I’ve written before about the journey I’ve been on with Weight Watchers. I joined online in April 2011 and have lost a total of 57.8 pounds. So you’d think I’d be jumping up and down, right?
I mean, I recognize what an accomplishment that is, I know it has taken a lot of hard work and discipline. I understand that there are a lot of people who have been inspired by my story, and more who wish that they could lose half that amount. I understand all of that. So why am I not jumping up and down?
Because I have hit a plateau. It happens. If you read up on the WW, they will tell you to expect it, and to try some small changes (maybe change up some things in your diet, or add another activity to your regiment). Those adjustments might help. But for the most part, a plateau is a thing to be waited-out. Just keep on course, stick to your points, do your exercise and your body will start to lose again.
It’s good advice, because it’s true. I’ve been through more than one plateau in the 9 months that I’ve been on this journey. And every time, I’ve done the same thing: toughed it out, made it through, and gone on to lose more once the plateau is over.
But the reality is – having been through it before doesn’t make it any easier to go through. I know what to do, I know I will make it through this, but I still find it very discouraging. I find myself doubting that I will ever lose another pound (I have 24 to go until goal weight). I find myself worrying that I will somehow, suddenly put all the weight back on (even though I’m not changing my meals or my exercise routine). It’s irrational, and yet there it is.
And you know what? I think the same thing happens in our spiritual journey. There are mountain tops – those moments when it feels like God is so very close and everything is new. And there are plateaus – times when it feels like it’s just another Sunday, just another sermon, just another prayer. And in the midst of the plateau, it is easy to find ourselves doubting, worrying, fearing, despairing.
I think these are the moments when we most need a community who can walk the road with us. I am part of a group on Facebook where a number of women gather and share about their weightloss journeys. Whenever I am feeling bummed that the scale hasn’t moved, these ladies give me a verbal slap upside the head, and remind me that there is much to be thankful for, that this too shall pass.
If we let it, the church can do the same for us in our spiritual plateaus. The community of believers – if we let them in on our struggles and plateaus – can pray for us, listen to us, share their faith with us and encourage us until we make it through to a better day.
I don’t have a brilliant ending for this post – I just got thinking about how these things mirror each other.
P.S. For those of you waiting for a report on my pulpit swap with a local Anglican minister: it’s coming, I just needed a little more time to process before I am ready to post!