Truth and Dare #1

God has been calling me to fast for a couple years now. Most of the time I just ignore Him, but when I do listen I’m never  able to do it. It always turns into me hoping to get skinny. I’m not even really sure what the point of fasting is, which is probably why it always turns into being about me. But God has continued to call me to it and when I asked him, “Why? What’s the point? What does it do?” He said, “I’ll show you.”

Great, this is one of those “trust-me-and-I’ll-show-you moments”. Don’t get me wrong, these moments are great for telling people about God’s glory, but when it comes to my life they kind of scare the bejesus out of me. (Am I allowed to say bejesus?)

This past week or so I’ve been chatting with God about fasting, well honestly I have just been throwing countless questions at Him and not waiting for an answer. (I really don’t want to do this fast, maybe if I spew a million questions at Him, He will get confused and leave me alone.)

“As a new mother is it wise to fast? Won’t I just be an angry person?”

“What type of fast? Can I just give up sweets or something? Does it have to be all food?”

“How long does this have to go on?”

“Should I start right now? Should I wait until Jan 1st?”

“Is blogging about my fast counterproductive to a fast since I’m not supposed to grumble and groan about it?”

I’m the type of person who wants to go all out, get it done and over with, and then get a pat on the back and huge round of applause;  but God has been telling me that my way is not always the best way. Apparently a fast is not fast, oh boy, this is confusing…a fast is not quick. There is preparation time involved. I’m not even supposed to start until I have finished reading The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory. And I’m not allowed to start reading that book until I finish If by Mark Batterson. Who knew God was such a stickler for homework?

The other thing God told me was something I knew, but I was a little scared to voice to Him. Hah, as if He didn’t know already.

“Elizabeth?”

“Yes Father, I’m here. What is it?”

“When you fast, I want you to focus on me.”

“Of course I will! Fasting is for You isn’t it?”

“I don’t want you to get caught up in how you look. I don’t want you to let your body become an idol.”

“God? I’m not sure if I know how to even do that. “

“I know, but that’s what I’m going to teach you. The very first thing I want you to do is fast from any mirror bigger than your hand. This includes checking your reflection in a window.”

“But what about the shopping spree that Dean gave me for Christmas? How will I know if the clothes look good on me?”

“How do you they look on the rack? Do you like them? How do they feel? My dear, your eyes are deceiving you. Your eyes are telling you lies and then you repeat these lies over and over again in your mind. Each time you repeat a lie it deepens a trench in your brain and it becomes easier and easier to believe that lie. When you live by these lies it causes your entire body to sin. You have made your body an idol. I want you to be able to fully enjoy the gift Dean gave you- fully, purely, and without sin. But most of all I want you to fully enjoy the gift that I gave you: your body. Just as you need to prepare for a food fast, you need to prepare for your mirror fast; trust Me in this. Remember, I do not give as the world gives.”

So, in order for me to properly prepare for my Daniel fast, I need to first prepare for a fast from mirrors. Oh boy. I’m not sure how long he wants me to fast from mirrors, but I know it is at least until I finish my Daniel fast. The Daniel fast is 21 days, and I still need to read the book, so at least a month; let’s be honest, I am a snail of a reader, so it will definitely be more like two months. But I’m getting ahead of myself already. I can’t just jump into this mirror fast without preparation.

I don’t know exactly how this is going to work, but I do know I DON’T have to figure that out. God will reveal everything I need in time, I fully trust that. He has done it so many times before. For now, God has given me a little challenge in preparation. If you want to join me this challenge, I’ll be posting weekly “Dares” that we can do together. These dares are designed to stretch ME and are by no means a standard by which YOU need to live. These are simply things God is calling ME to do FOR NOW and I just wanted to invite others to join me.  If you can’t do them all: cool, do what you can; if you only want to try one: awesome, I’ll be supporting you; if you think the dares don’t apply to you and you are in no way compelled to do them: great, consider yourself lucky. But as for me, I will be doing these dares, messing up these dares, failing at these dares, succeeding at the these dares, and learning from these dares.

