“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins”
II Peter 1:5-9
I’ve not been writing about my present journey a lot, and I guess the reason for that is we’ve been through it all already – twice. But my friend Liz has encouraged me to start writing about it… and if she can keep a daily journal with all that is going on in her life, I guess I can too…
Last night was a major blowout… not in terms of the program, or my “diet,” but rather in finances. I’ve went a little nutzz over the past month or so in spending – perhaps the spoiled little brat who is my inner child decided that if he can’t get the food he wants, he’ll find other ways to rule the roost. Anyway, it pretty much tanked what little restraint and control I had managed to learn about finances, and caused Vicki to hit the wall of frustration.
And I wept. Because the purpose of what I’m doing right now is not weight – it’s self-control and perseverance. Learning these two traits is so much more important than losing weight. (I’ll catch up the back story later, but let’s pursue this thought…) And this blowout shows that those two characteristics are NOT being learned. I’m losing pounds, but not gaining wisdom or understanding. And that makes me very frustrated.
This morning on the way to work, I realized what’s gone wrong…
Right now, I’m in a state of passive self-control and perseverance. See, if I stray from the medical fast I’m on, it changes my balances, takes my body out of ketosis, and I end up hungry, out of balance, and not feeling well. I can drift a little bit – a bit of lean meat here, some cheese there – but if I wolf down a hamburger, it’s not gonna be pretty. So I’m exercising passive self-control – operating within a certain framework, but not being the one who decides the framework. I can go over the bounds, but know if I do things won’t work well – thus, deciding not to binge and break the fast is a small amount of self-control and perseverance, in a passive form.
What is needed is active self-control and perseverance. The kind that comes into play when no one is watching you. NOT snatching a handful of brownies when you’re alone. NOT eating a bag of cheese curls when you’re the only one in the building. CONTINUING to do this day after day, week after week, year after year. This is what is mentioned in II Peter.
And that active self-control and perseverance is what I so sadly lack. And what I so desperately need.
Since the path I’m on is not producing these traits in an active form, how do I develop them? For make no mistake – the active strong exercise of self-control and perseverance is what He desires for me, and nothing less. I could just say, “well, I’m learning it in baby steps – practicing passive self-control and perseverance is better than nothing…” But can I be sure that eventually it will grow into an active form that gets stronger every day? And, knowing the lazy son-of-an-Olson that I am, with the voice of my spoiled brat inner child screaming in my ears, I seriously doubt that I’m capable of turning this passive obedience into active obedience.
Perhaps that’s where God steps in… As Jeff Manion said in the sermon that got me started on this whole process, “This is not work that God will do for you or without you, but He will do it with you and through you. You have to get into the game.”
“Lord, help me. I know that left on my own, my desire to obey You and to grow in You would remain passive, lifeless, and would never produce the results You so desire. Thank You for allowing me to see where the problem is – now grant the grace and strength to do what I can’t do myself. Together, we can turn this from passive to active self-control and perseverance, so that I can take another step on Your path for me. Kýrie, eléison; Christé, eléison; Kýrie, eléison. Amen.”
Here’s the reason I first started playing the recorder:
Yup. The Friendly Giant. Specifically, the closing music. He’s playing an alto recorder, but then after the castle is closed up, the music modulates and he plays another verse on a tenor recorder.
And my ever-patient mom, when we went to the music store, didn’t make me get a little soprano recorder. No, I got the one just like Friendly plays – a tenor. Explains why my first whistle was a low D, doesn’t it?…
Thanks, Friendly – for many years of recorder (and whistle) music. 😀
So, here’s where I am at:
Started a 6 month program at Weigh to Wellness, including 12 weeks or so of a VLCD (very low calorie diet) on nothing but liquids or protein supplements. Similar to what I’ve been through twice before.
One may ask, since it obviously didn’t stick the first two times, why go through it again? Good question, and one that I’ve asked myself a LOT lately…
1) Because doing something, ANYTHING, is better than doing nothing, especially since I’ve come way too close to 486, the weight I was when I started this whole process years ago.
2) Since I was turned down three times for bariatric surgery, we think the Lord must be saying, “this isn’t the path for you.” Or at least now now…
3) I’m trying to give this time through more focus, more attention, and more commitment – seeing what happens if I really get in the game for it, instead of going through the motions without my whole heart being there.
So, we’re in the process – drinking my meals, working on balance, getting rid of distractions, remembering to journal my food intake. Then I hit a rock in the river.
