Monday, November 10, 2014

Don't forget to make a difference.......

How can it be Monday already?  Goodness, the weekend went way too fast, and although I didn’t manage to accomplish too many things off  my ‘list’, the past couple of days were “people-productive” because I was able to spend some time with friends, both in person and via phone, attend the basketball game and cheer on the Mid Michigan Community College (my workplace) Lakers, take a friend to church who is searching for a God’s grace and help, cook a nice dinner for a friend and some extra dishes so that will have some leftovers to make it easier for him with his pending surgery later this week.  At the end of the day (or weekend) I guess that’s what really matters to me anyway….that my life can be changed by the presence of others and that I, in turn, can make a difference for someone as well. Although my laundry didn’t get done, my winter clothes are still in the bin on the corner, and the house is a mess, if I look at it ‘another way’ that it was a good weekend. I hope your weekend went well too!

As I was reflecting, (okay, you got me….wishing….. that the weekend had ONE more day so I could get some of my own ‘stuff’ done) my mind went to the scripture from 1 Corinthians 13 about love. If you are familiar with scripture, you might recognize the passage because it used often at weddings. I’m not thinking about romance or relationships this morning, or the whole  Love is patient, Love is kind…..words of the entire chapter, but just the first couple of verses and how these words connect to my journey:

My priest said something at Mass yesterday that is also on my mind this morning. He said, and I’ve said it myself often, that he doesn’t think that when he dies God is going to ask him about how much money he has; what kind of car he drives; whether he is a Republican or Democrat, a U-M or State fan, etc….but rather…. “What did you do to help someone in need….what did you do to feed the hungry…etc.” 

As I sit here thinking of my own death, I wonder what God will ask me.  I’m guessing it WON’T be the type of questions I get asked on a pretty regular basis…. “SO, Theresa, how much weight did you lose?  How did you do it?  What size do you wear…..what about the excess skin….what did you eat for breakfast…. And so forth…”  I’m guessing that NONE of that will matter in the end, and I’m thinking I might be asked, “SO, Theresa…. I blessed  you with a 2nd chance at life; I helped you change your reality; I helped you walk again and changed your sorrow into joy……so….what did you do with that… did you use that new life to help others?  How did you use this miracle to make a difference for someone else?”

It would be much easier to answer the weight related questions...but I know in the end, my life will be measured, not in pounds or sizes, but rather in love.  It was REALLY hard to lose the weight and change my life….and it’s even HARDER to keep it off….but neither of those will be as hard as it is to answer THAT question, and yet I realize that God is helping me change my life on a daily basis solely so that I can use it to help others.  This is a true joy and privilege, but also a responsibility and mission that I must remind myself of on a daily basis. It also means that many of my own ‘stuff” gets left undone and I’m often weary. Please continue to pray for me…to have the energy I need; the words to console; and the wisdom to make good decisions.

If I were to take the liberty to ‘paraphrase’ the words of the above scripture a bit to capture my thoughts this day, it would read…. “If I am blessed with the gift of a day, a new opportunity to try again, but spend it worrying about tomorrow or fretting about the mistakes of yesterday….then the day is just 24 hours of meaningless time. If I am blessed with a miracle…and don’t use it to help inspire others and give hope to the discouraged, then it is nothing more than a story used to sell magazines or fill up space in the newspaper.   If God helps me lose 250+ pounds, helps me regain my mobility and become a participant in life again….and I spend all of my time and energy focused on things that do not really matter or sweating the small stuff, do not continually ask God to change my thoughts and transform my INSIDES; do not offer gratitude for ALL things….then I would be nothing but a smaller version of “Old Theresa” with a bunch of clothes that are much too large. I could go on and on…but I think you get the drift. Try it with your own ‘paraphrase’.
The weight loss….the 6X clothing I used to wear…the “Theresa doesn’t live here anymore” signs or the empty walker….the words I write…the presentations I give or the pictures I post…..would be/are meaningless if I don’t use them for God’s glory ….and Yet, I recognize that it was virtually impossible for “Old Theresa” to do anything but get through each day…without the weight loss. I was merely existing….and secretly hoping to die and escape my reality.

I am so grateful for the changes that God has helped me make in my life, but I recognize that they are merely a ‘visible” sign of His grace. The most important changes are the one that happen each and every day….in my heart and in my mind.  It is no wonder that the words of this clip today resonate so deeply within. 

Create a life within that feels good on the inside not just one that looks good on the outside. 

Weight loss, sobriety, being smoke-free, being physically fit (whatever your goal) is AWESOME…but it means nothing without kindness, compassion, and love.  Likewise, a spotless house; a sizeable nest egg; a fancy car or jewels; good health; an intelligent mind; retirement; or the gift of time……while still incredible blessings from God….mean little if we don’t use what we have to make a difference for someone else.

As you continue to make the changes in your life to improve your health and well-being, I encourage you today to seek ways to bring hope, love, and joy to someone else. Certainly, focus on YOU…your journey…your needs…your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health because that is so important…but don’t forget to express gratitude; spread joy; and do what you can to help someone today.    Without love….everything else is just “stuff’; a new day is just a check mark on the calendar; and a healthier, trimmer body is just a place to put smaller size clothes.

Have  a wonderful day today…..