Monday, January 04, 2010

Fear, embarrasment, dry wall compound, vernal falls, friends and Donald Miller

A couple of years ago, Jimmy, Aaron and I took a day to go up to Yosemite and hike around. We had a great day and decided our last act would be to do the Vernal Falls trail. It's only 1.5 miles to the, you know...up a steep hill. I couldn't do it. I made it about half way up. It was quite embarrassing. The guys were great about it. They could have gone on but chose to stay with me. We talked about losing weight, accountability, exercising together.

It's hard for friends to talk to friends about weight. It's hard to say, "hey, are you gaining some weight?" It's embarrassing. We figure it's none of our business. We don't want our friends to feel bad or shamed. And I have always tried to make myself open to input and my closest friends have made some awkward tries. The truth is, when it does happen, it does embarrass me. Joking actually does hurt a little. This subject goes deep for people that struggle with weight. It goes pretty deep for me.

Around this same time, we were doing a renovation project at our church. This is a 5 gallon bucket of drywall compound and they weigh about 67 lbs. We lugged them up and down the steps at church and they are really heavy. This is about the amount of weight I needed to lose. The thought of carrying this up Vernal Falls is insane but that's exactly what I tried to do.

Last Winter, some friends got the guts to talk to me about my weight. They wanted to help me and offered to help me with the funds to go on a specialized weight loss plan. I panicked. I told them no. I told them I felt OK the way I was and I didn't think a diet plan would work for me. I told them that I felt like I was the way I was. I freaked out a little. I was scared of change, failure and letting them down. They were sacrificing for me and I didn't know how to handle it. Finally, after coming down a bit, praying it through and talking with Amie, we decided to take them up on the offer.

I did it...I lost a 5 gallon bucket of dry wall compound between April and August 2009! And come to find out, it's not embarrassing at all for your friends to let you know you're LOSING weight. People mention it all the time and it feels great. I even had to punch 2 new holes in my belt. I was feeling good.

Then early in the Fall, I stopped being so diligent. I half heartedly continued the program with making little compromises here and there. The compliments kept pouring in and so I thought I was OK. When you're losing weight, you can feel it first in how you're clothes fit. As it turns out, that's how it happens when you're gaining too. Here recently, I started to notice a change. I weighed this morning and sure enough, I have gained some of my drywall back! Ahhh! I've gone back a belt loop.

So disappointed in myself. I let my friends who sacrificed down, I let my family who were so proud of me down and mostly, I let myself down. Enter Donald Miller. I read a new year's blog entry at hos sight inspired from his recent book, "A Million Miles In A Thousand Years." I won't try to 're-post' his thoughts completely (you can read that here) but I'll say his encouragement was to not make a new year's resolution but to write a better story with your life in the new year.

He says in all good stories, the lead character has to want something, events have to be set in place to get the character to change (he calls it an inciting event), there is pain, conflict, difficult choices and hardship that bring about a desirable resolution. So instead of 'losing weight', what do I want to do?

I want to climb dad gum Vernal Falls! For the story of my weight loss, this is my inciting event...letting you all know that this Spring, I will climb Vernal Falls and I'll go up all the way up. My friends have agreed to help me on a particular health program that provides a health coach to check in with you and give you keys to sticking with it. By the way, if you're at all interested in this plan...check it out If you're Modesto local, I can even go with you to a meeting...lemme know.

I do not want to give up but I need help. I need friends that will ask me how I'm doing in living the Vernal Falls story. I'll try to post my progress here on the blog a bit more often.

And there are even more important stories than this that I want to write with my life this year but in order to write those, I want a healthier body to live them in. As I let go of fear and shame and embrace difficult choices, hardship, my community of friends and the joy of the Lord, living a great story is possible.


Unknown said...

I love it. Let me know how I can help. I would like to join you in your Vernal Falls inciting event. I will be looking for my own as well. Love ya bro!

donald Miller said...

That. Is. Awesome!!!!!!! I love this. Great stuff.

Sustar said...

Chris, if you climb Vernal Falls without me, I'm kickin' your #$%.
That's right, I am going to kick your Number sign, your Dollar sign, and your Percentage sign.
I'm proud of you.

Beth said...

Great post! (Wow and even Donald Miller is commenting.)
I was following a guideline that P. John gave out on Sunday to help with 09 reflecting and when I came to the heading "Consider Longstanding Relationships", I thought of you: I've really appreciated your faithful following and encouraging of my blog, reconnecting during your visit this past spring and reading all your posts this year. Just wanted to let you know that I'm still here, also on the edge of my seat wanting to hear more of your story!

Eva said...

I'm not Donald Miller but I can really relate to your story. I am just reading his a book and trying to figure out what my inciting incident will be for the same area of my life.
It's funny, I find it so easy to challenge myself in pretty much EVERYTHING else in my life except with physical stuff. I just turn my cheek and pretend the elephant in the room is a mouse.

A mouse doesn't wear XL.

You have great friends.
I'll keep reading.

Beth said...

Hey, are you gonna enter the contest? Win a trip for two to portland for the living a better story Donald Miller seminar
You should...