Lizzy’s 10 Crappy Steps to Feel Love

I’ve been thinking about it, and feeling “too fat” keeps me from experiencing a lot of love. When I feel too fat, not enough, like a bad mom, or a dumpy non-vest wearing outdoorsy person, I miss out on the love that pours into me from those around me, and more importantly I miss the opportunities to GIVE love to those around me. Who wants to share love when you have none to share?

I’ve noticed something about myself these past couple days: when I want to feel love my initial reaction is not to give love. Not pure love, anyway. It might pass for what the world declares as love, but not what God declares as love (Check out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 if you want to know what God says about Love). When I feel starved for love (mostly because I don’t believe anyone could actually love me, so they must be lying when they express it) I go into emotional survival mode. The following action steps aren’t actually helpful in the least and admitting to most of these actions makes me feel icky and very ashamed. Worst of all, they don’t actually fix the problem of my love starvation, they just mask the fact I’m feeling starved. But this blog is about being real and raw no matter how shameful or ugly it is and I believe it is super important to recognize the things that don’t work in order to be open to the things that do work. So without further to do…

Lizzy’s 10 Crappy Steps to Feel Love:

  1. Put down whatever it is I am eating and give myself a pep talk, “you don’t need to eat that, girl! You can be skinny if you put down the food and keep putting down the food. NO, don’t put it down your throat! STOP IT! Just stop for now. If you miss a meal, who cares? People miss meals all the time. You’re not going to die if you miss a meal or two, in fact you can definitely afford to miss several meals. And don’t you just LOVE that feeling of superiority when you can deny yourself in front of others- those poor weak souls. You are so much better than that. ”
  2. Go workout and give myself a pep talk, “Keep going you lazy lard ass! Jillian Michaels doesn’t look the way she does because she stopped working out when her shoulder popped out of its socket! Beauty is pain and pain is temporary! (Wait does that mean beauty is temporary? Shhhhh don’t think about that just keep working out)
  3. Dress in a sexy outfit and seduce my husband. Now, I won’t go into details here, but I will admit that making love to my husband because I want to feel loved is nowhere as awesome as making love to my husband because I want him to know how much I love him.
  4. Post a selfie.
  5. Obsessively check the comments and likes on afore said selfie.
  6. Post a picture of me back in the day when I was in shape and pretend to remember the fun time I was having in that moment while secretly just wanting to show Facebook and Instagram that I was beautiful at one point in time and I still deserve to be loved. So “like” that picture, damnit.
  7. Obsessively check the comments and likes on afore said picture.
  8. Talk about how much I work out to anyone who will listen. If they hear how hard I work than they will think, “Oh man, even though Lizzy isn’t skinny, she works so hard to be, and all that work makes her worth loving.”
  9. Compare myself to others. This step usually backfires and makes me feel worse and less worthy of being loved, but occasionally I will find someone that I am better than, and I will feel better for a good 5 seconds.
  10. Eat one to six cupcakes and then start back at step 1.

These steps never work long-term, and the more I repeat these steps the worse I feel about myself.

The more I repeat these steps the more focused on me I become and the more my flaws stand out to me.

The more I repeat these steps the more I start to retreat into myself and hide the real me.

So now what? How to do I stop the unproductive actions and start the productive ones? How do I even know what a productive action is? I don’t know if I have ever done anything purely productive in terms of loving myself; really loving myself. Sure I have tried to be the best I can be but not with the mindset of loving myself. It’s rare for me to do something for myself out of love for myself. Usually I do something for myself with the intention of becoming someone I could love.

Who is going to teach me how to do this? Because honestly, I have not personally met a woman who has not said a self-deprecating comment in my presence. Off the top of my head I personally know one woman who could tell you more positive things about herself than negative. ONE woman. One. And she still says bad stuff about herself!!!

Is this part of the fall? As daughters of Eve are we doomed to struggle with this forever? Is there a group of women out there who genuinely love themselves as God loves them? Not because of what they do, how they perform, how many children they have, what their weight is, how young they look, etc. but just because they are themselves? Do these women exist? If so, how do I become one and how do I encourage other women to become women like that too?

