When I set out to lose all this weight, I was 417 pounds. I had nothing but a lifetime of struggle and mostly failed attempts. By the time I decided to give it one last try I was extremely discouraged. This was me pulling my last card. And I really wasn’t sure if it would work. And to be honest it hasn’t quite worked just yet. Because losing 300 pounds is the kind of goal that feels impossible. And in my own power, it is. With my own strength, it is a goal I cannot achieve.
I’m still not “there”. I’ve gone forward. I’ve gone backwards. And here I am 3 years later still fighting to make this happen. Still fighting to beat down the stronghold that food addiction has had over my life for as long as I can recall. Even my earliest memories involve a deep attachment to food. It was something that almost felt inborn. As much a part of me as my blue eyes. To rid myself of something that deeply ingrained in me calls for a miracle.
For awhile now I have felt defeated. Discouraged. And on the verge of just giving up. In fact many times I mostly HAVE given up. Spending months floundering. More bad days than good. Not even knowing anymore if it was worth it to keep trying. Wondering if setting this goal was even realistic. If it was even POSSIBLE. Maybe I’m just asking too much of myself, I thought. Maybe it’s time for me to just accept where I’m at. That this is going to have to just be good enough. That this level of freedom will have to do. I’m still bound . I’m still tied. But at least I’ve had some release. At least I’m not 417 pounds anymore I ‘d think. And I’ve already overcome so much. Would it be a crime to just call it a day? To be content with what I have achieved? To simply accept the fact that the final battle will not be mine to win?
This realization is what brought me to my knees a few weeks ago. It was a depressing day but I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. It was time to stop trying to make miracles happen. The goal I had set was impossible. It was just too far beyond my reach. But giving up the dream was hard. And it left me lacking peace. So I asked God to give me peace. Peace with being DONE or peace with continuing to fight. But one way or the other I could not keep going as I was. And I needed something outside of myself to show me the way.
Sometimes in life we start drifting further away from the source of our strength. Further away from the faith that sustains us. Like someone floating on a raft may close their eyes to soak up the sun only to open them and find they have floated further from the shore than they realized. Before they know it, the people back on the beach are barely visible. And now they are out so far it has become almost dangerous. Will they drown? Will the sharks come for them? And how did a simple bask in the sun on a summer day take them so far out in the great beyond?
Somewhere along the way I closed my eyes to soak it all in. To float along with the success I had achieved thus far. And the waves carried me out further than I intended. The further I drifted the more panicked I became. I began to frantically paddle on my own in an effort to get back but my strength was not enough. I was now left only to drift in the open water with little hope of a safe return. I had begun to depend on myself to make things happen. Depend on MY strength to return me to shore. But it was God who had pulled me from the depths of despair in the first place. It was God who had given me hope. My strength alone had never taken me to that warm place of basking in the sun. Had I so quickly forgotten from whom the strength had come?
The further I drifted the less I remembered of His kindness. The less I remembered of all the great things He had done! Wasn’t it Him who had given me the strength to even get up from the bed and take that first walk? To even make it to the first mailbox? Was it not God who had put inside of me hope that I could withstand the temptations that every hour of the day brought my way? Who opened all the doors that had previously been shut? Who at every turn picked me up when I would fall?
God in His infinite wisdom allowed me to drift and spin my wheels. Like an insolent child who must learn the hard way.
Just a few weeks ago I was ready to throw in the towel. I had spent far too many months going backwards. Far too long fighting a continuous daily battle that I simply could not win. And I began to think that it might be time to just change the name of this blog to something else altogether. Because the goal I had set for myself—300 Pounds Down—was a fantasy. One I would never achieve.
But God restored to me the memories of all the great things He has done for me already. All the many times I could never have kept going if not for Him. All the miracles He has already made happen! My divorce. Losing my mom. So many times I should never have made it and yet I did. Times the car would break down and seemingly out of no where an angel would appear. Long days and sleepless nights taking care of the children alone where God gave me the strength to do it. He reminded me that I have never had to do any of these things on my own. When I was unable to keep going, He carried me. And He will carry me still. I must remember that!
