As I begin my typical bedtime routine, my workout shoes nestled outside the closet floor catch my eye and remind me of a familiar weekly routine I’ve been avoiding while away on vacation. Tomorrow is the day I vowed to restart capturing weekly progress photos of my body. For those who are unfamiliar, “progress photos” are pictures taken of yourself from the front, sides, and back to reveal your body’s progress from week to week. Nutrition coaches review these types of photos weekly. I review my own so I can ensure my nutrition and exercise are aligned and I am achieving the results I’m striving for.
This got me thinking … When was the last time I took progress photos? Was it a month ago? No more than two weeks, for sure … right?? As I walk to the mirror to brush my teeth, my eyes widen with shock and (let’s be real) horror. What the … !?!
I yell for my husband Dean. With a desperate voice, I ask pointing to my thigh, “Is that a new dimple or has it always been there!?” Dean looks toward my finger, which points to (in my panicked opinion) a massive crater-like indentation of cellulite taking residence where my once smooth, toned skin resided. Dean looks at me like I’m weird, and responds in a sweet, but exasperated, voice, “I don’t know, babe.”
Let’s not kid ourselves. This is a new thigh dimple. This baby snuck it’s way into my life and I never saw it coming. Three and a half weeks away from my normal nutrition and exercise routine already had me worried about my performance in the gym … now, I have a dimple to worry about.
My mind goes back to the past few weeks. What changed? Thigh dimples don’t just show up without a reason. I don’t want cellulite. It’s like an unannounced neighbor showing up with a microwavable dinner.
My head is reeling trying to find the rational explanation for why my uninvited dimple showed up anyway. My thoughts go to food, and whether I met my daily limits for protein, carbs, and fats. Sure, I was a little lax on vacation but I didn’t go crazy, so that couldn’t be the answer.
Then the knowledge bomb hits me … I was the one who welcomed this thigh dimple … I voluntarily opened the door to my uninvited guest and gave him the head seat at the dining room table. How did I do this? One. Simple. Word … SUGAR!
Okay, I know I’m being dramatic but hear me out. A few months ago I vowed to cut processed and added sugars from my diet. However, while vacationing and traveling I compromised on this vow. And now, the result is a dimple. The consequence of my compromise. I know it may seem trivial. It is one thigh dimple, after all. But don’t we all have that one thing that bothers us when it appears, unwelcome, on our bodies? That one thing we work so hard to get rid of, and after a compromise here and there, we find it creeps up?
Compromise. Even when you don’t see the consequences right away, the effects always end up sneaking up on you. When you compromise, something is always sacrificed. In this case, my compromise cost me an unwanted dimple. It happens so subtly and with such ease. It can happen to us all in small, simple ways. Sleeping in for 5 more minutes, only to wake up two hours later. Telling a little white lie that turns into a tall tale. Eating one more bite that turns into licking the entire plate. We’ve all been there.
Compromise and consequences not only happen with food. In reality, these happen in any area of life. When I chose to eat sugar, I sacrificed the progress I made when I vowed to eliminate processed foods from my diet. The dimple is a consequence of that decision. It’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things, but what if the consequence wasn’t so small?
In some areas of our lives, compromise is healthy and necessary and it usually involves the kind of compromises you make in relationships with others. But there are times in our lives when compromise should never happen. One such time is with God’s word and sin. Matthew 26:41 says, “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” It is our flesh that compromises. How many times have we been so pumped to start a new diet plan, exercise routine, and even vowed to dig into God’s word and seek a deeper relationship? I know I’ve done this many times. My spirit is so eager to get started. It’s the flesh that begins to compromise as soon as I see the 3-layer chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream on the side and chocolate shavings along the edges. Is that just me? How about those times we enthusiastically buy a new devotional only to see it collect dust after about 6 days? The flesh begins to compromise.
Compromise kills standards, destroys values, and opens the door to bad company. In the end, we are the ones left with the unwelcome neighbor, the increased digits on the scale, the dimple, and an unfulfilled desire to know God on a greater level.
That dimple found a loophole and eased it’s way into my life. In reality, I welcomed the dimple through compromises to my diet plan. Sin does the same thing when we compromise. Numbers 32:23 says, “If you fail to keep your word (your standard), then you will have sinned against the Lord, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Do you see it? There’s a progression of compromise in this verse. The people had a word, a standard. They compromised on their word by not keeping it (sin). It’s the little sins, the small compromises, that deceitfully trick us into believing we have control. But as time goes by, we see the evidence of the compromise through unintended consequences. This is where sin finds us out … it begins to take control of us. And in the end, there’s more than just the consequences of an unwanted dimple.
It’s never easy to talk about sin. I know I don’t like it. But there’s good news. Once I saw that dimple on my thigh, I began to evaluate what I allowed in my diet to give it a foothold. Once I identified the sugar as the culprit, I made immediate changes. There’s power in identifying sin in our lives. But there’s more power in confessing it. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” To confess. One of the most powerful words I know that starts with C. Even more powerful than compromise. When we identify, we confess. When we confess, He forgives.
So, I leave you with this: if we can identify compromise in our physical lives and make the changes necessary for a healthier life, we should do the same when it comes to our soul. It will take me a couple of weeks of dialed in nutrition and exercise to get my body back to the pre-vacation state I want it in. The good news about spiritual restoration is God’s forgiveness is immediate when we confess. We don’t have to wait weeks or even days for a right relationship with Him. Isn’t that good news? I think so. So, take heart in knowing that God is faithful and He is just. He will forgive and as a result, we will be healthier in mind, body and soul.