I have an idea, its flimsy, but I might as well try it. I think I already took my first action step toward real love simply by admitting what I do to try and feel loved. But those things don’t work, and I believe those actions are all rooted in lies. Maybe it’s not so much about feeling love, but more about knowing love. Maybe it’s more about knowing the truth about love in order to fight the lies that make me feel unloved. With that in mind I think I need to identify every lie I believe when I take my 10 Crappy Actions steps. And then from there perhaps I can fight that lie with Truth.

Please keep me in prayer as I work on this. I’ll let you know how it goes.

All I Want for Christmas is an Outfit that Doesn’t Make Me Feel Fat

The company Christmas party: maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about my husband’s company Christmas party that invokes equal parts excitement and dread.

Excitement: because my husband’s company is awesome and his coworkers are a blast to hang out with. There is always great food and to be honest it’s one of the very few times I get to dress up and go out with my husband without a child tagging along. I get to just be me, not mom. I get to be the Lizzy before baby, I get to wear an outfit that won’t be smeared with snot and food stains in a matter of minutes. I don’t have to share my food. Oh, bliss!

Dread: because out of all the women who work with my husband or are in some way connected to a coworker and come to the company functions, I am the most voluptuous. I am serious; all the women are a size 4 or smaller and gorgeous. And just to give you a frame of reference, I am a comfortable size 12, a “suck-that-gut-in” size 10, and a “better wear two pairs of spanx” size 8.

“But you’re gorgeous.”

“People love you for your personality not your size.”

“Men like a women with some meat on her bones.”

“But Dean thinks you are gorgeous no matter what.”

Yea, yea, yea, save it. Because here is the thing, the fact of the matter is this: I am still, at the very least and with two pairs of spanx, double the size of the biggest woman there. And this year I am pregnant.

Last year I had a blast and stopped thinking about my size halfway through my second martini. But this year I can’t drink (and the fact that that is such a huge deal is an issue for another time). I have to face this insecurity head on and without booze…and with an unspecified amount of extra poundage (I’m too scared to get on the scale). Sure, some of that poundage is a little miracle with a cute little bump, but most of that poundage is grilled cheese, chipotle burritos, and fountain root beer.

And as trivial as it sounds, the main issue here is “what am I going to wear?” How do I effectively sport my cute baby bump while simultaneously melting 20-ish pounds off my hips, waist, boobs, and butt with a single outfit? Has this not been invented yet? We could call it the lipo-suit or something.

Anyway, I am fully aware that it’s more about “my smile” or “being confident” and no one will even notice what I am wearing. But is that even true? And plus how do I genuinely smile when all I can think of is “I feel like a whale standing next to this gorgeous specimen of a woman” or “are they thinking, ‘here comes skinny and fatty; how did Dean end up with such a chubber?’” How do I exude confidence when I can feel every part of my body jiggle when I walk or laugh?

In my head, I know it’s all about transforming my thoughts and getting rid of toxic thought patterns and all that stuff. But, I only have a week to do that and my heart is just…disheartened? Becoming okay with my body type has taken me years! And that “feeling okay” fell apart the second I could no longer work out or eat like I used to due to this pregnancy. For weeks I would just throw up all the time, and I had no energy. Now that I am not constantly sick, I feel helpless to my cravings of fountain root beer, melty cheese, and bacon.

And right now, that’s all I got. I don’t have an answer. I don’t have fix. I don’t have a mushy gushy “God loves me” bible verse. I don’t have a special workout plan or a transforming thought. Right now I just have this worry about my body and what others think of it. I have this fear that I’m going to ruin an awesome night because of my insecurities. I have a fear that whatever I choose to wear won’t be enough to make my husband say those three words I long to hear, “You. Look. Beautiful.” I have a fear that if he does say those words I won’t believe him.

