After “After” Thoughts

So I woke up this morning kicking myself because there’s one thing I wish I said succinctly in my last post about the journey to “after”. I hinted at it talking about the journey being comprised of many tiny steps, but didn’t quite spell it out. It needs to be said because as people have noticed my weight loss and inevitably asked, “How’d you do it?” I’ve seen their faces fall when I tell them the truth. What needs to be said is:

There are no shortcuts.

At first I was embarrassed to admit that I signed up for the medical weight management program because it felt like a shortcut. It felt like I was admitting that I couldn’t just change my diet on my own and so I needed to go on a crash diet for a few months to lose a bunch of weight [which would make a reappearance in a year or two]. I felt that way because at the outset, I actually did want a shortcut and thought this might just be the silver bullet I was looking for.

I found very quickly that I still had to work hard the past 30 weeks and confront all of my excuses. I had to find the time to exercise. I had to find the tools that would help keep me on track. The amount of effort I put into the program affected my results. People in the exact same program could have very different outcomes based on how much they are able to exercise and how well they keep up the program after transitioning to regular food. It turns out that the program boils down to diet and exercise, which can be disappointing when you’re looking for a cure-all.

I felt like I had to write a second post to say this because while I’m talking specifically about weight loss, this principle applies generally to change. Whether we’re wanting to change some ingrained behavior, grow spiritually, or make strong leaders out of raw materials, there are no shortcuts. Change happens slowly–way too slowly for our instant-gratification-saturated world.

It would be awesome for God to jump in and change me with a zap. He more often works in supernaturally natural ways. For instance, he’ll give me the strength to take another step in the right direction [or away from the wrong one] when I really don’t want to or bring the right person into my life at just the right time with the perfect words of encouragement. Letting go of shortcuts paves the way for deep and permanent change. It also gives me peace to walk the path the Lord calls me to walk. It may be longer and more difficult than the shortcut I’d prefer, but I’ll only find him when I walk his path.

I thank Jesus that he walks with me as I take the long way around and trust that I will get there in his timing.

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