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

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!”