Everything in the physical world is here to teach us an important spiritual lesson. But when someone forwarded to me a YouTube recording of an episode of Extreme Makeover Weight Loss, I was dumbfounded. What could we possibly learn from it?
I learned that compared to the participant on the show, I look like Twiggy and should stop complaining about my weight. (My husband would say that’s a good lesson for me to learn!) I learned that people will humiliate themselves and their families in order to lose weight/win a $25,000 Wal-Mart gift card (the primary motivation is unclear). They will bare their stomachs on national television and reveal their deep emotional rifts with their parents. But I’m not sure what spiritual lesson there is to glean there either.
I was at a loss until my friend, Sharon Shenker, shared her more positive perspective. What is the strategy of the show? After choosing the lucky (?) participant, the host, Chris Powell, takes her under his wing. He even moves in with her family when necessary.
He gives her emotional support. He props her up when she is down, he is the loving parent she never had, and he tells her over and over again that he believes in her.
Sharon pointed out to me (I was still stunned by those numbers on the scales – one of the participants lost 73 pounds and was down to 407! I'm not, God forbid, belittling the struggle; it's just that the numbers are staggering) that if we looked at our own lives, this is what the Almighty does for us.
He lives with us; He is with us all the time providing emotional support, being our “rock,” believing in us. He sees our good, He recognizes our potential, He knows that we can grow and change. He believes in us more than any other human being possibly can, certainly more than we do ourselves!
Sometimes we don’t see it. Sometimes, like those women on the show, we have given up. We don’t believe we have the strength or the power. We don’t think we are worth it.
But instead of a television host reassuring us, we have the Creator Himself, the One Who sees all of our struggles, our successes and our failures, and is still there by our side, every day, urging us on, supporting us, believing in us.
Life has many challenges (weight loss being for many of us a relatively minor one that gets a disproportionate share of our attention – I always feel that I am one cookie or one missed day on the treadmill away from weight 350 pounds – but enough about my neuroses!). We may get discouraged. We may not think we can do it. We may despair.
It’s because we’ve forgotten that we have the most powerful support system in the world. The show works with each participant for one year. Our support lasts a lifetime. We were created in the Almighty’s image. We have unlimited potential. We just have to exercise it (no pun intended).