There's so much talk about New Year's resolutions as soon as December 31st hits that I've waited to write this post. I also waited because I've debated writing it. I've debated because it's on that level of being real that isn't the easiest to be at. It's much more comfortable to write about... well, most anything else.
In November I joined Weight Watchers. I joined because a friend had joined a little while after giving birth to her son and her excitement for the journey was contagious. So, I looked up a meeting place and decided to start. I have never done Weight Watchers before. I had heard mixed reviews from people. But I knew that I needed something to help me get healthy because it's not just about me anymore. I have a baby boy that needs a mama who can keep up with him when he starts to walk and run and play. And I don't want to sit on the sidelines of his life missing out because I was too selfish to make some sacrifices and address the idols in my life.
Pastor Jerry Gillis said something that I think was incredibly profound a few weeks ago at church. He said that our New Year's resolutions need to point us and others to Christ. I wrestled with it since one of my resolutions is to keep getting healthy and fit. How is that bigger than just me? How is that about Christ?
This past weekend I realized how. I've written about the idol that food can be and has been in my life. How so often I've turned to food for comfort or fulfillment instead of Almighty God. I've confessed it. I've prayed about it. But to be honest, it was still a battle. There were times I would win. I would wrestle in my head all through a meal, or being home all day about food and I wouldn't choose to eat out of boredom, frustration, sadness, etc. But it was still an exhausting mental battle. I thought that was just how it would always be. It was how I was wired.
Until this weekend God, in all His graciousness, gave me freedom. I sat in Red Robin with my grandma and Ryan and Sully. Ryan and I decided to share a burger. I had half a burger. I had some fries and I even had a few little pretzel bites. Not once did I think that I wanted more. Not once did I think that I needed another half of a burger. Then Sunday we went to lunch at a place with the most incredible dinner rolls you can imagine. Sweet and warm and delicious. I didn't eat one. Here's the freedom. It wasn't a battle to not eat one. I saw them. They looked great. But I didn't need one. I didn't have to fight with myself to not eat one, I just didn't need one. I ordered a bison burger and I didn't eat the roll. I didn't care that I didn't eat the roll. I ordered a salad instead of fries. And I didn't once think about the fries.
Freedom. It's the sweet and joyous gift from a loving, gracious God, when we decide to walk in the light of His love bringing forth our idols from the darkest places. When we offer them He takes them. And let me tell you that the sweet taste of Freedom is more precious to me than any dessert or french fry or Roadhouse Roll any day.
So, yes, I've set a New Year's resolution to be healthy and fit. Yes, I've lost almost 25 pounds. But I've gained something much more valuable to me. I've gained freedom in Christ and a closeness to Him that comes with choosing daily, even when it's ridiculously hard, to surrender the things in my life that I hold dear. He's trustworthy. He's good. And He is the giver of all good things.
May you taste the sweet freedom that comes when you choose to live in the light of Christ's love and bring your heart, your fears, your idols before Him. Could it be that what you treasure and lay before Him will seem like mere pennies as He trades you for His joy, His love, and the freedom that only He can give?