How many are familiar with the “Battle of the Bulge”? No, not the battle that was fought during World War II, but the struggle that many face with their waist. I am a long-time veteran of that struggle, and have lost more of the individual conflicts than I have won. It is a difficult battle to fight, and if you keep losing long enough, it will eventually lead to deteriorating health problems. About the middle of February of this year, I decided to investigate the possibility of having “gastric bypass” surgery. I read the literature about it, studied the different kind of procedures that were possible, checked to see if my insurance would cover the expense, scheduled the appointment with Roller Weight Loss and Advanced Surgery Clinic, and made the commitment to do whatever it takes to be successful with this surgery.
My first appointment was on March 15th, and it was a 4 hour appointment, and they educated me on a lot of different things that I needed to know. The thing that I remembered the most, was that I needed to learn to “Eat Mindfully.” The nutritionist explained that they wanted me to think about what I was going to eat, take small bites, chew my food completely, eat slowly (laying my fork down between bites), and to quit when I was satisfied (not stuffed). I will be perfectly honest, I was going to have to go through a learning process to do that. Up to that point in my life, what I had been most concerned about was did it taste good and was there enough of it!
The way that I decided to attack the problem was to keep a journal of what I ate. So every day, since March 20th, I have written down what I have to eat and drink, and when I have it. I have avoided sugar, fat, carbohydrates, caffeine, and carbonation — concentrating on proteins and liquids. My surgery was scheduled for May 30th, and the clinic told me that I needed to lose 16 pounds, before the surgery. Well, I lost 29 pounds before the surgery, and have lost 47 since the surgery. I still write down everything that I eat and drink, still keep track of protein and liquids — still trying every day to eat mindfully. The surgery that I had was an invaluable weapon in my battle against the bulge, but losing the weight (and learning to keep it off) is still a lot of work.
Well, some of you are probably thinking, Bill, we’re happy for you, and proud of you; but, why in the world do we need to know all of this? This morning, in my devotional reading of Philippians, there was a passage reminded me of all of this, and, in particular, the concept of being “mindful.” Look at what Paul has to say:
It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:12-14, CEB)
In that passage, Paul says that there is a single-mindedness, or a purposeful behavior, in the way that he lives his life, and in particular his Christian life. Their is a goal that he is pursuing, and his purpose is to reach that Goal — …God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. In pursuing that goal, he doesn’t allow himself to be hindered by past failures or accomplishments, but focuses on the things that are ahead of him.
I wonder how many of us live every day haphazardly, particularly in our walk with the Lord. Not purposefully living every day pursuing the upward call of Jesus. Do we get up in the morning thinking about what we can do to serve the Lord that day — reading His Word, communicating with Him through prayer, sharing the story of Jesus with someone we know or meet, caring about other people, etc.
If I am going to be successful in losing weight, and maintaining that weight loss, “eating mindfully” is going to have to become a part of who I am! It will be no accidental lifestyle for me to reach the goal of the Christian life. I am going to have to dedicate myself to living “purposefully.” Will you join me on that journey? Peace.
(I have been reading Philippians every day for the last week, and reading it from a different translation each day. This morning I read from the CEB, the Common English Bible. This is the first time that I have ever read from this translation, and so far the review is mixed. Obviously, my opinion is going to be based on readability, not on the accuracy of the translation — that will have to be left to the scholars. There were some things that I like about it, and there were some things that I didn’t. Bill.)