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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Lies By Which I live my Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“So how far along are you?”

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

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

“Oh, ummm…ok.”

 

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

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

My body is doing this wrong.

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

What can I change to make it right?

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

How can I be the best at pregnancy?

 

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

What if I can’t ever drop this weight?

What if I put on loads more weight?

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

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

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

I need to do more yoga.

I need to do some workout videos.

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

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

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

The 7 Lies:

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

 

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

 

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

Lizzy’s 10 Crappy Steps to Feel Love

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

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

Lizzy’s 10 Crappy Steps to Feel Love:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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