Weight Loss (by Ingrid Hoogenboom)


Posted on January 17, 2018

I gained a lot of weight during the holidays.
Yes, I ate plenty of cookies …
But it was more than the treats—it was a different kind of weight.
The burden of too much activity in a season when I craved stillness.
The stress of hurtful family drama in a season when I desired joy.
I felt like I was dragging two long chains with heavy metal balls behind me.

 

Can you picture it?

 

My shoulders hunched and my back strained with the effort.
My head down—eyes focused on the ground as my feet took each slogging step forward.

 

Do you ever feel that type of weight?

 

When the weight gets so heavy like that, it’s hard for me to talk to Jesus.

I can’t quite explain why. Maybe it’s because I begin to feel undeserving, ashamed, disconnected. I get caught up in all the things that aren’t as I want them to be.

Maybe that’s how Matthew and those tax collectors felt too.

But these weighty times are exactly the times Jesus came for.

 

Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: I’m after mercy, not religion. I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.

Before Jesus said these words to the Pharisees, he had passed by Matthew at his booth collecting taxes. Jesus said to him, “follow Me”. And Matthew stood up and followed him immediately.

No hesitation. His weight was gone.

 

When I came to church the first Sunday in the new year I still felt burdened, disappointed, disconnected. But as I sat with the communion cup, I heard a whisper: “you don’t need to carry this weight.”

What a reminder of grace. In that moment, I felt my head lift and my hands drop those heavy chains. I gazed into the eyes of Jesus. Face to face.

And in an instant, the weight disappeared.

Nothing else changed in that moment. All the family drama and stressors still exist. But what changed was how I connected with Jesus.

 

I don’t know the burdens you carry today. But I do know that you don’t have to keep dragging them along with you.
Can you raise your eyes and look at Jesus? He is waiting to meet you face to face. He is here for you in all your disappointments, stress, and shame.

He is here to carry all your weight so that you can, without hesitation, follow Him.

 

—Ingrid Hoogenboom

Face to Face with Jesus Teaching Series

A response to Matthew 9:9-13 (MSG)