Fatty, Fatty, Five Foot Four – Can’t Get Through the Kitchen Door ( or I’m Heavy from All Those Stones I’ve Already Thrown at Myself)
With some hesitation, I am entering the fray started recently by someone’s criticism of an overweight television personality.
A couple of years ago, I lost about twelve pounds, because of knee problems, surgery, and a slow recovery due to my pain being prolonged by Fibromyalgia. The simple fact was, I was bed-ridden, sleeping a lot, and couldn’t get to the refrigerator on my own. Encouraged by this, I went on the Adkins diet and lost thirty-three more pounds. I looked so much better that some people didn’t recognize me. I felt so much better that my whole pattern of life changed.
But I’m still addicted to food. It’s just that since I like meat, fish, eggs, cheese, leafy green vegetables, and nuts, I can now pretty much eat all the time and gain weight slowly enough to have some control over it. (However, my husband dislikes most meat and all green leafy vegetables, so my grocery bill has almost doubled.)
Goodies and baddies. Baddies and Goodies. A reality of life: there are no unmixed blessings or troubles.
Long ago, I recognized that I have a tendency to become addicted to pleasures, because pleasure temporarily deadens emotional pain. God helped me recognize this in time to head off serious alcoholism in my late twenties, avoid temptations to adultery in my thirties, and finally stop smoking three packs a day at age forty-eight.
Unfortunately, by fifty-five I ended up in physical pain and in a wheelchair,( but fortunately allergic to most pain killers.) Friends, grace, and prayer helped me get through about six or seven years of this, but the delight of good food also played a significant part. When not able to exercise, while dulling both physical and emotional pain with the only pleasure left, I gained eighty pounds. I jokingly, but truthfully, say that I didn’t quit smoking, I just switched to smoking food. I am actually five foot- two inches tall and after my fourth child weighed one hundred and four pounds. Do the math. I became seriously obese in my sixties. I am still overweight for my small frame and height, just not grossly so. But, the need for the pain killer of food is still my current challenge.
Certain personalities are susceptible to emotional stresses in different ways than many others are. They are not only over-sensitive to slights or criticisms of themselves, but imagine others are also, and take on everyone else’s presumed pain. I remember getting stomach cramps every time a teacher got onto any pupil.
Also, some people’s ability to visualize wonderful possibilities, makes them idealistic and inclined to judge themselves and others as falling short.
The positive side of this is that when they have enough talent and brains, to actually gain influence, they can make a difference and make life better for many. But, the need to make a major difference in the world, produces a chronic sense of failure for many, while also tending to make them unsatisfied with the lack of vision and achievements of organizations they are involved in. Thus alienating them from others and creating an even greater sense of failure. Some of us “do not work and play well” with others in organizations or even religious institutions.
There are obvious addictions, some more destructive than others. But many go unrecognized or appear harmless. An addiction to shopping doesn’t do much harm, if you are rich, but can destroy solvency and relationships, if you are not. An addiction to judging others can pass as righteousness, when it actually simply serves to distract us from our own unrecognized pain over our failure to be the person God has created us to be.
Not only is nobody perfect, but nobody ever manages to become perfect. We are all different. And the areas, that we each are being called to grow free in, will not be on the same life schedule as someone else’s. In the gospel of Matthew we are called to be perfect only in forgiveness, of ourselves and others, which requires ongoing admission of failure and repentance on our part, until our last breath. And paradoxically, I believe that takes knowing we are loved totally.
An addiction to cleaning house can seem virtuous, unless it makes life miserable for everyone else, or requires time that is needed for something else God is calling us to do or be. Workaholics frequently end up divorced. Addiction to affirmation leads people to be chameleons, who then have a difficult time discovering whom God has created them to be. The list goes on and on. Whatever need controls us, no matter how positive the results may seem, is an addiction and will keep us from becoming the person God created us to be.
Working with the elderly, it’s become obvious that many are unable to accept help and can’t find peace, when they can no longer do for others. That may sound virtuous, but it’s not, when that is no longer whom God is calling us to be. When we are being called to be still and not only KNOW that He is God, but to be empty enough to be filled with Him, to become one with Him, then even just hating not being able to do for others, will defeat finding that which is actually the pearl of great price we all seek.
We cannot get rid of our addictions by ourselves and we can’t get rid of them all at once. There are seasons of life and there are times we are called to new freedom in specific areas. It takes recognizing our own addictions, however subtle or harmless seeming, so that we can accept the grace to get free. In other words, we have to work to cast the log out of our own eye, before we even think about judging someone else. Self-awareness is the basic need for ongoing conversion, for letting Jesus truly become Lord of our whole selves.
I am still finding that is a full time job at seventy-five, even though I accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord at thirty. Letting Him be Lord of our whole self, even the parts we don’t want to see, is a lifetime job and only He will know when we’ve become the unique, loved, but still imperfect person, that He created us to be, so we get to go home.
Posted on October 6, 2012, in Addictions, Fibromyalgia, Gifts of Age, Healing, Love, Spiritual, Teaching/Learning Experiences and tagged addictions, Adkins diet, alcoholism, Fibromyalgia, judgmentalness, obesity, smoking. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.