Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Five Smooth Stones

So, today as I was taking my walk (in the cold, and rain, but I prefer that to my boring elliptical trainer), I happened to catch a view of myself reflected in a store window. We don't have any full length mirrors in the house, and I was shocked at how big I am. I snatched my cell phone out of my fabulous new All God's Children Need a Cute Purse to Go With Their Traveling Shoes Messenger Bag, and called my husband immediately.


He sighed, likely expecting drama. "Yes?"

"I saw myself reflected in a store window. Did you know my butt is ENORMOUS!?!"


"Ken, are you there?"

"I'm here."

"Did you know that?"

He hesitated. "Yes."

"And you didn't say nothin'?"

"And catch a beat down?"

"Well, it would have depended on how you said it."

We hung up after that.

I decided it was time to be brave and borrow the ever talented Gywnnie's (Lisa's youngest) tape measure, and after some internet checking, tonight Abbie and I figured out how to take my measurements. Um... I will not share those measurements ever right now, as I am enjoying the delusion that we did it wrong, and surely those evil numbers are not... Well, you can imagine. And then I took a deeply dreaded before picture, which you will not see either. At least not now. But I promise I will show it to you if when I make some progress.

I have to admit. I was discouraged. For a moment I believed I couldn't do this. I must be making progress, because even at that low point I didn't reach for the hostess cupcakes (we still have them, because I'm not stuffing my face with them!), and then I decided to keep going, even if I myself don't believe it today.

Last night at Mass we heard the story of David and Goliath. Nobody believed that little thing was really going to defeat a ginormous life-long warrior, not even the prophet. But David set Saul straight:

"The Lord who rescued me from the claws of lion and bear" David said ‘will rescue me from the power of this Philistine." It was then, and only then, that Saul said, "Go, and the Lord be with you!"

Lovies, the Lord has definitely rescued me from the claws of a lion, and I'll tell you about him later. He's rescued me from a bear, too. But I'm afraid that bear was my own self-destructive tendencies. But David trusted in the Lord. What struck me most was how David set out with God, a big stick, and  five smooth stones tucked in his shepherd's bag (don't get me started on that symbolism).

I may be a big gal, but I'm tiny as I face this task of reducing weight, and trust me, my own body feels like my Goliath, whether or not this is a healthy attitude. It's just the truth of how I feel. I think grace is my big stick, but at Mass, I asked myself what are my five smooth stones, the other weapons I'll take with me to meet my giant. I've come up with these, and I doubt any of them will be a surprise to you.

Smooth stone #1 (and keep in mind, I started out with God): Living a sacramental life. This means I go to Mass to get that whole, "Take this and eat thing down. I can't lose sight of the fact that Jesus wants me to eat. In fact, he wants me to feast! On him! My overeating has been a spiritual matter, and I'll recover by spiritual means, which will in turn affect my body and soul. Mass has every kind of spiritual food, not just the Eucharist, but also the Word. And it has people. They too are bread, sweet and life-giving.

Smooth stone #2: Prayer, in whatever way God moves me to pray. It may be the Liturgy of Hours, the Serenity Prayer, the Jesus Prayer, or praying with paper, scissors, and glue. It could be imaginative prayer, which you'll be seeing more of here. The important thing is that I want to pray, and in no small measure.

Smooth stone #3: Community. I'm not meant to do much alone. God knew this about me. I don't have to drag a village behind me, but I do need at least a faithful few to go in with me on this big ticket item. Three days a week I share meals with the Beloved Community. We are nourished, not just by the delicious, healthy foods we eat, but by the love at the table. Will almost always prays over the food, and he keeps it simple: we give thanks, including for the love around the table, and ask God to bless the food. Amen. The love feeds us as much as the food. I also need the fellowship of Overeaters Anonymous. God had a plan when he sent me there. I had no idea! I'm grateful for his wisdom, because I'm finding astounding love and support. Again, I can't do it alone. And God knew it.

Smooth stone #4: Food and Moving. I'm learning to "let go and let God." I don't have to be all crazy when it comes to food. The problem is, I have been crazy with my eating habits, and it hasn't worked for me. I used to call myself crazy all the time--wore crazy like a badge of honor. I played the fool until I was a fool, and not the good, holy kind. Then I heard Tyler Perry say a line in Madea's Family Reunion. Seriously! He can get deep! He said, as Madea, "It isn't what people call you that's important. It's what you answer to." I realized that I didn't have to answer to crazy. So now I don't. Moving my body is a no-brainer. Walking is bar-none, the easiest form of exercise I've ever done, and the one I've always had success with. So I'm sticking with that. Plus, I love this city. The beautiful sights nourish my soul, even when it is cold. And a few folks about town are cheering me on. I love that.

Smooth stone #5: It's you! Believe it or not, writing all this here helps me keep it before me. It gives me a built in set of accountability partners, who don't judge me. I'll also be journaling in a book, including using art, just for me. I know I have an audience here, and it's not only people I know. So, I need a place that no one sees but me and God, and whoever I invite to take a peek--just a peek! Somethings are just too delicate and precious for the net. But I'll be sharing some things from that journal, because I want to. I love y'all like that. :)

The last thing that stood out to me in Wednesday first reading, was that when David spotted Goliath, the kid ran to meet him. He was eager for victory. I identify with this. I am eager to kick diabetes butt! And that has me running to meet my giant, big, bad circumstance.

"Putting his hand in his bag [the Shepherd's bag], he took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead; the stone penetrated his forehead and he fell on his face to the ground."

