According to Albert Einstein, one definition of insanity is, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I think we’re all guilty of this in one way or another. Some of us leave things to the last minute and then are unhappy with the rushed result (even though we know we need to allow more time to get the best results). Students push our buttons and we over-react the same way (even though we know that they are simply pushing our buttons and that our reactions will not stop them). Someone cuts us off in traffic and we lean on the horn (knowing full well that the sound of a long beep will do nothing to improve their driving or ours). Our kids with the raging hormones push us to the limit in every way they can think of (and instead of separating the serious infractions from the relatively unimportant ones, we end up blowing up because one of them is chewing gum).
Several months ago, I decided to lose some weight. Up until five weeks ago, I was slowly, but steadily, doing just that. Then I stalled. Then I regressed. Then I became discouraged. Then I made excuses. Wait a minute, that’s exactly what went wrong the other times I attempted to lose weight. Then two things happened. I read a daily devotional in The Word for You Today and I remembered a story a friend of mine told me many years ago. The devotional was the start of reviewing the Ten Commandments and it dealt with the first three. I became focused on the second which says, You should not make for yourself an idol. (Exodus 20:4) Now I have always thought of idols as things that man physically created that then were assumed to have mystical powers. I, of course, with my modern sophistication would never fall for something so foolish and pagan (please understand that this is about as tongue in cheek as I can get). But the intent of that commandment is more than that. It also includes our following and loyalty to anything that has no eternal value, like pleasure, power, position and possessions. Food to me is a definite pleasure. So as time went on, I found myself falling back into old eating habits and patterns. They gave me pleasure and satisfaction and the sense that I had power over this portion of my life. In reality, it really had power over me.
The story was from a wonderful Christian lady that I had the pleasure of knowing many years ago. She and her family were active in our local church and I had both of her sons as students and athletes. A time came when she felt she was struggling spiritually and she wanted God to show her why. After weeks of prayer, God showed her what the problem was. He actually had to show her several times before she realized what He was telling her. She was relying on coffee to get her day started! Even before she met the Lord each day in prayer, she was jump-starting herself with a shot (or several shots) of caffeine. It’s not hard to think of things like addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography, entertainment, etc., as being idols. But, for her, she had replaced God with coffee to get her going each day. Does that mean you should give up coffee? Only if God impresses you to give it up because it’s getting in the way of something He wants for you or from you. Remember, I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. (Proverbs 8:17)
So it’s time to apply the story and the devotional to my weight loss situation. I’m good at eating healthy and portion control. I also exercise on a regular basis (40 minutes on a stationary bike and 20 minutes on a treadmill at 15 min/mile pace five times a week). So where are my weaknesses. I love very cold drinks and I love to eat before I go to bed. I drink healthy (only skim milk and fruit juices). And usually fruit or fruit juice before bed. For me, this is too much. Just like coffee was too much for my friend. So cold water will again become my friend and I’ll have to think of yet another way to get this aging body to do something extra. Like so many things in our lives, it’s often the little things that we let slide that keep us from becoming all that God would have us become. Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming! (Song of Solomon 2:15).