I finished my first marathon on Jan 14, 2007 in 6:48:30. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I thought I killed a lot of giants that day. Unfortunately, some of them were just playing possum, living to fight another day. I spent much of the end of 2007 and 2008 giving back all the ground I had gained. It was just a little over a year ago that I realized (again) that I am actually in a WAR. It's a spiritual war, an emotional war, psychological, and physical war. I'll tell you one thing, I'm ready for the war to be over.
I do believe I am at war. I do believe my adversary is as real as they come, more real than any flesh and blood or temporal opponent that we face here. And I believe he wants to destroy me and he'll use everything in his arsenal to accomplish that and to prevent me from becoming the man that God created me to be. One of the strategies the adversary uses is to create strongholds in our mind, incorrect thinking patterns that take hold of us and affect our feelings and emotions as well as how we respond to life. For me, with my health and my personal well-being it's been thinking like, "Overeating is not that bad. After all, you're a good father and husband. You work really hard and give of yourself to your family and your church. You can worry about your health later. It's just that your family enjoys eating and it's really just good family time to go out and eat and enjoy yourself and all the smells and tastes of good food. Your career is worth it. The stress is worth it. You just get this project done and you're going to be respected at work. The stress is worth it. Honoring God means DOING MORE!!! Take on more projects. Volunteer more at church. More, more, more!!! And your education is important, more important than your health. You have to go back to school to be in the vocation God has called you to. Work, study, sleep. When it's all finished, you'll be able to take care of you. Taking time out now to just 'take care of you' would be selfish. God has big plans for you. Hey, you have good blood pressure and good cholesterol numbers. You can't be in that bad a health. Losing weight is HARD. You can't do it alone. Your family won't eat the same things you do. They're happy being heavy. You're just putting them on a guilt trip." See how evident it is once you put it into words that this thinking is so flawed and frankly RIDICULOUS yet the adversary, some 15 years ago, saw this as a chink in my armor. It was a way he could get to me. It was an area of my life, even as a Christian, that I had not and in some respects even now surrendered completely to God.
Surrender. Now that's a word you don't hear too often when speaking of war or battle. Surrender. Give in. Cease all efforts. Seriously? You mean QUIT? Yes, the one thing about the Christian life that I find so hard and yet is the key to victory, is that the war is already won. I can try and strain and push and try and contend and contest and try and exert and labor and try and to the world, it looks like I'm a warrior. I'm a hero. I'm an inspiration. And that makes me feel good...until I realize that I'm not winning. I can't win. I have to surrender...surrender to Christ. It's not until I can completely surrender and just give it over to Him that I can have victory. You see, on the cross, Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for me. And when he rose from the dead, in an instant, he conquered gluttony, and slothfulness, and shame, and every destructive weapon the adversary uses. He conquered DEATH itself. The war is over. Any efforts on my part are in vain, useless. All I have to do is surrender all my ground, all my territory, all my life to HIM. You see, part of me wants to hold on to my own ground. This is my territory. But that's a lie. Holding on to self is nothing more than ceding to the adversary. True victory only comes through Christ. I think I'm finally realizing that, after all this time.
So, victory over obesity, over gluttony isn't just around the corner for me. It isn't something I have to strive for any more. The battle's been won. I just have to surrender and let Him finish this work in me. Man, that was easy. :)