Normally, I would channel that energy and go for a run or do some yoga. Just doing those activities makes me feel better about myself. But right now, it’s just so hard. I have a million excuses and two babies (one in utero) that make both of those activities a lot harder. Summoning up the energy to pack my toddler into a running stroller (and pump up the leaky tire) takes way more effort than just wanting to go for a run. And running with a stroller suuuuuucccckkkks. Not to mention that running while pregnant just makes me feel like I’m going to pee my pants the whole time, and I can’t even go very far before I have to stop. Rolling out my yoga mat seems easier, but the amount of mental energy it takes to remind myself that I won’t be able to do what I could, that it’s okay that baby is in the way and I’m not getting a full stretch, that it’s perfectly normal that my balance is so off and I can’t hold any poses, is unreal! It’s exhausting being in my head. And that is all without a toddler crawling and hanging all over me. So the reality of working out is this…I don’t want to, it’s emotionally and mentally exhausting and I’m already so tired.

Anyway, I’m rambling. Here’s to finding that magic outfit, eh?

I Just Love These Chubby Little Thighs!

There has been a shift in my life; a shift in how I see myself. It has been upwards of 6 months since I have taken the full length mirror out of my bedroom. I still have one in the house, but it is behind the bathroom door in my son’s bathroom. It’s not exactly hard to get to, but it’s not right there in my bedroom. I no longer look in a mirror as I get changed. I no longer glance over every couple of seconds to reassure myself that I am still pretty, or still fat, or still whatever it is I feel in that moment. It’s just not there, and you know what? I don’t miss it one bit. Not one! Maybe the first couple of weeks I thought, “uggg, what does this even look like? I need a mirror.” But now, I could care less. Every now and then I like a full length mirror to make sure the shoes go with the dress or that I can’t see the outline of my pad when I bend over, but for the most part, I don’t miss it at all.

And you know what is even better? The past month has been awesome! I made a vow to myself this summer that I would wear shorts as often as possible. It’s been a long time habit of mine to wear pants and capris all summer due to my excessively large and pasty legs.

It first started in high school after a close friend of mine commented that I must live under a rock because my skin looked like it had never seen the light of the sun. Then again in high school someone passed me on the track during gym and said, “Thanks for the motivation to run faster, Liz! My eyes couldn’t take the sun reflecting off of your pasty thighs any longer!” Then in college, my friend’s mom exclaimed, “I knew it was you the moment I saw those white Irish thighs walking across the field!” (In my mind I hear her say “big, white Irish thighs”, but I’m not actually certain the word “big” was in her description.)

This vow to wear shorts as much as possible this summer is huge. It means I am facing my fear of others judging the color and size of my legs. Every time I wear shorts (almost every day), I get excited thinking, “maybe a girl with shapely white thighs will see my legs and think, ‘I can do that too! I can wear shorts proudly!’” I know it sounds a little silly, but gals, I know I’m not alone in this. And you know what? It IS silly! It’s silly to not wear shorts because you think your thighs don’t look good in them, or because they might be too pale, or because they are “too big”, or because they are dimpled with cellulite. It’s silly to spend the summer in a puddle of swamp ass because I fear what others (and I) think of my legs in shorts. It’s silly to think, “I shouldn’t wear shorts because someone might think ­­­_________.” Every time I wear shorts I feel like I am participating in act of defiance – defiance against the lie that my body cannot confidently wear shorts. And it’s working!

Lately, when I see my legs, I love them! I’m excited that I get to rock my legs! Don’t get me wrong, I still love long, slim legs; but I also love my short, compact, muscle packed, freckle spattered legs. I think I owe a lot of that to my son. My son has a similar build to me: compact. He has these power packed little legs. His thighs have just the right amount of chub that I want to squeeze them all the time, but they are also so strong. This boy also has a butt on him, he grows out of his diapers and pants ass first (just like mommy!). And you know what? I love him for it! I mean I would love him without it too, but it’s just him. It just is, and I can’t get enough of this little guy.

And guess what?! That is how God feels about me! That is how God feels about you! I had this vision of God grabbing me like a parent and snuggling me close and with his lips pushed forward in that pouty baby talk way saying, “I just love these chubby little thighs!” And the word chubby was not mean or hurtful or judgmental, it just was. My legs are chubby and I love them! Because they are me, and God just loves me so much. If I change does his love for me change? No way, because I am me and no one else is me. Does that even make sense? I don’t care.

