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

Donut Be Ashamed, You Are Sacred

God has once again asked me to read through the bible. Don’t let me give you the wrong impression; I have yet to read through the entire thing. I’ve tried three separate times and every time I gave up. I get caught up in the reading plan, and if I miss a day I feel like I have to read the day I missed and the day I am supposed to be on to catch up, and then the task just becomes too much and I give up. This time I’m reading through chronologically and I’m not beating myself up for getting behind. So far it’s working! I’ve missed some days, but I’ve kept going! I don’t always get through the entire day’s readings because something pricks my interest and I just have to look into it further. I’m finding out that this practice is great for me! It means I’m actually engaging with scripture rather than just trying to get through it.

Anyways, I’ve been reading the book of Exodus and every day becoming increasingly frustrated with the amount of detail that has gone into explaining the construction of the tabernacle. Is it really necessary to have everything just so? I thought God was a God of grace, and yet in these chapters he seems to be a stickler for perfection. The image I get of God is as one of those high maintenance celebrities that needs everything covered in gold and only wants to see tapestries woven of the finest linens in purple, blue, and scarlet. This image of God doesn’t fit the God I have personally come to know and love. And I, being the imperfect sinner that I am, know that I must be looking at this from the wrong perspective, but I just can’t seem to flip perspectives in my head.

I was feeling pretty bad about myself the other day because I ate two donuts. I know that’s ridiculous, but I’ve made a vow to reveal the completely imperfect and broken essence of myself to you. It’s terrifying. But God told me if I do this and let go of my fear of what others think, my pride when others tell me what I should do, and all the other crap that I bring along with me, then He will reveal Himself to me and to others. I have no idea how, but that’s not my job to know. My job is to obey. So, here I am telling you about my two donut guilt.

It’s silly really. I had worked out the calories to eat these donuts and then I felt guilty for working out the calories because I was “falling back into my old ways”. These old ways had begun to give me the body I aspired to have, but not without a price: shame and guilt over everything I ate (Yup, even salad! You know, dressing and a crouton can completely RUIN your body! *Giant eye roll at myself* Goodness gracious!)

Anyways, I was feeling bad, so I decided to start re-reading the passion translation of Song of Songs. If you haven’t read this translation of this particular book of the bible, I urge to you stop everything you are doing and buy this book. Seriously, it has changed my life in so many ways.

The man behind the passion translation, Dr. Brian Simmons, explains that the Song of Solomon (aka Song of Songs) has become a book merely used to express sexuality and to teach of an appropriate relationship between husband and wife. Dr. Simmons continues to say in his introduction, “I believe the Holy Spirit has hidden within the Song of Songs an amazing story – a story of how Jesus makes his bride beautiful and holy by casting out her fear with prefect love. This sent-from-heaven revelation is waiting to be received with all its intensity and power to unlock the deepest places of our heart.”

(SERIOUSLY, READ THIS TRANSLATION!!! I sobbed the first time I read through the entire thing.)

Okay sorry, this is taking me forever. So, I was feeling bad about myself and I decided to go to the book of love letters that Jesus writes to me.

Song of Songs 1:5 (The Passion Translation) (Italics added by me)

[The Shulamite] (Me)

Jerusalem maidens (friends),

In this twilight darkness,

I know I am so unworthy – so in need.

 

[The Shepherd-King] (Jesus)

Yet you are so lovely!

 

[The Shulamite]

I feel as dark and dry as the desert tents

Of the wandering nomads.

 

[The Shepherd-King]

Yet you are so lovely—

Like the fine linen tapestry

Hanging in the Holy Place.

 

These verses brought me back to all of those pages in Exodus where God gives instructions on how to create the fine linen tapestry hanging in the holy place – All of those incessant details. And I understood! All those details, all that intentionality – those tapestries were super special, sacred even! Only the best craftsmen were called to make the tapestries in the holy place and only the best threads and linens were used. And I wasn’t even sure if Jesus was talking about the holy place that he held with the Israelites on earth or the HOLY PLACE in heaven. Can you imagine the beauty if it is the heaven version? But regardless, even the holy place with the Israelites was sacred, well crafted, intentional, special, and of great beauty.

 

Someone on Instagram posted something the other day that stuck with me: “She was a rainbow, but he was color blind.”

 

But in my case I thought of it this way, “Liz is a rainbow, but Liz is color blind.”

 

Lord, please open my eyes to see that many colors you have given me- the threads of scarlet, blue, and purple. Open my eyes to recognize the fine linens you have used to create me- your prized threads. Jesus, I thank you for making me beautiful. Thank you for revealing your intentionality to me – your attention to detail with every aspect of my being. I am so special to you. I am so special to you! Dear Jesus, I don’t understand how but I am so deeply special to you! Thank you! Your love fills me and overflows- A spring of the cleanest, coldest, and most delicious and thirst quenching water. I love you. I love you. I love you.

God Gave Me the Word “Never”

Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I was thinking about creme brulee. I made creme brulee for dessert last night and there were still two uneaten dishes of my favorite dessert sittin’ pretty in the fridge.

