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?

Does This Blog Make You Uncomfortable?

I’ve had some push-back about the title of my blog, “Too Fat to Love”. I’ve been told it’s too negative and that every time I read my own blog title my cells will remember it and think it is what my body wants…to be fat and unloved.

I don’t fully disagree. I don’t completely understand or believe the cell thing, but as far as my title being negative, uh yea, it’s negative. Does that make you uncomfortable? Does it make you uncomfortable that I or anyone else (maybe even you) might ever feel too fat to be loved? Good, that should make you uncomfortable.

But here’s the thing, I’m going to let you off the hook, it’s not your responsibility to fix it. And I’m not saying that in a “shut up and mind your own business way”, I’m saying that in a “hey, this is reality; you can either accept it or ignore it, but please don’t try to convince me I need to ignore it because I’m doing some deep internal and emotional work here. Oh and also, God told me to (that’s the Christian argument stopper right there…amiright?)”

With that being said, here is what God has been revealing to me about this blog title, “Too Fat to Love.”

Everything is redeemable: This title is not the end, it’s the journey. God is showing me that when I feel too fat I can’t fully love others (usually because I’m jealous or comparing), let alone accept love for myself. I will say it again, God keeps telling me this title is about the journey. I know the end, I am loved. I don’t always feel loved but I know how it ends: I am loved. But God wants me to write about the journey, not just the end. The journey is uncomfortable; the journey has blood, sweat, and tears. The journey requires perseverance, courage, and faith. The journey is all about hoping for what is unseen, and can I add in, hoping for what is not felt? The journey is where healing is found. The journey is where I press into Christ. But part of the journey is recognition and coming out of denial. “There are times when I simply feel fat. And when I feel fat, I feel like I don’t deserve to be loved.” It is only when I recognize those thoughts that I can then ask myself, “why?” It is only after I name those feelings that I can identify the lies behind them and then begin to fight them.

This title is about the battle. This title is about the first step. This title is for all of those people out there who maybe believe this lie too. But most importantly, this title is ALL ABOUT REDEMPTION. And redemption always points me to Christ. But guess what? To have redemption we need to accept that we have a need for it. If I didn’t need saving then I wouldn’t need a savior.

So does this title make you uncomfortable? Good, because it’s reality. Sometimes I do feel too fat to be loved. But guess what, the title is just the beginning. The title is me coming out of denial. The title is me setting aside my pride and telling you guys, “hey, I don’t have it all together and I need a savior…no, not you…Jesus. I need Jesus!” This blog is about my journey with Christ to find love and to feel loved in all circumstances… even the negative ones, because guess what, God is THAT big. God is THAT powerful. God is THAT great that he can save me from the negative of negatives. Every single ounce of me is redeemable, yep, even every single cell.

But I Ain’t Bread and Butter Hungry

” ‘ But I ain’t bread and butter hungry,’ said Davy in a disgusted tone. ‘I’m plum cake hungry.’
‘Oh,’ laughed Anne…’that’s a kind of hunger that can be endured very comfortably, Davy-boy.’ ”  – Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maude Montgomery 

I don’t really know hunger. I’ve never been hungry for more than 18 hours or so. Actually, that’s not even true, because the first couple hours of that 18 hours I wasn’t hungry, I had just eaten. Like I said, I don’t know hunger. So why do I constantly feel hungry?

But not just any type of hungry. I don’t want rice and beans. I don’t want hummus and veggies. I don’t want split pea soup. I want mac and cheese. I want ice cream. I want pizza. I want foods rich in fat and flavor. Which tells me that I’m not REALLY hungry. I’m just not satisfied. And no amount of food can satisfy a dissatisfaction that is not real hunger.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11

Whoever loves money never has enough;
    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
    This too is meaningless.

11 As goods increase,
    so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
    except to feast their eyes on them?

The more I eat to try and satisfy my “hunger” the bigger I get. And the bigger I get, the more I need to satisfy my new “hunger”. I have so many options that food isn’t just food, it’s a wealth, it’s a status, it’s a source of happiness.

But why am I so dissatisfied when it comes to food, what is that I am really hungering and what can possibly satisfy my outrageous demands?

The Reality of My Food Addiction

The triggers are everywhere. Has anyone else noticed an issue with this or is it just me?

I’m just relaxing for the evening watching a show and then BAM: ice cream craving. No one in the show is even eating ice cream, someone just said the word. I hear the word and all other sounds disappear.