Only one stone was needed to knock Goliath down. I don't know which stone it will be, so I'm taking them all, and waiting for God to move me, and use my actions to deliver this Philistine into my hands.

"Then David ran and, standing over the Philistine, seized his sword and drew it from the scabbard, and with this he killed him, cutting off his head."

This is a sobering image. I can't help but wonder if I'm not meant to cut off the head of a lifestyle that is killing me, to obtain true freedom in Christ. I mean kill it. No turning back.

Lord, have mercy.

So didn't want to take a picture today. I can't believe I said I'd do that!


GailNHB said...

Yes, girl, those are five very useful and powerful stones. But just because David only used one, doesn't mean that we will only need one. We may need 20 stones - and we may need to use them every day, over and over. In any case, in every case, the battle is the Lord's. He will fight for us - and with us and in us and thru us.

So keep on praying... and walking and going to meetings and journaling and writing and taking the Eucharist and then pray some more. It all makes a difference, a huge difference.

PS> Your husband is a wise man to keep his mouth shut in certain situations. Having a husband who doesn't hold his tongue on such a sensitive topic would be much more difficult for you to bear. At least, that's my opinion.

~Leslie said...

very inspiring--i need to look into what my 5 stones are. i can see your commitment, despite how you may currently feel. Hold on to that [and God]!

Anonymous said...

Very interest blog. The size of a person is not important unless you are not happy with yourself. Only you can change that.

Over Thanksgiving and Christmas, I lost 10 lbs. How? I used the "Sugar Busters!" book. One of my problems is high cholesterol, also helps a person with diabetes. Just a suggestion.

You are a beautiful womam that GOD created, just remember that.

Anonymous from beautiful Colorado

Brenda said...

Hummm it only takes one stone. I think I'll start looking for my 5. This morning I read "Oh Lord, God of Israel You are just. We come before you in our guilt as nothing but an escaped remnant......." Ezra 9:15.
Remnant really spoked to me, a raggedy remnant. I love torn fabric and paper. I cannot comprehend his love for this raggedy remnant, me.

ragamuffin diva said...

I always feel so inspired when I read your comments. And I meant to ask you all what you thought your five stones were, but I forgot! :( I'm glad you took the initiative. After you've thought about it, I'd love to hear what you believe your stones are.

Thank you, Anonymous. No, I'm not happy with my body, but more than that, I'm damaging my health. Or I was! I've had some victorious days lately. At long last. Thank you for you kind words.

Brenda, the idea of a remnant always appeals to me. Keep me posted on your thoughts as you ruminate on this idea.

ragamuffin diva said...

Oh yeah, Gail, I trained Ken well. Most of the time his mouth doesn't get him in trouble. LOL. I'm kidding of course. He can be very, very kind. He's the type of man that tells me I'm beautiful a LOT. God was good to me, in that respect.

MaryAnn M said...

ok. step one...reality. (usually followed by OMG! and depressing thoughts and cursing that behind for being soooo...big.)

step two. thank that beautiful body of yours to get you to this point. it has gone thru alot to get you to this point and now it is sending health alarms attention!!

step three. realize that that before picture doesnt have to be the PRESENT and FUTURE picture. you can do this. lots of us do it. it starts with step ONE and you just keep walkin it out.

you are beautiful...SHINE!

PatriciaW said...

I love this, especially since I am similarly challenged. But as you go through this journey, with your stones in hand, be kind to yourself. (Kind, not indulgent.) Kinder than anyone else will ever be. It will help.

Kay Day said...

I don't think there is any kind of nice way to tell someone their butt is big.

I guess my five stones would be the same as yours. I'll think on it though.

I LOVE Tyler Perry. His movies are so moving and he really does have depth, even when he's in drag.

I would love to walk through Lexington with you. I only like walking when I have a fried to talk to and take my mind off what I'm doing! LOL

ragamuffin diva said...

I'm laughing at you saying there is not nice way to say a person's butt is big, Kay. They say black men like big butts--maybe all men, but there is a such thing as too much of a good thing. But he really is sweet. Like I said, he always tells me I'm beautiful.

Patricia, it's great to hear from you. I just checked out your wellness blog. Do yo' thang, girl!

MaryAnn, you always give the best advice. Thank you!

Heidi Renee said...

i love this metaphor mare - they are all amazing tools.

i find one of my best tools is forcing myself to eat 3 real meals a day. i have the same thing every day for breakfast (unless my huz is making real food!) - w/w english muffin w/ pb&j and a piece of fruit. this fills me (i slather on the pb) and i don't have to think about it and i'm not hungry before lunch time. it also gives me the energy i need to face my day. not having to decide every day makes it so much easier too - and it's not expensive so i know it will always be in the house.

Erin Wilson said...


You're fully armed! You are so going to beat this thing :)

jen said...

I stumbled across your blog just this afternoon & am feeling blessed that I did! God is funny like that, throwing His encouragement our way when we least expect it...

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. Somedays I am okay with where I'm at & other nights I spend coming up with grand plans that I'm bound & determined to implement the following day only to wake with little of that same fortitude when the alarm sounds....

After a spirit filled message of challenge this past Sunday in which our Pastor encouraged us to name the "Jordans" and our "Goliaths" against how Big or Small(by our own making) our God is......

My weight is one of my Goliaths.. and somehow I seem to have neglected the fact that my God is bigger...even than that unfortunate number on the scale!

Thanks for your honesty, vulnerabilty & encourgement.