I’m not sure which part of my body was telling me that I was still hungry, because I knew in my mind I shouldn’t be hungry, I had eaten enough, but my stomach didn’t feel full…but it didn’t feel hungry either. And my brain was saying, “you shouldn’t be hungry” but it was also saying, “I need something to eat.” And my mouth was saying, “give me goodness!” And part of me is saying, “GO TO SLEEP BEFORE YOU GAIN 500LBS!!!”

Which, of course, meant I was up for another two hours thinking about food and then trying to not think about food, and then getting mad at myself for thinking about food, and then trying to be nice to myself because I had thought about food and then was mean to myself for thinking about food.

“I HATE FOOD!”

“SHUT-UP! I love it!”

Anyways, so I was up thinking about food when finally I said, “NO! In the name of Jesus Christ I renounce these thoughts. And then to keep me from thinking about food and my body image, I started to think about Jesus. It was hard at first, because I was so used to thinking about food and body image, that my mind kept wandering back there. And if I just kept saying, “I will not think about food and body image” then all I could think about was food and body image. So, I started singing a worship song in my head, in the hopes that singing about Jesus might help me become more like Jesus.

Do you know how many worships songs and hymns are about bread? SO MANY!

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my body craves bread. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus is talked of as food for our soul. We sing songs of tasting the goodness of our God, why is that? So much of the bible is about food. The original sin had to do with eating a forbidden fruit. Food is everywhere.

“God, will I ever be able to get away from food?”

“Never” 

“But then why am I doing this?! If I can never get away, doesn’t that mean I will never change? Lord, I fear I will always feel too fat to love. I know I’m not fat, but I feel fat, and food makes me feel fat, and thinking about food makes me feel guilty and ashamed and unworthy. Lord, I am so disheartened, beaten, crushed, and all I want right now is to eat creme brulee.”

“Come to me, I am all you need. I am the bread you desire. I am the goodness you desire. I am the sweetness, the fullness, the greatness, your nourishment. I AM. Life with me flows with milk and honey. You will never be without. In Me, you will never be thirsty. In Me, you will never be hungry. With Me, you will NEVER be too fat to love. Come to me, I am all you need.” 

“Okay.”

 

 

One Does Not Simply Press Into Jesus

My husband gave me new clothes for Christmas. Well, he didn’t actually give me the clothes, but he gave me a visa gift card to use for the clothes, which is even better because we have very different ideas of what looks good. He wanted to make sure I actually went out and bought myself some new clothes. You see, anytime I go out to buy something new, no matter how much I may need it, I tend to talk myself out of it. Somehow I always manage to say, “you don’t need this” or “this is too expensive” or “you wouldn’t need to buy this if you didn’t put on so much weight, so you don’t deserve this” I even try to blame it on my husband “Dean will be like, ‘why did you spend so much on clothes?’”

Dean has never once questioned me on my clothes purchases. But I think he saw that I did this to myself and he wanted to give me a real gift. The gift became more about the guilt-free aspect of shopping for myself rather than the money. Treating myself to something nice, not because I earned it, but just because.  I was so moved, I cried.

Before I go further on to tell you why it’s been almost a month and I haven’t used any of the money yet, I want to tell you something my husband said to me after I hugged him for the gift. He said, “I was scared you were take this the wrong way.”

I didn’t have to ask him what he meant, I knew exactly what he meant, because I had a habit of doing this. And, in complete honesty, those thoughts did rain down on me like flaming arrows for a split second, before I lifted my shield of truth to protect me. Thoughts like, “he must think my clothes look horrible on me, otherwise he wouldn’t give me money to buy new clothes” or “maybe he is doing this because he is embarrassed to be seen with me when I wear my jeans that are clearly too small on me” or “is he trying to encourage me to lose weight with new clothes?” or “He must think I’m ugly” and the arrows could continue attacking if I let them. But not this time! I quickly lifted my shield of truth, “my husband is giving me a guilt-free shopping spree!” “My husband wants me to have nice things!” “My husband wants me to feel good about myself.” “My husband is trying to build me up, not tear me down!”

And yet, here I am a month later and I haven’t done one bit of shopping. Why? Because somehow I made an unspoken goal to myself, “I can’t buy any new clothes until I get back down to my preferred weight.” Apparently, I feel that the body I have now is not worth nice things. I don’t want to go shopping because I’m scared of what I will see in the mirror when I go, I’m scared of the disappointment I will feel when nothing fits right, I’m scared of going up another pant size….again, I’m scared I won’t be able to find my size on the rack because I am notoriously in between normal sizes and plus sizes and apparently women my size don’t deserve clothing because we are unidentifiable as normal or fat so no one knows what types of clothes we “should” be wearing. I’m scared I will come home and realize I have to lose 20lbs just so I can feel good about myself again. I’m scared I will find exactly what I want and put it on and realize that my calves have once again ruined a perfect outfit. I’m scared I will inadvertently buy clothing made by poor, starving children who are not paid nearly enough and as a result I am just encouraging the mistreatment of these poor innocent children. Ok, so that last one, I kind of just said that so you would think I’m not completely self-involved. And even though I cried when I watched documentaries on this subject, when I go shopping all I think about is I want, I want, I want, I want, me, me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, mine, now, now, now, now…..sigh.