If you decide to join me in one, two, or all of the dares; I would love to hear how it’s going for you. Comment below; shoot me an email using my contact page; or use #2fat2loveDARE with your pictures on Instagram to let me know what you discover: the good, the bad, and the beautiful. You can also follow me on Instagram @2fat2love

DARE 1

I dare you to start putting words to the thoughts (good and bad) that pass through your mind as you look in the mirror. Write them down as the week goes by, we will use these later.

These are the identity trenches you are digging in your brain. The more you think these thoughts the deeper the trenches get and the easier it is for your thoughts to continue in that pattern. I hate putting words to the negative thoughts because I can easily get caught in a spiral of repeating them, but I need to put words to my thoughts so I can later fight the lies and fortify the truths with scripture (don’t jump ahead, we will add the scripture later).

dare1-post-it

Taking Back What’s Mine

“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.”

My husband’s words circled round and round in my head, taunting my heart with every pass. His words were said four months ago, but I was still replaying them in my mind several times a day. When I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw, I would repeat his words over and over,  “You’ve been putting on weight and overeating.”

The truth was, I was putting on weight and overeating. I knew I was overeating. I knew I was using food as a crutch. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression of my husband either. He isn’t a jerk, his timing might not be great, but he isn’t a jerk. He put words to something I already knew; something I was trying to hide from others. His words were the catalyst to this blog- the encouragement to start working through my fat thoughts. It didn’t feel good though. Actually, it sucked. It really sucks when you hear someone you love confront you about your greatest shame. Especially since I had been actively working on body image issues for 3.5 years, and God was just now bringing the food addiction to my attention. I got defensive, I wanted him to see and understand how hard I had been working on this. I wanted him to know how hard it was for me. He didn’t quite understand, and I’m coming to terms with the fact that he may never understand my struggle.

I want to put this out there as well: at no point did my husband say, “if you get fat I will no longer love you” or “I no longer find you attractive” or “you weight gain disgusts me.” I came to those conclusions myself and they are lies!  I don’t want you to read this blog and think this is a fight against my husband, society, and unrealistic expectations. Although that fight is very real, I believe it is a symptom of a greater battle. The real battle is not to get others to see that I’m beautiful and worth loving, the real battle is to see it for myself.

Since that conversation, I had dropped a couple pounds. Just like any other addict, I made a  vow to change so I wouldn’t lose those I loved. But there was a lot wrong with that way of thinking and I’m starting to see it now, four months later. Four months has given me the chance to actually take notice of my thoughts. I don’t have the answers yet, I’m just in the stage of recognition. I’m recognizing that I need help. I’m recognizing how flawed my thoughts are. I’m seeing how these thoughts affect every single area of my life!

If a pair of pants fresh out of the dryer felt tighter that usual as I maneuvered them over my shapely thighs and calves, I would rehash the scariest part of that conversation, “I’m scared you’re going to wake up three years from now and realize you are 300 pounds.”

Even writing those words this very moment has awakened a beast in me, desperate to work out, to stop eating, to try and become model thin, all out of the fear of losing the affection of my husband. I am at war as we speak. My mind and spirit are at war with my body. My mind says, “now is the time to write.” My spirit says, “At this moment, God has asked you to write.” But my body screams, “I can’t get fat! I can’t put on more weight! Already my husband thinks I’m disgusting (he doesn’t) and huge (he doesn’t) and I can’t do any of the things I could when I was working out (why I would need to perform intricate arm balances while raising my baby boy I don’t know…) and if I don’t stop writing right now and go for a run or something I’m going to just keep getting fatter and fatter.” So my mind tells my body, “no!” and guess what my body comes back with?

“Fine then…I’m hungry! I’m so hungry! Feed me something good. Not just this coffee and oatmeal, I want something really good: something sweet and sugary. If I can’t work out then at least let me eat!”

