There are a lot of reasons I shouldn’t care what the scale says tomorrow when I visit the doctor. But I do.
My relationship with my weight has been a long and complicated one – since the little old lady at the YMCA fastened my life jacket on our fourth grade field trip at the pool.
“A little on the pudgy side aren’t we?”
20 years later I still remember.
Then there was the doctor, thoroughly lacking in bedside manner.
He let me know after squinting at my BMI and weight, that actually I could stand to lose a few. Words like “portion control” were spoken and ideas about my body and worth re-cemented. Then he asked what I was doing about my acne. I was 13. I left my appointment feeling like a million bucks and remember only eating a clementine for lunch the next day.
As an almost 30 year old, I have mostly worked through it. I am mostly okay with my body and spend less and less time worrying about how it looks and what it weighs, and what others think about it, but I would be lying to you if I said that those old struggles didn’t still come back to haunt me on occasion.
I avoid the scale and live my life, but when doctor’s appointments approach, I feel the old patterns sneak in.
What number will it be and what does that number mean about me?
Like I said, there are a million reasons that worrying about the scale tomorrow should be the last thing on my mind.
For starters, I think of the people who have appointments tomorrow dealing with a devastating diagnosis for them or a loved one. They are walking through the doors of that office facing life and death.
Thousands of people facing an appointment tomorrow would, I’m sure, give anything to have their biggest concern be whether or not they gained ten pounds. The fact that I am strong and healthy yet spending my good health worried about being more than my “acceptable number” would likely infuriate them. For good reason.
I also know how little the number on the scale matters when it comes to my health.
I know that my worth and my value are found in things completely unrelated to pounds and inches.
I know it. But it’s still a battle I occasionally fight.
Like this weekend at my parents. We ate together and laughed together and ate together some more and I moaned and groaned about how I had to get weighed Monday so I “shouldn’t” be eating the donut or the Doritos or the cookies. Okay, maybe I didn’t need all of it but I regret nothing except the time I wasted worrying about fat and calories instead of enjoying time eating with my family.
But perhaps most importantly, I feel like the Lord has been putting a recurring message on my heart lately.
Through podcasts and sermons and studies and conversations, I am convicted of how much of my mental and emotional energy is spent on earthly, insignificant matters. Weight is just one of them; I could write an entire series on the dozens of energy suckers and meaningless things that I waste my energy on.
We are called to live with eternal perspective- living our lives in view of God’s plan of redemption. Suffering while knowing this is all temporary. Loving and supporting and serving those around us to ultimately point them to our Creator.
So what eternal value does the number on the scale possess? Zero.
What part of the kingdom is impacted by my obsession with gaining or losing weight? None.
What things above are put in to motion by me looking at myself in the mirror critiquing?
How well is my time and energy being spent in loving and serving others as I fret and panic over how I will handle the scale tomorrow?
What seeds are planted when I Google “BMI” and am distracted by my own disappointment?
Colossians 3 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
When I shift my perspective to “things above,” I am able to see how little my weight matters in light of eternity. We have important, beautiful work to do as Christians and it grieves me to think of the time and energy and anxiety I have carried worried about a number on a scale. Of course we should be taking care of our bodies and treating them as temples but, honestly, who cares what the number says?
There is important, kingdom work to be done.
These distractions line the streets like billboards in our lives. What they say may differ- maybe it’s not weight for you but comparison or discontentment or fear or a sports team or success. They are the earthly things that we spend so much energy on. They are dangerous and they are zapping our energy and emotions from us, making it harder to do the important work in life.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What and where is my treasure? When I enter the gates of heaven will I wear a badge proudly showing my lowest weight for all to admire? Will other line up to see screenshots of all the instagram comments of people letting me know how thin and fit I look? Will I bring a little suitcase of my “skinny pants” that I keep even though I haven’t worn them in years?
Is that my treasure? Are those the things I want to strive for during my one precious life?
No. I refuse to idolize physical appearance any longer. There is kingdom work to be done and the distraction of my weight has held me back too long. Bring on the birthday cupcakes and Tuesday afternoon donuts. There is life to be lived and work to be done and it is best fueled by the occasional (read: frequent) donut and cupcake.
So tomorrow, instead of asking “What is my weight?” I will ask myself,
“What is the weight of my love to others today?”
“What did I do today that carried eternal significance either in my life or those around me?”
“What was the weight of my kindness and compassion on strangers?”
That sounds more fun than counting calories anyways.
Eternal Work fueled by Chili’s. #notanad