Glimpses of light

Some days I want to reach my weight-loss goal now.

Some days are easier than others in “sticking with the program.” One of my stated goals in this journey, however, was to encourage others to make positive changes in their lives, too.

God gives me glimpses of light in small slivers sometimes. Today He gave me this glimpse, one I have seen in other areas of my life but hadn’t associated with my physical-fitness journey until now: If I lost all the weight I needed to lose as fast as I wanted to lose it, I wouldn’t learn nearly as much as He wants to teach me along the way. (And how physically unhealthy would that be? We’re not even gonna go there.)

I’m trying to get a healthy-workplace team established at the bank where I work, partly because I need a community of fellow sojourners to help me stay motivated, and partly because I want to be an encourager to others. This, too, will take time, and I’m okay with that.

At the rate I’m losing weight – about a pound a week – I will reach the 160-pound mark (goal weight, not pounds lost) on Feb. 10, 2012. Lots could happen along the way. I could get injured (oh, yeah, I already did!), I could get sick, I could lose my focus and veer off the path (for the umpteenth time). Heck, I could even change my goals. All sorts of things could happen to sidetrack me. No one knows the future, so I’m trying not to take that February date too seriously. I’m trying to learn as I go, gaining insight as I lose inches.

A few years ago, when my previous church set a God-sized goal to pay off $1.2 million of facility debt in 15 months, one of the members of a small-group study I was leading expressed skepticism (or, dare I say, cynicism). Among other things, he thought the church was setting its sights too high and asking its members to sacrifice too much. I urged him to consider what God was going to teach us in those 15 months. It was an exciting, encouraging time for our congregation, and so many wonderful stories came out of it. The last Sunday morning of December (15 months after we started), a relatively small last-minute donation (just after the church service ended) helped push us past our goal. Needless to say, we had a huge celebration.

God did teach us a lot that year. He taught many of us ways we could sacrifice, big and small, that didn’t necessarily cost us a penny: Maybe we raised money by doing something good in the community. Maybe we taught our kids that the family’s weekly movie night could mean watching a DVD and popping our own corn instead of piling into the car and spending big bucks at the theater. Maybe it meant not spending 4 bucks on a cup of coffee at a retail store every morning (and perhaps realizing we needed to give up the habit, anyway), then keeping tabs on what we were saving and dropping it into the offering plate come Sunday morning. Or maybe it did mean shelling out money – but the emphasis was on giving, not spending. And maybe some of us hadn’t been giving anything to God but started doing so during this emphasis on living beyond ourselves. Many of us learned the true meaning of sacrifice and obedience that year.

And if we had not experienced that 15 months as a community – the body of Christ – we wouldn’t have learned nearly as much about God, about ourselves and about our capacity for giving, and trusting. And we wouldn’t have the stories we members and former members still tell about that time in the life of our church.

So this journey I’m on – the one revolving around getting a healthier body – it’s not just about me. If you’ve been reading my posts these past two months, you know it often seems as though it’s all about me, but it isn’t. God gave us each other and told us to help one another along in the journey of life. It’s not just about me.

The Father  gives me glimpses of light when I keep the eyes of my heart open. Sometimes He has to pry them open, and sometimes I open them just enough to see what He’s teaching me.

Today my eyes opened just a slit, and I think I got what He was trying to tell me.

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