What’s in a name? Everyone has a first name that they were given by their birth parents. Most people keep that name from day one, and it stays with them until the day they die. Occasionally, people change their name, maybe first and last, because they didn’t feel like the name really fit them, or maybe it did fit them but they wanted to be someone different. Other times, people can get nick-names that other people give them at different times in their life based on quirks they have, or physical characteristics, or embarrassing experiences that have now defined you in another person’s life. Or, maybe we give ourselves names because of how we feel about ourselves and how we see our value in this world based on how others treat us.
It’s easy for me to establish my value & identity on what I hear others say about me and how social media tends to dictate what I should value, and even, if I have any value. So easy, that I knew I had to make a change. At the beginning of 2017, I reached a point where I was dissatisfied enough with the messages around me and about me that I knew that I needed to turn them off. This led to really minimizing my presence on Facebook to almost nothing, but I also knew that I had to make other changes as well. Most of my life I’ve been overweight....because of my own eating choices and decisions not to push myself to exercise. I’ve never really been a very athletic person nor have I maintained any interest in team sports since my soccer days in elementary school. Once I got into a routine of laziness and over-eating, that routine has been seemingly impossible to break. Which is where I was in January of this year. I was at the heaviest I had ever been and the year in front of me seemed like there was no plan to be any different.
But since September, we had been studying a book by Max Lucado called “Grace” in the small group with our church, and it had been speaking to me. I thought I knew about the importance of showing grace to others in my life but there was one thing I had been missing. Did I think I was worthy of God’s grace in my life? Was I really accepting God’s grace in my life? Who was I? It’s that last question that has really captured my attention and caused me to examine things in my life. It came down to realizing just how much God loves me for who I am right now and how much he has planned for my life! You see, part of getting overweight and staying overweight is the idea of failure. I thought I was a failure and always would be a failure because when I would try to exercise and eat a little better, the power of food (which is what I took comfort in) and encounters with soreness and joint pain always won out. So, I guess I was just always meant to be overweight and lazy, right?
No…not at all. When I started to really think about how much God loves me everyday, no matter what, is when I knew this wasn’t what or who I was. If I made a mistake, so what, God still loves me. “But it’s too hard!” I would say. Again, no. Because God loves me, he will give me the strength to succeed. So I started to really cut back on the amount I was eating and started eating healthier. I spent weeks trying to figure out what healthy foods agree and don’t agree with my weird digestive system (still fine tuning this) and I stopped shoving all the sugar and fat in my mouth all the time. And I started moving....walking early in the morning, then biking some too, then training the right way for two 5K’s I signed up for in a little over a month. In the midst of joint pain from my body getting used to all this activity, waking up in the middle of the night with leg cramps from exercising, learning the hard way that I need to stretch better, and learning how to workout with a sprained ankle (because apparently I still don’t know how to walk down stairs sometimes), I start to feel better, start to lose the weight that has been building up for the last 20 + years, and start to realize that I am not who the world tells me I am. I am the creation that God made me and I can do ANYTHING in the grace He gives me each and every day. Just as God has allowed be to make extraordinary changes in my life in over the last three month, I know that when I wake up tomorrow I will know who I am and Who I belong to………and I will press on.