I’m learning to love me for me…

…not because I hang with Leonardo, or the guy who played in Fargo, I think his name is Steve… (couldn’t help singing that song)

Am I perfect?

Hell to the no!

Do I still have things that need to change?

Uh…chyea!

Do those things need to keep me from loving myself where I am at?

No way!

I JUST LOVE THESE CHUBBY LITTLE THIGHS!!!!

The Weight of Praise

I pulled the scale out from its hiding place in my linen closet. It was tucked behind the humidifier and an obnoxiously large stack of toilet paper. It had been at least 4 months since the last time I weighed myself. It was time. I had to know. But before I stepped on the scale I decided to make a guess based on how I felt and how my clothes were fitting.

154 lbs.

I was active, my clothes were gaping around my waist, and I felt beautiful, shapely (the good kind), and aside from being tired from chasing a baby around the house all day- pretty energized.

Yea, 154 lbs sounded about right.

I stepped on the scale and to my surprise the numbers read

1-7-0

170 lbs? No way! That is just 4 lbs less than my biggest self. Nooooooo, I can’t be 170 lbs. I don’t feel like I felt when I was 174 lbs – Lethargic, ashamed, bloated, spilling over the sides of my pants.

I stepped off the scale and replaced it in its hiding spot, baffled, but not upset.

I’m still waiting for the wave of shame to come, but it hasn’t. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I really hope it doesn’t, but I have never weighed this much and felt this good about myself ever.

And guess what?

Not that I have to prove to myself that this weight is okay, but maybe I just need to remind myself what my body is capable of– this morning I shaved 7 seconds off of my 3 mile run. I’m far from my fastest mile time, but I’m running! The past two years I haven’t been able to run consistently because of a ridiculously tight IT band and a bout of crazy depression/anxiety. I AM RUNNING AGAIN!!

And this time I’m not just running. I realized this the other day when I set out for my run. I started by putting on my normal running jams: T Swift, The Biebs, a little bit of old school Fall Out Boy, and some other semi -embarrassing artists for my 30 year-old self to get pumped up by; but it just wasn’t cutting it. The songs that used to get my legs pumping just seemed “Blah, Blah, Blah” (oh yea, and Ke$ha, she’s on there too).

I took a moment to switch my playlist, and out of habit more than desire, I selected my “Pump Up the Jesus” playlist. Yes, I actually have a playlist named this. I’ll post it at the end. This was the playlist I usually blasted when I needed to rally myself to clean my dishes.

As I picked up my pace again I began to get lost in the words, in the praise, in the worship, and suddenly like a fool, I was running with my arms raised up towards the heavens!

“By your spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat,

the resurrected king, is resurrecting me!

In your name I come alive,

to declare your victory,

the resurrected king, is resurrecting me!”

I didn’t run the entire time like this; I mean come on, people could see me; but it changed my perspective on my morning run. Instead of running for me– to build my strength, to drop weight, to get in shape, to become healthy—I was running in praise of the one who already made me strong, who already brought me back to life, who was currently resurrecting my body and telling me to throw of anything that kept me from him. I was running to Him. I was running for Him! And then I was running for my neighborhood. Right now I can only loop about half of my neighborhood before I run out of stamina, but I was realizing that as I ran I was praying over the houses and the people living in them. I was praising God for them, and inviting the Holy Spirit in to fill the space I was encircling during my run.

Something about this thought really pumped me up. It pumped me up more than the thought of looking slim and sexy in my bathing suit. It pumped me up more than the thought of running so I could eat a piece of pie. It pumped me up more than the thought of impressing my husband with my ability to get up at 5am for a morning run. And not only that, it pumped me up so much so that I shaved off 7 seconds from my time!

So here is the truth of my situation: I weigh 170lbs and every single pound of that muscle, skin, fat, bone, etc. is praising the One who will redeem me and my neighborhood. Praise Jesus!

 

Ok, here’s my playlist…enjoy, and clean those dishes!

Don’t Lose Your Head Workout!

