Lessons From The Truffle Shuffle

The Goonies is one of my all time favorite movies. I just remember watching it growing up and all the hilarity it brought to me and my friends. It was great. When Chunk does the truffle shuffle… awesomeness. We would watch the scene over and over again, laugh, watch it some more, and be almost in tears. But it wouldn’t have been funny without the fact that Chunk was, well, a little chunky.

4 years ago, I took on the role as Lead Pastor at Forefront. In the first year, I gained 50 lbs. Yes, you read that correctly. Five – zero. I was a mess. Over the next couple of years I got upwards of 250 lbs. (well over what my weight should be for my height/age/etc) I went to the doctor, my blood pressure was through the roof, sat idle at a desk most of the day, wasn’t eating well (actually eating awful every day), and had no real exercise routine. To say I was a total mess would be an understatement.

While I was striving to take care of the church, my family, and others- I didn’t take care of myself. I knew something had to change. In the process of trying to do all that, I was dishonoring God with my body. Food was a comfort and refuge. Sitting sluggishly in front of a computer screen and TV was a daily past time. I was a sloth masquerading as a husband, father, and pastor.

So, I began making changes. 

I bought a bike and started riding regularly. I cut out sodas entirely. Fast food has become scarce at our home. Snacking is non existent. When I get frustrated or need a release, I paint or ride instead of sitting in front of the television. I sought out different dietary supplements to get my system back in the place it should be. And, things began to turn around. 

Almost 4 years to the day, I’ve gone from 250 lbs to 179 lbs. For those of you like me who hate math, that’s 71 lbs. So, what have I learned from my truffle shuffle days to now? And, how does it apply to my (and your) journey with God?

  • Food Is An Easy Thing To Worship. Angry? eat. Bored? eat. Hang with friends? eat. Hurt by something that day? eat. You get the picture. While all four years I would probably never have verbally uttered, “I worship food,” the truth is I did. When things were joyous, heavy, tiring, anxiety-filled, you name it- I would eat. It was my source of comfort. God took second seat to double bacon cheese burgers and up-sized value meals. God shares with us that we should have no other God’s before him. (Exodus 20:3). Food is a culturally acceptable God. It’s one that many refuse to talk about (I know I did for quite some time).
  • Hiding/Running Never Ends Well. A great example of this is in the Old Testament book of Jonah. He runs, flees, and tries to refuse what God has called him to do and be… and it doesn’t end well for him. Not addressing the things going on in your life never ends well. You can bury it down, push it aside, drown it with pizza & ice cream, but the problem will still be there. I was overwhelmed with all the pastoral stuff of leading a church, and though I was praying to God, I looked for solace in binge eating. As I did it, I believe I broke the heart of God. I imagine him thinking, “Why won’t you bring this to me? I’m promised to care for you, to carry your burdens. I know you cannot do this alone. You need me and I am here and available.” We’re given a promise that He cares for us and is bigger than all of our junk (Matthew 11:28-30).
  • Doing The Same Thing Ends The Same Way Every Time. You want to be a better parent, but do nothing. You want to get the next level position at work, but show up late every day. You want to shake the feeling of loneliness, but sit at home and never engage anyone. You want to not be overweight, but keep eating awfully. If you want a change, you have to change. Something has to be shaken up. The routine, the company, the job, the eating. You have to put forth the effort. It doesn’t happen magically. You don’t wake up 72 lbs lighter. It requires discipline. This goes for your spiritual life as well. Anybody can claim a love for God, but how are you fostering it? Living it? Cultivating it daily. I could say I’m going to lose weight, but words don’t drop pounds. And, claiming to love God is much different than actually living it out in the context of who He designed you to be. Passages like Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 7:21-23, and Acts 26:18 share with us that action & living our faith is a part of the change. Don’t keep doing the same old thing.
  • It Perpetuates The Belief That “Christians Are Hypocrites.” When the entire Chick-fil-a, Dan Cathy, homosexuality deal was going on (and let me say, Dan Cathy didn’t organize that day, and I find he was standing personally where the Bible stands), as all that was happening, I wondered “How many people are gorging themselves, being more gluttonous, and gaining more weight than they need or should be, to take a stand in this particular area?” Basically, they stand in the face of one sin as they commit another. All the while, in the media they continued to say, “Christians are hypocrites and sin all the time but call attention to this one particular sin.” Craig Gross, founder of xxxchurch.com wrote “You can be a fat pastor and lead some of the biggest churches in America, sell books, and be celebrated as a leader. But in most churches, if you’re gay, you’re not welcome. It’s a shame.” Ouch. Drowning my sorrows in food and getting up on Sundays to talk about sin wasn’t honoring God. He still worked through it despite me, but I couldn’t use it as a license to keep being overweight and dishonoring Him with my running to food instead of the cross. Blatantly living sinful through food while teaching about sin each week wasn’t okay. I know I’m gonna mess up, but if I see a sinful pattern, I have to give it over to God. And, you should to.
  • God, Your Family, And You Deserve Better. My girls need a dad who can run around, play, pick them up, wrestle, and not have a heart attack after 2 minutes. As I vowed to honor my wife on the day we got married, she needs to know I’m taking care of myself so I can live longer to be able to lover her more, take care of her, in sickness & health, and that the whole parted by death thing won’t be happening simply because I was selfish with my eating habits. I need to live in such a way that honors God so that my life on earth will be used to the best of how he designed me. Living selfishly gives me less time to help others, share love, and be a shoulder for them in times of trouble. He deserves better.

All in all, this journey back to being healthy has drove me to lean on God more. During times of trouble, I’m not relying on food to comfort me. Instead, I’m turning to him for strength, rest, and redemption.

So, what or who do you turn to? Is there something taking the place of God?
If you’re scared to admit it, I’ve been there. I’m praying you can.
And remember, when you’re weary, only He can carry it and give you rest.