Matt Coker | @BackRowOnline
I have always had a problem with my weight.
Since I was a little kid, I’ve been overweight. And technically, right now, I’m obese.
I’m making some headway, losing some pounds, I’m going in the right direction, but this is going to be a long road. Even if I do this “better eating/more exercising” thing flawlessly, it’ll still be a a couple years before I get myself down from “obese” to just “overweight”, and who knows how much longer until I’m “fit” (ya know, if ever).
Can I really make it that long?
But, besides the enormity of the challenge, I also have another big problem in that my motivation is low. Why? Because nothing bad has happened yet.
I’ve been overweight all of my life, but I’ve also been in good health. My mother, who has also been overweight my whole life, has always been worried about me. She developed both cancer and diabetes, and while her cancer might not have been a direct result of being overweight, it certainly didn’t help matters (and a lot of medical studies do tend to find that those who are overweight have a higher risk). She doesn’t want me to have to go through any of that and she’s worried I’m only a couple years away.
When I was younger, she would have me tested every year or two, to make sure I was still healthy. My cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid, kidneys, liver, etc. have always come back not only “fine”, but well below threat levels.
By 2013, I realized that the last time I had been checked out was in 2006. Since then, I had eaten my worst. I weighed my most. I thought for sure that I was in danger of something bad happening soon. I needed a wake-up call, so I went in and had some blood work done. Waiting on the results, I was sure I was going to hear some bad news.
Nope. Healthy as a horse. [Insert “Yeah, a Clydesdale” joke from The Santa Clause here.]
Since then, I've had my blood checked a few times. My blood pressure was slightly high each time, but just barely. And that's it.
So, the only real problem is that I’m fat. Sure, the fat is an inconvenience. My back gets hurt easily. I’m winded pretty quickly. And I’m not satisfied with my appearance at all.
But there is nothing life-threatening, there’s nothing dangerous, there’s no rock-bottom “it’s now or never” feeling. So, my motivation is low.
There have been times in the past when I've thought to myself, “I’m not hurting anyone. If I’m okay with what I’m doing, why should I change?”
And that right there is the justification behind nearly all addiction. Drugs, drinking, pornography, overeating, on and on. We tell ourselves that the only person we’re affecting is ourselves, and so we give ourselves license to continue on in our bad habits.
But frankly, there is no bad habit we can have that doesn’t hurt those we love. Nor is there a bad habit that doesn’t hurt us, one way or another.
What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person. (Mark 7:20-23 ESV)
So, think. What is fueling your addiction or bad habit? It certainly isn’t your faith. It’s most certainly one of the things listed above. It defiles you.
You are hurting yourself, for sure, probably physically and definitely spiritually. You might not see it in the moment, but one day you will look back and see the downward spiral, most likely from “rock bottom.”
And if it’s affecting you, it’s affecting those around you too.
I know my overeating isn’t killing me currently, but there is little doubt that as the years pass, my body will start to succumb to it. But more than that, I know that the main reason I overeat is because I don’t want to deal with stress.
That is not a spiritually healthy way to deal with my problems. It’s a selfish and childish way, and an indirect way of telling God that He’s not big enough to help me with my problems.
I’m also being a terrible role model. This is certainly not a habit I want to pass down to my kid.
I need to stop trying to justify my actions as “harmless,” because that couldn’t be further from the truth. God has freed me from so many other things, so why am I holding on to this one?
I feel like I've managed to surrender every other area of my to God, save this one. It's the last remnant of that "old man" clinging to my bones. I want to drop him for good. And I'm not going to stop trying until I do. Lord, help me to lay this at your feet.
Matt Coker is the Ministry Director of The Back Row. He is married to a beautiful woman he met when they were both in youth group and they have one mischievous son together. Matt collects Funko Pop figures, loves time travel movies, and enjoys jerky meats. You can contact Matt via the contact page or on Twitter at @BackRowOnline.