Yesterday while my son took a nap, I found some time to be still in God’s presence. I have experienced being still in God’s presence before and I have always come away feeling a little bit more grounded in reality afterwards. Sometimes I have “Ah-hah” moments, but most of the time it’s kind of like sitting in a peaceful box of nothing and everything. This is going to sound weird, but when I sit there I almost feel like a plant: still, yet intentional; not moving, but filled with purpose. I am rooted into the ground. Birds and squirrels come so close because I am so still and quiet. I am aware of their presence, but it doesn’t distract me from my stillness or my purpose. I can feel the rays of the sun dancing across my skin and it delights me; energizes me. I can breathe deep and slow and my breath spreads through my body; not just inflating my lungs but energizing every little space. And the breath seems to heighten my senses without making me jittery or anxious like caffeine has a tendency to do. It is only when I am rooted and healthy and surrounded by light that I can bloom to my fullest beauty and so I root, I breathe, I allow myself to be healed, and I delight in the light, for there is a hope yet unseen, but for certain, I will bloom.

But yesterday wasn’t like that. I could not stay awake. My neck felt like it was trying to support a giant bowling ball instead of a head. I felt empty, done, exhausted. Usually, I get lost in my breath; no thoughts, just breath, but I kept starting awake once I started to dream and my bowling ball head would crash into my chest. And just for a moment the enemy whispered, “failure.” I was so tired I couldn’t even be still in the presence of my Lord. My Lord wanted to sit with me and I could not remain awake, I was just like the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane- falling asleep when I should be experiencing His presence.

I heard God speak, “Even Jesus slept.”

This is not an excuse to always sleep instead of spending time with God, but for this specific experience God actually encouraged me to sleep. I felt like a child resisting a nap because I wanted to explore and learn and grow, but God was willing to hold me as I slept and delight in my presence just as a mother does with her child. And I slept.

I had become a plant whose roots had withered and yet I kept trying to put my energy into blooming. I had a beautiful bud with the promise of a giant bloom, but my weak root system could not sustain the bud, and the bigger the bud became the more the weight of it bent me over myself and pulled my roots further out of the ground. But now God was lifting my fragile body up off the ground. He pruned me down and replanted my roots into the soil. He watered my parched, lifeless, body and sang over me as I rested in His care.

When my son woke from his nap, I did too. I felt refreshed and energized. I felt good. Not just good physically, but I felt like I was full of goodness. It was out of this goodness that I was encouraged to work out.

Earlier that day I had tried to motivate myself to workout with one of my gazillion workout DVDs. But I was dry, exhausted, and done. For a moment I reverted back to old ways and tried to shame myself into working out.

“You’re tired because you are out of shape and to get in shape you need to work out. So, stop being a little bitch and do it!”

But I couldn’t do it. I found myself flipping through my mental rolodex of workouts and just becoming frustrated and irritated with myself.

“21 Day fix workout? Nah, Autumn always says, ‘you can do anything for 60 seconds’ and it always makes me feel really bad about myself because I have to stop so many times.”

“Jillian Michaels workout? Nah, she only has pretty and really in shape people in her videos and I find myself playing the comparison game the whole time.”

“Yoga? Nah, that is my worship time and I hate it when I turn it into workout time and feel obligated to cram more stuff into my practice than what is necessary. And then I feel guilty because my focus is on myself instead of God.”

I’m not even sure what I did instead of working out, but all I know is I definitely did not work out. But after my nap, I was full of goodness, rested, and energized! And it wasn’t the DVDs that called for my energy…it was the park. All of a sudden I wanted to take my son to the park, I wanted to work out, but I wanted to take him on an adventure. It was different then me just working out in my living room while he wandered around me and climbed over me; which by the way is a totally acceptable way to work out, and will most likely still be a go to for me, but this day was so vibrant and different and full of goodness and adventure. It was like I had taken a giant gulp of Felix Felicis (Harry Potter reference). My goal was not to workout but instead to expel the energy that I could not contain in my body. I can’t even explain it, it doesn’t make sense in my head why I would suddenly feel this way after praying and PRAYING for this type of motivation for years and never receiving it. And now, all I did was sleep when God told me to and I was ready to go?! But, at that point I didn’t really care why I was motivated, just that I was motivated.

