Hold my beer while I go end the obesity epidemic. Does that sound outlandish to you? Oh, ye of little faith, if only you knew the mountains that you could move.
Recent statistics state that while about 13% of the world is dying from a lack of food, about 30% of the adults worldwide are eating themselves to death. As someone who has struggled with weight gain most of my life, I don’t view obese people judgmentally but empathetically, and I see the obesity epidemic as a ripe opportunity for a modern day miracle.
A little over two years ago, after being weary of my own obesity, I began searching for a way out of my own bodily prison. I then stumbled upon a number of successive discoveries that revolutionized my health. I lost 50 pounds in a relatively short period of time. So radical was my transformation that some people seemed to think I had made a deal with the Devil. Despite their skepticism, I had achieved significant weight loss in a healthy way and had unearthed methods that could be used by anyone, even those who were on a tight budget. Not only did I lose weight, but my energy levels were through the roof. I started to look about ten years younger, and I felt unstoppable… and, then, I hit a brick wall.
After experiencing what felt like a catastrophic loss of community and identity, I also experienced a catastrophic loss of faith. I lost faith in God. I lost faith in the Church. I lost faith in people in general, and I lost confidence in myself. Not everyone was aware of this because I limped along pretty well for someone with a crippled soul. I gave into depression and binge-watched television most of the day aside from my daily outing of eating tacos at the restaurant next door. My health routine went out the window, and, over time, I gained all of the 50 pounds back and lost any sign of progress.
The tide began to change for me when I experienced a sudden and unexpected surge of faith from other people who believed that God’s light could still shine through my broken vessel. There are too many people to name them all here, but I will name a few. Joseph Warnken, Walt Franklin, Johnny Arrington, Ken Trapp, and the host of angels at FUMC Pleasanton believed that I could be a worship leader even though I had never led worship professionally before. Katrina Wiatrek believed that I could lead a beer-drinking bible study at Joe’s Place… without getting lynched by the local prohibitionists. Heather Kahl encouraged me to use my gift of writing professionally before that became a reality, and Noel Wilkerson Holmes courageously stepped out on faith and asked me to write for the Pleasanton Express after reading one of my Facebook posts. The insane amount of faith that all of these people had was transfused into my spiritual veins and vivified my downcast soul.
One of my favorite stories in all of Scripture is the story of Jonathan and his armor-bearer. The two of them entered into an impossible fight against the Philistines, but God was with them. And as they kicked butt and took names, their faith spread like wildfire to their fellow countrymen who joined the fight as God shook the earth beneath their enemies.
It is with that story in mind and the fire of my own reignited faith that emboldens me to not only slay the obesity in me but to also lend a hand to anyone who has ever struggled with unhealthy weight gain. In the coming weeks, I plan on unveiling the revolutionary health discoveries I made along the way. So, won’t you join me?
PAUL MICHAEL JONES is an artist who currently dabbles in music, photography and creative writing.