Close to My Heart-III

When I chose to write “Close to My Heart I and II”, I had no intention of writing a third. For the most part, the responses has been overwhelmingly loving.  Thank you so much.  However, my purpose wasn’t to evoke pity for my ‘lot in life’, but to highlight two much larger issues for struggling Christians.  While I used obesity as my vehicle, I’m afraid the train got derailed and failed to reach its destination.  I chose obesity because the problem is close to my heart.  I could just as easily have written on how to stop smoking, or break a gambling habit, though I’m too Scottish to waste my money on either.  I would have been knowledgeable writing about how to deal with depression, how to handle the death of a loved one, how to recover from job and/or financial loss, to name but a few.  (We’ve all had troubles–just ask Jesus.) However, just as wooden beams and sawdust were not the point Christ made about judging others, the issue of obesity is immaterial to the message of the two essays.

Essay #I addresses the advisor.  In our ‘information age’, do you really think long-time dieters haven’t heard whatever advice you wish to give all already?  Most of us ‘fatties’ are better versed on the hows, whys and wherefores of weight-loss than any self-appointed counselor.  In truth, unsolicited advice has never, to my knowledge, helped one person lose one pound of weight.  Quite the contrary, pointing out another’s flaws does nothing more than make the advisee feel badly about himself and not too ‘goodly’ toward the advisor either, regardless of his/her well-meaning intentions.  *And mates, no matter how much you harp on your partner’s eating habits, you will create bigger problems in your marriage, like deception, lies and subterfuge which quickly turns into a battle for control.

Is there any appropriate time for an ‘intervention?  Perhaps. (I say that with utmost caution.)  Remember God didn’t ordain ALL of  His people to be His prophets.  He chose only a few to wear that heavy mantle.  So unless God directly commands me to correct another of what I perceive as sin, I just may be usurping the Holy Spirit’s responsibility and thus be grieving away God’s Spirit.

Jesus said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”  Throw a pebble or a boulder at my head, either can draw blood.  As children of God our privilege is to affirm one another; to build up, not tear down.  The best dietary advice cannot deal with the psychology behind a person’s weight problem which can spring from an abusive childhood, sexual molestation, or any number of other hidden hurts that only God sees and can heal.  So rather than give unsolicited advice, sincerely pray for the individual.  And when you prayer, ask God to show you what areas in your own life need repair.  “Why look for a speck in your brother’s eye when you have a plank in your own.” (See Matthew 7:3-50 NIV)

“Close to My Heart II” is written for the individual struggling with what seems to be an insurmountable problem and the acceptance of who she/he is as God’s child.  If I’ve prayed for God to remove a thorn from my flesh (2 Cor. 12:9) and it doesn’t happen, am I the failure  Who do I blame? Myself?  My God?  My mate?  My past?  My parents?  My genes? Or do I claim God’s promises by taking  a step of blind faith to do what, on the surface, seems impossible, to “Give thanks in ALL things,” and to choose to use my much hated, misshapen body for His ministry as a blessing and not a curse?   Does that mean I give up?  Throw in the proverbial towel?  Close my mind to scientific discoveries and advances?  Stop tweaking my food intake and honing my exercise regimen?  Of course not. That’s a matter of personal growth.

As I do, I find peace and contentment resting in the comfort of His love and His grace.  And every time a negative thought pops into my head, I choose to renew a pledge to God that is close to my heart.  “In Your will, Lord, not mine; in Your way, Lord, not mine, and in Your time.”

 

 

 

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