"Results not typical." I heard those words at the end of my first meeting at Weight Watchers. I prayed they weren't true. I wanted to have the results of others, and I wanted to diet only one more time, after a lifetime of diets and clothing sizes.
It took about 18 months to lose 60 pounds. It's taken much longer to lose old ways of thinking. Somewhere in this last year, though, as my goal weight came into view, God began using my Saturday morning trips to the scale for his own purposes. He's sneaky that way.
It started at a particularly lively meeting last spring. It had been a good week for many of us—you could tell by the chatter as we waited to weigh in, by the confidence we showed as we peeled off our outer layers of clothing. The room, a classroom at a local church, was filled with sunlight from a wall of windows, and life was just happening everywhere.
Our enthusiastic leader had shared, we'd shared, and together we all shifted our weight loss compasses back to our goals. Now we were at the favorite part of the meeting—celebrations. A pound. Three pounds. Half a pound. I sat surrounded by cheers and clapping and generous handouts of the currency of Weight Watchers—the bravo sticker—when this God-breathed thought came to me with a smile: only at Weight Watchers did people get so excited about loss. This was followed closely by: Why do I think weight is the only loss worth celebrating?
Jesus said, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:25, NIV). Sitting in that church on a Saturday morning, I wondered what would happen if I came to church on Sunday like this—ready to celebrate what I'd lost, because what I was gaining was my life. Could I even seek out loss, actively pursuing it the same way I pursued losing weight?1