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But that’s a different issue entirely, back to the point.

Yesterday, I split a pair of jeans and not because I was too big and they were too small, but because I actually wear out my jeans. Before puberty I wore my jeans out at the knees from exploring, playing army, climbing trees, wading in creeks, etc. After puberty my butt became increasingly competitive and was determined to wear out my jeans before my knees did. And although holey jeans are pretty trendy, split jeans are not. So when my husband came home from work I said, “I split a pair of my jeans today and now I can finally go use some of that money!” His response?

“That’s not the point.”

I thought about it. I guess it wasn’t the point. The point was to treat myself, and here I am waiting until it becomes a necessity so I don’t feel guilty about treating myself, because when it comes down to it, I don’t think this body is worthy of special treatment. I don’t think this body deserves to look beautiful, because then I will settle for fat, right? I know this doesn’t make sense, but in my head it makes so much sense!

Part of me desperately wants to hang on to this money until I lose the weight so I can feel completely guiltless and good about myself. But what if I never lose the weight? In the past it didn’t matter if I lost weight, because I always wanted to lose more, it was never enough weight to allow me to feel good enough. I know weight loss is not the answer. Losing weight will not magically make me feel worthy of nice things, worthy of new clothes, worthy of beauty, and worthy of my husband’s love and affection.

I’m not saying weight loss is bad at all. I’m just saying, I’ve been trying to fix a worth problem with a weight solution. New clothes won’t make me feel worthy either, that would be trying to fix a worth problem with a clothes solution. The only fix to my worth is Jesus.

The end.

Yay, rainbows, puppies, unicorns, happily ever after.

(Insert HUGE eye roll here)

I know Jesus IS the answer, but whenever I say that in my head I think of that one lady in church who counters everything you say with, “Just press in to Jesus.” Even though there is incredible truth behind her statement, I get the feeling she has never actually done it herself. And even though I have done it before in parts of my life, I have not done it for this layer of my life, so I want to turn into Boromir from Lord of the Rings and say to myself (and her), “One does not simply press into Jesus.”

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Before I press in, I have to let go. I have to let go of my dreams of being skinny. I have to let go of my dreams of having a pair of jeans that perfectly sits on my trim waist and shows off just a tiny bit of perfectly formed lady abs: not too chiseled, but still defined. I have to let go of the idea that my worth comes from my size. I have to let go of the expectation that if I slim down my husband will never ever even be tempted to let his gaze fall on another woman.

Pressing in isn’t just pressing in, it has a lot to do with letting go.

Mark 10:46-52

Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
46
Next, they came to Jericho. And as Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho with a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48Many people admonished him to be silent, but he cried out all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man. “Take courage!” they said. “Get up! He is calling for you.”

50Throwing off his cloak, Bartimaeus jumped up and came to Jesus.

51“What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“Rabboni,” said the blind man, “I want to see again.”

52“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Bartimaeus threw off his cloak! Ok, I want to clarify this for you, a man’s cloak was not simply a coat. It was his shelter. Bartimaeus was blind, he could not work, his cloak was probably one of his only possessions. But in order to reach Jesus as fast as he could, he threw it off! Instead of drawing it in around him so he didn’t stumble over it, and risking it getting caught on the limbs of others in the crowd and pulling him back. I imagine it’s like when I walk by a door, chair, or cabinet and my slouchy cardigan catches onto some piece of it and yanks me backwards with surprise. Bartimaeus didn’t want to risk going one more moment without Jesus so he literally threw off his shelter, his possession, his only worth to reach Him without delay.

One does not simply press into Jesus. One must throw off everything that could delay pressing into Jesus. One must throw off anything that could separate oneself from Jesus. And that means identifying what it is I get my worth from.

What does that mean for me? I’m throwing off this desire to be thin. I’m letting go of this desire to try and control my husband’s thoughts about me. I’m done judging my worth by my weight. I want to know what Jesus says. I want to know Jesus’ healing.

And Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

“I want to know that you have chosen me, you love me, and you think I am beautiful.”

“Go, your faith has healed you.”

Will you worship with me? Closer by Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger 

Caught in a Loop

I’m caught in a loop. This happens to me when I don’t fully work through something. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try.

There are all these thoughts in my head, like little pieces of track to a rollercoaster. Each thought brings me up, brings me down, toggles me, or maybe sends me upside down, etc. Some thoughts are even those super intense moments, when the coaster is at a complete stop and you are waiting for it to start, filled with anticipation, but completely in the moment. All you see is what is right ahead of you, and you swing your legs as they dangle (assuming it’s a leg dangling rollercoaster), and you suddenly forget you have to pee even though moments prior the attendant pressed your harness right into your bladder to ensure that your guts were also harnessed in safely and wouldn’t pour out your mouth the second you went upside down. So, those are the thoughts in my head, actually those are the thoughts about the thoughts in my head. So this loop, somehow my thoughts have created a loop that just keeps repeating itself. Instead of hitting the loop, being thrown upside down for a second, feeling my butt raise off the seat a smidge, almost releasing my bladder out of my mouth, and then being righted once more and continuing on; I am hitting the loop and then just staying in it. There is no exit!