I was in the Meijer gas station near work, grabbing a couple of diet sodas (including one with caffeine to help wake me up), and I looked at some of the snack cakes I’d normally grab a handful of. Read the labels, got totally shocked at the calories therein, put them back, and headed for the register.
Within one foot of the register, almost home free, I snatched a muffin, threw it up there, and bought it. DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!! My peeps on Facebook were quick to encourage me to dump the muffin, including one offer to buy it for $10. (didn’t see that one until today, unfortunately!)
And, that afternoon, I ate the muffin. 680 calories. My total for the day is supposed to be 1000. Not good.
And here’s what the $10 muffin taught me: Eating something like that throws everything so far off that I don’t want to do that again. My balances were all shot, and all night I was so hungry it’s amazing I didn’t eat everything in the house. Because my calorie budget was gone for the day, I couldn’t eat my usual supplements at the right time to keep hunger under control. So, I felt so hungry and so uncomfortable that I was obsessing about food – something that hasn’t happened to that degree since I’ve been doing this.
Now I see what happens when I eat one high-calorie thing, and throw everything else off. And now I have a clearer picture of what my food structure needs to be for the rest of my life, to keep balance. And balance it what it’s all about.
Should I have ditched or sold the muffin? Absolutely. But at least I learned something from it. Hopefully next time I can think through things BEFORE I “do the stupid.”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my alarm just went off. Time to eat my 10:30 snack and keep balanced. 😀
He is risen indeed!
Hallelujah! Happy Easter, everyone. 😀
Bob Bennett says it best: “These are the small graces, the little moments when the miracles occur.” And if anything has been the continuing theme of my life over the last year, it’s the small graces.
Was feeling frustrated tonight with a decision that I made earlier – a dumb one, I might add, that cost us money that I had, but that would have been better used elsewhere. That’s keeping me awake a little longer than usual tonight.
I open my email, and find an order for 4 CDs. Yesterday, it was a contact from a retirement home, requesting a program. I never know when they’ll come – extra payment for a gig, a check paying for a jewelry order, selling music through iTunes and having it add up to over $40, someone ordering a CD, or ordering a new jewelry piece. Or asking me to repair a piece. A week of storytelling and magic for a church’s missions conference. A Sunday School class booking me for their Christmas party. One at a time, these small graces where God reminds us that He cares, and He’s the One who is faithful and true.
I am not a good businessman – not like my grandmother. For not having a high school diploma, she was a wise businesswoman, running her restaurant with both business savvy and high ethics. The ethics I got. The savvy? Not so much.So, in my weakness, the Lord remains strong, helping me learn and keeping us afloat as I figure this stuff out.
And along this path of learning, the small graces. Sunny days and reminders of spring. An email from a friend. Encouragement and connections when someone comments on the blog. A picture. A request from Ezri for a belly rub or some cuddle time. Watching an incredible sunset.
The small graces – the little moments when the miracles occur.
Many of you who read this will have gotten this info in an email, but for those who didn’t, Vicki and I are asking for prayer…
Vicki and I got some news tonight that’s pretty serious, and the only thing I can think to do is to let our friends and family know about it so that you can join us in prayer.
My aunt discovered tonight that the heat had been turned off at my mother’s house (the one in Oscoda that still hasn’t sold…) and that everything is frozen solid. The funrnace and even the thermostats had been shut down (we weren’t aware of that), and so the house froze. All we know at this point is that the downstairs toilet tank has split. Tomorrow (Wednesday), the plumber will be bringing a Salamander heater over to begin slowly heating the house – that’s when we’ll find out what kind of damage was done.
To put the icing on it, the house has hot water heat. So, the damage could be not only in the plumbing, but in the heating as well. 🙁 And, potentially, could leak and damage the new carpet, walls, etc.
The finances for the house are bad, to say the least. It’s been on the market for three years, and hasn’t sold. We’ve put money into improving it, and so this could be the thing that breaks us. So many things that Satan would love to have me dwell on… “If we only…” “If we hadn’t…” and so on, and so on. The enemy would love nothing more than to wrap Vicki and I in the darkest of thoughts, until we’re up all night with worry and regret.
So, I ask you, brothers and sisters, to come to our aid. Please remember us before the throne, so rather than being wrapped in darkness, we would be wrapped in God’s glorious light. Intercede for us, that we might remember Him who goes before us in all things. He has shown us His faithfulness through this last year, and I believe He will again, but it’s hard to see it right now. We ask for nothing more than for God’s people to intercede for us, so that we will wait on the Lord and not listen to the enemy’s lies.
Thank you, brothers and sisters. We love you…