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

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.

 

Results of Dare #1

God called me to fast mirrors a little bit ago, and I’ve been chomping at the bit to get started. I was so ready to have an excuse to stop verbally abusing myself. If I couldn’t see my reflection, then I wouldn’t be able to point out all my flaws, right?

But after God called me to fast mirrors He showed me that this fast would need preparation, which, brought about Dare #1. dare1-post-itUnfortunately, Dare #1 meant looking in the mirror to find out what my thoughts actually were. Here are the results:

  1. How’s the hair looking? Meh, just ok…
  2. Where is that damned little chin whisker I keep feeling? Oh my gosh, where did all these chin hairs come from?! Eeewww, I am literally becoming Chewbacca. BBBBBRRRRRrrrrraaaaaaa
  3. That’s a pimple…that’s another pimple…and another…gotta pop them all!
  4. Woah, remember not to put your head in that position ever again, otherwise people we see that rolly polly double chin of mine.
  5. Can you see my roots? Ick, yup…so bad.
  6. Thank God I got my hair done and no longer have to see my roots!
  7. How does this shirt look? Any stomach lumps? What about back fat? Can you see the outline of my belly button? Yup, to all three…I need to change.
  8. What about these pants? How’s the muffin top? (*My muffin top is all that, whole grain low-fat, I know you want a piece of that, but I just wanna dance!*) Out of control! Woooo, why do you even still own these pants?! Because, when I do finally fit into them I will feel like I accomplished something. What, no longer being fat? I am NOT fat! Well, maybe a little…No, I’m not! That’s not what your husband said. Woah, excuse me, he did NOT say I was fat! Stop taking that conversation out of context! Well, you certainly FELT fat after that conversation… *Nice Imagination Liz walks away from Bully Imagination Liz*

Ouch. I am brutal. I fight dirty and don’t give up. Do you know what the worst part is? In writing down these abusive arguments I have with myself, I remembered something I said to someone in high school. I don’t want to write it down. It’s so mean, and I can’t even believe I would dream of saying that to another human being. But I guess if I can say it to myself, what is stopping me from saying it to someone else? I don’t want to own up to it, but I’m going to. Those words are floating around in the universe and I need to take responsibility for them so that Jesus can cleanse me of it.

I sat with a group of boys and girls at a lunch table in our high school cafeteria. A larger girl (but by no means fat) walked by our table and one of our group pointed out that, “she is way too big to be wearing that outfit.” We all laughed. Then someone pointed out that it looked like she had been crying. Another girl said, “yea, I heard her dance teacher told her she couldn’t continue dancing pointe.” My response….

“Her dance teacher was probably worried she would break her feet trying to hold up her fat ass.”

And we all laughed.

Did she hear? Did someone tell her? Do you know what the worst part is? I don’t even remember specifically who it was.

How could I say something like that? How can I continue to say things like that to myself? Why do I still think those things about other people when I want to love them? How do I stop this? How do I change these thoughts? I don’t want to be a mean girl anymore, even if it is just in my thoughts.

I started searching in my bible for answers, because I know it must be different than what I have been trying. I have tried to be good and nice and loving for years, but clearly those thoughts still exist and they still come out, although maybe not towards others as often as they did in high school, but they still come out towards me on an hourly basis.  I was surprised at how clear God can be through these ancient words. I’ve read these verses a bazillion times, but once again they are coming alive today for what I need now. (I wonder when the greatness of God will stop surprising me – hopefully never.)

Romans 8:5-8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

“5 For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. 6 Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever]; 7 the mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God.”

Okay, so I must be living by the flesh instead of by the spirit. I hold myself to standards of the flesh and thus I hold others to standards of the flesh, but all this does is produce hurt, death, and hostility. So, how do I live by the spirit? How do I let go of my fleshly desires and standards. I have this fear that if I let go of dieting, of calorie counting, of food, of my workout schedule that I’m going to become fat…too fat to love. What if Jesus’ plan for me is to be fat? What if His will for me is to be of average beauty and average or big size so others aren’t intimidated by me? What if? What if my husband dies and I’m alone and ugly and fat and then I’ll be alone forever. What if? What if God created me to be big and my husband rejects me for it. 

How do I let go of those fears when I have no idea what new thing I’m going to be grasping onto? 

 

 

 My Dear child, oh, my beautiful ,radiant daughter, I did not give you a spirit of fear and timidity by of power, love, and self-control (2 Tim 1:7). Do you know who I AM? Do you know my nature? Do you know how I treat my children? Maybe this isn’t about who you fail to be as much as it is about who I AM. You don’t seem to know me, the real me. If you knew Me, you would know that my will is good and perfect. I will not abandon you or harm you. I want what is best for you. You would be letting go of your fears to hold on to My hand, not some unknown thing. Come to Me, Come to know Me, the real Me. You will be amazed at the plans I have for you. 

Hey Jesus,

I’m done trying to be the king of my heart. I’m done trying to take your place. I’m done judging others and myself. I don’t want to fill this heart with more muck and tar and death. I want to keep it clean, I want goodness to ooze from me. I want you to shine through. Since I don’t know how to think good thoughts about me, I’m just going to think about you. I’m going to learn about you. I’m going to dwell on your nature. I’m going to fill myself with you, so maybe someday I’ll see you when I look in the mirror. I love you. I need you. I need you in every moment of everyday.

Amen.

 

WORSHIP WITH ME: “King of my Heart” by Steffany Gretzinger