I love food. All food. Not just the Double-Doubles and the pizookies of the world, but also the roasted Brussels sprouts and the spinach salads with berries and almonds of the world. I heart food. So understandably, diet is a four-letter word that makes me cringe. It brings out all of the nasty in me. I suddenly turn into a mean girl with raging insecurities and carb-withdrawal headaches. But when the number on the scale crept past the do or die mark, I had no other choice than to go on a diet.
You may be thinking, “Dieting should be easy for you if you love fruits, vegetables, and whole foods, right?” WRONG! Why? Because I have a condition known as all or nothing. It’s a complicated mood disorder that results in two-a-day workouts, eliminations of entire food groups, and a slightly unrealistic timeline for meeting weight loss goals in a two-week time frame. All or nothing disorder may result in excessive fatigue, lack of patience, hot tempers, and social isolation.
After three weeks of suffering from all or nothing, I read this passage in Romans:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2
Words like “offer your body” and “be transformed” meant something totally different than the body transformation and weight-loss testimonies I had been studying for the past three weeks, and I knew in my heart that my all or nothing had come out of remission and struck again.
The truth is that I carry this with me in all of areas of my life. At work I’m either keeping my eye on the C-level position, or I’m burnt out and considering taking up one of the million MLM (i.e. Plexus, Rodan + Fields, Amway, etc.) offers on facebook. At home our house is either spotless or branded with hazardous waste signs. And in my marriage I’m either love-stuck and smitten with my husband, or I’m wallowing in disappointment, bitterness, and frustration.
It’s my personal, and very damaging, way of trying to control my surroundings. It’s also been my biggest battle with God and the biggest hurdle I’ve had to jump over in my marriage. While that truth is not surprising, the reason may surprise you!
Most of you are probably expecting a few paragraphs on balance and being able to accept “The Best Yes” and “Savor” the everyday moments. Can you tell I read a lot? While I adore those books, and I’ve found so much wisdom and insight in them, this post isn’t about balance. It is about all or nothing. You see, the bipolarity of all or nothing is actually something God wants from us. You heard that right. God wants us to be all or nothing!
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” – Revelation 3:15
There is a reason why we all struggle to find balance in our lives. Are you ready? It’s because we were never meant to be balanced. The Bible actually tells us to live an all or nothing life. God wants us to surrender our time, bodies, resources, relationships, and everything else to Him. It’s so incredibly easy to get sidetracked by seemingly “healthy” things. Taking care of our bodies, volunteering, parenting, work…all of those things are necessary and important. But none of those things are what we were created to do!
As I was laying in bed complaining about how tired I was, and how sore my body was, and how I just wanted a slice of pot roast and a pint of Jamocha Almond Fudge, my husband sat silent. I started to climb up on a soap box about balance, when he stopped me.
“It’s not a bad thing to be all or nothing,” he said. “I think your all is just in the wrong place.”
Boom!! Mic dropped!!
Man, I hate it when it doesn’t go the way I anticipate. I was hoping he’d give me the spoken permission I needed to have a cheat meal once a week, encourage me to stick with a plan, and kiss my nose before I fell asleep. Nope. The man said I might need to give up my abs-pirations and refocus on God, because that’s all that matters.
There is truth in that. SO. MUCH. TRUTH.
Chris and I read You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan about a year ago. If you are struggling in your marriage on any level, we highly recommend you read this book first. Before Boundaries, before Love & Respect, before any other book on marriage, read this one.
It completely changed the way we thought about our marriage, our commitments, parenting, work, etc. All of the things we’re told to “balance” were put into perspective as we read through the chapters and watched their corresponding videos online.
The back cover of the book states, “The way to have a great marriage is to not focus on marriage.” Using Scripture to form the foundation of marriage, the Chans challenge readers to stop focusing on their marriages and to give everything to God. In other words, stop trying to balance it all. You’ll fail. And while I’m a huge fan of Christian Living books, there is a reason why so many are being written on balance. Like food, it was never something we were meant to struggle with.
Our full and undivided attention was always meant to be on worshiping God. At work. During a work out. While disciplining our children. We’ve lost focus, and we are trying to put the proverbial band aid of “balance” on a wound that isn’t healing.
So I have to refocus. I have to use that pesky all or nothing condition to drive me closer to God. It might not all work out the way I want it to, but I firmly believe it is the only way I’ll truly find peace and joy on this earth…and that I’ll see my abs again in heaven!