Here is the loop: “My husband thinks I’m disgusting.”

First of all, how dare I?! How dare I claim to know my husband’s thoughts, who do I think I am, God? Nuh huh, Liz, get down from that throne, you look like a lego sitting on daddy’s recliner. One of the most important tools I learned in my years of recovery was to “stay in my own lane.” Meaning, that it is not safe or productive for me to try and figure out what someone else is thinking. And 90% of the time (made up statistic, it’s just a guess) I’m wrong about their thoughts anyway.

But no matter how many times I tell myself the latter, I still find myself in this loop. Typically, this happens because I haven’t fully worked through the loop, which means the loop isn’t just, “My husband thinks I’m disgusting.” There is more to the loop. I know what that piece of loop is, but I don’t want to tell you. It makes me a horrible person. I’ve tried to keep this little part of the loop to myself in the hopes that I could continue my journey from “too fat” to LOVE without it, but it seems that this one little piece of the loop is the exit piece. Until I work through this little piece I cannot leave the loop.

I hesitate to share this for three reasons: 1.) it will make me look bad, 2.) I’m scared you will mistake my thoughts for my husband’s words and think he is a jerk; he’s not, and 3.) that maybe you will think it’s about you. It’s not about you!

Ok, so remember that discussion that my husband and I had over the summer about my overeating and weight gain? Here is the little tic tac of information that is forever throwing me for a loop:

That day on the beach he did say, “I’m worried about you: you’ve been putting on weight and overeating. I’m scared you’re going to wake up three years from now and realize you are 300 pounds. I don’t want you to struggle just to run around and play with our kids.” But I’ve left out two words. And at first I convinced myself I left out these two words to protect the innocent. But really, I left out these two words to protect the guilty…myself.

“I’m worried about you: you’ve been putting on weight and overeating. I’m scared you’re going to wake up three years from now and realize you are 300 pounds, like So-and-so*. I don’t want you to struggle just to run around and play with our kids.”

*I changed So-and-so’s name to protect the identity of the innocent.

“…like So-and-so.”

“…like So-and-so.”

“…like So-and-so.”

Now that I say it, I know this is why I am stuck in this stupid loop. Because every time I say, “…like So-and-so” I shudder with fear and, oh gosh, I can’t even write it. I shudder with…

…disgust.

I’m so ashamed.

I actually shudder with fear and disgust at the thought that I might be “like So-and-so.” My entire approach to fixing this problem has been to not be “…like So-and-so.” Who the hell do I think I am? What makes me so incredible that I can be disgusted by someone else?

So this loop in my head isn’t just, “My husband thinks I’m disgusting.” The real loop is, “My husband thinks I’m disgusting, like how I think So-and-so is disgusting.”

Oh, I so desperately want to defend myself right now, but I can’t. It’s pointless, because no matter what I say, the fact of the matter is that I still find another human being’s appearance disgusting.

It makes me think of Matthew 7:1-2

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

It makes sense that I feel like I disgust others when I can so easily find someone else disgusting. The verse doesn’t say who I will be judged by. I always assumed it meant that if I judged others a certain way than others would judge me that way. I don’t think that now. I think it’s saying if I judge others a certain way than I judge myself that way too. Those thoughts become so much more than just a thought about a person. They become a way I live my life.

For example, it disgusts me when So-and-so’s too-small-shirt rides up and exposes her skin below. Not because it’s skin, but because the shirt clearly does not fit anymore, and it makes me uncomfortable to be visually confronted with the fact that she was once one size and is now a drastically bigger size. All I think of when I see that skin is, “no self-control, lots of overeating, no self-love.” (Gosh, I disgust myself. I can’t believe I am even sharing these thoughts with you.) So out of fear I try not be like that. I strive to have self-control, to not overeat, and to love myself. Just the other day I leaned forward while feeding my baby boy a bottle and my too-small-t-shirt rode up over my now pudgy tummy and when my husband, without me having to ask him, pulled my shirt back down because my arms were busy with the baby I thought, “Oh God, he thinks I’m just like S0-and-so.” When my goal is to not be “like So-and-so” I fail every single time!

You know what? Praise Jesus that I fail every single time. Praise Jesus that he does not let me get away with being mean and judgmental. Praise Jesus that He is calling me out on my crap because I can’t take being disgusting anymore! Isn’t it crazy? My fear of being disgusting has made me disgusting!

Oh Jesus, save me! I am stuck in this pit of mucky-muck and I need you to get me out!

And here is my vision:

Jesus isn’t just throwing me a rope from his clean patch of grass on the side of the pool of mucky-muck. No, Jesus is stepping into the mucky-muck. He is walking towards me, fearless of the muck, fearless of getting dirty or stuck. He swiftly approaches me and he grabs my shoulders and he pulls me close into his chest as a mother hugs her child after the child had wandered off in the mall and had gotten lost. He looks at my face, runs his hand down my cheek, kisses my forehead (which is covered in splotches of oozy brownish-green muck by the way) with a single intense kiss, and hugs me close again.

