Walk In and Take It!

“But the Lord said me, ‘Do not be afraid of her. For I have given her and all her people and her land to you. Do to her just as you did to Anxiety of the mind, who lived in the land of Panic.”

This is a verse from Deuteronomy 3 that I amended for my own use. She is me, and yet she is not me at all. I am going into battle against the me that is a believer of lies. I am going into battle against my own thoughts; thoughts that at first merely set up camp, then settled into the region of my mind and fortified its position with walls and fortresses. Thoughts that told the rest of me I was not enough.

I’m scared to go in there. I’m scared to destroy these villages of thought. I’m scared to kill every last living thought and I’m even scared to take the plunder for myself. What if destroying these thoughts means I lose everything I had once gained: admiration from *Bea (name changed),the prettiest girl in the land, for those rare moments when I was enough. What if destroying these thoughts meant I would lose every single victory of being chosen by others because of what I did and who I was. What if instead of gaining a village of thought I am destroyed by it!

Numbers 14

That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

Will I rebel and retreat just like the Israelites? Will I be doomed to wander this desert of self-loathing for another 38 years? NO!!!

NO!! I will not stand down. I will not retreat!

It is time. I am armored up, and I am going into battle. I will face these lies , I will fight these lies, and I will conquer these lies! I will take my mind back! I will because God is and He has already devoured these lies! It is finished, all I need to do is walk in there and take it!

Does Your Mom Know You Are Wearing That?

“Elizabeth, does your mom know you are wearing a midriff shirt?”

What was a midriff? What does she mean does my mom know I am wearing this shirt?  Of course my mom knows what I’m wearing, I’m five, my mom helped dress me this morning.

It was warm out,probably summer, and my outfit looked like sunshine. Bright yellow. That’s all I really remember, bright yellow with a small red or pink pattern on it, flowers? Boats? Lady bugs? It was sunshine, I felt like sunshine and then suddenly I was unsure of my sunshine.

“I’m sure your mom would not want you showing your belly button.” What? Why not? What’s wrong with my belly button? My mom let me wear this outfit, she let me be sunshine! But just in case, I spent the rest of the day trying to hide my belly button from my friend’s mom.

“It’s a long climb up the dusty mountain
to build a turret tall enough to keep you out
but when you wage your wars against the one who adores you,
then you’ll never know the treasure that you’re worth
but I’ve never been a wealthy one before
I’ve got holes in my pockets burned by liars’ gold,
and I think I’m far too poor for you to want me”

       -In Memoriam by The Oh Hellos

 

It’s true, I carry lies around in my pockets that burn holes. It doesn’t matter that the liars’ gold falls through the holes because its goal was to burn the hole. The goal of the liars’ gold was to make sure that real gold could not be collected in my pockets.

But Jesus’ love cannot be bought and Jesus’love cannot be contained by a pocket, so whatever my pocket could hold doesn’t really matter. An empty pocket can’t keep me from a love that was, is, and will be. A hole in my pocket can’t keep me from a love that surrounds my entire being like water.

It’s funny, I think I am clothed in robes of white and gold and purple. I know the bible just says white, but I see trim of gold and purple. From far away the robe is just white, but close up there is trim, intricate little details embroidered with love. And it’s not embroidered with the things I have done, really the embroidery has nothing to do with me. The gold and purple is not me, it’s Jesus. And yet I am the one who gets to wear it. I am the one who gets to show the world the beauty that I am clothed in and that beauty has nothing to do with me, and yet it has everything to do with me. It is not of me, but it is what makes me beautiful. It is not my work, but it is what sets me apart. In fact it is what sets us all apart. My embroidery is different from the others, each of us has a unique design, but none better than the other.

But I don’t interact with the world like I am clothed in these robes. I am so focused on what others have and are, that I can’t see what I have is undying, never failing love and what I am is beautiful. I have been chosen to wear this robe; this robe that as been washed in the blood of the lamb. I have been chosen to display Jesus, the Jesus that is everything and the only thing. I have been chosen for a life of riches and beauty and I am somehow getting caught up in the fact that I couldn’t wear So-and-So’s robe because she is so much skinnier than me and it would cling in all the wrong places.

Okay….

Who cares?! Clearly I do, but why? Why does it matter so much? It’s that damned liars’ gold! I keep believing that He will choose others over me.

 

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12

An Object to Be Saved

Chosen.

