12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
I am not perfect and the attempt at perfection is exhausting but I do “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Accepting Christ into your heart and deciding to live for Him changes you. For some the changes are drastic and very apparent to those that are close to them, for others the changes are more subtle, a change of thought, a change of view, a change of heart but there is a constant transforming of the mind.
I had tried to lose weight for years, following one diet after another Optifast, OptiSlim, Weight Watchers, Slim-Fast, and some really bizarre diets as well, cabbage, grapefruit, good grief it ran the gamut. Some worked for a short time, I lost over 80 pounds on Weight Watchers, but I found it again and it came back with friends, and by January, 2007 I weighed 287 pounds. That’s two people in one. My legs hurt, my hips hurt, I was ashamed, humiliated, and I could not see me beyond the layers of fat the encased my body. I put on a good show about it, made people laugh because if they were laughing with me they weren’t laughing at me but inside I was in so much pain, physically and emotionally and so I underwent a drastic transformation. I went to a doctor and had gastric bypass surgery. I was scared but I was more afraid not to have it. I was only 36 and I wanted to grow old with my husband and see my daughter grow up and I wanted to live, really live, and for me it wasn’t possible hiding behind all the weight and I could not do it by myself. Satan tried to convince me that yet again I was a failure but that was a lie (he is the king of lies you know). I had to find a tool that worked for me and for me, surgery worked. The steps that I took to undergo the outward transformation were very much like the transformation that was taking place in my heart. (This is me in a play, yes it’s a wig, but the rest, that was all me.)
I found an expert in the field, my surgeon. I asked questions and became educated about what was going to happen and I researched. I meet with others that were either going to have the surgery or were further along on their journey for support and advice and encouragement. Once all the questions were answered it was time for the surgery and then my faith in my surgeon and his staff had to step in because when they put me on the operating room table I was no longer in control.
The surgeon performed the mechanical portion of the change in me. He made my stomach smaller so that my capacity for holding food was less and then he sewed me up and walked away. His job was over. He had made the structural change but the rest was up to me.
After leaving the hospital I had instructions the surgeon gave me, but the decision was up to me. I had to exercise, but that was up to me. The surgeon had given me a tool so that my body could be transformed but if I didn’t follow the directions and use all the tools properly, I would not reap the benefits. I eventually reached my weight loss goal but I will continue to use the tools so that I can maintain my weight and not start inching back up the scales. Those pounds come on slowly and just a couple pounds turns into a few, then 10, then 20, etc.
My weight loss journey is a great parallel to what God has done in my life over the last 3 years as well.
A change had to be made and I needed an expert, so I went to God, my heavenly Father, who loves me more then anything. I researched and asked questions and found a church where I could get more information. I joined a connect group and a ministry team so that I would have people who were where I was on my walk and further along on their journey for advice. And over time I had to let go and just allow the surgeon of my soul to do His work in my life. He is cutting out the junk, cleaning out the garbage and the lies that have been killing my spirit and crippling my walk. Unlike my gastric bypass surgeon, my heavenly Father will not close me up and walk away, He will stay with me forever, but He will also be constantly working on me as well and sometimes it will hurt, and sometimes it is hard, but this internal transformation enables me to
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”.
My goal. My weight loss goal was 150 pounds and I have reached that. But my heavenly goal is to become more like Jesus. Will I ever reach it? No, I won’t, but I have an expert living in me, one who is helping me to move towards it every day but just like the surgery, I have to make the decision to use the tools He has given me, prayer, reading my bible, spending time with Him. It is still my decision and one that I make every day. This picture is my mom, me, and my daughter, all God’s Masterpieces.
Thank You Father for being there when I called out.
Thank You Father for allowing your little one to come back home.
Thank You Father for listening to my fears and my frustrations and
Thank You Father for the transformation that You are performing in my life.
My trust and faith are in You God. Amen