Remember the great things He has already done for you!—Psalm 105:5
I will bring back to my memory all the things you have done. I will remember all the miracles you have already made happen!—Psalm 77:11
David took down Goliath. He slayed a GIANT! And yet even David had to remind Himself of all the things God had done for him. It was the only way he could keep himself from being defeated when obstacles came his way.
“Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things He does for me.” Psalm 103:2
I am reminded of all the amazing things He has already done. Things I look back on and know beyond a shadow of a doubt could not have happened without His mercy and grace. And this gives me hope that I can do this. That I CAN achieve this seemingly impossible goal. But only by becoming LESS dependent on myself and MORE dependent on God.
How ironic is that verse when you think about it??! The fact that I must DECREASE for Him to INCREASE.
Because I’m after a decrease. A decrease In my weight. A decrease in my bondage to food. A decrease in my despair! And in order for that to happen, He must increase. And I must seek Him now in an ever more increasing way! Even more now than ever before!
I simply cannot depend on myself to win this fight. There are too many things inside of me that will pull me down. And being aware of those weaknesses at first depressed me. But now it has only pointed me back in the direction of the One who is NOT weak! The One who sits high upon His throne ready and able to fight the battle for me. He is the One who gave David the ability to slay a giant with nothing more than a rock. And if that can happen for David then it can happen for me. It can happen for anyone. God is in the business of slaying giants. Slaying giants is the name of His game!
But I have to remember that truly depending on God does not mean I come up with MY plan and then let HIM know what it is. I’m not going to get away with that anymore. If I want the full victory, it will only happen when I stop making the plans and setting the goals. It will only happen when I allow Him to take back control.
This was never my dream. Not really. I would never have had it within me to declare the goal of losing 300 pounds. It wasn’t even in my power to walk past the refrigerator without grabbing something in it. At one point I could not even get through the night without reaching for food that I kept in my bedside drawer. Anxiety consumed me if I left too far from home without candy in my purse. Every diet I went on ended in a panic attack that could only be quieted with food. I could not even get to 9 am before I had been defeated.
No this was not my dream. It was the dream that God gave me. He put it on my heart that it could be possible. He is the One that brought the thought even into my mind! And He is the One that filled me with the possibility that it could really happen! I forgot that somewhere along the way. That even the mere thought of trying to achieve this goal was never really mine. But God gave it to me with a promise that if I trusted in His plan, he would carry me through to victory.
Isn’t it amazing that God can take what looks like an impossible dream and turn it into a reality? His love for us really is beyond our comprehension. And the plans that He has for us are better than we could ever imagine (Jeremiah 29:11).
So yes…maybe losing 300 pounds seems like an outrageous goal. Maybe it seems like far more than I can accomplish on my own. And you know what??
God often has plans for us that seem outrageous! Unbelievable! Far beyond our wildest dreams. And just as you cannot stare at the sun without getting blinded—you may not be able to look directly into the magnitude of your dream without turning away from it and feeling overwhelmed. Especially when you become so very aware of just how impossible it is to achieve in your own power.
Why would God give us impossible dreams? Why would He place on our heart desires for something that is not in our power to achieve?
It’s so that we will turn to Him. So that we will put our trust in Him and give Him the opportunity to do something so amazing in our life that we could no longer have any doubt in our mind that He is with us! That He is FOR us! The more we trust Him, the more He strengthens us. And when we finally do win the battle over the strongholds in our life then we will know just how deep His love is for us. Because the plan He had was way beyond what we could do on our own. And yet He lifted us up anyway. And He carried us through to victory.
“When I think of the scope of his plan, I pray that God will give you all of his glorious, unlimited resources to achieve it! That he will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit to overcome the challenges that will come your way. His place in your heart will grow the more you trust in him. So send your roots down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; Then you will be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it.”—Ephesians 3:14-19
Yes—this challenge is beyond me. Beyond what I can do. But it always was. And none of that matters. Because it is NOT beyond Him.
That is what will sustain me. That is what will get me through.