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Abiding with Jesus

Little Known Ways To Stop Weighing Yourself

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Has this ever happened to you…out of curiosity you step on the scale to see how much you weigh and then suddenly that little number becomes your identity? Up until that point you had no idea how much or how little you’d tip the scale.

You were careless and you were free.

But now…now you notice the numbers. You allow them to tell you how to live, what to eat, and how much to exercise.

Sometimes I let the number on the scale do that to me. You too?

Perhaps it’s not the scale that speaks to you about your worth, maybe it’s…

The number of people who comment on your photo.

Or how much money you’re making.

Perhaps it’s how many close friends you have in your life.

Or the minutes on the clock that reveal how fast time is flying and you still haven’t done anything with your life yet.

We all measure and compare our lives in one way or another, without thinking about it we live a calculated, stingy life, cooped up in a game of tracking numbers.

But Jesus holds out an invitation for us to forget the arithmetic, to skip the skimpy, logical living and gain a lavish, simple life of faith and love.

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Our previous house in the Netherlands was completely cleared out when we moved in, as a new house should be, but hidden underneath the cabinet in the bathroom was a scale. Of all the things the last renter could have left, they left a scale!

There was a time in college when I weighed myself not once, not twice, but up to five times a day, if not more. I would sneak into the bathroom at all hours of the day, worshiping a number.

More than my weight, I wanted to know who I was.

That was over ten years ago, but still I sometimes think if I keep measuring and comparing eventually I will be the best, the fastest, the thinnest, the most successful, and the happiest.

I find myself looking for my worth in the numbers.

You need to step on the scale this morning. Just once.  

You need to log-in to Instagram. Just one more time.

You need to run harder. Just a few seconds faster.

You need to keep working. Just another hour.

But numbers breed neediness and dissatisfaction. I life becomes tight and twisted up; my real identity choked to death.

I notice it every time.

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The mornings where I jump out of bed and onto the bathroom scale, usually cascade into a day of comparing myself to squares on social media, or striving to out-perform others.

The world has all sorts of scales they hide for us don’t they?  Ways to weigh ourselves and see our place and position.

It’s what we’re all yearning for isn’t it? A brand, a name, an identity.

As long as we step on their scales we will never flourish in who we are as a unique person or flow in our own adventure with God.

Fortunately, Jesus gives us a remedy. He knows another way to discover our worth besides rolling out of bed and sneaking into the bathroom or onto our phone to find our worth. He says forget about the numbers, be careless in your calculations, and run free in my goodness. 

  1. Be Careless in Your Calculations

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. {Matthew 5:7, MSG}

The problem with the scales we use to measure and compare our lives is they keep us mesmerized with the ground. Our eyes naturally drift downward instead of outward and upward.

Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ… {Colossians 3:1-2, MSG}

I’ve noticed when the first thing on my to-do list is time with Jesus, encouraging a friend, or celebrating life, when I hang my schedule loosely on the calendar, and use the clock merely as a guide, I open myself up to an unending flow of freedom.

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. {Galatians 5:13-14, MSG}

As one of my favorite writers says, “If motherhood has taught me one thing it’s how much I dislike being interrupted. How selfish I am with my time.”  She goes onto describe life as a kind of breaking up with yourself- intentionally forgetting to take note of how much you weigh, how many friends or followers you have, or how much time you give. Stepping off the scales, being careless about the right things.

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Lately I’ve been releasing myself from figuring out strategies and formulas for my goals and business and writing, and making time and space for sacred interruptions to my specific plans. These rhythms help me to remember that life isn’t straightforward and I am not the center of the world, rhythms that cultivate my real identity and lead me into a God-adventure.

What does it look like for you to be careless in your calculations about life and your career, and care-full with people and with God?

  1. Keep Doing What You Love

What is it that you love to do? What triggers thankfulness and ignites a fire in your soul? I want to say to you- keep doing those things. As you create, bake, paint, write stories, garden, decorate your home, serve others, go on hikes- you forget about the competition, don’t you? You get so caught up in the enjoyable experience that you forget to step on the scales. 

When we get our hands messy and risk doing what we love, when we receive God’s gifts without shame we get lost out in the fields of His goodness. Let the joy of living consume you and watch as you no longer feel the urge to compare and compete.

The pressure to perform and measure up seem to disappear as we dig into the soil of God’s marvelous love for us. {Ephesians 3:14-21} Everything becomes an opportunity to worship. We become lovers caught up in the heat of romance, rather than scientists trying to figure life out.

Consider this story, which one are you?

The film Chariots of Fire…tells the story of two men, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell. Both are great athletes on the same team, but there is a difference. Abrahams competes out of an inner drivenness. He is deeply insecure. He has a point to prove. It’s all about him. Liddell also competes to win. But he runs out of a sense of God’s goodness. He’s not in bondage to himself. He runs for the glory of God. Two men, two motives, two inner lives — Eric Liddell competing in the Holy Spirit, Harold Abrahams running on sheer adrenaline. {Soniclight commentary on Isaiah 30:15}

Whatever your running is, do it from a place of God’s goodness, not to achieve a certain position. His goodness is our greatest and most holy distraction.

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Lately, I’ve stopped being fearful of my God-given desires and dreams- weaving words together, creating a beautiful home for my family, brisk morning runs, and crafting a shop for us God-adventurers, to name a few. I’m delighting in the gifts He’s given me and as I do I sense Him smiling at me.

And guess what else? In His smile there are no scales!

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Care to join me in stepping of the scales and living in His smile? What scales do you need to throw out? 

Go find them and get rid of them. Forget about the numbers, and be careless and free in His love friends! You’ll find your true self there. I promise.

 

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