Lie #1: Love and Worth are Based on Physical Appearance

**Warning: A lot of rambling thoughts happen in this entry**

This lie has stumped me for weeks. I so badly want a bible verse that says, “your physical appearance is not what defines you, gives you worth, or love.”

The closest thing I can find (and it’s pretty close) is 1 Peter 3:3-4

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Ok, so this verse pretty much says that God doesn’t find worth in outward adornment, but in the unfading beauty of the inner self.

Basically, love and worth are not based on physical appearance to God…but what about humans?

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “7 But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”

Cool. So God doesn’t care about my physical appearance, but humans do. So, here is my issue: Now I have to decide if God’s love is enough for me. What about my what my husband thinks of me? My husband says he will love me unconditionally, and I truly believe he will try his best to do so, but he isn’t blind to the physical beauty of others or my physical potential. I often wonder if there is ever a tiny part of him that wishes I looked more like “her” or had less of “that” or whatever. If he came across a power to change my physical appearance without anyone knowing he did it, would he? And now I have to sit back and say, “that doesn’t matter to me, because God thinks I’m beautiful because of my heart and inner stuff.”

So much of me has a hard time with this. I want to be beautiful…physically beautiful.

Does God create ugly people? Are any of his children physically ugly in his sight? Or is he so beyond that, that he doesn’t even see it? He must see it, I mean, he is God, he sees everything. I don’t know! All I know is, I still want to be physically attractive! Part of me sees that I have physical beauty, but goodness gracious is my physical appearance a fragile thing. Every day I feel like I get 10 more gray hairs, another hint of a second chin, and about 50 dark and coarse chin hairs. The patches of cellulite grow. The varicose veins show. And I can’t help but feel sorrow over the little wrinkles and sags around my once very perky breasts. All things, that for some reason, I think mark my diminishing beauty.

So I guess the problem isn’t really that I’m believing a lie; I mean in the context of humans it’s partially true. Not ALL love and worth come from physical appearance, but we certainly do value physical appearance very highly. The problem is that I don’t believe that God’s love is enough for me. It WOULD be a lie to say, “God loves me and values me based on my physical appearance.” But that’s not the love and value I’m worried about.

I know God loves me. He says it a bazillion times in the bible. He shows it in a bazillion ways in the bible. He has shown me personally how much he loves me. And for a while it was enough. For a while I was completely lost in it (in the best way). I was immersed in it. I couldn’t stop talking about Jesus; I was like a middle school girl who wanted to talk about her crush all the time, especially since he like-liked me back!! And it didn’t matter if my husband thought I was beautiful (it still felt good to hear it), because I knew God was totally in love with me and that was better than anything ever. So when did it not become enough? When did I start worrying again? How did I let this amazing love evaporate?

The problem now is that I WANT love based on my physical appearance and I simultaneously dread it at the same time. But my brain knows that wanting to be loved for my physical appearance won’t bring me what I truly want: true, everlasting, completely sustainable, unconditional love.

I mean, is it even possible to truly love someone based on their physical appearance alone? I am brought back to this question once again, “what is love?” Maybe lie #1 really is a lie because maybe real love is only possible for God. So maybe love really doesn’t have anything to do with physical appearance after all. And the love that we humans try to be a part of is only love in part. We can’t get it quite right, not on this side of heaven, anyway.

1 Corinthians 13 (the love verses) don’t say anything about love being connected to physical appearance. Maybe my issue is that I give and withhold my love of others based on THEIR physical appearance, and thus perpetuate an incorrect belief about love. But who really wants to admit to something so shallow? I’m scared to even look for a behavior like that in myself.

Why is it every time I start to write a blog that should have a simple answer to it, I end up with more questions?

All I wanted was a simple bible verse I could memorize and tape to my mirror to remind me that my physical appearance was not what made me love-able. And now I see I need something so much greater than that! I need an attitude adjustment! I need to demolish some really ugly structures in my life all based on physical appearance.

Oh Lord Jesus come! Help me. I need you. I need to be more like you. I need to love like you. Help me to want to love like you. Help me to see with your eyes. Help me to stop judging others based on their physical appearances. Can you do like a “Shallow Hal” thing to my eyes and mind. Let me see my brothers and sisters as you see them? Thanks for loving me even though I judge your children. Thanks for exposing this ugliness in me. Thanks for thinking I’m special and worthy just because I am me. I love you. Amen. 

7 Lies By Which I live my Life

A week or so ago I disclosed my 10 Crappy Steps to Feel Love. I then promised to look at these steps, identify the lies, and then fight these lies with the Truth (God’s word). I worked on it for maybe 30 minutes after that and then totally forgot about it.

It wasn’t until yesterday when I ate an entire frozen pizza by myself (not a personal size one) that my thoughts drifted back to my 10 Crappy Steps. I immediately wanted to go throw up, but what would that actually do? Just like sweeping dust under a rug, throwing up would simply cover up the shame I felt for binging in the first place. The outside world need never know of this shame if my body doesn’t give me away. But throwing up would only keep me from fully digesting the calories that I had consumed; it didn’t change the fact that I kept going back to pizza instead of Jesus. Going back for what though? Going back for goodness? Going back for fullness? For relief? For comfort? I don’t know.

