pounds & persistence

my journey toward fitness and wellness and faith

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Grace Finder

A long time ago, before either of our lives had really started happening to us, my friend, Megan Kauflin, and I had one of those big conversations full of heart and emotion and importance. And Megan made a profound comment in that conversation that has stuck with me through all these years of distance. Megan said that she wanted to be a “grace-finder”. This meant that she would perfect the art of seeing grace in others around her, maybe even in people that didn’t see grace in themselves. That she would hunt for this grace, and identify and praise this grace, to encourage the people around her and give glory to God. I was really moved by this idea.

There are all sorts of secular, meaning non-religious whatsoever, ways to do this. You can be a positive person. You can encourage people. You can be friendly. You can be a ready volunteer, a constant support and a true friend to those around you. And I feel like I’ve tried really hard to be this way over the years. But I also want to be a grace-finder, and so I’ll take this opportunity to be that now.

This is my wonderful husband, reading his Bible and Bible study book from our weekly Bible study at church. That we attend. Together.

Things sure have changed a lot in our house. He reads the Bible. He reads books about the Bible. He recently made a decision to change certain elements of his life based on his own PERSONAL conviction. This is a big deal. He is more generous, with his time, with his money and with his opinions of others. He is more humble. He is less angry. And he was pretty damn awesome BEFORE all these changes! But the best part isn’t the tangible changes I can see in his life, like the praying or the listening to worship music or the desire to know more about God. The best part is that he obviously has a budding relationship with God and this benefits him and his life. HE is happier. HE is more at peace. HE is coming to understand God in a way he didn’t before. This is grace in his life and I don’t want to miss it, not a moment of it.

My husband is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m grateful every day for him (even on lousy days, when we fight or he’s an idiot or I’m impossible to live with). And this growing relationship with God is arguably the best thing that could ever happen to him. So I’m grateful for it, every day. And I want to acknowledge it whenever I can.

Look at me, being all grace-finder-y and stuff!

A Bigger God

For a long time, I didn’t want to think about Jesus on the cross.

At times, it was because of the expected response. People would talk about it with these hushed, emotional tones, allowing their eyes to mist over and then stare at you in anticipation of some kind of similar response. My mother was an expert at this. And no response I ever seemed to muster quite lived up to the depth of emotion being experienced by the person in front of me and they always seemed slightly disappointed. Awkward. And this made me defensive and a little angry. Why couldn’t I just experience God in my own way? Who were they to judge? Who brought up the topic of Jesus or the cross anyway?! Uncomfortable.

And then, other times, I didn’t want to think about it because I was going through some big deal personal struggle and the idea of a deity dying thousands of years ago seemed irrelevant to my own pain. It was much more comforting and relatable to think of God as this super powerful, all-around good guy who wanted to help me and care for me and cosmically manipulate bad situations for my benefit. It was much more pleasant to read about him caring for sparrows and providing for ancient peoples than about his suffering and death. And maybe this is what I needed at those times; it sure did help me through. Comforting.

But whether I avoided the image of a Holy savior suffering for my sins because it made me feel awkward or because another image was more comfortable, I still wallowed contentedly in a superficial view of God. A shallow one. Vapid even. God, the jolly Santa Clause in the sky. God, the powerful genie. God my buddy.

My view of God needs to be bigger than this. It needs to encompass the profound and the provocative. It needs to allow for the uncomfortable. As part of a Bible study at my church, the hubby and I are reading a book on “Holy Vocabulary”, or terminology that Christians throw around all the time without always considering the depth of meaning (or even always knowing what it means!) The first study was on the word Holy, and it made me a little uncomfortable. The author laid out, for several pages, how God is not like us, how God should not be treated like a familiar, how God is pretty serious about that. And then I thought about this same God as my buddy and felt uncomfortable. And this is a good thing.

The reality is that God does love me and he is interested in me and my good. He is dedicated to my well being. But it is also reality that he is powerful and perfect and completely “other” from me. That I can no more comprehend Him and all he is than an ant comprehend a man. And this should make his love for me, his interest in me, awesome. Like literally in awe. Because that’s a really big deal. And when I don’t see God as holy or separate or powerful or “other”, I can minimize him. I can make him me-sized. I can make him small. And that makes his love small too. Or at least ordinary. Maybe only slightly more significant than the love of my husband or parents and certainly less tangible.

I think that having a right view of God will change more than just my view of Him. I think it will change my view of me. Of my life. Of my situations. I think I may have been doing myself a disservice by shying away from the uncomfortable thought of Jesus on the cross. Maybe understanding that more means more than I thought. Maybe I don’t think about it enough.

Pounds

So, it’s still POUNDS and persistence around here. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of the persistence- taking my injections routinely, logging time on the elliptical more frequently, slogging through the ever- increasing demands of my job- but I haven’t talked much about pounds. I have good news: I’ve lost a few.

I haven’t really been all too focused on the pounds as I’ve been striving more for a healthy lifestyle, but as a natural byproduct of working out more and eating better, I’ve shed some. My hubby and I were recently talking about my diagnosis and he said that one of his biggest frustrations can be that he doesn’t always feel like I do everything in my power to be as healthy as possible. The doctor said that exercise will strengthen my body and is good for people with MS. And I don’t exercise regularly. The doctor said healthy eating will give me important nutrients and is good for people with MS. And I don’t always eat well. I know it would make my husband feel so much better if he felt I was taking my disease seriously by doing everything in my power to fight it, including a healthier lifestyle. This thought has really resonated with me and inspired some changes.

I think I’d like to set some goals. I’m do much more motivated when I have them- look at what my sister and I did at the bike MS ride this June! Only, I’m not sure what to set or how to achieve them. I feel like I’m on the right path, but need an extra little kick to get my locked and committed. I don’t know yet what that kick will be, but I do know it’s important. It’s important to my hubby and it’s important to my health. At least those factors are much more motivating than numbers on a scale! And the numbers, I hope, will fall as a byproduct of my other motivations.

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