Four months has also given me the time to backslide and gain all that weight back. The fear didn’t wear off, but it just became too much pressure. I have failed too many times, and the guilt was just too much. I was constantly fighting two battles, one where I try not to self medicate with food, and one where I try not to self medicate my food medicated body with extreme exercise. I want to be able to work out because of love for myself, not disgust. The same goes for food. I want to be able to eat healthy because I’m worth it, not because I feel unworthy of eating sweets.

This is going to be quite a war.

I’m desperate to not just jump back into my old way of fighting. This fight can no longer be won with obsessive calorie counting and guilt driven workouts. I was never able to stick to it, and I never loved myself in it anyway. What’s the point of being loved by others if I can’t even receive their love because I don’t think I’m worth their love?

My fight is not to get others to see my worth or to get “society” to stop brainwashing us. My fight is no longer to “fit in”: fit in those pants, fit in that group. My fight is against the lies I have been believing. My fight is not against my brain and body, but in reality, it is a rescue mission! I am going into enemy territory and I am taking back what is mine.

 

WORSHIP WITH ME: “I Am Healed” by River Valley Worship 

“Sickness, you have no power here

Darkness, you have no power here

Chaos, you have no power here

In Jesus’ name!”

Does This Mean I’m Chubby?

You’re not chubby,” a very thin girl with beautifully curly hair said as she greeted me for the first time.

“I’m sorry?”

“No, it’s just that Dean tends to be a chubby chaser and I’m surprised that you’re not chubby.”

“Oh, uh…thanks, yea, but Dean and I are just friends. I have a boyfriend. He invited me to your youth group and it sounded fun so, yea, I’m here…as a friend.”

I wasn’t sure what to do with this conversation as a girl of seventeen; actually, I still don’t know what to do with it. This girl clearly was not trying to hurt me; she just didn’t seem to have a filter, something I also forget to use on a regular basis. No, it wasn’t her words that stung, but something stung. I was actually very flattered that her first thought of me was that I wasn’t chubby. Just months before I had put on, what my mom called, “womanhood weight”: the weight in which I left my girlish figure behind. I now had curves, curves I detested. I could no longer wear those super trendy cargo pants because they were supposed to be slightly baggie and my butt just would not quit. My t-shirts now clung to curves that I hadn’t had before and I missed the boxy shape I had sported the summer prior. So being called, “not chubby” was a huge compliment to me, especially since I didn’t think any of Dean’s past girlfriends were chubby. But somewhere in the back of my mind I wondered, “If Dean typically dates chubby girls then maybe that is why we are just friends, because I’m not chubby enough to be a girlfriend? Oh well, I have a boyfriend, it doesn’t matter.”

But it did matter. And now, 11 years later I can say that I was head over heels crushing on Dean, despite the fact that I had a very nice boyfriend. I wanted to secure Dean’s affections, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to let go of my boyfriend’s. But I knew that IF Dean wanted a chubby girl, I would never let myself become chubby just to gain his affections, I was way too vain for that. So, I was able to push the thought of Dean as a boyfriend out of my head.

I’m going to spoil the Hollywood High School love story and skip to the end, which is really just the beginning, after months of flirting and fighting, Dean and I finally realized it was time for us to give this dating thing a try and we kissed under the stars… And although he made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the whole world, in the back of my mind I wondered, “Does this mean I’m chubby?”

It’s a silly thought really, but if I’m going to write this I’m going to write the full truth, because hey, otherwise what’s the point? This silly little thought was the question that I had been living my life by.

I asked myself that question almost daily, “Does This Mean I’m Chubby?” years before Curly Girl said that I was not. And her words actually gave me some solid ground for a week or two. I remember that week. I took a picture of myself in my bathroom mirror lifting my t shirt slightly and pointing to my belly button. I remember thinking, “I like my belly button.” For a solid week or two I liked who I was, because someone said I wasn’t chubby.