Actually, it does make sense. Because before I was praying that I would be motivated to work out with the intention of being beautiful. But when I listened to God and slept I let go of my fleshly drive for beauty and held onto his eternal provision and guidance.

As I walked to the park, a simple workout came to mind. I’m actually very nervous about posting this workout because I am far from perfect and I fear internet trolls. I just want to say that I am fully aware that this workout may not be balanced, I may not have perfect form, and I am not claiming to have the answers and best workouts. I am in no way a professional, but, God asked me to share this, so I will.

This is not about confidently showing off my perfectly sculpted athletic figure. This is about discovering the capabilities of my very own body.

This is not about boasting of the quantity of reps I can achieve.  This is about using my creativity to encourage others and share ideas.

This is not about my amazing filming skills. This is about doing it imperfectly (not on purpose…but just because I’m human and it happens…) and not losing my head over the fact that I’ve lost my head in half of these shots.

This is not about me having all the answers. This is about me honestly sharing my journey with you; even if that means I publicly make a mistake. I truly believe God can redeem anything and He is way bigger than my mistakes!

Anyways, here it goes. Here is a quick 20 minute workout that can be done at the park, you know, because #momlife. Adjust the reps for your body, this is just an example.

Don’t Lose Your Head Workout

Warm-up:  Walk to the park (or around it if it’s too far away and you have to drive)

Circuit 1: Monkey Bars

                Assisted Pull-ups (10 reps)

Oblique Ups (5 reps each side)

Horizontal Pull-Ups (5 reps)

High Knees (100 reps)

Repeat the entire circuit

Circuit 2: Bench or Platform

                Box Jumps (10 reps)

Jumping Jacks (100 reps)

Lunges (12 each side)

Sumo Squat Jacks (50 reps)

Repeat the entire circuit

Circuit 3: Bench or Platform

                Seated Dips (10 reps)

Elevated Plank, Knee to Elbow (10 Reps each side)

Push-ups (10 Reps)

Burpees (10 Reps)

Repeat the entire circuit

Cool Down: Walk home

 

Here is a cute little video of my son laughing as I worked out.

And let me tell you, it was so much easier to push myself when the goal was to hear my son’s laugh instead of thinking of my own desire for beauty. How cool?!

Pause. Be Still.

I feel shame when I am around Christian women who are skinny. It’s stupid, but it’s true. There is a part of me that thinks that if you are a good Christian, God will bless you with beauty and health. So when I am around skinny, healthy, beautiful Christian women, I feel wrong. I feel like the extra meat on my bones screams, “I sin way worse than you do!” or “I’m trying and failing miserably at being a good person.” I know this isn’t true, I know this is all a lie from the evil one, fabricated to trip me up and stop me from doing what God has called me to do. But how on earth do I fix this?

YOU don’t. I do.

The spirit of God whispered these words amidst the blaring lies playing on repeat over the loud speaker in my brain. “You do what though? How do you fix this? I want to know.”

Pause. Be still.

There was a familiarity in those words that I could not place. It was separate from the “Be still and know that I am God” verse I so clearly knew.

Pause. Be Still.

Pause. It was an order. It was a call for a time out. Whatever is going on in your brain, body, and spirit, just pause it. Step away from yourself. Stop.

Be still. Now, listen to the stillness. Stop moving, stop jumping around, stop trying to figure it all out, stop trying to fix everything, just be still.

So what you are saying, God, is that…

No. Pause. Be still.

But I just want to contemplate…

No. Pause. Be still. Now is the time to pause.

But I don’t understand, I just need a little more infor….

No. Pause. Be still.

Ok, pause. Now, I’m still. I’m listening for your voice in the stillness. I am hearing birds and the HVAC and some ice fall from the ice maker. I’m listening for your voice. I’m listening for your voice. I’m listening for your voice. I’m listening for your…

STOP THIS NONSENSE. ELIZABETH, PAUSE. BE STILL.

It wasn’t an angry command. It was a firm command. And that’s when I recognized the familiarity.

