there is simply no way I'm going to accomplish The Big Weight without him. Plain and simple. The struggles I'm going through at this point can only be overcome by my asking for His help.
d) Discover a hope and power like no other: "That the eyes of your heart might be enlightened." To what degree do you feel like everything depends on you - your willpower and determination? A little, a lot? To what degree do you believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is also available to help you? A little, a lot? As you reflect back on each day, how will you know whether you relied on your own strength or leaned into God's strength? I do often feel like, because of what I said in question A, that I should be able to accomplish this weight loss on my own if I just had more willpower and determination. While deep down I should believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power available to me, again, I don't feel like my measly weight loss issues are that worthy. I mean come on, Jesus died on the cross to save us all. I'm trying to lose weight so that I can have a better life. It doesn't seem comparable in the least! I think that if I can allow myself to start asking God for his help, regardless of the guilt I feel in doing so, that eventually I will just know deep down that my success is coming from His doing, and not mine. It's how I felt when God brought Joel back to me after the Terrible Awful. Believe me, nothing or no one could have changed Joel's mind when he walked out that door in February. But God did. I know that because I feel it deep down in my soul.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading! :)