When I was a child…

I remember when I was about 3 years old, the neighbor’s little boy liked me (I think he was about 4 years old). One time he came over and knocked on the door to see if I wanted to play outside with him. I opened the door and said to him, “I only like boys who have black hair like my daddy,” then I shut the door.

When I think about that episode, I feel so badly for that little boy. Did he run home to his mother in tears? Was he emotionally crushed? There is a saying, “Out of the mouth of babes…,” meaning kids will say anything without considering the feelings of others— they can say things that might seem harsh or even “cruel” even though that is not their intention.

Some adults never grow out of this phase. They say things about people or to people without thinking about how their words will be received. The sad part is that some who do this are claiming to be Christians. The Bible is clear about how we should use our words: “Let your conversation be always full of grace…” (Colossians 4:6). In Hebrews 3:13 it says, “…encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today”…”

Before any words come out of our mouths, we should ask ourselves this question: “Will my words build up or tear down?” If it is to “tear down” someone then bite your tongue and keep silent. If it is meant to build the person up, then be sure you say it with love (“…speak the truth in love…,” Ephesians 4:15).

There’s no reason why anyone should say hurtful things about people or to say hurtful things about them “behind their backs.” Ephesians 4:29 and 31 reminds us, “…Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them… Get rid of all … harsh words…” (NLT).

It’s not always easy to keep quiet or to say helpful things. I find that when I am overly tired or when I haven’t been reading God’s Word like I should, then I am more likely to say things that I will regret, but that is not an excuse.

No matter how tired or spiritually dry I am, I still need to have self-control—I can’t just say anything that comes into my mind, especially with words that will hurt someone else: “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). All of us have to grow up.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

I was an “out-of-control” glutton

My husband and I know of an older man who is in his 70’s who seemed so much younger because he has a lot of energy and is very active—he would go on mountain hikes that were several miles long, and he would go whitewater rafting and canoeing. His advice was to live life now while you still can and keep doing what you love.

I wanted to have that kind of energy and strength, but I had to make some changes in my life. I couldn’t keep eating like a “teenager”—I had to take care of my body.

I heard that as we get older it’s natural to gain weight, but how much is “natural”? When my children were younger I weighed 107 pounds—I remember this because when I tried to give blood the person said that I had to be at least 110 pounds. They gave my children cookies and sent me on my way.

My heaviest, non-pregnant weight was 148 pounds (it could have been higher than that, but that’s what I remember from the doctor’s office). The sad thing was that I didn’t even realize that I had gained this weight— in my mind, it just “seemed to happen.”

I remember eating quarter-pound hot dogs, quarter-pound burgers, milk shakes, and large cinnamon rolls (I was eating as much or even more than my husband) then telling myself that I’d work it off—who was I kidding? I hadn’t exercised in several years! That was my way of feeling less guilty for having no self-control.

One day I noticed that my clothes were starting to get tight. Then I noticed that I was slowly transitioning into larger blouses and pants. I would tell myself, “Clothing sometimes runs small.” Why would I fool myself like that? I didn’t like what I had become. I didn’t even like looking at myself in the mirror. I was an “out of control” glutton.

That’s when I “woke up.” I couldn’t keep going down this path—I had to do something. Not only did I not like how I looked, but I found out that it was affecting my health—my cholesterol and blood pressure were up.

So I started to “run” (it was more like light jogging and walking, but it was a start). Even though I wanted to exercise there were weeks when I did no activity. I felt pathetic—I felt like a “loser” and I wanted to “give up” and “give in”—just eat whatever and do nothing about it because it was just too hard to exercise.

It wasn’t until I started to Tweet about my progress that I was able to stick with exercising. It felt like there was some kind of accountability. After a “run,” I would Tweet my time, the distance, and some encouraging Scripture. I tried to do this at least twice a week.

I increased my time on the treadmill, and I added an extra day to my week—I was working out three times a week, 30 minutes each time. I went from light jogging/fast walking, to light jogging only, then to running. That was about 2 years ago.

The progress is slow—sometimes I only have one day a week to exercise and I find myself eating lots of cake during special occasions. Sometimes I would gain a pound or two, then there were weeks or months when I “plateaued”—no changes in weight, but I kept going. I try to think of certain foods as “poison” for my body and this has helped me to avoid some of them.

I long to be that “skinny” young mother that I was, but even if I never get there at least I am helping my body to recover from the damages I inflicted.

Change is possible— you just have to want it more than the other thing. I loved all the wrong foods, but I really want to be healthy so I can be around a little longer for my children and grandchildren.

I picture myself at my granddaughters’ wedding and seeing my great-grandchildren. I want this to happen in “real life.” I know there are no “guarantees” in life—God can take me anytime He wants and I can’t do anything to stop Him, but I shouldn’t shorten my life by being a glutton with no self-control.

I think this might be an issue for others too and that’s why the Bible has so many passages about “self-control.” One that seems applicable to my situation is Proverbs 25:27-28, “It’s not good to eat too much honey… A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls” (NLT). I don’t want to have “broken-down walls” anymore!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Exercise and God’s Word

I was able to run for the second time since my tonsillectomy a couple of days ago (I plan on running for the third time tonight). My recuperation was supposed to be two weeks, but I thought it would be better to wait another week before running again.

Prior to my surgery, I was able to maintain a certain plan of what I ate and when I would eat it, but slowly during my recovery time, I noticed that I would eat more or eat things that I usually would not eat.

For example, during my third week of post op, I had slow cooked spare ribs in spaghetti sauce—I’m not supposed to have meat or tomato sauce since I have GERD, but I told myself that I would just take my medication if I had a problem. Then I ate chicken almost every day with quarts of rice pudding.

Now that I’m resuming my workout routine, I realized that it’s easier for me to resist certain foods when I am exercising than when I am not— I’m certainly not eating as much as I had over the previous three weeks.  

It seemed that when I was disciplined in working out (prior to the tonsillectomy) then I was able to have self-control over the types of food or the amount of food that I would eat; but when I did not work out (like during the post-op time) then it was more difficult for me to maintain good eating habits.

I think the same principle applies in our Christian walk— when we stay focused on God’s Word then we have more strength to resist temptations, to endure the “buttons” that Satan pushes, and to overlook distractions that can keep us from living like a true believer in Christ. 

I can handle situations differently when I am “in the Word”—my attitude is better and things don’t bother me as much. My thoughts are more positive and I have more patience. I can even stop myself from saying things that I will regret later.

James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you…” (NLT). “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things… ” (1 Cor 9:25); Proverbs 3:6 has, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT). So true!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti