Fairly Spiritual: Devour the power to struggle

I've lost 22 pounds since the first of January. Since I have a habit of finding the weight I've lost, I'm going to celebrate this achievement while the scale is still cooperating with my efforts.

I’ve lost 22 pounds since the first of January. Since I have a habit of finding the weight I’ve lost, I’m going to celebrate this achievement while the scale is still cooperating with my efforts.

About seven years ago I weighed 277 pounds. After a prolonged stretch of low-carbing and Taco Bell avoidance, I got my weight down to 237. Since that time, my weight has fluctuated like the tide. Right now, I’m back down to 237. Thankfully, I’ve never return to my dreaded high total of 277.

When I tell people how much I used to weigh, they usually give me a look of disbelief, as if I’m exaggerating to make my weight loss more impressive. I can understand the disbelief. At my largest, I didn’t have a huge pot belly of overweight demarkation. Instead, I was just big all over. My 6-foot-3 frame gave me the look of a junior college football player who no longer played football but still enjoyed the carb-loading team meals.

You might be wondering why I’m sharing my weigh vacillation numbers like we’re following the NASDAQ. To that I’d like to say “227!”

My new goal is 227. It’s a destination I’ve never reached but frequently desired visiting – 227 is the holy grail. I know the charts say an ideal weight for my height should be around 207 pounds, but whoever made that chart was a small-framed wimp. I’d have to lose a couple appendages to appease that chart. So instead of one unattainable goal, I’ve chosen another: 227 pounds! This year I’m going to reach it!

Or maybe not. Maybe 227 will remain regulated to the hope and aspiration centers of my mind. Worst yet, maybe 227 will become the perpetual reminder of my limited will and self-discipline. Either way, I’ve got to be all right with it.

Whenever I discuss my weight, I open myself up to the assessment and advice of others. Some thank me for my transparency, while others imply self-absorbed vanity is my primary motivation for telling my weight loss saga.

Although I’m certainly not immune to vain pursuits, I like to think there is a simpler explanation as to why I share my weight loss struggle. Simply put, I share because I struggle. I struggle, so I share.

Our self-help, testimony, Subway Jared culture has unfortunately left some of us with a skewed view of existence. The modern narrative of success goes as follows. I was in a pit, struggling to find my way. I found the answer and put it into practice. Low and behold, I met my goal, and now I’m really happy. Now you too can be as successful and as happy as I am. So what are you waiting for, buy the book and start changing.

Who doesn’t like a success story? However, being raised on these stories can give us a false sense of reality. We begin to feel our purpose in life is to overcome the struggle, win the battle and find a place of peace.

Unfortunately, this assumption is wrong. Life is full of struggle. One might even say life on Earth is struggle. If we stop struggling, we die. The sad truth is all these success stories can make us feel pretty hopeless. We see smiling, content, svelte faces as our destination, while we are still trapped in a seemingly endless struggle.

Share the tale

This leads to the perpetual questions of what on earth am I doing wrong? Why is this so hard? When will I stop struggling? My answer to these questions is to tell my story and to urge you to tell yours.

Life is full of struggle. Don’t try and make your life into a success story. Instead, make your life a story of struggle. Show your friends, your family and yourself that you never stopped struggling. Embrace the challenges and struggles of your life as if they will always be there. Make a commitment to embrace the battle.

Make no mistake about it, you are going to experience struggle in life. Those who give up on the struggle die. However, those who embrace the struggle as the challenge of existence find complex, meaningful lives full of hard earned fruitfulness. 227 is a lousy motivator for moving forward. Embracing the power of struggle, well that’s a goal worthy of all our efforts.

“Live from Seattle with Doug Bursch” can be heard 4-6 p.m. weekdays on KGNW 820 AM. Doug Bursch also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at 2407 M St. SE next to Pioneer Elementary School. He can be reached at www.fairlyspiritual.org or doug@fairlyspiritual.org.