Sitting out

Have you ever started something and once you were too far in to really get out, you realized that the whole thing was turning out to be WAY bigger than you thought it was going to be?

I can honestly say that I really had never experienced something like that until this year.  I mean sure I had projects in college that ended up taking way more time than I thought they would or other small circumstances that ended up being hard than I had first imagined, but really for the most part my perfectionist personality kept me relatively safe from situations like that.

I am one of those people that like to fully evaluate my success and/or the outcome before jumping into things.  I don’t like failure.  And I don’t like to quit.  So in order to keep myself from having to fail or quit, I just don’t do it.  

I am by no means marketing this method.  It has kept me on the sidelines way too many times to count.  I end up watching instead of experiencing far too often. 

So please don’t let me be your teacher.

But, the times are changing even for me.

Last month I decided to undertake something in which I wasn’t sure I would actually be successful.  I decided it was time to do something about my health…lose weight, eat right, get healthy.  I knew it was going to be hard. I knew I would struggle.

You want the truth, though?

Deep down, I really did think I was going to rock it.  I knew I would struggle a bit in the beginning to find my groove, but I really believed that I was going to be able to whip this body of mine into shape in no time.  I truly thought that once those initials cravings subsided, I would even enjoy the whole healthy eating part.

How wrong I was.

This journey has been one of the most mentality and spiritually challenging things I have ever done.  In some ways, I can even say I have felt it has started consuming my life.

Now before you all start worrying about my mental stability, hear me out.

I know that at the end of the day my worth is not based on the size of my pants. I really do get that, even if at times I struggle with making that my reality.  I know that Sara is worth it because God says she is…not whether or not I am pretty enough to be on the front of a magazine.  

That being said, though, for the first time in my life, I am embarking on something that on many occasions and even days makes me feel like a failure.  And that is hard. 

On Friday, I got weighed again.  The week before last I was down 5 lbs since I started and had lost 1.5% body fat and gained 1% muscle.  That was a little over three weeks since I had started.  Then this past week, my counselor weighed me and measured me.  

Guess what…I gained weight! WHAT! Yes, I had actually gained. Sure I had lost a total of 19 cm throughout my body (chest, arms, waist, legs, etc.).  But, I GAINED WEIGHED!

Heck no!

I was so upset.  Devastated really.

How was it that I had been working my butt off…exercising 4 to 5 times a week, really trying to watch EVERY SINGLE MORSEL of food that went into my mouth and I gained.  It was only a slight gain but a gain nonetheless.

No freaking way!

Yesterday we took the kids to the mall.  Hubby had to run an errand there, and the kids really like playing in their playground area.  We decided it would be cheaper and easier to take the kids up to the food court for lunch.  They like it and it was cheaper than a sit down restaurant.   The kids were easy and soon enough Hubby was at the table with their food and his and everyone was chowing down.  I, however, walked around in a circle for at least 15 minutes trying to figure out what to eat.  I knew what I wanted to eat…but I also knew what I should eat.  All I could think about was the scale used to weigh me the day before.

So I just kept walking in circles…trying not to cry and trying even harder not to be angry at all the skinny folks sitting at those tables gorging themselves on the sweet, deliciousness of pizza and tacos and hamburgers.  I tried to hold my breath as the mouth-watering aroma from Cinnabon filled the area.  

Here’s the thing, I knew I could just go up to the counter, order whatever I wanted, eaten it and moved on.  It was one meal anyway. It wasn’t the end of the world.   Hello at least I had food to eat.  Can we say “first world problems” anyone?

But, it was so much deeper than that for me.  And it still is today.

I know that my life lacks discipline.  I know that I am too easily enticed by things that feel good, taste good, are easy, etc.  My flesh wants to surround itself by things that are easy and fun and make me feel good and make me happy.  

I, one hundred percent, believe that food and life and everything else should be enjoyed!  Of course this is true!  I know that God wants us to rejoice in his creation and in this beautiful life that we get the privilege of living.  I am not arguing that point at all.  

But I do think that there is a fine line between filling our lives only with things that make us feel good and learning that sometimes we have to practice self-control, discipline, etc.  

There will be red velvet cake again in my future.  There will be pizza and pasta.  I even plan on eating at what some would say is the most disgusting fast food place on this earth, Taco Bell again.  I don’t feel like God is asking me to give all of those things up forever and always.  

No, it isn’t about what I will never have.  

It is actually about what I can have.




And even joy.

Finding joy in saying no sometimes.

And also finding joy in saying yes.  Yes to things that are hard and scary and seemingly impossible.  

