Excerpt from CHAPTER 9 AN INVITATION TO OPENNESS page 208

Published May 31, 2017

THE NEW BREED

Peeling vegetables was still like therapy to me, so in a relaxed and
conversational tone, I shared my struggles with being overweight
with Miriam and the others. “Isn’t it strange that whenever you
decide to make any change in your life, all types of new temptations
suddenly appear?” I said, and we all laughed. “Since I had a weight
problem all my life, you know I wouldn’t want to be around food all
the time. So where do I end up?” More laughter.

When the boys were doing other chores Miriam responded to my
confession. “You said you were larger than you are now. How much
weight have you lost?” she asked.

“I stopped weighing myself every day. The last time I did, I’d lost
twenty-five pounds,” I said.
She reacted with a smile, “That’s great!”

“I never thought I’d be cooking and around food all the time. I
hated myself for being so weak, but that just made it worse. I struggled
with weight. Sometimes I’d win, but mostly, I’d lose. Now I’m
learning to be patient with myself. I can recognize the emotions that
make me want to overeat, and sometimes I can let them go.”

“I pray I’ll be delivered of this burden when the Lord is ready,”
she said softly. I don’t fight it, either. I just give it to Jesus!” she said.

I paused for a while. “Miriam, remember this, you must also be
a partner in your own rescue,” I said. “What I mean is that those of
us who struggle with self-abuse problems—with food, alcohol, or
drugs—must learn to ‘let go and let God’ in the right way!” I said,
emphasizing the last four words.

“But that’s what I said,” she protested slightly.
“I know that’s what you said,” I responded gently. We were no
longer working—just standing and talking. “Let me tell you what I
mean,” I continued. “What you said sounded like resignation, like
you were just relieving yourself of any responsibility for your actions
or choices. Correct me if I’m wrong.”

She pondered my words thoughtfully. I could almost see her
emotions swirling around inside her, as she fidgeted with her hands.
“I don’t know,” she finally said softly. “Maybe I’m doing that.”

I reached over and touched her on the arm for a moment. I
crossed a line I never intended to, but still had a strong impulse to
continue. At my gesture, she raised her head and looked me in the
eye.

“Miriam, I don’t want you to feel good or bad about your life
right now,” I said sincerely. “I just want you to be aware of it. Look,
I’m right there with you, but I’ve found the stillness within myself
that gives me the patience to see negative feelings before they’re able
to trick me into following them. I’m not saying it well. But there’s a
way you can reach an objective place within yourself, where God
offers you the strength you pray for! There’s an opportunity to make
a real conscious choice, not simply follow old compulsions or emotional
conditioning. It’s what the Bible calls ‘taking thoughts captive
for Christ,’” I said passionately.