It’s not a word I ever relate to myself. I don’t really understand how I could ever be chosen. That’s a big problem isn’t it? Excuse me for wanting to shift the blame, I know that’s not the way to go, but I just need to get this out, I need to put words to my thoughts, even if just to recognize the lies I am believing:

Somewhere along my childhood I learned to never believe I could be chosen for me, just me. Circumstances taught me to not see myself as worthy. I was taught to be a damsel in distress that needs a prince, a knight, a savior: I was an object to be saved. That was my purpose; saved so someone else could get the glory of saving me and I could be deemed “saved” and thus forgotten about. No one would have to worry about me anymore, think about me anymore, and I would just fade into the background of a happily ever after story. As a damsel in distressed I was chosen to be saved out of pity for my circumstances and the more pitiable the circumstances the more glory for the savior. Life taught me that I was chosen to be saved, not out of a desire to truly save me, all of me, but out of a desire for the savior, knight, or prince to earn more glory.

And upon the return of Prince Charming the town erupted into cheers and applause. The children chased after the prince’s horse and house wives paused from hanging their washing to wave and bow to the two riders upon one horse. The rumor going around was that Prince Charming slayed a dragon and freed the damsel from her fiery prison. The damsel was imprisoned for years and thanks to the prince she is free! Free to live a life beside the prince. Free to be remembered as a person of pity, then of salvation, and finally free to forever sing the princes praises to all. Free to give glory but never glorified, because the damsel is only good for saving. She has no other purpose and they lived happily ever after…

I know, it’s a bit extreme, but there is some truth to it especially when my knight in shining armor, is constantly switching between Jesus, my husband, and a made up version of everything I think a husband should be. When I think of Jesus as my savior I’m “ok” with not getting the glory…because I’m not supposed to want His glory. There is so much in me that wants to shout from every mountain about what Jesus has done for me, but I also want someone to shout from the mountains about how wonderful I am too. Is that wrong?

I am totally itching to tell the world about how Jesus saved me from the dragon of anxiety and panic, how he broke open the dungeon door of depression and carried my weak, starving body outside the walls of a prison masquerading as a beautiful castle. It’s a great story really, but what about afterwards? What am I good for afterwards? What about me?

And they lived happily ever after.

WAIT! What happens now that I’m free?

And they lived happily ever after.

I know the end of the story is that I live happily ever after in eternity with Jesus, but there is a moment, a breath of life, a split second in eternity where I am free and not yet happily ever after. There is that moment before the “and”. The knight saved the damsel (breathe in)  AND they lived happily ever after. That moment, that pause right before the “and”; a slight intake of breath before the eternity of happiness. What do I do in that moment? Because that moment is now, and I don’t just want to sit around waiting for the “lived happily ever after”.

And can I find that “what now?” in the REAL reason why the knight saved me? Because I can’t bear to believe that I was saved just for the purpose of that savior to gain glory.

There has to be more to me. I need to be chosen for more than that. I don’t just want to be a pawn used and discarded. Because if I was created just to suffer so someone else can be glorified, then why create me at all?

I Put My Hope In You, Back-Fatless Super Model

My new bathing suits arrived in the mail. Normally, I wouldn’t dream of ordering a bathing suit online…in February. But last year I waited too long and found myself so limited in my options that I ended up wearing a sports bra and compression shorts most of the time. Aside from the fact that the sports bra dyed everything it came into contact with hot pink (including my boobs), it worked pretty well. But this year I would much rather just wear a real bathing suit, and I would really like it to be the right size. So instead of shopping super late and getting all the mismatched sizes that don’t actually fit but can sort of fit, I sucked up my fear and went online to shop for a suit.

Let me tell you something, online shopping for anything clothing related is VERY dangerous for me. The best way to ensure that I will absolutely hate myself in everything I buy is to look at it modeled by an air-brushed model first, and then dream about it for a week while I wait for my magical purchases to come in the mail so it can make me look like an air-brushed model.

Even the “plus” size models (you know, the models that are hired by the “caring” fashion lines to make us “normal” sized people feel good about ourselves) are airbrushed and although they still have their beautiful curves, you know the editor took out some of those back fat rolls. I never once looked at a picture of a plus sized model and thought, “she should not be wearing that in public…” But just about every time I put on a bathing suit I say that to myself. I mean let’s be honest; would YOU buy a bathing suit that shows off your back fat? I wouldn’t…which means I am a huge part of the problem. I am the reason companies airbrush their ads, because I choose to put my hope in the picture of the model and not my creator. I choose to hope in a back fat-less image of myself in my mind rather than the One who ultimately created back fat. And let me tell you something, even a shirt can’t adequately hide my back fat…so why I thought a bathing suit would, I don’t know…

So anyway, I chose to put my hope in a back fat-less image of myself and I knew that’s what I was doing, but I had to do it anyway. I couldn’t seem to bear the thought that maybe, just maybe, no matter what suit I wore, nothing would change the fact that I hated my back fat, the pudge on the side of my armpits, the love handles, and my small, but definitely present double chin. Some part of me had to hope that maybe THIS time I would put on a bathing suit and love what I saw. Maybe THIS time I would be enough.

