The Struggle For Grace

As I write this, my kids are running amok at the local “BouncyLand” and a morbidly-obese woman beside me is downing a Jack-In-The-Box burger and fries. The irony is not lost on me — she’s devouring 900 calories for a mid-morning snack while her kids go and burn about 900 calories bouncing all over the place for two hours. “If only she could do for herself what she’s doing for her children,” I think to myself. And yet I’m pretty confident that those poor kids also downed some toxic food on the ride over. Sadly, statistics dictate that their fate is no better than their mother’s.

What actually makes me feel worse, is that I’m finding myself less and less sympathetic for the obesity that surrounds me here in North America.  The more I take control of my own habits and lifestyle, the more it saddens me to think that everyone else can do the same — but they’re not.

And yet we know that people don’t balloon to 300+ pounds without a reason. Just like most of us don’t wake up in the morning and think “today I am going to be mean to my spouse”, I’m sure none of us wake up and think “today I’m going to sabotage my health”.  And yet how many days have you gone to bed knowing that you’ve done just that?  Most times, the mistreatment is a result of an underlying emotional problem which brings us further and further into the pit of complacency as time goes on. A pit full of excuses.  “He was mean to me first”, “what’s the harm in a few donuts?”, the list goes on.

And so I’m torn — do I have grace for the obese lady beside me, knowing that I could very easily be in her shoes? Or, does the entire situation feed my increasing desire to change not just my own life, but other people’s lives, too? Somehow I don’t think you can effectively have one without the other.

This is not just about weight, either. You can apply this to every area of our lives.  Where do you struggle to have grace?

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

8 thoughts on “The Struggle For Grace

  1. Kaylee Norton says:

    GREAT post!

    The problem with my health and fitness is I feel GUILTY for looking the way I do. When I see someone morbidly obese, I actually feel guilty about being able to take control of my life and choices and making the changes- how screwed up is that?

    It’s taken me a long time to stop apologizing for looking a certain way, becaue I KNOW how hard it is- I wasn’t born like this, I’ve been over 210+ lbs and I have to work HARD to look this way- why should I apologize?

    I think because I have been on the other side of the scale, I can relate, but there comes a time that people need to step up, take control, and make the changes they need. And if they can’t do it themselves, then they need to seek help because, lets face it, no one WANTS to be obese! There’s usually ALWAYS an underlying factor.

    • Natasha says:

      I can see how guilt would factor in…even though we know it’s messed up to feel that way! You’re so right though — it’s freakin’ HARD work! But I think you’ll agree with me that it’s amazing how addictive it becomes and suddenly it’s not nearly as hard to motivate yourself as it was before!

      I find myself craving my workouts — even doing them early sometimes because I can’t wait! How sick! But the truth is, when you start to see the benefits and FEEL the benefits, you just want more!

      I used to look at “success stories” in magazines and read how the women worked out 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day and I would think “that’s RIDICULOUS! I would never do that!” but now I’m totally there!

  2. Erin says:

    I think Grace is something we cultivate just as much as healthy habits and work-out routines. I also think that you should realize the positive significance of asking the questions that you have in this post. If you don’t ask the questions, you won’t cultivate grace. If you don’t look introspectively at what you’re doing to your body, you won’t cultivate healthy habits.

    Perhaps God is calling you to affect the lives of those around you by using your past experiences. You know what it’s like to be in conflict with your spouse. You know what it’s like to be over weight and then struggle to take it off and keep it off.

    Tasha, I see God using you here on the blog and perhaps this is another training ground for something bigger. I’m reading a book called If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg. You’d love it. I firmly believe that God would not have gifted you to be the powerhouse of a person that you are and not have a big calling for your life.

    Read the book, and as you do, I know I’ll be reading about your questions as to how God is calling you.

    • Natasha says:

      Thanks Erin! I never really thought of myself as “sensitive” enough to really motivate anyone but I’ve realized since posting this blog that my “style” of motivation doesn’t have to work for everyone — and WON’T work for everyone. I know God is refining me and although that can be painful at times, it always ends well when we submit our lives (and choices) to Him! 🙂

      I’ll take a look at my local library for that book — the one great thing about the “religious America” is that the public libraries have all the Christian books, too!

  3. Natalie B says:

    Hi Tash, I deal with this everyday while teaching teenagers. I have kids in my class that have difficult home lives, are making shitty decisions, all over the map. It’s a constant conflict for me balancing grace, understanding and leniency for the students and also holding up the expectations and standards that I have for them. This is always what it comes down to for me: a reason (excuse) for some sort of misbehaviour can make it more understandable, but not necessarily excusable. Also, I see it as me showing respect for my students as individuals when I hold expectations and standards for them. Everyone is capable of growth.

    • Natasha says:

      I agree Nat — it’s important that we balance high expectations with grace for mistakes. Teenagers are a great example of how effective that balance can be in motivating people to lead better lives. Thanks for being one of those teachers who cares!

  4. Tracey says:

    Hey Tasha!

    I struggle with this too! In my job I deal with a lot of people with controllable health issues. But I live in a glass house and therefor must remember to not throw stones. I have learned the hard way that judging people for any reason will usually end up with me feeling ashamed of my attitude. You have to think of people as computers, we can all be programmed. Now, we are all born with the basic programs but as we grow our parents or others install or remove different programs in us. It doesn’t make a person smarter then another, they just haven’t been programmed with the same information as another. Until a person wants to get that program installed they do not have that knowledge. Those programs can vary from healthy eating habits to how to treat a child for a fever to how to keep a house clean and safe for children. So people are not stupid it’s just that they don’t know any better because they have not had the right program installed. I encounter people everyday (and carry them) who are smart but making wrong choices because of a lack of education. I do believe that a majority of the obesity issues come from lack of education and mental illness. The mental illness could be an addiction to food or a person who thinks they are in control because they control what the eat. I am not saying this is an excuse to get obese. But that obesity is a bigger and more complicated picture then just over eating unhealthy food and lack of exercise. That big picture is usually contained in an ugly vicious circle too! So that obese women sitting next to you just hasn’t had the same parents, teachers, books etc. as you. She’s not dumb, she’s just programmed differently. You will live longer, look younger and be heathy because of the program installed in you. Your familiar with the theory of it takes a village to raise a child. Well it will take a nation to reduce obesity. Until the governments stops listening to the large processed food manufactures we will not have the education and support that the nation needs to be health and good healthy food will always be more expensive and less available then unhealthy food!

    That’s my rant. I can go on forever! Steve calls me a Fatist because obesity makes me so crazy angry, but I try to use my inside voice often.

    You look great, by the way! And I loved “In the Defence of Food” too! “Skinny Bitch” and “French Women aren’t Fat” are also good reads.

    Take care,
    Tracey

    • Natasha says:

      I LOVE your computer analogy Tracey! So great! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and yes, I have read Skinny Bitch but not your other recommendation so I’ll find it at the library!

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