Monday, February 27, 2017

God's Gift of the Scale

I had just gotten to the gym locker room when I realized I hadn't weighed myself in a while. The last time I weighed myself, I was at 165, which is around the top end of how much I want to weigh. I had been tracking calories somewhat faithfully, though I knew I had thrown in a couple (ok... maybe more than a couple) of cheat days. But overall, I felt like I was eating at least somewhat healthy, I was exercising, and my fitbit kept telling me I was under my calorie goal nearly every day.

So, consider my shock when, only four weeks after weighing 165, I tipped the scales at 171. How in the world did I gain six pounds in only a month?

What came next was an uncovering of different fears and anxieties.

“What will people think of me if I keep gaining weight?”

“What if I end up back to when I weighed over 200 lbs?”

“Am I not changing at all in my struggle with gluttony? Is God even working in my heart? Am I even a Christian?”

“Am I going to have a heart attack and die?”

I wish I could say I was joking about these fears and anxieties. I wish I could say that I logically pulled out scripture and knocked each one of these down with the timeless truths of God's Word. But that's not true. Instead I went inward, and tip-toed the line of self-loathing and despair.

What was interesting, however, was when I shared this struggle with a few people, the response was corrective.

“Zack, you're not fat, you don't need to worry.”

I appreciate the sentiment. However, they missed the point of why I was struggling with my weight. They missed the fears and anxieties. I think, honestly, we miss the greater beauty of God's use of the scale, at least in my life.

The scale has served often like the dashboard lights of a car.  It tells you if something might be wrong. However, it doesn't tell you what is actually wrong.  A check engine light could mean a whole host of problems. But to determine the problem, you need to go to an actual mechanic.

The scale can indicate a number of things. But it can't tell you what's wrong, and in fact, it can't even tell you if something is right! But if you look deep enough, it helps you perform a heart diagnostic. And if you're like me, and your emotions come easy to the surface, the scale can help identify different fears and struggles that reside in the deep recesses of our hearts.

One weight measurement, and I can identify a few things as I thought through all of the emotions.

1. I have been running to food a bit more as I've been sad, and I need to continue to remember Christ in the midst of sadness.

2. I need to repent of my worry over my life, and trust that God, in His infinite wisdom, will do me good all the days of my life, and the lives of my wife and children.

3. It reminds me that my identity is not in the number on the scale, nor the image I see in the mirror. I am made in the image of God, and I was made a son of God through the blood of Jesus. Because of this, I am of infinite value to Christ, regardless of my weight and body image.

4. I can rejoice that God has made a tool that can help me manage my health, as well as one that helps expose my fears

5. There is grace for today, so today, I can examine how I can honor God with my body in how I eat and exercise.

Maybe you're like me, and you are easily consumed by a number. Maybe that number rattles in your head all the time, and you believe it defines you.

It doesn't. Especially, not if you were bought by the precious blood of Christ. So, instead of fearing the number on the scale, praise God for a tool that helps us manage our health, expose our fears and anxieties, and may we cling to Christ as we understand more about what we fear.