Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The World's Barometer

It used to be that anything I wrote in this blog had been so completely and thoroughly thought through that the words took care of themselves once I finally sat down to write.  Today my thoughts are all in a jumble.  I hope I don't sound like a high school drop-out as I try to make sense of them. 

I have been doing some thinking and praying about the whole god-of-skinny business, and I am beginning to realize how much more of a stumbling block it has been for me than I've admitted to myself before.  I know God doesn't care about my size, He cares about my heart.  And what an affront to Him that I care about my size, that I have given in to the world's barometer of value.

I read a little tidbit online this morning that when women are looking at online dating sites, they're afraid the prospective date might be a serial killer.  Men are afraid their prospective date might be fat.

Case in point: my brother-in-law, whom I love dearly, hadn't had a steady job in more than a decade.  He didn't own a car, drove borrowed cars (his ex-wife's or one of his kid's) without insurance, didn't even have a place to sleep at night that was his own -- he bounced around friend's couches.  He has a drinking problem. He gambles.  He has a lot of wonderful qualities too, but these qualities, even just one of these, would immediately knock him right out of contention for any respectable woman.

So, he was doing some handyman work for our next door neighbor, a divorced woman.  She is attractive, well-educated, a working professional, owns her own home, has successfully raised her son on her own, comes from a financially well-to-do family, all in all, the picture of hard work, intelligence and stability.

Now brother-in-law got it into his head that she might be a candidate for some romantic attention.  Ahhh, but no.  She's a little overweight.

Huh?  He actually thought she was not good enough for himHe would not lower himself to date her because she was overweight???!!!  It relieved me greatly that the embarrassment of him asking her out on a date was thereby averted, because, of course, she would never have considered spending time with him personally.  No thinking woman would!  But what kind of screwed up world do we live in that he actually placed himself above her, just because she was fat?  (And only a little fat, at that!)

I can be aghast at his audacity, but truthfully, in large part I also have given in to the same barometer of worth.  So I fight it, fight it, fight it with diets and meal plans.  I try avoiding sugar and Diet Coke.  I try homeopathy.  I go low-fat, then I go high-fat, low carb.  Drink more water.  Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Ephedra.  But the root of the problem is elsewhere, so all these things are like reining wild horses.  They might be controlled for a time, but in the end, they're still wild horses and will not be tamed.

So I've been struggling with Galatians in our CBS Bible study.  I struggle because it says that I'm free in Christ, and must not again submit either to my base nature, the elemental things of the earth, or to the Law -- not the Judaic Law, not the Christian law of the Baptists, and not to the law of virtuous eating.  I am free in Christ.

But, then the line of thinking is that because He has saved me, I want to obey Him.  I want to do all that is virtuous, because He loves me and I love Him. 

I do want to obey Him, but I don't find it that easy just because it seems to make sense.  I don't feel that power that Ephesians talks about, so living to please Jesus just becomes another law.

That's the big issue.  The big point of my posting anything at all today in such a confused, hurried manner.  How does living to please Jesus not just become another law?

It seems like we jump from the frying pan into the fire in this.  We say, You're not constrained by the law, you're free!!  Wooho...  But wait there's more: Obey Jesus as if you were constrained by the law, because it pleases Him, and you do want to please Him, don't you?  Oh.  Okay, well, yes, I do.  But now I'm back where I started.  I stink at keeping the law.

I sensed a glimmer of hope this week in Matthew 11:28 though.  Come to Me, He says.  I will teach you and give you rest.  Learn from Me.  My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  That I understand.  That I can do.  Forget all the craziness, forget the diets and eating plans.  Come to Me and I'll fix it for you.  I do believe that.  He is good.

Gotta run.  Will edit later!

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