About six weeks ago I threw away my bathroom scale. I needed to for my mental health and emotional well-being. Like many people who are trying to lose weight I weighed myself just about every morning. To be clear, I don’t need to lose ten or twenty or even thirty pounds. Fifty would put me where I was when I married; I cannot bring myself to say how much to no longer be overweight. I went to the doctor for various blood test results and they were all great; the most important of them down to the normal range so I was very pleased that my hard work was paying off. But that’s never enough for me. The scale was my judge and jury, my mood maker and mocker. I decided I was done. A friend suggested to not weigh myself when I was feeling down or extra tired or in a bad mood so I tried that for a time, but it sat there, mocking me and daring me to get on and check. I could not figure out what to do. So I prayed about it, which at the time seemed so ridiculous. Truly God had other more important concerns and I know my prayer list had more compelling needs to be answered.
But God cares about all our needs and I received an answer: do what you know works, keep moving forward with the same plan and trust that it will work. This is from Ignatius Loyola’s Rules of Discernment, specifically the fifth rule. I know Ignatius was applying these rules to the spiritual life, but the more I learn about them, the more applicable they become to all my daily living. So the scale went into the garbage and all my clothes still fit.
During Advent this response from Morning Prayer “You will see his glory within you; – the Lord will dawn on you in radiant beauty” spoke to my heart about who I am as a child of God. What is inside is far more important than my exterior appearance. I must take care of myself and do what is necessary for me to have good health. I do not need to obsess over numbers on a scale. My desire is to abandon myself to God because as St. Ignatius said, “There are very few people who realize what God would make of them if they abandoned themselves into his hands, and let themselves be formed by his grace.”
Copyright 2013 Deanna Bartalini