Friday, June 6, 2014

Forget about it Friday!

I saw this picture on Facebook early this morning and I’m declaring today to be “Forget about it Friday!”  I’m guessing that you, like me, have felt wronged or hurt by someone at least once in your life; likely many times, sometimes over and over by the same person. Sometimes we feel like we’ve been let down; been treated unfairly; been left out. Sometimes we’ve been victim of abuse, verbal or otherwise. Sometimes, we’ve even felt like God has forsaken us or abandoned us.  I could sit here this morning and think about my life and likely come up with quite a list of situations where I felt mistreated or that I had drew the short straw.  And yet, holding a grudge is a serious detriment to one’s personal, mental, and spiritual well-being and can very quickly turn a person into a bitter, unhappy, and ungrateful soul.

There are many reasons that I could use to justify my obesity; some legitimate, some just a “cop out” and excuses to engage in unhealthy and irresponsible behavior. I used food to comfort me when I lost my job at the church after 15 years of service and I carried a grudge for a very long time, against those involved, and subconsciously against the “institutional Church” (not God).  I also carried a grudge against the world (who was responsible?) that I lost my dad as a child and my mother when I was in my 20’s. I carried a grudge against those who teased me for being overweight; those who were “pretty and skinny and didn’t have to struggle”; those who were healthy and financial secure; those who hurt me or left me out.  Eventually I blamed everyone else for my state of existence: obese, disabled, sick, depressed, sad……., and I failed to recognize my OWN ROLE in the life I was living.  Food was my escape and my comfort and I never even imagined that life could be any different.  Yes, carrying around anger, bitterness, and resentment (call it a grudge if you want, it’s the same negative feelings) just exacerbated an already dismal reality. 

Ironically, as I began to surrender the negative thoughts and let go of the pain and grief, the pounds began to disappear as well. I found it easier to make good choices with my eating habits because I was learning to deal with emotions in a healthier way and realizing that holding on to anger, pain, jealousy, and grief didn’t affect the other person or people involved: they could care less how I felt, but rather, it was compounding an already bad situation and leading me to physical and emotional death. I was killing myself and the quality of my life was going downhill, partly because I felt justified in being angry and frustrated.  It had to go!

Forgiving and forgetting is not easy at all. In fact, for me, it’s harder than resisting a cookie or bag of chips. It’s a choice I have to make all day, every day.  People are going to continue to hurt us; they are going to continue to let us down; they are going to continue to disappoint, but how we react and respond to them is completely up to us. Today, and in the days to come,  I am going to search my heart for any remaining remnants of bitterness and anger, and I am going to ask God to remove it from my memory; to help me “let it go”, because there is no room for it in my life.  I’m also going to work really hard to find a ‘lesson” in those unpleasant encounters that are likely going to continue to confront me each day, and to use them as opportunities to be a better person; to be kind and forgiving, and mostly to be a person of gratitude.  If I fill my heart with gratitude, it will overcome the sadness and resentment.

When/if you feel tempted and an overwhelming desire to eat, and you know that you really aren’t hungry, I encourage you to stop and ask yourself: Why am I eating this? What am I feeling?  Am I tired….or upset….or bored….or angry?  If you’re not truly hungry….perhaps the desire is connected to a grudge or negative emotion that needs to go.  Get rid of it!  It’s “Forget about it Friday!”

Enjoy your day today and keep on plugging along! You CAN and you WILL change your life; one thought; one step; one day at a time!