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« Yet another reason why we need the body of Christ | Main | In praise of expository teaching »

The tyranny of the recovered

This is kind of a rant.  You'll have to excuse me.  I seem to have some trouble in the trapezius muscles on both sides of my body, and I basically am walking around looking like either Forrest Gump or a robot; take your pick. You know what I mean.  Instead of turning my head, my entire body needs to turn.  Plus, sleeping made it worse.  Oh, how at this age I long for good sleep!  Really irritating when sleep comes and I wake up feeling like someone crumpled me up like a ball of paper.  I'm also on drugs, so maybe that's why I'm grumbly. I'm just thankful that one of the places in this house that is comfortable to be in is my desk chair.

My mother used to say that there was nothing worse than a "recovered smoker."  Now, my parents smoked when I was kid, and I took up the nasty habit as a teenager.  I am not condoning smoking, nor am I condemning those who do.  I am pretty sure that everyone who does it knows it's bad.  It's bad for the smoker, the people around them, and the health care system's future as people with lung diseases and ailments require health care. That being said, a recovered smoker, in my mother's opinion became intolerable. Not only did they quit, but they make everyone around them feel like a real loser for continuing.  It's hard to quit smoking.  I watched my mother battle for years before she finally did it. 

This kind of thing can be found in other areas. For example, people who are able to start eating healthy and lose weight suddenly become "Chip Nazis" and comment on every bit of junk food you consume.

"Do you know how many calories are in those chips?"

Yes, I know, and I'm not eating them for health benefits; I'm eating them because they taste good.

"You should get a bow flex; you'd exercise more."

Okay, I'll sell a kidney and find the thousands of dollars for that item. 

It becomes less about the joy of their success and more about telling you that you'd better do what they just did.  Not everyone is like this, but some people are. I've had friends who have changed their diet, and honestly, I won't invite them over to see my white bread, or the fact that I don't have the latest thousand page cookbook Ultimate Quinoa.  I don't want to invite someone for coffee who gives me the latest statistics about why drinking green tea is so much better for me, and those coffee beans are just poision.  I'm sorry, green tea lovers, I enjoy a cup of it now and then, but IT ISN'T COFFEE!

I have also seen this happen with people who have given up the internet, social media, or blogging.  Suddenly, they are making cracks about how they were able to break free from the addition, and how they are not involved in that nasty wasty stuff.

If people want to change their lives, I'm all for it.  Seriously.  If you lose weight, I'm happy for you.  If you hate blogging and the internet now, and that suits you, you're allowed to feel that way.  Just don't regard my participation in it as some kind of moral failure because I'm not choosing to leave.

I want to be healthy, and I work at it,  but I will continue to occasionally eat white bread, potato chips, and chocolate.  I will not attempt to make spelt flour pizza dough, but by all means, you can.  I will continue to blog and read tweets, and share on Facebook, but don't come across as if you're so much more evolved because you don't.  Our successes over our weakness and sin is a reason to rejoice, but it isn't an invitation to castigate someone who doesn't struggle with that sin, or who just doesn't see it as an issue. Our enthusiasm can quickly become criticism and a wish to see everyone do what we're doing rather than them making their own Spirit-led decisions.

And for the record, I will never tell anyone that it is okay to smoke cigarettes, but I certainly won't beat them over the head with my views.  And if they come over, I'll give them whatever they want to drink, but I'll ask them to smoke outside.

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Reader Comments (8)

"Okay, I'll sell a kidney and find the thousands of dollars for that item. "


If I had any in the house, I'd raise a sour cream and onion potato chip to salute this post. It is a bit wearisome when others feel you need to do as they do.

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPersis

I am wit you on this post! I'm all for being healthy, but it has become a new form of legalism. The unstated assumption is that it's what's "out there" that is evil, not what's in our own hearts.

And just to make you feel more righteous in your coffee drinking, coffee is super high in antioxidants, helps fight cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and all kinds of other awesomeness! It is a health drink. So take that tea drinkers!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAimee Byrd

Ha, Aimee! Thanks for that coffee commercial! I do love tea, but nothing starts my morning off like a cup of dark roast!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim Shay

I really think we all long for "rules" to make life easy so we don't have to make decisions, and when we find rules that work for us, we try to force them on everyone. Our hearts bend toward legalism and it's a constant fight to keep away.

That being said, I have a really good whole wheat (sorry, I don't even know what spelt is) pizza dough I'd love to share with you. :-)

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

As I grab another handful of Jellybeans left over from my daughter's Easter basket (she can't eat them...they'll rot her teeth!) I say this post is solid gold awesome!

And coffee is God's gift to us pastors to keep us from going postal on our congregations!

Thanks for the insights!

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Jay, your comment made my day! I love jellybeans; especially the black ones!

April 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterKim

This is AWESOME. LOL. In honor of this post, I may just head down to Starbucks for a coffee AND a donut. ;-p

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaphyne

You made me laugh... but also think.

Love you, sister!

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