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. 

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.

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 

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.

 

Food Hoarding

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

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

“Did you eat it?”

“No, did you?”

“No.”

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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