“Disgusting filth,” mom snarled when she spotted the magazine rack.
Sure enough, it was crammed with True Confession publications. I stared hard at the covers, trying to memorize the words.
“What’s a stolen kiss?” I asked mom, “What’s a forbidden delight?”
Without responding, Mom herded her brood away from the offensive headlines. She acted like she was Homeland Security, the FBI and Neighborhood Watch all rolled into one. For the next two decades, Mom fought to keep the trashy secrets of the secular world out of our home.
Despite her vigilance, I ended up with a few true confessions of my own.
When I was a kid, I gave the legally blind clerk at the corner store fake coins and she thought they were real.
I forgot my social security number when I took ACT tests in High School so I just made one up and wrote it down.
Sometimes I lie awake at night and I anguish over every penny spent on diet plans, weight loss books and meal replacement drinks.
That’s it. True confession. I have obsessed over dieting for years. I have made myself miserable in hopes that one day I would be thinner, more loveable and more socially acceptable.
Good news. I’m finally in remission.
It’s not easy.
I admit that I am not even close to my ideal weight. But, I’m trying. As of my last check up, my blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure numbers have all come down.
“You want to lose weight for a healthy heart,” my doctor told while she pumped up the cuff around my sleeve, “Just make changes.”
I started to slip. While her lips moved, I heard something else, the sound of fat free products yelling my name. Sure, they tasted like cardboard and chalk dust but the sweetness was in the promise give me back the body of my youth.
Maybe my doctor noticed the break from reality lighting up my eyes. Or, maybe, she just had me figured out.
“No diets,” she said, “or you will gain it all back. Just cut out sugar and white flour. And, exercise.”
My doctor believes in everyday changes that can become a lifestyle.
I, on the other hand, tend to get caught up in metabolic fairytales: the eat-three-carrots-and-a-bowl-of-cabbage-soup-everyday-for-three-weeks kind. I’ve tried the South Beach diet, the body type diet and several meal replacement diets. I lived, breathed and dreamed food: the curse of it, the lack of it and the longing for it.
I don’t want to live in that head space again.
Life is too short. Obsession over body image is just too dangerous. It takes us away from the reality of who we are at the moment, the reason we were put on earth in the first place and joy of being loved for who we are on the inside.
Sometimes I wonder if the early church got carried away with pumping iron and sharing diet secrets. Paul, an apostle of that time wrote, “Physical training is good.”
I’m a pleaser. Those four words alone would have made me dust off my cross-trainer sandals and cut back on the roasted lamb. I would have bought myself the sheepskin volume of Six Weeks to a New You.
But, that’s not where Paul was headed.
“Training for godliness is much better,” he continued, “promising benefits in this life and the life to come.”
I struggle with my weight almost as much as I struggle with self-worth. But, they should never be construed as one and the same. We are beautiful not because our tiny waist or firm thighs. We are beautiful because God formed us in His image. .
I’m slowly, very slowly working to get my heart rate up and my blood pressure down. More importantly I want to get in shape for eternity. I want to forgive more freely and love more courageously. It’s a little scary to look forward to a life to come when all I can see are my temporal surroundings. But, it’s real, more real than any diet plan.