How Much Is Too Much?

Day 16.  Of 42.

One question has been crossing my mind lately, and it is:

Has my addiction just changed?

Let me explain.  If you remember from the original post about this journey of getting closer to God, while getting rid of my scale…the goal here is to not let a number on a scale determine my self-worth.  I need to take care of my body, but I really need to take care of my soul.  But yet, I wonder if I have just traded one number for another that I am allowing to identify myself.  Also, have I gone off the deep end, and am I exercising too much?

I don’t have the answers to those questions.  At least not yet.

I am in a recurring weekly competition, through Fitbit, with some friends.  Who has the most steps throughout the work week? Well, the last few weeks, I have been blowing away the competition.  And all I have been doing is taking a walk with Cheese the dog a few evenings a week. And I have made a greater effort to actually reach my daily step goal every day (on days that I don’t go for a walk).  

But then, after the first week, I noticed that there were a few moments where I legitimately thought I was going to pass out.  But that one, I figured out. Turns out, I had increased my activity level…but I hadn’t increased my caloric intake. So…no wonder I thought I was going to pass out.  So that’s a easy fix. For someone that loves food…just eat more food! Woohoo!!

But the nagging question still resides in the back of my brain…how much is too much?  

The first time Cheese and I went for a 5 miles walk, he lost the energy to pull me after about 3 miles.  Our last 5 mile walk was absolutely his fault. I had had one of those days at school that was just busy.  And I ended up walking. A lot. In fact, I had 12,000 steps in by the time I walked in my back door after school.  In case you were wondering, 12,000 steps is approximately 6 miles. And that’s just walking up and down the halls at school.  But then, I knew I needed to take Cheese for a walk. Part of my goal is taking him for regular walks is he needs the exercise.  He’s full of energy, and this has proven to be an excellent way to burn off the excess energy he has. So, I get home from school, already half done for the day.  But we hadn’t taken a walk the night before, and he needed to just go. So we walk. My goal was 3 miles. We get to the turning point if we are going to go 3 miles, or extend for another mile…and he’s still full of energy.  So I agree to go the extra mile. Literally.

The problem was…nearing the time that his energy level normally starts to wane, he is still raring to go.  So…we ended up walking 5 miles. And he could have kept going, like the Energizer Bunny.

I was pooped.  

So, again, I’m asking…how much is too much?  After months of inactivity, is this simply just a return of activity to my life, and the change appears drastic?  Is this the marathon runner in me, in it for the distance, because what’s the point of a 5k?  

So let me get to the point of why this question keeps nagging at me.  There was one summer I was at home from college.  I had had mono during the semester before. But I was also going dealing with some pretty serious anorexia and bulimia that summer.  It was the first summer that I ever weighed less than 200 pounds.

That summer was awful.  

In addition to the eating disorders, I would walk and work out.  Relentlessly.

I would walk for miles a day.  And then I would come home, and work out.  And I wouldn’t eat. Or if I did, I would throw it up.  

I was crazy.

Ok, technically, I still probably am.  

Because, who wants to be normal?  Normal is boring.

But the past fear has made me pause.  Because no matter how far in the rear view mirror that summer is, I remember it.  But maybe, just maybe, that summer is sitting there as a reminder of how not to do things.  

So here’s where I’m landing:

I’m not going off the deep end.  Because the activity level feels good for me.  And it feels really good for Cheese. The goal being for him to exercise enough so he stops acting like a lunatic.

But it has also brought about opportunities that I might not have had otherwise.  On Sunday, I met one of my neighbors, and had a lovely conversation. I have lived in my house for 7 years.  And she has lived there the entire time I have been living there. And this is the first conversation we have ever had.  I knew who she was. She knew who I was. But it took 7 years for us to actually talk to one another. That wouldn’t have happened if Cheese and I hadn’t been out walking.  

Also, it led me to not feel guilty when I went out with a group of teachers Friday after school.  I hadn’t planned it. But I also didn’t condemn myself for taking in way too many calories. I let myself just enjoy the time.  It fed my soul.

I still have not weighed myself.  And I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’m not curious.  Because I am.

But I can also tell a change in my body.  My legs are more muscular (even after only a few weeks).  I’m sleeping better. But oh…I haven’t gotten to the best part yet.

I have been spending time talking to God.  I spend time while I’m walking talking to God.  Because how magnificent of a landscape does God paint?  And I sing while I’m walking. Worship, while I’m walking is so amazing.  And, of course, reading my Bible.

Ok, I have a confession to make.

I have never read the entire Bible.  

I had never read the entire book of Acts before last week.  And I’m now in Romans. Whew, Romans is going to take me awhile.  

Because every single word that Paul writes is said with so much conviction that it blows me away!  

So here’s the true measurement.  

I feel closer to God.  

So whether I’m walking 20 extra miles a week, or indulging in chocolate chip cookies…the thing that really matters is I’m succeeding in feeling God working in my life more and more every day.  

Here I am, Lord…

…Send me.

So the conversation went like this…

Me: Ok, God, I’m willing to go.  I’m surrendering to your will, and your plan.  But I have a couple of questions.

God: You’re human.  And I’m familiar with you.  Proceed.

Me: How much is this going to hurt?

God: A lot.  But I don’t want you to focus on that.  My strength will get you through.

Me: Well ok then.

I’m on this journey, a journey where I’m focusing on my relationship with God.  And I am feeling it, all the way down to my soul.

A couple of days ago, I was reading my Bible, in the book of Acts.  Oh, you know what, you need, no you really NEED to read these verses.

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.  I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

-Acts 20: 22-24

I read that…and my reaction was…

Imma need a minute.

Paul’s conviction to follow what the Holy Spirit was telling him to do is so great, nothing could stop him!  Even his friends that were traveling with him tried to persuade him not to go to Jerusalem, because they knew what lay ahead for Paul.  But nothing, nothing could stop Paul from what God had called him to do.

I feel insignificant compared to Paul.

But at the same time, Paul was specifically called to this task.  Not me.

I am called to a different task.  One that I am still discovering every day.   I know that God has a plan for my life. To utilize me in a way that he has specifically designed me to accomplish.  Me alone. In fact, we are all put here for a purpose, a specific purpose. Each of us has our own, unique, and sometimes challenging plans from God.  We may work together for a time on some of these plans. Sometimes we will be heading down the path all alone. And the absolute terror of what lay ahead might seem overwhelming.

But there is a comfort.  Though there may be no human companionship along this path, God is always by our side.  

So yes, our path, our purpose, our calling from God may be terrifying.  It may be painful at times. But the challenges, the hardships, the pain, the sorrow, the negativity should never be our focus.  Because, as a Christian, those things are inevitable.  As Christians we are, unfortunately, not promised an easy life.  

That just sucks, sometimes.  

But that’s just how it is.  

So we are called to walk forth boldly, and with confidence and conviction.

I don’t know what the future holds for me.  But I have finally let go of my hold on the future, and the plans that I have made to let God fully lead me in what He wants me to do.  And I know that there will be pain and struggle ahead. But instead of being terrified, so completely terrified that I can’t take a step forward, I walk forward, boldly, with God’s strength holding me up.  Because there will be pain. But God will get me through.

Here I am Lord.  Send me.