Luckily, I had days to think about this decision of mine. I was able to recognize where my mind was and thus try and combat the lies. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to combat those lies. Telling yourself that, “you WILL have back fat in your bathing suits and it WILL look beautiful” does not work.

When I put those suits on I DID have back fat and it DID NOT look beautiful. BUT!!! I think I’m keeping both suits. And here’s why:

Something happened to me that never happened to me while trying on a bathing suit. Something was clearly revealed to me (aside from my belly). Actually two things were revealed to me. The first thing was that for the first time in my life my initial thought while wearing a bathing suit was, “Oh damn, I have nice boobs!” and my second thought was, “I look fabulous!” It wasn’t until my third thought that I started being mean, “Dean would still be embarrassed to be seen with me.” It was in that third thought that the second thing was revealed to me: my feelings of being not enough stem from a fear of what I think my husband thinks. Not actually what my husband thinks, but what I think my husband thinks. Actually, I think I have written about this like 50 times, but man, I kep forgetting and going back to it!

Goodness gracious I have so many issues. So, I knew that I feared what my husband thought of me, but I didn’t know that it literally affected my vision. In the span of two seconds I went from, “I look fabulous” to “ewww, back fat! No one should be subject to the torture of seeing my body testing the confines of my bathing suit as a sausage does its casing. And I definitely don’t want to embarrass Dean in front of his friends.”

We are going on vacation with some friends in the next coming months. In reality, these people are the nicest people in the world, but in the sick corners of my head somehow I transform them into really judgmental snobs:

“Did you see Liz trying to sport that bikini?”

“Oh my gosh, yes, I feel so sorry for Dean. How could he have known that she would turn out to be such a chubber later in life?”

“He couldn’t have foreseen it. That’s the hard thing about life: one day you marry a beautifully fit bride and then seemingly out of nowhere she turns into Jabba the Hut.” (Dean’s friends love Star Wars…)

But I had a glimpse; a glimpse of reality; a glimpse of self-love. I had a moment when I thought, “I look fabulous” and it had nothing to do with anyone else. I don’t think it had anything to do with the suits either, but I like those suits, and I am determined to keep them and rock them in the body I have right now and LOVE IT.

So, I need to really start fighting these lies: that my husband and friends are embarrassed by my weight. And honestly, if they are embarrassed by my weight that’s on them, not me.

I have a part in this and it is not “become perfect so everyone will love me and accept me.”

I’m still trying to figure out my part exactly, but I know God is holding me accountable to the times that I use food as a crutch instead of Him. I know my struggle with not feeling enough has something to do with me not thinking God is enough for me. So for right now, that’s my goal; not a goal to lose weight, or to work out every single day without fail, or to count my calories religiously, but a goal to allow God to be enough for me. I want to rely on God when I want to go to food for a “fix”. I want to rely on God instead of a mirror to show me that I’m enough.

I’ve decided to find verses about God being enough for me and then post them around my house, particularly in areas of great temptation: the fridge, the pantry, my mirrors, etc.

I know reading truth during my moments of weakness will help transform my mind. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[b]”

So, I’m testing. I’m not asking God to make me skinny. I’m not testing God with requests like a Genie- “If you really are God you would take away my cravings of all unhealthy things”. He asks us to put his LOVE to the test and that is what I am doing.

Do you ever have times you feel super unwanted and ugly so you go to someone else and try to get them to tell you that you are beautiful and loved? But that person doesn’t quite understand what you need or he does and refuses to give it to you because you are being manipulative or whatever. Do you ever have times like that? I do…all the time. God knew what he was doing when he brought Dean into my life. Dean does not feed my incessant need for affirmation. I’m pretty sure he sees right through my tactics and while that usually pisses me off, I’ve come to realize that what it’s really doing is leaving space for God to be that person for me. Dean cannot be my savior. My cousin said something to me the other day, “Dean was never the one who saved you, he just helped you.” I don’t know if she quite understood the full truth of her statement, but man did that hit me hard. It’s true! Dean did not save me, he brought me to the one who did: Jesus. Dean’s was not called by God to be my everything. As a man, Dean is called to lead me to the one who IS my everything. Damn, I got a pretty good husband, and he’s hot too!

