One of my friends called the other. One of my best friends. There was urgency and distress in her voice.
“Listen, I’ve got to tell you something,” she began. “And this is confidential. Do not tell anyone.”
Meaning, particularly, “do not write this in the paper.” Which, of course, I would never do.
I stopped what I was doing in the kitchen to listen carefully.
She took a deep breath.
“I’m out of control. Seriously. I am out of control.”
I rolled my eyes.
Now, this friend, my beloved friend since childhood, is dramatic. As soon as I heard that overstatement, I knew she was not overwrought about anything of importance. So I interrupted her.
“First of all, you’re not out of control because people who are really out of control have no idea they’re out of control,” I said. “People who have enough control to say they’re out of control are really in control.”
She stopped in the midst of her breakdown long enough to laugh.
As it turns out, I was right. She had indulged in dessert for four straight days and had no idea how she would ever straighten out her life again.
Seriously, people who think they’re out of control have enough discipline to correct the problem. It’s the ones who don’t see they have a problem who are the ones who have a problem.
For instance, in most of my books I give a piece of advice by relaying a story from an experience I’ve had. In one book, I wrote about a couple of irascible, devious people I know. I did not use names. But I described behavior, specific incidents and then drew a moral from my experience.
Both of these people bought the book, read it and then went around reading the passages aloud I had written about them and asking others, “Do you have any idea who she’s talking about?”
They were bewildered. Of course, everyone knew except for them. So folks would bite back a smile and say, “If you don’t know, I don’t know.”
See? They didn’t know they were out of control. But the rest of us did. We could have helped them if they had realized they needed help.
My friend continued her tale of woe.
Then, she said, “You need to pray for me.”
“You need more than prayer,” I replied.
That’s another thing. Some people think all you have to do is pray about something and it goes away. Now, I’m a big believer in the power of prayer, but I also think I shouldn’t ask God to do solely for me what he expects me to do for myself.
I have my own problems with eating and keeping off weight. In all the years I have needed his help, he has never reached down and taken a fork out of my hand. At best, he will curb my appetite and my cravings. I have to take control when I realize I’m out of control.
“Did you order that device I told you to order?”
I was having lunch with a friend one day and asked her about the black band she was wearing around her wrist.
“Oh, it tracks my steps and keeps track of my calories. You’re suppose to walk 10,000 steps, daily.”
I looked it up online and discovered the Japanese had developed a health program that maintains that 10,000 steps daily are necessary to be healthy.
“Now, why,” I mumbled, “would I take advice on weight control from the Japanese? I have never seen a fat Japanese.”
That, I realized quickly, was exactly why I should take advice from them. So, I ordered one and we have lived together happily ever after.
“No,” she replied. “But I meant to.”
“God helps those who help themselves.”
I sound just like Mama.
Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of several books, including “There’s A Better Day A-Comin’.” Sign up for her newsletter at www.rondarich.com.