I don’t want to sit on the sidelines of my own life.

I don’t want to say no just because I think I might fail.

I want to learn to GET.BACK.UP!

This is so not easy.  It is so hard.  And mostly I hate every second of having to be around others enjoying food that I also love to eat.  I hate having to say no more often than yes. 

But I am going to keep going because it matters too much to stop.  I am not even talking about the health repercussions of being overweight and unhealthy.  I would keep going even taking that out of the equation.

Because for the first time in my life, I want to find success at something not because it was easy or because I was naturally gifted.  I want to find the victory fighting every step of the way.  I want to find the beauty in the fight and in the struggle.   

Easy doesn’t make character.
Easy only makes the hard that much scarier.

Look around you.  I bet your life is filled with so many just sitting on the sidelines for fear of what is going to happen if they actually get up and play.  

God cannot use us on the sidelines.  We are of no use as spectators.  

God wants players.  

This world needs players.  People willing to do things that are hard…that hurt…that require sacrifice and/or discipline.  

Don’t just take my word for it.  Ask any famous athlete or musician or really any “great.” Ask them if that win or that symphony or that moment would have been as great if they were just sitting on the side.  Sure maybe they were a part of the team or a part of the group but without having participated, I am certain that the moment of “victory” was greatly reduced for them.  The thrill can never be the same for the spectator as it is for the participant. It just isn’t possible. 

We weren’t meant to sit on the sidelines, folks.  

I only have one life, and I, for one, refuse to spend it watching.

[Side note: For any of you that do know a lot about exercising and eating right, if you could give me any advice as to why in the world I gained after working my butt off last week, I would greatly appreciate your help. I was not perfect everyday, but I know that I did not eat enough to warrant a weight gain...and I worked out 5 days last week.  So like I said, if you could offer any tips and/or advice, that would be lovely.]



I am about three weeks into my working out/dieting (aka Curves) journey.  It hasn’t exactly been a cake walk but then again it hasn’t been quite as hard as I thought it would be either.

The exercise part rocks.   I love being active.  Granted I have had a few mornings that I woke up feeling like a 90 year old lady.  I have bones that are seriously creaking.  But, my body loves it.  And I love it.  I love sweating and moving and pushing myself.  I don’t love sitting in traffic every morning, and there are definitely days that I wish I could just have a lazy morning with coffee and my pjs, but I know it is worth it.  My once athletic frame is thanking me for getting my rear back in gear.  

I HATE the dieting part.  I mean I really and truly hate it.  It takes so much energy and will power and money and TIME.  Who know eating healthy would take that much work.  But it does.  I have dreamed about food more nights than I can count.  I have not eaten a piece of dessert since I started, but the craving is still as intense as the first day…maybe even more so.   I can handle the eating healthy part for my meals. I love to cook and I really enjoy eating a variety of veggies.  I am a little tired of chicken but the red meat variety is very slim down here and most of it loaded with lots of fat, so chicken it is.  

But I WANT CAKE! Or PIE! Or COOKIES!  I want…no I NEED something sweet.

That sugar addiction thing is real folks. It is very, very real.

 (This picture has been my motivation for no cake, cookie, and pie eating.  Even though it was my wedding day, it was also the time in my life that I was probably the healthiest I have ever been. I didn't just drop a bunch of weight for my wedding. I was living a healthy and active lifestyle.)


Yesterday I had my meeting with my “counselor” so to speak.  She weighs me, checks my fat and muscle percentages, measures me, etc.  Then we talk about how the week went…what was hard, easy, etc.  

You will never believe what happened…or maybe you will.

I cried.  AGAIN!  Geez Louise, you’d think I would be over the water works by now.  Oh but they were fresh and fierce.

The thing is I can be sarcastic about this and laugh and make jokes, but the truth is this process I am going through is very real.  It is about SO much more than just losing the extra pounds and getting my body healthy again.  This is me stripping down, getting real with myself and others, and learning a little more self-discipline.  This is me trying to stop making excuses and actually putting something into action. 
This is me saying enough is enough…no more.  No more excuses.  No more justifications.  No more I can’t do this or it is too hard.

