I have a problem and am not sure how to identify its cause. I’ve been gaining weight. I have narrowed down the possible reasons:
1. My metabolism has slowed down.
2. I am becoming one of those shrinking little old men. I’ve got the shrinking part down, but the little part hasn’t happened yet.
3. I am too short for the weight/height chart.
4. I suffer from a not-so-rare disease called Overactive Fork Syndrome.
I know it will take me a while to figure this one out. In the meantime, I’m looking for a good diet cookbook. You know, the kind where all the recipes begin, “Add two gallons of butter, one quart of cream and two cups of sugar.” Of course, good books are hard to find. I can’t put my finger on the problem, but there has to be something wrong with How to Lose Weight by X.R. Sizemore. And that one sits next to 101 Ways to Cook with Honey by B. Keeper.
For most of my life, I’ve been in good shape—and I think round is a perfectly good shape. My goal this year is to match the weight on my driver’s license. I know my body is the temple of the Lord, but does it have to come with ample parking in the rear? I understand that people weigh six times less on the moon. If NASA ever opens up the space program to the public, I’ll be the first to volunteer.
One of my biggest downfalls is chocolate. Cover anything in chocolate and I’ll eat it every time. This week, I’ll serve, as I have for the past 20 years, as one of the Oklahoma State Fair chaplains. Every year, the local news travels the fairgrounds on a hunt for the most decadent food. Last year the winner was chocolate-coated, deep-fried bacon. My two favorite foods, chocolate and bacon, married into one delicious treat! When I tried it, I was sure I had died and gone to heaven. I had to call on a Higher Power to walk away or I would have suffered death by chocolate.
I thought about joining a 12-step program for chocoholics, but found out you had to pledge not to get within 12 steps of chocolate. One of mankind’s greatest strengths is the ability to justify sin. I figure chocolate is cheaper than therapy any day.
I’m making fun of my struggles, but I’ve worked with many people whose problems are no joke. Very rarely does someone tell me, “I did the wrong thing. I must suffer the consequences for the choices I’ve made.” Most of the time, I hear a long story about how it wasn’t their fault and why the blame goes to someone else. Many years ago, a comedian coined the phrase “The devil made me do it.” I believe Adam first came up with this excuse. When that didn’t work, he tried to blame both God and his wife. Sound familiar?
Still, if God hadn’t created Eve or instant chocolate pudding, we wouldn’t have half the problems we do today. You can recognize this truth in your children. Ask two of them who spilled the milk. Each child immediately points to the other.
This generation is missing something I call logical consequences. Almost every day, I see parents trying to bail out their children. A couple called not long ago to ask for my advice.
Their college-aged son kept writing bad checks. They sighed as they told me how many trips they had made to the bank to cover his debts. I told them to stop their bank runs.
“If your son doesn’t experience logical consequence for his actions, he won’t place any value on keeping money in his account,” I said. Where there are no logical consequences, there are no values.
When I explain this principle, people call it “tough love.” I respond, “No, it’s just . . . love.” For God so loved the world He sent Jesus. But before He did that, God told Adam and Eve if they ate of a certain fruit they would die. They ate, they died. That was the logical consequence for their bad choice. Real simple. Or is it?
Today, if one of our children ate that fruit, we would say, “How many times have I told you? If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times not to eat of that tree!” And the children would walk away learning nothing . . . except that there is no consequence for making a bad decision.
I only wish someone had told me, “If you eat too much, you’ll get fat.” By the way, if anyone needs me, I’m heading out to find the booth that sells chocolate-covered, deep-fried Twinkies.