That’s where the vision ends. Damn, I was hoping he was going to unstick my legs and get me out of the mucky-muck, but I guess right now there are more important things to do: hug my savior and bask in his safety and love.

Thank you, Jesus.

Worship with me: Nothing Holding Me Back by Kalley Heiligenthal

Now nothing is holding me back from You

 Redeemer of my soul

 Now nothing can hold me back from You

 Your Love will never let me go

 

Thank You for Your death and resurrection

 Thank You for the power of Your blood

 I am overwhelmed by Your affection

 The Kindness and the Greatness of Your Love

 The Kindness and the Greatness of Your Love

 

 

 Jesus, You make all things new

The Battle of Dunkin’ Donuts

It was 2:30pm and my afternoon sugar craving was raging at full force. I had been trying for the past 30 minutes to ignore it, but no, the cravings were fighting strong and not giving up. I decided the baby and I would go for a walk in the direction of Dunkin’ Donuts. It would only take me 30 minutes to walk there, and the walk there and back would negate the donut I was going to eat, right? But good Lizzy and fat Lizzy both knew that I couldn’t eat just one donut. And we both knew that I would need a large sugary coffee to wash it down, especially since I was so tired. I strapped the baby into my Tula carrier, locked up, and began walking. The entire stretch of my street was a battle between good and fat.

“You don’t need donuts, this brisk walk will wake you up.”

“But donuts will taste so good right now, especially after such a hard day.”

“No, that’s a lie!”

“That’s not a lie, they WILL taste good!”

“But the guilt afterwards won’t be worth it.”

“But, you are walking there…there doesn’t need to be guilt!”

I felt like Jan from the Brady Bunch movie: eyes wide, mouth stretched in a creepy fake smile, and moving my head side to side as the voices inside my head battled for my allegiance.

I made it to the first traffic light and was faced with a decision: straight towards Dunkin’ donuts or take a right and skip it?

I took a right! I did it! Look at all that will power! Nice, ok, let’s go see the horses instead!

But then I remembered I could take the long way to Dunkin’ Donuts. There was still a way, I need only take a left at the next traffic light. Damn this brain of mine!

I reached the traffic light and faced my next decision: I could stop and wait for the walk sign and head on my donut-less way, or I could take a left without stopping and head for the donuts. I mean really, even if I went to the left I didn’t HAVE to get a donut. I would just have more time to change my mind.

NO! That would be taking a step in the wrong direction, and then it would be even easier to keep taking steps in the wrong direction. I changed my mind about 50 times while waiting for the all clear to walk across the busy road. But when the little blue man beckoned me to cross the street, I did. In fact, I ran to the other side.

I did it! I went and saw the horses instead! What a victory!

And then when I returned home an hour later I ate two chili dogs and had two pieces of toast generously slathered in butter and not just dusted with cinnamon sugar, but a full on blizzard of cinnamon and sugar. Yea, that was probably worse than the donuts.

What is wrong with me? I keep telling myself that when these cravings hit I’m going to stop everything and journal. I’m going to ask myself what it is I really want. What is it I’m hungry for spiritually, physically, and emotionally? But when the time comes, I run; not literally, otherwise I would probably still fit into my workout clothes. But I think, “Ehhh, I’ll do it NEXT time” or “I’m actually just hungry right now.”

And do you know what the worst part is? I’m still craving those darn donuts!


 

Here is something cool, as I was proofing this before posting it, God showed me something.

Satan would LOVE for me to stay in a place of shame over what happened. He would love for me to focus on what I didn’t do, instead of what I did do in this circumstance. But me eating those chili dogs and toast is NOT the entire story. The war has not been won (actually, it has, and guess what, I win… I know I do because Jesus says so**), right now I am fighting battles. I lost the battle of the chili dogs and toast (and let me tell you, about an hour later I REALLY lost the battle of the chili dogs…) but I won the battle of Dunkin’ Donuts! AND not just that, but when I had my craving I decided to WALK instead of drive. And not just that, but I THOUGHT about facing my emotional cravings before I decided not to face them, and before this month,  I would never have even recognized a need to face the emotional side at all. So although there were some gruesome casualties there were also some very awesome victories!

 

**

 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
 John 16:33

You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

2 Chronicles 20:17

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

It’s a Coverup

I just finished reading the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio and let me tell you it was AMAZING! The book just showed up on the suggested books page of my library app and it looked good so I checked it out. And then God spoke to me throughout the entire thing! I laughed, I cried, I felt ashamed, I felt validated, and it all revolved around physical appearance.wonder_cover_art

The main character, Auggie, is a fifth grader who is starting school for the first time (outside of home school). Auggie has a cranial-facial abnormality that caused his face to be severely deformed. Auggie spends a lot of time wishing he had a different face, and as I got to know Auggie as a character, this desire broke my heart. I don’t want to say too much, because I want you to read this book yourself. I want you to fall in love with Auggie for yourself, not out of pity but out of genuine love for who he is as a character.

Auggie used to wear a space helmet everywhere he went to keep people from gasping at the sight of his face. He felt it was so much better for them to think he was weird for wearing a helmet that covered his face than to look at him in fear because of his face. But what Auggie’s father said to him one day, got me thinking about how God thinks about me:

“’Come on, Auggie, please try to understand,’ he continued, putting his hand under my chin and tilting my face toward him. “You were wearing that helmet all the time. And the real, real, real, real truth is: I missed seeing your face, Auggie. I know you don’t always love it, but you have to understand…I love it. I love this face of yours, Auggie, completely and passionately. And it kind of broke my heart that you were always covering it up.’”

What do I cover up that God loves about me? I’m always making excuses for my weight. As if I have to justify myself to others or even protect others from feeling embarrassed or ashamed for me. I know this isn’t the same. I know I don’t have a deformed face, and I know I’m not morbidly obese, but the fact of the matter is, I have become a victim of my body.

I’m still trying to sort this all out in my head. Because part of my weight problem is an over-indulgence issue and part of it is a refusal to accept what God has given me. Could the over-indulgence issue be a symptom of a refusal to accept myself? Just like how Auggie used his space helmet to cover the face he did not want?

In a weird way I think I use my weight and beauty as a way to protect myself from rejection. Stick with me here, I know it’s backwards, but here it is:

I’m scared of what others think of me. I’m scared they will reject the real me: the goofy, silly, clumsy, creative, dancing like a fool and making up songs about nothing, me. I’m scared they will reject the me that has absolutely nothing to do with my body size. Right now if someone rejects me I can blame it on my weight. I can just be like, “Oh I must not look like the right kind of friend” or “my husband doesn’t think I’m pretty because my t-shirt is too small and keeps riding up over the little tire of chub around my belly and it disgusts him.” Just to be clear, these are MY thoughts. I have NO IDEA what anyone else is thinking about me. They probably aren’t even thinking about me at all.

But with these thoughts, I am aware of “why” I’m being rejected. So then I can explain away rejection in my mind and I can apologize to others for my weight. People don’t have to go behind my back and be like, “yea, I’m not her friend because she is fat and ugly.” Because, I “know” it already. But this is not reality! I’ve been living in a false reality and I have absolutely no idea how to get out of it. It’s like, when I don’t let people dislike the real me, I also don’t let people like the real me. When I protect myself from hurt, I rob others from the gift of me.

And if you message me and say, “just accept who you are” or “Jesus loves you the way you are” or “it doesn’t matter what other people think”, you may be speaking truth but you’re wasting your time and mine. It’s not that easy. I’m not writing this in search of compliments, I’ve done that for years, it doesn’t work. I’m not writing this to hear about the latest diet you tried, or the workouts you do, I’ve tried that, it doesn’t work. I’m not trying to be a bitch here, I’m just being honest with you. It doesn’t work because no matter what I try, I’m still the one trying it! I’m the problem and I’m gonna tell you this right now, YOU CANNOT FIX ME. Only God can fix me. Only Jesus can fix me.

Does this brokenness of mine make you uncomfortable? Good. It’s reality. Reality isn’t comfortable. Jesus isn’t needed in comfortable. Please, let me be broken right now, because this is what is driving me towards the only one that can fix me.

I know this sounds harsh, but let me try to explain this in a different way. It’s like when I had a face full of zits back in middle school. I had no idea that the best thing for my face was simply a hot wash cloth to clean it and olive oil to moisturize. My mom had her own skin care regiment that worked for her and so I adopted it as well. Only, I didn’t realize that my skin was different than hers so instead of removing the pimples from my face, I managed to dry out my face and get more pimples! What the heck?

So a friend of mine said, “I know what to do! Here’s some cover-up.” And so I began using foundation and cover-up on my face to mask the zits and give the illusion that I had a clear face. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still use cover-up and foundation for the occasional zit when I’m going out someplace nice, but I don’t use it as a solution anymore. In middle school, cover-up was my daily solution to zits, but the reality was that the cover-up was clogging my pores even more and exacerbating the problem. The more cover-up I used, the more cover-up I needed. When cover-up was my solution I still had a big problem on my face. The cover-up may have given me the illusion of perfection at first, but after a while the bumpiness, redness, and puss of my face could be seen even through the cakiest of cover-up jobs. I had to let go of what I thought was the solution. I had to let go of the fear that my face may become more zitty before it got better. I had to give it time to get better and I had to stop covering up the problem even if that meant people would see my imperfection. So when my imperfect, zitty face made my friend uncomfortable once again and she said, “Hey, here’s some cover-up.”I knew in the long run it wouldn’t fix my problem, and it would actually make it worse, so I was able to resist. But if she were to put it on my face and I saw how it helped my appearance jut the tiniest bit, I know I would feel just a little bit better, and risk starting the cover-up process all over again.

I seek the affirmation and approval of others. Every time you tell me, “but you’re so beautiful” or “what are you talking about? You’re not fat!” or “Just accept yourself for who God created you to be!” It doesn’t actually help me. It covers my brokenness with a thin layer of cover-up. I leave thinking, “Oh, I’m not that bad…” But I’m done being “not that bad” I want to be “radiant!”