But there I was yesterday, saying all those things.  I can’t do this anymore. It is too hard.  Food is consuming my life.  Because hello it isn’t just me.  I also have to cook for my mother in law who just had her gallbladder removed and is on an extremely strict diet.  Then I also have my three kids (ages 9, 4, and 1) who aren’t that adventurous of eaters and who operate under the pretense of weird looking or smelling things must also taste weird so let’s just avoid those things all together, and when Mommy actually makes us eat it, let’s act like she is killing us.  Yes that really happens around here. And finally, I have my hubby who although is not a junk eater isn’t really down with couscous and chicken breast with a side of steamed veggies all the time.  Oh and he also asks me almost on a daily basis if there are any cookies or pieces of cake he can have with his after lunch coffee. 
So yeah the diet part is stressing me out. 

I was there begging her…with tears…to let me out of my contract of the diet portion.  I would continue to try and eat healthy but the bounds of trying to follow that strict eating and cooking schedule were too much.  And please oh please could I just pay a fine and get out of it.

Pretty much, no, I can’t just pay a fine and get out of it.  A contract is a contract.  (Or so they say anyway)

So I went to the bathroom, wiped my tears, washed my hands and started my workout.   I had maybe one of my best workouts yet.  All that pent up emotion came spilling over into my exercise and I was pushing myself even harder.  There was my sweet counselor too by my side as I worked out telling me to go harder, one more time, faster, etc.  She was pushing me and that made me stronger.

On my way out, she also had printed off 15 color pages of some tips that would help me with the cooking, dieting aspect of this.  I am not going to go into detail of everything on those pages, but let’s just say they were very helpful, and it was something she didn’t have to do for me.


Why do I share all of this?  Because God is teaching me some valuable lessons on this journey, and I think they are lessons that can spill over into real life too.

1.  Grace.
We need to not only practice showing grace to others but we need to practice showing it to ourselves.  We aren’t perfect.  Yes we need to push ourselves. We need to strive to do our best.  We need to work hard.  But, we have to leave room for grace.  There are no perfect moms or dads...wives or husbands…bodies or faces.  We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world, trying to be a light in the darkness.  We are going to mess up.  We aren’t going to get it right every time.  We need to show ourselves enough grace to be able to pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off, and just keep right on going. 

2. Cheer
Although I was never a cheerleader in high school (I would have made the worst one ever), I want to be a cheerleader in real life. I want to come alongside of those God has placed in my life and cheer them along.  It doesn’t matter where they are going or what they are doing. I want to be someone that is telling them to keep going, press harder, don’t give up, don’t give in, you can do it.  Much like my counselor did for me yesterday, I want to have compassion and see that sometimes those around me need more of me than I, at times, am naturally inclined to give.  

Coincidentally, I was reading in 1 Samuel yesterday as well.  I have been studying again the life of David.  It always fascinates me that although David was far from perfect, he was a man of perseverance.   Yesterday my reading took me to Saul’s pursuit for David’s life.  Saul was a man with one goal: kill David.  David was spending his days on the run. He was hiding out in temples, caves, different cities. In almost every one of those hiding places, God sent someone to David to encourage him.  The first time David was encouraged by the priest and his gift to David of Goliath’s sword.  It was a reminder of what God had already done once with David…using him to defeat the undefeatable.  Then later while hiding in a cave, God sent David’s family to him.  A time later after David was pushed out of the city he had just defended, God sent him his best friend Jonathon.  Over and over again, I could see God reminding David that he wasn’t alone, to keep pressing on, to not give up or give in.  He was sending David his own set of cheerleaders.  

I want to be a part of the cheerleading squad for my family and friends.  Life is hard enough as it is.  I don’t want to do it alone, and I don’t want those around me to have to do it alone either. 

3. Discipline (or Self-Control)
At the end of the day, this is a fruit of the spirit for a reason.  Look at any example of a mighty person in the faith, a mighty warrior, or even in the secular world, any person of great success, and I am certain you will find this trait in them.  We can’t get anywhere without it.  We will always give up. We will always give in.  We will be mediocre.  

For me personally, mediocre is the very last place I want to be. I would rather be at the very bottom than just kind of stuffed in the middle.  I don’t want to do things half way.  I don’t want to just scrap by.  

Of all the “greats” in my own life, not a single one of them could be labeled as mediocre.  Nobody remembers the mediocre.  I am sorry but it is the truth. 
Obviously, it isn’t about me. I don’t want to be great for me.  I want to be great for HIM.  I want my life to have a great and lastly impact on my family, on my friends, and on my generation. I don’t want to be another person taking up space, breathing the air but not adding or contributing in any way. 
I can’t do this without discipline. 


So for now I just keep taking another step.  I am not going to be perfect. I will fail at times.  But, I won’t give up. I CAN”T give up. 

Grace. Cheer. Discipline.

Let’s keep on, keepin’ on.  Whose with me?


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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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