Loosening the Reins

ImageMy aunt taught me to ride a horse the summer that I was 11.  Over the Kansas prairie we trotted and eventually cantered.  Being in the mid-west, I learned to ride with a Western saddle.  Basically, this meant I needed to be careful about how I held the reins.  Specifically, I remember being instructed not to pull too tight and to eventually work toward holding the reins with just one hand.

Loose reins?  One hand?

Even my 11-year-old self thought this was asking for problems.  For me to be in control, didn’t I need to grip tightly, closely, fiercely?  Counter-intuitive though it may seem, loose reins are needed in order to really be able to guide the horse.  And to trust the horse.

Somedays, life feels a little bit like riding a horse for the first time.  My instinct to grab the reins tightly, closely, fiercely rears itself in a moment. How is it that all these years later I can still feel like that 11-year-old girl trotting across the prairie?

Doing the Footwork

Have you ever had one of those weeks where one plus one stopped equalling two?  They say if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.  I agree with this…mostly.  Here’s the thing, sometimes this equation just doesn’t seem to balance out.  At least not for me.  At least not for me and weight loss.  And not for some of my accountability buddies in this “right-sizing” endeavor.  All three of us have had it…the dreaded plateau.  If’ we’re biting, we’re writing.  We’re measuring, trimming, blotting, planning, re-ordering,  jogging, lifting, bending, and stretching.  And you guessed it…no weight loss.  Well, not for me.  One of us lost .2 pounds.  (That can feel like 0) and one of us gained a pound.  All expecting to loose.  Feeling great.  Feeling healthier.  Feeling thinner.  And then.  And then.  And then the actual number.

How can feeling great about being a loser go to feeling like a loser about staying the same?  Should the scale really have so much power over our reality? Is this weight loss venture truly about what I claim it’s about– about being a better steward of my body, my resources, my small corner of the planet–or have I started serving the master of the scale rather than the master of my spirit?

Just this week I listened to a sermon about needing to place my trust in God and have faith.  To be like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.  And I knew at the time the message had something for me.  As an A+ student in both the subjects of worry and control, I need reminding.  But to be honest, I felt myself pushing back on my drive home from church.  Couldn’t all of this worry about today lead to apathy and arrogance?  Haven’t the powers-that-be employed this idea as a means of keeping the status quo?  What about doing the footwork?  As I pondered this more over Sunday afternoon and after today’s weigh-in, I had another thought.  Perhaps it isn’t so much that I don’t do the footwork as to what kind of footwork I do.  When I bow to the gods of worry and control, I loose sight of a bigger reality.  I get so caught up in the number on the scale today, that I can’t see the success of the last two weeks or that there’s a lot more to a health than a number on the scale.  And sometimes, doing the footwork may mean doing something completely counter-intuitive like eating all my extra points for the week or changing up what I do at the gym.  When I pray to worry, control, or the scale, I certainly loose sight of this.  And then another thing happens.  I call it the What the Heck Game.  What the heck, I might as well not go the gym.  What the heck, I might as well have French fries.  What the heck, I might as well not measure my ice cream.  What the heck?  (Sometimes my rationalization is less than rational)  So here I sit, Tuesday night, and I’m tempted.  Tempted to play What the Heck, and what pops into my email, but a link on the UCC web site….a faithfully walking challenge.  No I’m not kidding you.  Apparently, First Lady Michelle Obama has dared us to walk 3 million miles  by the end of November 2011.  Specifically, she’s talking to faith and community organizations in an effort to raise awareness and reduce childhood obesity.  Here I am crying in my Diet Coke debating what food to order first when I play What the Heck, and I see this.

WHAT THE HECK?

So, I’m going to take the dare.  I’m already training to jog the Race Against Racism in April, might as well take the Faithfully Walking Challenge.  And what control freak doesn’t love a good dare?  Will you join me?  I dare ya.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Plan–Let’s Move  http://www.letsmove.gov/

The UCC Faithfully Walking Challenge–http://www.ucc.org/justice/justice-feed/faithfully-walking-challenge.html

Quotes for the Week

[Jesus said:] “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:24-)

I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond. (Mae West)