How do you measure yourself?
Is it by a number on a scale? Is it by the number on the tag sewn inside of your clothing? Is it by the title that you hold? Is it by the dollars that you earn? The stuff that is acquired? Is it by the activities that you perform on an average day?
I openly admit that I measure myself in all of these ways, probably on a daily basis at least. It seems to come so naturally and habitually for me to measure myself again, and again, and again.
According to Webster.com one definition of the word measure is “a basis or standard of comparison”. As I read that this morning there was just this great sinking feeling in my heart.
Every time I measure myself, I plant a seed of comparison
from which the weeds of judgement can grow.
Weight, body size and shape seems to be an easy example to illustrate this point. It is also the area that I have and continue to wrestle with on a daily basis. I have a habit of stepping on a scale every day. I know this is not a healthy thing to do. I have had numerous people close to me, whom I greatly respect and trust advise me not to do this. But, I continue to step onto this hunk of metal, plastic and electronics to give me that magical number.
I rationalize it, because I tell myself that the number will be a reflection of my past actions and a direct indication of what I need to do today to improve. It will help me to manage my weight and body. I admit, right now, that there are better ways to go about managing my weight and health. When I look back over the past 18 months it is clear to see that this has not been of positive benefit to me. But please, walk with me a bit further down along my path before giving advice or counsel. There is more that I would like to show you.
When I step on the scale each morning, I plant a seed in my heart and in my life. This is the seed of comparison. It is a horrible weed of judgement which seems to almost immediately sprout and blossom. Instantaneously, upon seeing that number on the scale a storm begins to brew in my heart.
If the scale shows a higher number than the day before it is like a slap to the face. Sometimes I know well in advance of even getting on the scale, that because of my actions the day before, it will go up. I become this horrible blend of mad, sad and frustrated all at once with myself.
There are days where it is exactly the same as the day before. These days feel mediocre and frustrating too. My scale measures electronically to 1/2 pound. I see no change and I think there’s not even a little bit of progress.
Then there are days where the number has gone down. Ironically, it’s usually not down far enough to bring me any happiness or excitement. It’s usually more of a feeling of angst that the scale is not down farther or that it’s about time I saw some progress.
I know in my head that weight can vary day to day for a host of reasons. So to negate this I have kept a daily spreadsheet of what my weight is. I chart it out. I keep a seven day rolling average to smooth out some of the bumps along the way. I watch the average go down over time and I have watched it come back up again.
But there is so much more than what is reflected on my dumb little charts and graphs. That is what happens in my head and in my heart.
I use those numbers first and foremost to judge myself and compare myself. I look back at what my weight was. The truth is that I have been much heavier than I am now, but I don’t look back and remember those times. I look back and remember the times when I was lighter and smaller. I compare my weight now to then. I become absolutely heartbroken.
This seed of comparison that was planted, sprouted, then seems to go to seed and multiply. Because I start to look around me. Those who are loosing weight and making “positive” progress become vividly illuminated in my day. The winds of the storm in my heart begin to rage. This person has lost so many pounds. That person has lost so many inches. This person now fits into two sizes smaller.
I really want to be happy for them, I really do. They have worked hard they deserve it. Why does this have to come up so often? Why is it such a common point of conversation? Why is weight loss such a point worth celebrating over and over and over again?
Then I turn back to judging myself. What kind of friend am I that I can’t be happier. What am I doing so wrong? I must not be working hard enough. I have to try harder. Horribly enough to admit, I often stuff these feelings with food for the quick fix to feel better. Again, I know in my head that it is the wrong choice. I know that I need to lead myself by actions and not by feelings. I do not want to present myself as some sort of victim in it all. I know full well that my actions have consequences which I live with. There is definitely “a log in my own eye” as mentioned in Matthew 7:3-5.
I just felt today that there was a need to share my struggle. I process so many things through my writing. I know that my writings can be a bit tedious to read at times, but this is my story to share. Perhaps my writing today is a confession as it says in James 5:16 NLT, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
I acknowledge that there is a viscous cycle which I find myself in and often times feel entrapped by. I am overwhelmed by the weeds that have sprouted up around me, yet I continue to plant the seeds over and over and over again. There are so many of these weeds which have roots that are well established, go deep into my heart and have created a stronghold.
God’s truth can obliterate the weeds.
I have been mediating over this passage from 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 from the Message this morning.
“The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”
It is the last line which most greatly has filled my heart with hope in this day. “Our tools are ready at the hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction.” As a follower of Christ I have the tools I need to stop planting these seeds and for clearing this ground. These weeds of measurement, of comparison and of judgement stand no chance against my God. He has made available what I need right now to begin clearing them from the garden of my life. It is not going to be a quick and easy task. I am thankful that Christ will be working with me and providing the strength to persevere.
Small every day and simple changes lead to big results. I need to stop measuring myself so frequently to stop planting these seeds of comparison in my life. So my first step today was to dethrone my scale from it’s prominent place in my bathroom where I can focus on it daily and be aware of it multiple times a day, banishing it to a proper place stuffed in between boxes on a shelf in my storage area of my basement.
“Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”
Zechariah 4:10 NLT
With God as my guide and helper, may I do as the final words of the 2 Corinthians passage says, and begin building a life of obedience to Him. May each item that I feed myself and each action that I take with my body, be in obedience to what He calls me to. May I eat that which will fuel my life mission to encourage with love, passion and enthusiasm. May I take captive the deceptive thoughts and renew my mind in God’s truths.
My dear, treasured and beloved readers. Thank you so very much for getting to this point with me today. Thank you for allowing me to share my tear filled struggles with you, even though the tears are stained between the lines of written text. If there are any of you out there who have similar struggles to mine. I want you to know that you are not alone. It may feel so lonely at times, but you are not alone.
Weight does not determine your worth. “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
You are a beautiful treasure and a precious gift!
You are a priceless masterpiece that is fearfully and wonderfully made!
God’s love for you is not based upon any measurement that we can conjure up.
You are completely loved right now in this moment!
Dearest and Wondrous Lord,
Thank You so very much for tenderly walking with us into the depths of our brokenness. Thank You for bringing Your light into the darkness of our struggles. Thank You for revealing the hope of Your truths. Lord, may we praise You, absolutely praise You, for who You are.
Lord, may we recognize that each of us, though dramatically different in many ways, are still all made in Your image. Each of us is the blessed recipient of being formed with a reflection of Your likeness. We are also richly and lavishly supplied with tools from Your storeroom to face the battles that lie before us. You top it off by also giving us access to the living water of eternal life springing up through Jesus that we may have the strength we need to persevere.
Lord, please help the seeds we plant in our gardens to be Your choice seeds. May they grow, blossom and produce a rich, bountiful harvest of spiritual fruit to nourish ourselves and the lives around us. Help us to obliterate weeds that spring up. Help us to measure not by worldly standards and units of comparison, instead may we seek to be deeply obedient to each of the small things that You have called us to.
Thank You Lord, for each person who reads this. Thank You for creating this method of sharing messages. Please Lord, bless them with Your goodness by Your abundant measure in return of the support that they so often give to me.
In the Holy name of Jesus, Amen