*whispers* ice cream

*louder* Ice Cream

*YELLING* ICE CREAM!!!!

Damnit, I want ice cream right this moment! Not just in the moment I am writing about, but like right now as I write this, I want ice cream.

It doesn’t take much to trigger my food addictions. Have you ever been to a 12 step program where one of the rules is not to use explicit language because it can be a trigger to others? For example, if someone started talking about getting high and they went into details about the trip and how it felt, etc. it could trigger a bunch of people in the group who then might go out that night and get high, so explicit descriptions aren’t allowed. If anyone feels like something is triggering them, they simple have to raise their hand and the speaker must stop their description.

So what do you do when your drug of choice is food and everyone talks about it, and eats it, and posts it on Facebook and Instagram, and advertises it, and, and , and, and!!!

I can tell you one thing, you do NOT binge watch Gilmore Girls! As much as I love that show I can guarantee that my coffee intake increases by about 50% and my junk food cravings sky rocket. The last time I watched that series I swear I put on 20lbs. Let me clarify something, this does not mean we need to get rid of the show Gilmore Girls (please God, no!!) or make people stop talking about food. This doesn’t mean that I get to go around telling people to stop talking about food. This means that I, Liz, need to start facing these issues I have with food. It’s MY problem when I hear the word, “brownie” and immediately need something to satisfy my brownie craving, it is not the fault of the person who said, “brownie”. Unless, of course their intentions were deceitful, in which case they will have to answer to God for their actions, but it is not my responsibility to change them and that’s going down a whole different rabbit trail.

Most nights after dinner, when Dean and I watch TV, I have to put my guard up and renounce every single food craving that emerges simply due to hearing foods named or seeing foods on set. It doesn’t even have to be real food! Does anyone remember Reptar Bars from the cartoon, “Rugrats”? What about that oozy cheesy pizza from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or lollipops and ice cream from any cartoon?

Maybe I should just stop watching TV….

BUT cutting out TV isn’t going to cure me of my food addiction. It will probably set me up for more success at home than what I am having now, but what’s the real issue here? The second I go to the fair, or a restaurant, or the grocery store, or Sam’s Club…basically the second I step out of a controlled environment my food addiction is skewing my view of the world. My thoughts revolve all around food:

“When will I eat next? When do I want to eat?’

“What will I eat next? What do I want to eat?”

“Where will I eat next? Where do I want to eat?”

“Mmmm is that a waffle cone I smell? I want it. ”

“Oh man, they are just pumping that fresh bread smell into the air aren’t they? I want it.”

“Mmmmmmmm gaaaarrrrllliiiiiicccccc. I want it.”

Have you ever looked out a window with blinds? When I was a kid, I used to spy on my neighbors all the time from my bedroom window. At night my blinds were drawn and I had to lift up a single blind with my finger to see out. If an object moved out of my very narrow line of vision, then I had to lift up a different blind to find the object again; sometimes this very small, but significant movement, made the difference between seeing something happen and not seeing something happen. And every night, despite the enticing promise of scandal or a funny scene, I would have to stop spying because my arms would get too fatigued to keep holding up the blinds.

My food addiction is like a set of blinds over my eyes. Some days the blinds are open and I can see pretty well. Some days the blinds are shut and I have to use a lot of energy just to see a very small sliver of the real world through my thoughts about food. And that usually means I am missing a lot of life due to food. I spend so much time worrying where my next meal will come from I don’t enjoy what’s happening in that moment. What if I get hungry while I’m hiking? What will I do? And on top of that, all that energy I spend trying to navigate life around my food thoughts is enough to exhaust me!

Goodness gracious, Liz! You’re not going to die if you miss a meal! This is so embarrassing to admit because I have never once in my life gone hungry because food was not available. NOT ONCE! I’ve gone “hungry” because I refused to eat something at dinner as a child. And that hungry wasn’t even real hungry. I missed ONE meal…ONE! And I missed that meal out of my own ability to refuse a meal that I didn’t like the taste of! That in itself tells you I was not really, desperately, hungry. Even when I was in Kenya and we ended up not having lunch, we still had lunch, because guess what? I packed a bazillion Luna bars in my bag just in case something like that would happen.

What I really need is to look at these food addictions. What am I running from? What am I searching for? What am I scared of?

I want to be full.

I want a reward.

I want to taste goodness.

I want to be satisfied.

