The reason for the laughter is, this is not a new journey for any of us, by any means. Most people who struggle with weight have done so for many years and it's an up and down battle that is ongoing. Most of us are second timers, third timers, God only knows how many timers, but the important thing is, we are still here and we ARE NOT GIVING UP.
I've gained some weight back over the past few months and instead of having it ALL off of me by this point, I need to lose 15 pounds of the original almost 40 that I lost three years ago. That might not sound astronomical to some of you but to me it is. I'm a stress eater and that is my struggle, my weakness. Last year was a really hard year for me in general with life and it's impossible to list all that stressed me out nor do I want to, but I will say that in addition to very serious family illnesses, I went through a difficult time in ministry November 17 - December 18. Those were several weeks of serious depression that drove me to a lot of former very bad habits. I came back from Africa having almost all of my weight off and to my lifetime goal. When I got back from Africa I had dropped over 10 pounds and was almost to my lifetime goal!!! (It was easy to lose weight there - first of all the food isn't fattening, second of all, there isn't as much of it - third of all, it was one of the happiest weeks of my life!!!) I came home only to put all of the pounds back on, swirling in what seemed to be a quagmire of hopeless thinking.
When I came back from Africa I was instantly thrust into dealing with a few challenging ministry situations. Larry couldn't wait for me to get home. I'm his partner - the only one he talks to about everything. And he was going through a few difficult things in the church and needed my help. I flew 33 hours home from Africa and started literally immediately solving problems. The problem is, as I'm trying to solve problems, I eat. :-)
I also missed Africa intensely...
The difference between the two worlds was hard enough even when things back in America were "perfect". But coming back to challenges in ministry just made what I experienced in Africa look even more appealing and fuel my longing for what I just left...
Feeling out of control and hopeless, I ate. And ate some more.
Those of you who are in ministry and have been for at least a decade or two will know what I'm talking about when I say that sometimes there are extended seasons where you do what is absolutely essential for the ministry, but extremely difficult and the pressure seems overwhelming. There are times I've been in these situations before in ministry and had to pick up the slack that somebody else left and it was no quick or easy thing - I'm talking YEARS of bearing a load while waiting for God to do something. And I knew that I was going into another one of those sort of seasons and just wanted to...run away. (But I'm way too responsible. I haven't earned the nickname Wonder Woman for nothing...they don't give this title to chimps...)
So although December 18 was a turning point for me of sorts in getting a handle emotionally on the changes in my life, I now had weight to deal with on top of all that. And here I am, 15 pounds heavier working on taking it off again.
I am on two journeys at once right now - navigating through new ministry challenges while at the same time taking off 15 pounds again that I already lost once. Some days it feels like futile battle and the enemy of my soul says, "go ahead and eat...it's the quickest thing available to soothe you...and it's not like picking up the Word where you have to dig in it to find an answer or press in....there's no work involved, you just pick up a cookie and...eat." Yes the devil does talk to me like that believe it or not.
My challenges are still there in ministry. Nothing comes easy. December 18th wasn't a breakthrough in my circumstances, only a breakthrough within my inner being and my attitude. I determined to stop wallowing and crying and allow my situation to shape me not break me. Sometimes even since December 18th I have been tempted to get bitter but I realize that will just prolong it, so I refuse that. I forsake anything that might cause me to remain in the challenge longer than I need to be. I will speak life. I will triumph. I will have victory. I will see change.
And in the meantime, I will lose the weight again.