I couldn’t think of a title for this post. So I called it heart stuff. You’re welcome.
Recently, I heard a morning radio show host commenting on a woman’s weight loss. She had lost 110 pounds in 10 months by walking 20 minutes everyday. I’m sure there were other changes that accompanied the walking but every bit of emphasis was on this one small change that produced huge effects.
It’s meant to be inspiring. For me, it’s maddening. That is not my story. I have already made a million little differences–at least I feel like I have. And so when I hear that I only have to make ONE! SMALL! CHANGE! I feel defeated. What about all of the other small changes I’ve been making? Even more importantly, why do I fall prey to making one person’s victory a commentary on my own defeat?
The answer comes in staring wide-eyed at the state of my heart. It’s an ugly, gruesome train wreck and I want to look away. I can’t. I’ve been struggling with paralyzing insecurity about my appearance. It’s a bigger mountain than I’ve faced in a long time. But I’m finding hope in a small thought that is going to turn everything upside down if I can get behind it.
I use words that are not in God’s vocabulary. We use words that are not in God’s vocabulary.
Fat. Plump. Skinny. Buff. Failure. Not enough. Damaged. Perfect.
When God looks at us, He sees us through His love. He sees us through Jesus’ mending grace. And I’m just beginning to accept that these are not words He even uses to qualify us. Instead, He sees a beautiful creation that He made without mistake and on purpose, even the weak parts. Instead, He sees the tenor of a heart turned toward Him. Instead, He sees a home to shine through.
He is not interested in making me perfect–where everything is easy and I never know the sorrow of defeat. But He is interested in being perfect IN me.
So. What does all of this mean and what in blue blazes does it have to do with the woman who lost all of that weight? It certainly doesn’t mean excuses. I don’t need to change my body to walk under the beautiful grace and wonder of Christ. I don’t need to lose weight to be more loved by God. Losing weight won’t make me perfect.
But I want to. I want to feel better about myself. I want to know the freedom of making good choices instead of running after bad ones over and over again.
Here is where I confess that if I make it through this summer maintaining where I am it will be a victory. It’s harder here in the humid, loose days of anything goes. And when I heard about that woman I was overcome with defeat. Where is my progress? After all of these years, why can’t it come more quickly for me?
But that’s not how God works. Not always. Sometimes the best step forward we can take is just to plant our stake right there in the midst of the buffeting wind and hold on tight. Just stay put (I’ve been reading Susie Larson’s book Your Beautiful Purpose this summer with some friends. She has some beautiful things to say about standing strong).
As my friend Scooper says, rest is fruitful. In this product and task driven society, it’s easy to fall prey to measuring progress by numbers and evidence. God works on a deeper level. He won’t rush. He makes change at the foundation and He makes it in His time. It’s strong and good and shuffles everything we build upon it.
It requires something of us, though. We have to wait. Even when we want to run ahead, sometimes we have to stay right there in the hard part learning over and over again.
PS-As always, this isn’t easy for me to write about. I cringe. I cringe. I cringe. It’s me. I’m weird. But thank you for being grace to me.