I’m done covering up. And I’m done covering-up other people’s imperfections too. I’m going to start searching for the REAL solution and I have a feeling it’s going to look very different from what I’ve been doing.

Awww Manna, I Am Sick of Manna

Exodus 16:32-35

31The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey. 32Then Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded, ‘Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”33Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omerful of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations.” 34As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony, to be kept. 35The sons of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

Whenever I read about the Israelites wandering through the desert I get very self-righteous: “Dudes, just accept the awesome provision God is giving you! You’re in a desert and He is providing you with food, daily! Get over that boredom you have with it. It’s a miracle.” But I always seem to forget that these people have been wandering in a desert for decades!!!! I’m sure the Israelites were done praising God for his miracle of manna and had moved on to asking God to get them out of that stupid desert! I bet it was easy to lose sight of the miracle when the focus became the question: “Why, God, Why??!! If you brought us out of the desert then we would’t NEED the Manna anymore. Why are you keeping us here? Why should we keep following you? This is crap and not what I signed up for.”

I was reading more about the ark of the covenant and stumbled upon this quote from the-tabernacle-place.com  “The pot of manna was an uncomfortable reminder that despite what God had provided for them, the Israelites had rejected Gods provision.”

My first thought, “idiots…”

So of course I had to ask myself the question, “What does God provide me with and what do I reject?”

My answer: “His love.”

I keep having this thought, “If God loved me He would answer my prayers and I would finally be able to lose this weight. I would finally be able to wear high top converses with shorts and like what I saw in the mirror because my calves wouldn’t be ginormous. I would finally be able to wear those cute mid-drift tops with maxi skirts. I would finally be able to wear a bikini and stop worrying that my husband was looking at every other lady on the beach and wishing my body looked like that instead of what it does look like. I would finally be able to wear those slouchy, boxy, comfy tops without looking like I weigh 300lbs. I would finally stop wearing out the thighs of my jeans so quickly and splitting my pants all the time. I would be able to wear leggings in public without feeling like my giant ass was offending everyone, I would be able to drink a beer in front of women who weren’t drinking without feeling like they were thinking, “Oh, that’s why she is the size she is…”and the list goes on and on.

This is ridiculous! I know it’s ridiculous, but I can’t stop feeling this way. It doesn’t matter how many times I repeat the following verses in hopes that it will stick, because my heart isn’t in it. My mind wants to believe, but I just don’t feel it.

Do not let your beauty come from the outside. It should not be the way you comb your hair or the wearing of gold or the wearing of fine clothes. Your beauty should come from the inside. It should come from the heart. This is the kind that lasts. Your beauty should be a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great worth and no amount of money can buy it.” 1 Peter 3:3-4  Mmmhmmm, ok , but I want to be beautiful in my husband’s sight and my sight and other people’s sight. I want all those people who hurt me to look at me and say, “Oh, I was wrong about her.” 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16  But what about my outward appearance? Am I doomed to look like this forever? Uggggggg….

Instead of inspiring me these verses depress me. I know my motivations are wrong. I have had people send me verses about why I should believe I am beautiful the way I am, why I am thinking the wrong way, why I am striving after the wrong things,  and blah blah blah. But I’m blind, I’m blind and I cannot see. I need more than just bible verses and prayer. I need a miracle. It doesn’t matter how much I try to see my beauty if I’m blind. Because no amount of my will can make me see it because I’m blind! I need Jesus. I need Jesus to spit in some mud and smear it on my eyes and say, “Go wash the mud away in the spring” and then miraculously my sight is restored.

 

God Calls Me on My Bull Shit

I’m not sure God would say the words “bull shit”, but I mean He is the creator of the world so I know He could say it. Regardless, He is calling me out on my Bull Shit.

I wrote a blog entry yesterday about the many hurts I have had through the years about my body. Offensive things that others have said to me about my body that I then continued to replay over and over in my head. I wasn’t trying to blame these people for all of my pain, after all, none of them recorded what they said and then played it back every time I looked in the mirror. That was my doing. But I still wanted to be a victim.

Luckily, I didn’t have time to proofread and post that entry. All day, God was challenging me on my motives. He started challenging me on the motives of my dares. He started challenging me on the motives of all my posts. He called me to write, yes, but He called me to write about my struggle, not to try and get followers or readers. He called me to write about my brokenness so His greatness will be glorified, not to try and justify myself. He did not call me to put up a facade of “having my stuff together” and knowing what exactly God wants me to do to feel beautiful and loved. In reality, I have no idea how to love myself, if I did, I wouldn’t dislike myself.

I wanted to put up another dare challenge, but God hasn’t dared me to do anything more yet. Actually, that’s not true…God has challenged me to read my bible every single day. But that seemed too boring to post, and it didn’t seem like it went hand in hand with me feeling beautiful and letting go of my Chunky Monkey mentality.

Last night as I laid in bed reflecting on how beautiful and thin all my new bible study gals were, God asked me this:

“If I were fat would I be less of a great God? If Jesus was fat would you refuse to follow him?”

