On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a survey saying that although more and more Americans are exercising, the level of obesity remains the same. Leisure physical activity was up, according to the CDC Survey, from 31.9 percent in 2008 to 34.7 percent in 2009. But the obesity rate among adults remained constant (28 percent) during the same time span.
Honestly, those statistics surprised me at first. With all the weight loss shows, all the weight loss products, all the late night infomercials that claim to be the answer to weight loss, you’d think the obesity rate would be on the decline. Plus, my drive to church takes me past a number of walking trails, all filled with runners and walkers. And that makes sense, based on the survey. More people are exercising. But we haven’t shed those extra pounds yet.
As a kid, I don’t remember nearly the amount of emphasis on good health that you hear today. Sure, there were the old standby commercials for Dexatrim and Slim-Fast. I still remember the Slim-Fast ditty, “a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and then a sensible dinner.” In grade school we talked about the Food Pyramid. Of course, I wasn’t interested because the pyramid didn’t have a category for Hostess Cupcakes or Twinkies.
But I guess it doesn’t matter how much emphasis you put on good health. For most of us, the formula for losing weight stays the same. Eat right, exercise, and repeat the pattern regularly. An increased emphasis on a healthy lifestyle simply makes more people aware of the formula.
It’s too bad the simple blueprint for losing weight is so tough to follow. I want an easy fix. I want a simple way to deflate my spare tire. It’s funny, cause as I write this, I’m eating Peanut Butter M & M’s to give me a sugar boost so I can write this blog. If anybody wishes there was a quick fix to weight loss, it’s me. I want to lose weight, lose it now, and eat my M & M’s too. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what I want. The formula doesn’t change: eat right, exercise, repeat. Nuts.
As they say, things change, only to stay the same—even when it comes to weight loss. So do you ever feel that way with your Christian life? Do things about your Christian life change, only to stay the same?
I tend to be impatient. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about patience. I’ve been blessed to see patience modeled for me. But I still get tired of waiting for the Lord to satisfy my needs. And when I don’t get what I think I need fast enough, I take matters into my own hands.
So things have changed. I’ve grown in my understanding of God’s will. In fact, every day the Lord teaches me something new: through Scripture, and through the lives of God’s people. But I’m still an impatient sinner. That hasn’t changed.
What if God finally just got tired of it all? If he thought, “They’ve changed, but people are still the same. They sin just as much. So that’s it. I’m done.” I guess he has a right to do that. I am a sinner. God can’t stand sin.
But the Almighty never changes. “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6, NIV). And Saint Paul reminds me, “If we faithless, he will remain faithful…” (2 Timothy 2:13, NIV). So Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection on the third day still mean that I am forgiven. Every day. For each sin. No matter what.
I just finished off the M & M’s. And I didn’t exercise today either. I guess my days at the beach are over. But no matter how much I change, God’s love for me stays the same. Nothing I do can change what Jesus did. Thank God for that!