Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….
This week I want to share with you a personal struggle I deal with every day and how God has changed the way I think about the daily choices I make.
Around the first of November of last year I decided to buckle down and get serious about losing weight. I have been working at this off and on for several years and have lost the amount of weight equal to a kindergartener. So in reality that’s not too bad but when you still have a 3rd grader to lose (yes, I am very visual and needed something to relate the amount of weight I needed to lose) makes you realize there is a lot of work left to do.
If you have been at this weight loss thing as long as I have, at some point it becomes like second nature to feel guilty about anything you put in your mouth except a small lettuce leaf. The problem is not that I didn’t know what to do; the problem is that I knew what the right thing was but time after time I chose not to do the right thing. Just having information is not the answer. I tried to find a reason strong enough to motivate me.
As a mom, I tried to balance taking care of my home, outside activities, church, finances, etc… The need to make my health a priority continued to get pushed to the end of the list day after day, year after year. One day I woke up unhappy, overweight, and my self-esteem was in the pits. But being a mom I could not, or let me be honest, I chose not to find time to figure out what I needed. Much less follow through with a plan to make it happen. I was afraid if I took the time to concentrate on the things I needed to do for myself I would be selfish and the dreams of “mother of the year” would be down the tubes. Then, I took the “sacrificing mother” part farther, by letting my appearance go and throwing anything on just to cover my body. I stopped wearing makeup to work, and then I stopped wearing makeup to church. My hair on the other hand was always fixed! (That was all I thought I had going for me). By then, the downward spiral had begun. I wanted to cover up what I was doing to myself, all the while hoping I would still appear to be the BEST MOM.
The strange thing about not taking care of me (mentally, physically or spiritually) is that when that block is starting to fall the others slowly start to tumble into the pit also. Financially we went through heck and back because I began to try to fill a void by shopping for my kids, they needed to look good so people would think I was a good mom. Yes, we need to take care of our children, but I was over the top out of control. I spent money to make my house look perfect, once again so I would look the part of a good mom. I remember my mom doing the same thing for me and my sisters and I was setting up the same pattern for my children. Give till it hurts and then some became a way of life for me.
The guilt from what I was doing to myself and our finances began to change the person I used to be. I became unhappy, grumpy, and short tempered. Even the paint on the wall could set me off some days. Everyone was walking on egg shells, I was unhappy so everyone would pay for that in one way or another.
I was out of control and going down fast! At times I even felt like God Himself couldn’t even love me because of what I had become. I blamed my unhappiness on everyone and everything around me and kept trying to fill that void. Then my dad died. I thought if I get this weight off I still had a chance to make him proud of me, even though he was gone. Believe it or not, for a while that motivation worked, until I realized that he really was gone. He wasn’t sitting up in heaven looking down on all of my hard work. (See how crazy we can get!!)
I struggled for the next 3 years with about 5 pounds. I would lose then gain it back then lose it, then gain it back. Let me tell you how ugly that type of frustration can look-it’s bad! I couldn’t seem to find my motivation but I (sort of) kept fighting to get this weight off, I equated showing up at my weight watcher meetings week after week for 3 years as trying. Surprise, just showing up to the meetings will not get the weight off. Even having my best friend lose all of her weight didn’t move me to the next level. (Now I perceived myself as her little fat friend)! I was ready to give up and drowned myself in chocolate fudge and onion rings with a caramel frappe to wash it all down (my guilty pleasure).
I decided I needed to try one more time to find the thing that would turn this around and make it work for me. I looked around to see what might be just the spark I needed and I found it in the strangest place. Many of my friends are starting to be caregivers for their parents and it made me realize that one day I may be that parent that needs help from my children.
The thought of my children having to take care of me because I continued to make unwise choices about my health hit me right between the eyes. I HAD BECOME SELFISH! I wanted want I wanted when I wanted it no matter the cost to my health. To be honest that was the last straw- I do not want to have my children put their life on hold because I had become so self-absorbed. If it is in God’s perfect plan for me to have health issues that’s one thing but for me to do things that cause my body to become so unhealthy that I require others to pay the price, I am making selfish choices. I will not make selfish choices anymore!!
I love my kids enough to get this weight off but that is not my motivation. My motivation came when I realized that I was selfish- stink fire- that hurts to even say that out loud! It has become an excuse to not do so many things, and I will not allow that again. I do not want to miss out on what God has for me to do because I am afraid of failing, I have failed before and lived through it, so I will get up and try again, NOW. I will not expect others to do things I can do for myself- that would be selfish to ask them to give up their time to do it.
So what does learning to be unselfish look like for me- I get up every morning at 6 and work out (No I don’t like it yet). I make wise choices for my body when I go out to eat. I only purchase items that will translate as healthy meals for my husband and me.
I had never made a bucket list before but now I am slowly making a “skinny” bucket list. It’s a list of things I want to do when I get to a healthy weight. So far I have made plans to go horse backing riding (making plans to do that in the fall when all the snakes are hiding in the ground)this is one of those things I loved doing when I was younger and much thinner. Number two on the list is to become a runner, now if you know me you probably are thinking I have lost my ever loving mind, but the Lord has given me a passion to do this so I have purchased running shoes (really cute ones of course) and will be walking quickly (in my mind I will be running) a 5k next Saturday.
I am far from finished with this battle but I refuse to go another day feeling sorry for myself, blaming others and expecting them to deal with the consequences of my selfish behavior. But most of all I will not stand before my heavenly Father and realize that He had a job for me to do and because I was too selfish to take the responsibly for my choices I missed out. I refuse to miss out on another opportunity to do what I was created to do!!
If you are struggling, come on and join me as I head out of the pit!!!
Love you to Jesus!