Every time…EVERY… TIME my son needs a diaper change it’s like a wrestling match. He wiggles and flips and flops against my restraining arms and as soon as I lift an arm off of him to undo his diaper, or to unfold a new diaper or to try and secure a new diaper, he just flips over and is crawls away. He is so fast, it’s like he is on a mission. I am constantly holding him still and saying, “Pause. Pause. Pause. Now is the time to be still. Pause. Be still.” At first he struggles against me violently. “Sammy. Sammy. SAMUEL. PAUSE. BE STILL.” After that He will usually quiet down for a second or two before I must repeat the sequence, and eventually his diaper is changed and he is on his way again, but it has taken quadruple the amount of time it would have taken if he had just been still to begin with. But it doesn’t matter how many times I explain that to him simply because it is way above his cognitive understanding at the moment.

This is the exact same struggle I am in with God my father. Something feels wrong, I feel soiled, and I want to be clean and fresh. I don’t know how to go about changing my own diaper, in fact I don’t even know that’s exactly what I need, so instead of pausing and being still while my father goes to work on cleaning me up, I struggle against the stillness.

“I need to be clean! I must figure out how to do it! Now is not the time for stillness, everyone can smell how dirty I am! I’ll be still once I am clean, but now I need to figure out how to clean this mess up.”

Pause. Be Still.

How long will I continue to try and fix my body and the mess I feel inside and outside, before I submit and let God do the work for me? How long am I willing to delay his cleansing touch just so I can “do it myself” only to find out I can’t do it myself and I need his cleansing touch?

And does being still mean I’m not supposed to try and work off calories?

Pause. Be Still.

But, God, do you want me to stop trying so hard to lose weight? Is that what you mean?

Pause. Be still.

So, you want me to continue to work out daily and eat well?

Pause. Be still.

Yea, I get it, but, what does that mean?!

Pause. Be Still.

Where is that “be still” bible verse? Maybe if I research all the Hebrew and Greek words in the original translations then I will get some deeper understanding of how to…

PAUSE. BE STILL.

But I…

PAUSE. BE STILL.

But…

PAUSE. BE STILL.

Pause. Be Still.

PAUSE. BE STILL.

Pause. Be still.

PAUSE. BE STILL.

Liz vs. Cravings: A Realistic Battle

Yesterday was rough. My son is teething and nothing can console his pitiful whines. I can handle it in the morning when I am fresh and awake (I’m a morning person) and full of life, but by two o’clock I am ready to drive to Rita’s and scarf down a large root beer gelati. Sometimes, I do. Sometimes we go to Rita’s and then take our spoil to the beach and I have a moment of peace and indulgence while my son explores the shells and the bugs and the sand. This isn’t always a bad thing, but when the thought of it is what gets me through the day…it ain’t good.

All I could think about yesterday was Rita’s. Every little whine or whimper from my son turned into a fog horn in my head: Riiiiii-Taaaaaaaa’s. At first I found myself running to old behaviors in order to combat the Rita’s foghorn, some less desirable than others:

  1. Shame

“Your body can’t afford to eat Rita’s right now; you’re putting way too much faith in the seams of your yoga pants as it is.”

“Jennifer Aniston probably doesn’t eat Rita’s. You’ll never look like her if you do.”

“Every bite of Rita’s is one more bite on the pile of reasons why you shouldn’t feel comfortable around pretty people.”

I view my internal life like a year in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In Hogwarts, teachers award points to students who perform well and take points away from students as punishments. Each student is a member of one of the four houses of Hogwarts (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin) and their points are magically pooled together according to their houses. At the end of the year the house with the most points wins the House Cup.

Everything I do during the day either earns me points or loses me points. Throughout the day I will check on those points to determine whether or not I measure up to the house of “beautiful”.

If I go for a walk: “Ten points to SLIZerin!” (I’m really a Hufflepuff, but Lizzlepuff just sounds dumb…)

If I eat veggies and hummus for lunch: “Ten points to SLIZerin!” (LIZendor could work too, but it’s not as good as SLIZeran)

If I crack halfway through the day and eat a candy bar, or drink a milkshake, or binge on rrrriiiiITTTTAAAAA’s or something along those lines: “Fifty points FROM SLIZerin and detention with Professor Umbridge!”

