There I was on Rosh Hashana, standing before God praying for good health and the ability to change. But I was a passive participant, convinced I had nothing to do with my weight continuing to climb upward and my physical health gradually declining over the course of the previous year.
I was feeling miserable and by the time Sukkot came, I had developed a pre-ulcer condition and couldn't hold much in my stomach. I finally began to listen to God's loud and clear message: I had to take control of my eating and my health.
I came to understand that if I really wanted what I was praying for, then I had to start making it happen. Real change is up to us; it doesn't happen passively.
Our daily lives are filled with a stream of passing desires. But how many of these desires do we want so strongly that we prepared to do whatever it takes to attain them?
How badly do you want to attain that goal?
It's a good thing God doesn’t give us everything we pray for. If He did, our lives would be an unmitigated disaster. When my two year old granddaughter asks for her tenth piece of candy in 15 minutes, am I really showing her my love by giving it to her? Miracles can happen for people who prove they really want it, and are willing to put in the necessary work to get it.
In Genesis, when God says “Let us make man,” He was showing that our creation is a joint effort. We cannot expect God to hand us this change on a silver platter. He wants us join in the process of our own creation. He wants us to be active, not passive participants in our own lives.
We have to plan for our change, and we have to work for our change. When we stand before God on the High Holidays begging for life, we have to know what we are planning to do to accomplish this goal. We have to know what we are willing to give up to accomplish this goal. Our thoughts have to translate into action, not empty promises.
Humility before God
In the Overeaters Anonymous12-step program, the first step is: We admitted that we were powerless over food, that our lives had become unmanageable.
The second step is: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Ironically, one of the key steps to change is recognizing our limitations and ultimate inability to change on our own. Today’s culture wants to believe that we are all autonomous, that we've got the power. But the reality is different. We need to inculcate the trait of humility before a higher power.
Recognizing that God is the ultimate power, while simultaneously fulfilling our responsibility and doing everything we can to change, creates the space to receive the Almighty's help.
And that humility allows us to reach out for help from others. We are all so wrapped up in what we are doing that it is hard for us to see our own reality. It's much easier to see our friends' mistakes than seeing our own. If a casual friend can help us, how much more so, an expert in the field.
When we are willing to submit to wisdom greater then our own we can grow beyond our wildest dreams.
With God’s help, my physical problems have been reversed due to losing over 75 pounds. Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it to! Now when I pray for good health, I know that I am working together with God to make it happen. I am no longer waiting for some nameless miracle to happen. I know I mean it and truly want it.