I have two bathroom scales, and neither one of them tell me what I want to hear. I used to think it was just the more accurate one that was a stick in the mud, but now it seems they’re both against me.

I console myself with the idea that gains in muscle mass make up for the increase in my weight as I tearfully bite into my third jelly doughnut.

Ok, just kidding about that jelly doughnut bit.

This post is about goals… and purpose.

I was hoping to get down to a certain weight though, and it seems I’ve been climbing back up again, I’m definately leaner than the last time I weighed this much, and its not like I’ve gained exponentially.

I was down to about 170 by October of last year (see, also post: Weight Loss Revelation and Holistic Spirituality), but really I’d been sitting there for a while, hoping to get down to 160, but I couldn’t seem to break the plateau and sort of leveled out at 172. Now I’m about 175, 176. So I’ve only really gained about 4 lbs despite the doughnuts… (really, I’m just kidding on that, I don’t eat doughnuts, and that aggrivates people I work with who think doughnuts should be served for any and every occassion).

I don’t typically do this, but I’ll show you two pictures; the first I took at the end of August last year. The lighting isn’t great, but that was me circa 170-172 lbs in August (I didn’t record my weight with the picture, but that’s the range I was in at the time, and I believe my thinking was that if I got down to 160, it would make a good ‘before’ picture). The second picture is me at about 176 taken on Sunday (5.16.21); it has better lighting, and represents me about 9 months after the first picture.

I know, they’re not good before and after pictures; it would have been good if I had taken one when I was at 210, but truth be told I was too self-conscious. Both of these pictures were taken on a Sunday – so, hadn’t exercised thus there’s no muscular swelling anywhere. While the first has bad lighting, it still looks like I have less fat in the mid-section and slightly more definition. But like I said, the second picture also represents me 5 lbs heavier, so I am fairly confident, all joking aside, that the weight increase is mainly in lean mass.

Still in 9 months it’s difficult to pinpoint proggress…

Right now a good deal of life has remained on hold for a good number of people. Even doing what we can, it becomes difficult to see progress or change. There is a proverb which says: ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish…’ (Proverbs 29:18)

This proverb always comes back to me, particularly in the dolldrum in-between phases of life… which sometimes seems to be the greater portion of it. If we can’t see progress it is difficult to maintain motivation. In the case of my weight loss journey, I can see consistency combined with mild changes and an increase in weight, and assume logically that I’ve increased lean mass but day to day it seems like I look the same.

The world is stuck in a bit of a rut right now, and we all – many of us – seem to be each individually along for the ride. Should we give up then because we don’t see progress? Or have we accomplished some degree of success, and are having difficulty finding new motivation to move forward?

More than physically, this is the case spiritually… though often these go hand in hand. My whole life (since committing my life to the Lord at 15) I have devoted myself to serviving the Lord. I have always intended to use my life to minister the Gospel; I never went to seminary, or joined a denomination because I believed early on (and believe now) that the True Church is not an organization, and that training for ministry comes not through scholastic education in theology, but through the living experience of fellowship with the Spirit of God. How did the fishermen and tax collectors who became the twelve Apostles receive their training for ministry? Through time spent with Christ; by fellowship with, and observance of His Person. This was their education.

Likewise, Paul the Apostle who never knew Christ personally in the flesh was nevertheless trained in the same way: through fellowship with Christ through the Spirit of God:

Galatians 1:15 & 16
But when it pleased God, who seperated me from mmy mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred NOT with flesh and blood;

Paul, the one Apostle who HAD received a scholastic and theological education as a strict Pharisee (Orthodox Jew) in the school of Gamiliel yet counted even his own education to be as dung in the face of the living fellowship with Christ (Philippians 3:4-8). So, I have devoted my life to the study of scripture, and to the fellowship of the living presence of Christ.

That perspective puts me well outside of traditional church standards and perceptions. As I discussed in a recent post, I don’t sign statements of faith, or make contracts with men, or human organizations as to what I will teach… and as I explained this at one point to a pastor (who seemed to agree with me by way of principle) who wanted me to join his denomination so that I could teach in his church, he told me (quite accurately, I’m sorry to say) that if I held to these standards I would find literally no church to operate in ministry in. In response I told him I was aware of that, and asked him if it would therefore justify me before God to violate these principals. Of course, he was a Pastor, so he’d already signed his contracts.

I’ve considered starting a church, but I’m not sure I’ve got the right temperment, and people tend to assume that I’m a wolf or a rebel if I’m not ‘under’ some earthly organization (what earthly organization did John the Baptist submit to, again?). Plus, I’ve got to work to provide for the family the Lord gave me.

So we’re back to: Progress; gains; motivation.

Sometimes I struggle with a sense of purpose. Maybe it’s the same for you. What are your successes, though?

God has definately done things in my life, and He has certainly used me despite my belligerrant anti-establishmentarianism. When I think about His oorchestration of events in my life at the iinception of both of the books I’ve written, the development of their message, and their timing, I am immensely blessed that the Lord would work in my life in such a way.

I have given my life to the Lord, if for large spans of time I am waiting, or preparing for some future work, that in itself can be my continued motivation. When I initially determined to begin excercising, part of my motivation was to be in good enough shape to do whatever the Lord called me to do. Should He call me to trek through hot jungles to preach the Word to hidden tribes in obscure parts of the world, or just be in a good enough condition to play with my kids if I am not stewarding my own flesh well, how will I be ready for what is required?

As I somewhat alluded to, I have issues with participation in churches (for our Western church culture is very organizational structure focus) yet typically I love to go to various churches, and fellowship with other believers. But then… COVID. And heresy, and false prophecy which has swept the whole evangelical world (actually, one of the local churches we were starting to go to more frequently got swept into the prophesying Trump to be president phenomenon (their inclination toward the political had already been off-putting but after the false-prophecy scenerio, we really can’t participate with them at all in good conscience)).

So whadaya do? I guess you pick up your cross and walk alone with Christ. I guess you work on fitness at home; that’s what I signed up for anyways.

Don’t let the world’s losses become yours, friend. Keep working in the direction which you know is right, stop and evaluate the gains you’ve made, they may be hard to see sometimes, but at least you’re not a jelly doughut.

Never give up, never surrender.