I’m scared of being hungry.

I’m scared of missing out on goodness.

I’m scared of regret: regretting not eating something and later wanting it; regretting eating something and feeling guilt or shame over it later.

I’m running from loss.

I’m running from inadequacy.

I’m running from imperfection.

I’m running from unfairness.

I’m starting to recognize that I have a HUGE issue with envy: “I want to be eating that too…”, “I want to be able to enjoy eating kale like she does…”, “I want to want to stick to eating foods that are healthy…” I so badly want to be skinny, healthy, active, etc. but I so badly want to eat junk and drink with friends; I can’t have both. I so badly want to feel good in my skin with regard to my looks and physical health (no stomach cramping due to too much sugar and bread), but I so badly want to feel good in my skin with regard to eating yummy things; I can’t have both. Not in my current emotional and physical state anyway.

I fear writing these things because I know I will receive messages, comments, and emails from other men and women that say, “Eat that donut! You can feel good about yourself and eat what you want!”, “Love yourself where you are at and redefine what healthy means to you,” “Don’t let society tell you that you aren’t beautiful and worthy just because you carry some extra junk in the trunk.” And although there is SOME truth in these words, it isn’t the complete truth, which means it’s entirely a lie. Here is the honest to goodness truth:

I cannot eat whatever I want and not feel guilt or shame because the guilt has nothing to do with the actual food and everything to do with the fact that I am running to food instead of Jesus. Don’t tell me to not feel guilty over worshipping an idol instead of my Lord. Don’t tell me that I should not feel shame when I worship food instead of Jesus, when I cry out to donuts and Frappuccino’s during hard times, instead of my creator. The guilt I feel is a helpful reminder that I am sinning when I overeat and thus that I NEED JESUS for forgiveness, love, and help!

 “21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:21-25

 

As much as I try to make it so, loving myself does not come from redefining healthy. Sure there are some lies I believe about health, but guess what, redefining what healthy means for me isn’t going to change the fact that I have an insulin resistance problem and an addiction to sugar and carbs. I can tell myself that it is healthy to eat grain and sugar in moderation all I want and it won’t change the fact that, for me, it simply is not healthy physically or emotionally. Believe me, I have tried this for years! Four years to be exact. I can’t have sugar in moderation because if I have the smallest amount I need more and more and more and more and more. Would you tell an alcoholic to love themselves where they are at and redefine what it means to be healthy? If you redefine alcoholism then you won’t be an alcoholic!

Uhhhh no…that’s not how it works. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. This is called denial. And this here is a simple problem of acceptance. I am not accepting the body God gave me. I am not accepting that I have limits. I am not accepting that I am human and not God; I am desperately holding onto the position of ruler of my body and captain of my soul, BUT I am not the god of myself.

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 

Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call! Psalm 20:6-9

 

And as far as not letting society tell me what should and should not be beautiful or worthy, that’s just a cop out, a scape goat, and blame-shift. Guess what? I am a part of this society. I judge others, because I AM A SINNER, because I chose to believe the lie that I have a right to judge others. Yes,  I do believe that society has influenced me and the way I think, but there is so much more that needs to be done than “not listening to society.” I need to start listening to God. I need to start influencing our society by starting to let God heal the brokenness in me instead of denying that I have any blame in my own brokenness.

14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head. 16From Him the whole body is fitted and held together by every supporting ligament. And as each individual part does its work, the body grows and builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:14-16

I don’t want my fix, I want HIS fix. I don’t want your fix, I want HIS fix. I want HIM to be enough for me, but when I run to food I never give HIM a chance to show me that HE IS. And when I run away from my part in the blame I just perpetuate the problem and ensure that it will continue to affect me and my community. And if you wave a donut in my face and tell me, “eat this, and you will be happy; surely you can eat this and feel no shame.” Then I will be forced to say, “Get behind me Satan!” Because God has told me I make an idol out of food, and I am sick of these stupid fig leaves of shame because I do not listen to Him. I wish to walk in the garden with my Lord once more. I wish to be completely exposed in his presence and feel no shame. He has given me a fix and all I need to do is accept it and press into Jesus. Easier said than done, am-I-right? But there is no better time than now. There is no better moment than this.

17So I tell you this, and testify to it in the Lord: You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 19Having lost all sense of shame, they have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity, with a craving for more.

20But this is not the way you came to know Christ. 21Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in keeping with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4: 17-24

 

“Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35