I’m trying to remember how I felt in those moments that I was over indulging. My guess is, whatever I was feeling, somehow falls into the Seven Lies my 10 Crappy Steps revealed to me. I’ll reveal those 7 lies in a second, but first I kind of want to dig into this pizza thing.

My sponsor in Celebrate Recovery (a Christ-centered 12 step recovery program) often reminds me that when I relapse into an old behavior it usually starts way before the actual lapse in behavior. So this binge on pizza wasn’t just a moment of weakness, but a series of events, actions and choices that could have started days or even weeks ago that broke me down.

And now that I say that, I know exactly what triggered it.  I’ve thought about it every day since it happened without consciously making a decision to think about it. I hesitate saying what the trigger was, because it was a simple foot in mouth scenario said by someone who I really like, and I would hate for her to think she is the reason to my eating issues. However, what was said is really important to what I’m sharing here.

(Ok, dear friend, if you are reading this and see your words, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, understand that I have 30+ years of dysfunction picking up your words and running wildly away with them. These 30+ years have turned a small meaningless thing into a giant sand storm and that is no fault of yours. Yes, you are responsible for your words, but I am responsible for what I do with those words later on, and let me tell you, none of your words told me to go eat an entire pizza.)

Several days ago I saw an old friend. She had not seen me pregnant yet and after talking for a bit our conversation went like this:

“So how far along are you?”

“I’m four and a half, almost five months now.”

“Really? You look way further along than that, more like seven to eight months.”

“Oh, ummm…ok.”

 

Not a huge deal, and yet, a huge deal! I jokingly texted this interaction to a friend and followed it up with “Good thing she didn’t say this to a girl with body image issues….oh, wait…”

But like I said, it’s not so much about what was said, as what I did with those words afterward. Suddenly, I was questioning the health of my entire pregnancy. The doctor had said that I was right on track with my weight gain, and baby was exactly the size he was supposed to be, according to my due date. But screw what the health professional said, I must look fat! I kept replaying the conversation over and over again. I kept thinking how I should have said something witty and sarcastic, but I knew it wouldn’t have made me feel better. Later, I told my mother in law and sister in law what happened in hopes of getting a couple laughs and also a, “she’s crazy, you look great!” But all I got were the laughs. Which then of course I started thinking, “does that mean they agree?”. When I told my closest confidants they all responded with the laugh and then a reassuring, “you look great”. Which was exactly what I wanted, but for some reason it just didn’t fill me like I thought it would. I still felt…wrong.

My body is doing this wrong.

My body is showing others that I am doing this wrong.

What can I change to make it right?

How can I lose weight and look the right amount pregnant while still keeping my baby safe?

How can I be the best at pregnancy?

 

Maybe I’m wearing unflattering clothes; I should find some more flattering styles.

What if I can’t ever drop this weight?

What if I put on loads more weight?

What if I get more stretch marks than I already have?!

I need to start running again, or at least walking.

I need to be more mindful of what I’m eating.

I need to do more yoga.

I need to do some workout videos.

And then I got sick. I couldn’t do any of the things to make “it right”, and I kept thinking about all the things that made me wrong.  Now I see that getting sick was a blessing in disguise, but last week I was just frustrated. It’s cold outside, and I’m sick, and I’m chasing a toddler around all the time and how am I supposed to fix me if I can’t even do the things that would fix me?

Wow, so you can’t see this, but I’m crying now. Not because of the comment, but because I had no idea I felt so wrong. I’m not even sure what I feel wrong about; I just know that I hate feeling wrong. I want to be right, all the time. Did the pizza make me feel right in that moment? Did the pizza fill that emptiness that being wrong created? It sure felt right at the time! But afterwards I just felt more wrong…

THIS, brings me back to the 7 Lies I choose to believe every time I take my 10 Crappy Steps. I need to identify these lies so I can fight against them. These lies aren’t giving me a better life like they promised and I’m done with them!

The 7 Lies:

  1. Love and worth are based on physical appearance
  2. Feeling good about oneself means feeling better than others
  3. Beauty is pain
  4. Lust = love
  5. Love and worth are based on the opinions of others
  6. Love can be earned
  7. Food can fix the disgust I feel about myself

 

Tune in next time to see what flaming truth arrows I can throw at this load of crap I have decided to base my life upon.

 

Oh yea, here is a huge victory before I sign off: normally, I would have obsessively googled what 4.5 months and 5 months pregnant bellies look like and then try to decide if my belly fit in with the population. I did not do that this time! I knew that wasn’t a good choice and stayed away from google! I didn’t even Facebook stalk my friends who are due around the same time to see what their bellies looked like. I chose not to compare myself because I knew it was one of my 10 crappy steps and it was built on a lie! Praise Jesus!

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?!