Life with Jesus

Biggest Loser

{Where is all this extra time coming from? It’s amazing how much free time you have when you don’t have 8 hours of work and an hour and a half of commuting to deal with.}

I’m not sure exactly when or how my extreme affinity for the Biggest Loser started, but I do know that I’m in the midst of my third full season as an all-out fan. I’ve gone as far as wearing the color of my pick for winner to a finale party and actually sneaking into the tryouts in Dallas last year with Ms. R Welch (yes, we actually snuck in a back door to get inside. Don’t worry. We weren’t rewarded for our sneakiness. It was only the holding tank for the tryouts and the entire room was getting a lecture on liposuction).  A coworker and I have heated discussions about the week’s episode so that we can fully digest all the drama.

Here are a few reasons why I like it so much:

  1. You’ve gotta love the underdogs. Especially last season, every person had some horrific tragedy that occurred in their life and that’s what made them love food more than their health. There’s something about watching these tragic people succeed that warms your heart a little.
  2. Most of the time, the contestants are good people. They genuinely care about each other and spur each other on towards their weight loss goals. Now, last season there was some definite back-stabbing, which is par for the course in reality TV land, but I think it made the show worse, not better.
  3. The workouts are so horrible. I like to watch the contestants working out and sweating buckets and giggle to myself that I would probably be Jillian’s worst nightmare. I don’t normally push myself in physical exercise (except for that one time when I was the only person doing Jay Johnson’s boot camp at work because no clients showed up- Amanda actually almost killed me with physical exertion. I kept having to lie down on the ground because I was dizzy) and I’m not sure that having a scary lady scream in my face would make me run any faster or lift weights any harder.  I can just imagine what she would say when I laid on the ground because there was a stitch in my side and I could feel my pulse in my eyeball.
  4. With that being said, I think Jillian is freaky. Bob’s fairly normal. He might do a little too much inspirational talk for my liking, but in general, I feel like he could fit in at your average American mall (which is my definition of normal). Jillian, on the other hand, wow. My personal favorite weird behavior of hers is when she perches herself on a treadmill like a strange, nightmarish Spiderman and whispers sweet threats in a contestant’s face.  I have a sneaking suspicion that if you don’t do what she says, she’ll punch you in the face when the camera’s not looking. Yikes. Let’s look at some examples:

 

 

 

 

Sidenote: While I searched high and low for a picture of her perched on her favorite spot, I couldn’t find one. I’m confident that if you watch the show for any length of time, you will be able to experience this for yourself. In the meantime, these pictures make me doubt my ability to not punch her in the face if I was a contestant on the Biggest Loser. Let’s hope we never find out.

     5. The sap. Oh gosh, I hate to cry but I love to cry and if this show has anything, it’s tears.  I mean there are moments that just make your heart soar with the eagles (I almost put “sore” with the eagles, which might also be true). Like last season when O’Neal was able to make it up the stairs one at a time instead of having to plant both feet  firmly on one step before moving onto the next. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, or the nation for that matter. Okay, so it’s cheesy but what’s wrong with a little cheese?

          6. Lastly, the Biggest Loser is unique that winner is the one who loses the most. Granted, they also gain a quarter of a million dollars and 15 minutes of fame but a central theme of the show is losing. You see people sacrificing themselves to go home so that their spouses, cousins, friends, competitors, who need the ranch worse, can stay. Although the cast of last season had a few buttheads, on one challenge everyone teamed up to let the person who needed it most win and get a car. There are moments where you see people actually putting someone else before themselves which has never ever happened on America’s Next Top Model  or  The Apprentice  or The Mole (does anyone remember  The Mole? We watched it together as a family. I wonder what happened to it.)

As most of you know, and those of you in Texas who don’t, this has been a crazy weather week and when it’s all said and done, we will have had 4 (four, cuatro, one more than three, one less than five) days off. Dallas has basically been shut down since Tuesday. Thankfully, we’ve pretty much had power and all of our normal comforts. 

