Spiritually “fit”

Posted: March 10, 2008 in Church, Friends, Happenings, Health, Perspective, Uncategorized

When we went out to eat last night at the Moulton Steakhouse, one of our friends, who had eaten all she could eat of her poor cut of steak, decided to offer what was left to her husband.  She asked, “Do you want some of this fat stuff?”  Seeing an opportunity to make a wisecrack, I seized the moment and asked, “What is that – a pickup line?”  Though the crack made another friend of mine about fall out of his chair laughing, I received nothing but a glare from this woman (who, by the way, is not fat…pregnant, but not fat…just to be clear so she does not tear my head off for blogging about this at all!).

Let’s be honest for one second.  We laugh at weight jokes.  All moral and relational implications aside, that is just a statement of fact.  Maybe that’s the nature of humor:  To take something that’s really a problem and laugh at it.  I love the scene at the beginning of the 80s classic Back to School, where Rodney Dangerfield is spouting off lines about fat people (himself included), like, “When you go to the zoo, do the elephants throw you peanuts?” or “Do you look at a menu and say, ‘Okay’?”  We laugh at things like that.

 Yesterday morning when we were setting up, I noticed J-mo’s boxes of drum stuff strewn across the stage where I was going to set up my keyboard.  I asked jokingly, “What’s all this in my way?”  He answered, “Your stomach.”  I don’t care who you are…that’s funny – because I HAVE to laugh at myself and the weight I have gained over the past decade.  (J-mo was able to recycle the joke on yet another person who asked him the same question just moments later, so that made me feel better…heh).

Sure, weight-related humor can be demeaning and even hateful at its worst.  I don’t know how many people have destroyed a sense of self-esteem and self-confidence because they have been made fun of (at any age).  I know that kids at the school I grew up in could be very cruel when it came to making fun of someone because of their weight.  The social ‘stigma’ of obesity that remains into adulthood is tragic.  Thus, feeling or being overweight is something that people can be very sensitive about.  I am not celebrating that kind of humor at all.

In our circle of friends, however, the humor is not hateful or demeaning.  It’s just people knowing when to laugh at themselves – knowing that the person cracking the joke or making the comment would, in reality, do anything for you as a friend in Christ.  It’s knowing you’re accepted whether your 140 lbs. or 340 lbs.  It’s only in this context I can laugh at it.

However, in my life…I need to do more than laugh.  Laughing about it isn’t changing my eating or exercise habits.

I’m not excessively overweight by any means, but I absolutely need to lose about 20 lbs to get me down to my ideal body weight.  For the most part, though, I’ve ignored my weight.  I have approached it with an attitude that I’ll do something about it eventually….or that I’ll lose weight by some sort of osmosis by hanging out with people who go to the gym.  This kind of thinking does not work.  Only action works, and I need to take more action if I expect to lose any weight.

Let me explain why this is important to me:

  • My conviction to lose weight is not merely about health-related issues that come with being overweight, though those are important.  After all, no one wants to have a heart attack when they are 40, right?  No one wants to be perpetually tired and out of shape and more prone to illness.  I think Lavell Crawford said it best on “Last Comic Standing”:  “People ask me why I breathe so heavy.  I answered, ‘To live!'”
  • My conviction to lose weight is not about wanting to find acceptance from others.  I have friends in spite of my image (which has slowly become “widescreen” over the years).
  • My conviction to lose weight is not something I get when I find photos of me taken just 10 years ago where I’m actually SKINNY and I feel bad for how I’ve changed.  (I had more hair then, too, by the way…).
  • It is not about fashion, lifestyle, improving my sex life, time management, or any ludicrous goal like trying to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger (or Kyle Root…heh).

It is about (1) living a disciplined life (obedient to God) and (2) showing other people that I care about this “temple of the Holy Spirit” that God has given me.


What I am disciplined about shows what I am passionate about.  It shows that I am not lazy in important areas of my life.  To be 20 lbs. overweight is an obvious indicator that I have no discipline.  It shows that Reese’s peanut butter cups and a Mountain Dew do NOT make for a healthy breakfast.  It shows that in my walk with God, I seek to be obedient in all things.  In this case, showing no discipline in the area of my weight and physical fitness indicates there is a major area of my life I am not willing to submit to God’s leadership.  What does that say about how much I truly desire to love and serve my God?

Witness – disciplined or not?

I am onstage every week.  People see ME every week.  They’re not there for me (thank God), but – as a worship leader – I am the person in the spotlight (with the band) responsible for guiding people in worship.  Nothing should distract from that effort.  But if I am an undisciplined/overweight person touting that God is all you need from the middle of the stage, my lack of disciplilne tarnishes my credibility as a leader.  My credibility as a leader is damaged if I do not show that I respect my body as God’s temple.  The nearly-literal elephant-in-the-room is that I am a leader whose very appearance shows others that there is one BIG area of my life I have not found discipline and obedience to God.  How can I lead others into worshipping/following God if – in certain areas – I am not willing to do that myself??

So here I am.  Nearly 210 lbs.  Age 40 is only a few years away.  So here is the challenge to myself – and anyone else out there who claims to be a follower of Christ AND/OR leads others in ministry:  Get some discipline.  Lack of it is a sin…period.  Let me re-state that just to make it clear:  Lack of disclipline IS a sin.  As followers of Christ called to do the work in the world as His hands and feet, we should be striving to be Christ-like in every area of our life.

What shall we say, then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means!  We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Romans 6:1-2.

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