Confession: I have been avoiding some of my friends. I know that sounds harsh…and wrong…and completely inexcusable…but it is true nonetheless.
You see, once upon a time, I used to do triathlons. While ‘speedy’ was never a word used to describe me in my triathlon years (unless it was preceded by the word ‘not’), I was fairly fit if I do say so myself.
I was skinny and tan.
I was comfortable in spandex, lycra, dry-weave tanks and swimsuits.
I could ride a bike over 50 miles fairly easily, swim well over a mile and not even blink at a 6 mile run.
And I made some pretty awesome friends along the way.
We traveled together,
pushed each other,
and cheered each other to the finish line.
and we laughed,
we shared our secrets during the hours and hours of bike rides and runs. We overcame fears and failures,
nursed each other back to health after inevitable injuries
and hung out together on the sidelines.
I started to feel God tugging at my well-defined arms back in 2008 but I chalked it up to just being burned out on training. It wasn’t until the summer of 2009 that I finally submitted to Him during a very, very, very, very, very long and excruciating half-marathon in Chicago. It was there, on the beautiful banks of Lake Michigan, that He finally wore me down and got my attention. I knew I had to stop.
So, life as I knew it changed. I had long since hung up my bike and put away my swimsuit, but now, I saw the writing on the wall – it was time to unlace the running shoes and get back to God.
I retired myself from all things exercise. At first, it was hard, but then I started to hear God speak and move in my life in ways I had only heard people talk about. I started to love God more than I ever thought possible. I started to feel His presence in my life. I actually loved to study the Bible and I started seeking His Heart in ways I cannot explain.
And slowly, day by day, my heart became full and apparently…so did my belly.
Along with these awesome spiritual changes, I was faced with some not so glamorous physical changes. I could no longer eat what I wanted and not gain weight, but that didn’t stop me. Now, I am carrying around more pounds than I care to acknowledge, and with that has come the burden of shame.
Shame is something that we don’t like to talk about, because…well…it’s shameful. But it’s an arrow Satan keeps in his quiver ready to fire at me in a moments notice. The target of shame is always our weakness, and he has been using that for the past two years to keep me away from my friends.
I’m ashamed that I can’t run and swim and bike like I used to.
I’m ashamed that I’ve gained more weight that I care to count.
I’m ashamed of what I look like.
So, I’ve been avoiding my triathlon friends. I’ve let Satan shame me into not calling or seeing them. Now that I know what he’s up to, I might just have to pick up a phone and call one of those friends because I refuse to let him win. I refuse. He has no power over me.
And when I call those friends, I’m sure I’ll find out that Satan is, in fact, a liar and that those friends I’ve been avoiding will love me whether my legs are tan or white and reflective. I’m sure they’ll love me skinny or a little fluffy because, well, they are my friends. And that’s what friends do. They love us no matter what.