Now, my heart’s been breaking lately for the victims of trafficking worldwide. I’ve been learning about what they have to go through and the conditions they live in. Even before they are trafficked, most of these people are desperately poor. Yesterday we had rolling blackouts. It was a minor annoyance but Alex was upset that it interrupted our Wii time. In the afternoon, I went to take a bath and after about 4 minutes, the water temperature was nearing freezing so I reached up to refill the tub. No water. What the? So I called down to Alex that we didn’t have any water. A neighbor’s pipe burst and our maintenance guy had turned off the water. Do you know how long we had to suffer unjustly at this lack of a basic human need? Approximately 3 hours. Do you know how long I complained and fretted about not being able to brush my teeth or flush the toilet more than once? About 3 hours. 

Finally, God reached down to pinch my spiritual arm and said, “Hey dummy. How about instead of complaining about not being able to fill up your neti-pot you remember all of those people, even those here in the US, that don’t have a roof over the heads or have never had running water?” Hmmmm. He always has the best ideas.

You see, I find it hard to put others before myself often. That’s why Alex is a good sounding board for when I complain about inane things. He can lovingly point out that I’m being an idiot. I don’t know why I find it so hard. I only know that I do and I’m not alone.  I expect my comforts, dagnabit. Whether that be a plumber that comes on time or a fast line at WalMart (HA!), and if people don’t meet my needs immediately and in the way that I want, then I’m going to get very angry. Needless to say, I do not act like the biggest loser most of the time.

Here’s my definition of a loser: someone who puts their needs and wants behind those of God and other people. Jesus was a loser. Mother Theresa was a loser.  Paul was a loser. It’s a huge sacrifice to say, “I don’t matter. You do.”

Humility is a dying art. I can think of a handful of people that I would describe as humble at least 75 percent of the time.  Myself not included in that handful, obviously.  Let’s see what the Word says about being a loser.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:24-25

I think the wording of this verse can be confusing. If you want to follow Jesus, to have a relationship with God and be a part of his family, you have to “deny yourself.” You have to choose to put others before yourself. Jesus tells us to take up our cross. That might sound weird, but the cross signifies Christ’s death as a sacrifice for us so that God can be glorified and we can be a part of God’s family, even though we’re all so horribly messed up and don’t deserve it. Let’s be clear- Jesus didn’t do the whole cross thing for fun. It was something that He took very seriously. Putting God and others before yourself usually doesn’t lead to sunshine and rainbows. It’s a hard thing to do.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Pretty clear: The best way to love someone is to value their life above yours.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Matthew 5:43-47

Loving our enemies, huh? That’s pretty dang hard because enemies usually attack YOU. You’ve got to defend your honor, right? You have to stand up for yourself. Don’t take it laying down. They’ve got it coming to them.  Strike ‘em where it hurts.

Let’s expand our definition of enemy. I might not explicitly think of my landlord, who talks to me like I’m an 8-year-old, or the guy on the highway, who cuts me off just to slow down to a crawl, as my enemy but I treat them like it. I writhe in anger and call them fartfaces and idiots. They might not be trying to kill me, but I’m not treating them like friends. We get upset about the stupidest things in America because we’re always looking out for number 1.

 Jesus was (is) so radical to command us to let people hate on us and tell us to turn the other cheek. When I talk smack or hate someone that’s done something to me (like have the nerve to reschedule an appointment when I specifically set aside a block of time), I’m not glorifying God. I’m glorifying myself and that only leads to drama and intrigue and anger that I don’t want in my life. Let’s be honest. I’ve chosen to follow Christ, which means I want to seek to give glory and bring honor to God, not myself.  Sure, your enemy might not deserve forgiveness, but neither do you and God offers it to you anyway.

Choosing to serve God and others, even when it’s an inconvenience to me.

That is the essence of being a loser. I want to be a big loser. How’s about you?

(PS- There’s a great website called I Am Second. If you have eyes and you live in DFW, then you’ve seen their billboards. It’s a collection of stories about people who have realized that putting themselves first isn’t worth it. They’ve decided to lose and put God first. You can find a testimony that really struck me here but they’re all great.)

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