Ok, so going to God… here are the verses I have found so far.

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Learning to Love Peaches…I Mean Liz

I was watching The Bachelor the other day with some friends during our girl’s night and I had a self-sabotaging thought, “I could never be on The Bachelor because I’m not skinny enough.” Every single one of those girls is beautifully thin. If I stood in a lineup of contestants from The Bachelor I would look like Danny DeVito standing next to Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Twins”

But I wasn’t really thinking straight. After some self-loving yoga and prayer I was able to clear my head a tad. I mean why are those girls on that show to begin with? To find a husband? To get married? To find love? I already have all that. And I know that doesn’t mean I am “better off” or “more successful” or whatever. It just means that I would never ever even need or want to go on The Bachelor because I am happily married and in love, so why am I even worrying about what I would look like in a line-up of contestants on The Bachelor?

I could spend all day and tons of energy fighting the societal “requirements” for an eligible contestant on the Bachelor, and how horrible it is that we are showing girls that only the model thin and beautiful are worthy of television and love on television. But honestly, that argument doesn’t renew my mind in the least. Instead it fuels the fire of anger and resentment with a victim mentality. It tricks me into thinking that the only way I will love myself and think I am worthy is if I convince others that they should see me as worthy.

This doesn’t work.

Let me say it again…THIS DOESN’T WORK!

No matter how much you want it, or try to do it, you cannot change someone without their consent.

No, I’m serious. I’m sure I will lose so many of you for saying that, because guess what that means? You are the only thing standing in your way of love. You are the problem.

I AM THE PROBLEM!

Not my past sexual abuse.

Not the porn industry.

Not the extreme expectations our society has for women.

All of those things are problems, but they are not THE PROBLEM. They are not the reason, the root, the foundation of why I feel ugly, worthless, and unlovable.

The problem is me. The problem is that I buy into the lies of my past, of my society, etc. The problem is I don’t fight for myself. The problem is I am blind to the beautiful creation God made me to be.

Dita Von Teese was dead on when she said, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

But what happens if I am the one that doesn’t like peaches? I actually LOVE peaches, but for the sake of this argument let’s say I hate peaches. I hate that fuzz on their skin. I hate that you have to eat around a pit. I hate that the juice gets all over and makes you sticky. And the taste…ugh! Don’t even get me started on the taste. So, I am a peach; a ripe, juicy peach, but I hate peaches. Then what?

It won’t matter if one person loves me or the world loves me, if I still dislike myself. It doesn’t matter if I convince everyone else to love peaches if I still hate peaches. Because while everyone is enjoying peach pie, and peach ice cream, and fresh peaches picked off the tree, I will be miserable because I hate peaches. Someone could be like, “I love to rub the peach fuzz on my face” and I would still think, “ewwww…it’s peach fuzz…” (Which, by the way, I love to rub peach fuzz on my face…I know…it’s weird…it’s just so soft!)

So how do I learn to love peaches, I mean Liz?

I don’t have an answer…yet, anyway. But I plan on documenting what I learn, my mistakes, and my victories.

I feel like I keep writing the same post over and over again, because I just can’t seem to get over this hump. BUT! God has been showing me that there are many layers to my dislike of Liz. One of the first layers I have been working through is trusting Liz — trusting that I have a valid opinion, that my body is capable of communicating it’s needs to me, and that I have the ability to hear God, etc.

So here is the self-loving yoga I practiced this morning. It is suitable for all levels, but my challenge to you is to be completely present in the moment. I had to keep returning to my breath and breathing in deep to find those tight spaces in myself. I had to become aware of the places in my body that needed a little extra love: my neck, my shoulders, and my calves. And when I mean a little extra love, I mean love and caring. Those muscles needed massage, oil, stretching, and REST.

Hi Jesus, I’m really sorry I don’t believe you. I’m sorry I don’t believe you when you say I am loveable just as I am. Please open my eyes. Open my eyes to your beautiful creation: snow, leaves, my son, the wind, color! Oh Jesus, there are so many beautiful and wonderful things you have created! Could I possibly be one of those things too? I know I am, but I don’t feel I am. Anyways, I love you times a million!!!!

Amen