I tried to avoid the question by saying, “God you can’t be fat because you are perfect and fatness is not a form of perfection.”

“Says who? Says you: Liz, a tiny little blip in the expanse of eternity? You did not create beauty. You did not create perfection. How could you possibly know? Answer my question: If I were fat would I be less of a great God? Would my appearance change all that I have done for you? Would my appearance diminish my promises? Would my appearance negate my love?”

“Of course not!! But your appearance would not be a result of sin…”

I want you to look into that, my dear.” 

 

Food Hoarding

I raced down the basement steps early one morning before school. My mom kept our school lunch provisions in the basement store room so we knew they were only for school lunches. Eating a Dunkaroos, Twinkie, or fruit cup on a day that wasn’t meant for school lunches was out of the question. My three brothers and I kept a tight inventory of all of the school lunch provisions and this morning was an important morning. Dunkaroos came in packs of six and there were four of us kids. This meant that my oldest brother, J, would have already taken the fifth Dunkaroo for his high school lunch and there was one Dunkaroo left for me and my other two brothers to fight over. There was of course an unopened box of donut sticks for the losers to open, but Dunkaroos were rare in our household and worth a fight. My youngest brother was still in elementary school and wouldn’t be up until after my middle brother and I were on the bus to middle school. But when I went into the Dunkaroos box it was empty. I heard my middle brother sliding on his heels down the steps in hopes of making it to the bottom of the steps faster than if he ran. He was ready to wrestle for the Dunkaroo, it wasn’t claimed until it was in a brown paper bag. But when he burst through the store room door he saw me holding the Dunkaroo box with a perplexed look on my face. He quickly snatched the box from my hands and looked inside to confirm what he already knew to be true: the sixth Dunkaroo was missing.

We both mulled over the scenario in our heads, silently hoping to reveal the fate of the missing Dunkaroo before the other.

“Did you eat it?”

“No, did you?”

“No.”

So, it was either the oldest or the youngest who would be getting in trouble for this. But as we tried to crack the case of the missing Dunkaroo my youngest brother nonchalantly walked into the store room, reached behind a can of minestrone soup, and pulled out the last Dunkaroo before sprinting up the stairs and hollering, “MOM!!!” at the top of his lungs, in the hopes that my mom would save him from the wrath he was about to face.

Hiding food: I had never thought of it before. I was astonished that my youngest brother had out witted me with that Dunkaroo. He must have figured out, when he was making his lunch the day before, that he wouldn’t even get a chance to get a second Dunkaroo because he got up so late, so he hid a Dunkaroo. This practice soon became a norm in our household, and early morning lunch making turned into a hide and seek of provisions. Hiding food soon became hoarding food. We would hide items the second the box was opened and no one was around. I remember checking on my items to ensure their hiding places were not found out. I would hide items days in advance to ensure I would have something good every single day. I would search for my brothers’ hiding places so I could take their hoarded items to lunch first and then later pack my items when all the other good things were gone.

I didn’t realize I still had a hoarding problem until, well, yesterday. I was reading Exodus 16 about the manna and the Israelites. God told the Israelites to only collect enough manna for the day. He told them not to hoard any manna, and when some hoarded it anyway, the manna they were hoarding became maggoty and smelly and unfit to eat.

My initial thought was, “You stupid idiots, why would you hoard if God told you not to? Don’t you trust that God is taking care of you and will provide you with everything you need?” For the past two years I have started a new practice while reading my bible. If at any point, while reading I think, “I would never do that” I stop and think about where in my life I am doing just that.  Yup, I was definitely hoarding. I don’t hoard like I did back when I was in school, I’m not hiding my food from anyone else, but instead I’m collecting candy and keeping it in my pantry, you know, in case the sweet cravings become too much and I just need a sugar fix. I’m really setting myself up for success with that mindset, huh? I keep candy I wouldn’t otherwise eat, just in case. I keep stale chewy jolly ranchers, just in case. I keep chocolate that starts getting white on the outside, just in case. I can’t throw away candy because what if I find myself with a huge sugar craving and without a source of sugary goodness? The world will most definitely end if this scenario ever comes to pass.


 

What is wrong with me? Why am I so scared of being without sweets? What is it that sugar even gives me other than a headache and a queasy stomach? Goodness. I want goodness. I crave sweets when I need something good. And I’m starting to realize it’s not just something good to eat, but goodness in general. When I’m tired or unfulfilled, I look for fulfillment from food. But it’s so short lived. And afterwards I feel worse than I did before and then I end up doing it all over again because I need goodness more than I did before the binge. And the cycle continues, with some workouts peppered in there to help me feel less guilty about my overeating. This is an addiction.

And at least the Israelites were hoarding something they needed. I don’t NEED sugar to survive. I have food. I have never been without food. Well, I guess the Israelites didn’t really NEED their hoarded manna either, because God was providing for them daily. So why don’t I trust God to provide me with the daily goodness I need? Why am I not even going to Him when I crave goodness? Do I not trust Him?

And there it is again, “Do I trust God will provide for my every need?” My brain trusts that He will provide, but I live as if I don’t trust Him to do so.