It’s that traditional time of the year to look forward to the exciting unknown of a New Year and to reflect on positives of the year just past. Well, to be honest, I’d really rather forget the last 12 months, but I’ve got enough reminders day to day which simply prevent that from happening.
How would I sum up 2014? In a word, crap. I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes as my almost life-long obesity issues continued. A loved one received a “very little we can do” prognosis to chronic pain and faces a future of simply managing it rather than living. And I finally accepted my Christian faith had gone and that much of my life was not going to be the same from now on.
I appreciate I’m perhaps bordering on the melodramatic, but it was a year of change, and not much of it positive. All I can say is that I hope it has laid the foundations on which I hope 2015 will be built. My health and weight issues are not going to disappear overnight, but I have been studying a lot to try and find the best way of dealing with them. And differently, this year I’m relying on myself, not a deity. When you pray for things like personal behaviour and health, as I did for many years, you wonder what God has to lose by not helping the way you’re asking, nay begging, Him to! There’s an expectation that things you find difficult will somehow magically become possible if you ask with enough conviction.
Scripture has us covered, though, on why we don’t always get the help we want. Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians of how he asked God 3 times to remove his much debated “thorn in the flesh”. But since he was forced to live with it, he then exhorts the rest of us to take joy in our suffering and allow God’s strength to be revealed through our weaknesses. These days, I don’t get that theology at all, but there was a time when my failings and weaknesses made me feel super pious. I will admit I did find it difficult to thank God for them.
So I’m now acutely aware that my health is my problem. My weight and exercise goals are mine to set and achieve. There is a large body of knowledge I can look to for ideas and inspiration and a family I can turn to for support to help me along the way. I don’t believe that consulting or pleading with God to assist will make that much of a difference.
I haven’t mentioned it up until now, and I’ll probably go into more detail at some stage, but I’ve had issues with depression in the recent past, and given the events of the past year, I’m finding it difficult to rouse any strong sense of optimism. Perhaps being more level-headed is a pragmatic stance to take. We’ll see over the coming weeks…