The point system is not always fair.

  1. Replacement Therapy

“You don’t need Rita’s, just drink a can of deliciously cold La Croix instead! It’s a treat!”

…Five La Croixs later: “I NEED RITA’S!!!!”

 

“Instead of Rita’s why don’t you go for a walk?”

….45 minutes later: “How did I end up at Rita’s? I should probably get some sustenance for the walk home. One large root beer gelati please!”

 

“Do you know what is just as good as Rita’s? A blended frozen banana.”

FALSE.

  1. Compromise

“Alright, you can eat Rita’s but you have to run 6 miles to work it off.”

45 minutes later…. “I’m too weighed down and tired from all that gelati to work out.”


As much as I want to say yesterday was a bad day (it seriously sucked…) I can’t, because in terms of learning about me and my tendencies, it was a great day! I learned so much about how I try to control my out of control cravings.  I was able to recognize that these tactics, although they worked in the past, are not helpful to me now and honestly, they are just plan mean. Instead of feeling empowered and encouraged I just felt ashamed and hopeless.

So, I did what I have learned to do when I feel ashamed and hopeless: worship.

At first I just prayed. I knew that God was supposed to be what I went to to satisfy my cravings and help me with my struggles, so I prayed:

“Dear Lord, please help me to stop thinking about Rita’s gelati. Help me to not think about how tasty it is and how perfectly the Italian ice and the gelato mix at the very bottom of the cup.” Shit, this isn’t helping…I just want it more!

No, “praying” or more accurately, talking at God, wasn’t working. There was too much Liz involved; too much “oh me, poor me, I don’t have this, I don’t have that, it’s not fair, blah blah blah.” What I needed was to keep my mind off of me, poor me, and onto something greater, something bigger, and who better than God himself?

And so, my worship dance party began. I’m not going to lie, It was hard at first; I kept getting thoughts of, “this is supposed to be better than Rita’s?”  But the more I focused on the words of the songs I was singing, the more I got lost in them.

“You shine brighter, than every star in the sky, your light shining, in the dark of the night, Jesus forever, I find all that I am in your love, love, love.”

“Take me, this is all I am, you’ll never stop loving us, no matter how far we run!”

“Your grace comes like a wave, crashing over me, grace comes like a wave, crashing over and over and over.”

“From the ash I am born again, forever safe in the savior’s hands…You are, you are, you are my freedom, we lift you higher!”

“You will never fade away, your love is here to stay, by my side, in my life, shining through me every day!”

My son and I were dancing and he was quiet for the first time all day. And then I was crying. God’s grace in me, over me, surrounding me. God’s love forever stuck on me, a tattoo that cannot be washed away, marking me as his forever. I didn’t even realize I was feeling guilty over not being able to help my son with his teething pain, and feeling even more guilty over being frustrated with him for his endless whining, until that moment. That moment I pressed into truth, and not just muttering words with the hopes that it would “fix” me, but singing about the greatness of my creator and believing it. When I looked Him in the face, my iniquities bubbled to the surface of my being. I saw them, I felt them, and then he scooped them away and I danced. You know, like one of those blackhead pore strip commercials.

 

I praise Him, oh wonderful creator, oh cleansing love, oh beat of my heart!

I cannot help but dance! My feet cannot remain still in your presence

Your goodness flows through me and over me and I must flow with it

The ice of my heart melting into raging rivers,

Rivers wild with love

 

The day wasn’t over and I didn’t feel completely recharged, but that worship session gave me enough juice to make it through to six o’clock when my son finally fell asleep. Side note: he woke up crying at 7:30pm and my reaction was abysmal; I snapped at my husband in frustration. Luckily, my husband had it in him to lovingly put our son back to bed, and I decided it was time for me to go to bed too. But here is the point, maybe feasting isn’t the problem, maybe it’s what I’m feasting on. Is worship a form of communion with Christ and his body? When I worship am I feasting on the bread of life and gulping down living water? Is that just weird?