Lizzy’s 10 Crappy Steps to Feel Love

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

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

Lizzy’s 10 Crappy Steps to Feel Love:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Reality of My Food Addiction

The triggers are everywhere. Has anyone else noticed an issue with this or is it just me?

I’m just relaxing for the evening watching a show and then BAM: ice cream craving. No one in the show is even eating ice cream, someone just said the word. I hear the word and all other sounds disappear.

*whispers* ice cream

*louder* Ice Cream

*YELLING* ICE CREAM!!!!

Damnit, I want ice cream right this moment! Not just in the moment I am writing about, but like right now as I write this, I want ice cream.

It doesn’t take much to trigger my food addictions. Have you ever been to a 12 step program where one of the rules is not to use explicit language because it can be a trigger to others? For example, if someone started talking about getting high and they went into details about the trip and how it felt, etc. it could trigger a bunch of people in the group who then might go out that night and get high, so explicit descriptions aren’t allowed. If anyone feels like something is triggering them, they simple have to raise their hand and the speaker must stop their description.

So what do you do when your drug of choice is food and everyone talks about it, and eats it, and posts it on Facebook and Instagram, and advertises it, and, and , and, and!!!

I can tell you one thing, you do NOT binge watch Gilmore Girls! As much as I love that show I can guarantee that my coffee intake increases by about 50% and my junk food cravings sky rocket. The last time I watched that series I swear I put on 20lbs. Let me clarify something, this does not mean we need to get rid of the show Gilmore Girls (please God, no!!) or make people stop talking about food. This doesn’t mean that I get to go around telling people to stop talking about food. This means that I, Liz, need to start facing these issues I have with food. It’s MY problem when I hear the word, “brownie” and immediately need something to satisfy my brownie craving, it is not the fault of the person who said, “brownie”. Unless, of course their intentions were deceitful, in which case they will have to answer to God for their actions, but it is not my responsibility to change them and that’s going down a whole different rabbit trail.

Most nights after dinner, when Dean and I watch TV, I have to put my guard up and renounce every single food craving that emerges simply due to hearing foods named or seeing foods on set. It doesn’t even have to be real food! Does anyone remember Reptar Bars from the cartoon, “Rugrats”? What about that oozy cheesy pizza from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or lollipops and ice cream from any cartoon?

Maybe I should just stop watching TV….

BUT cutting out TV isn’t going to cure me of my food addiction. It will probably set me up for more success at home than what I am having now, but what’s the real issue here? The second I go to the fair, or a restaurant, or the grocery store, or Sam’s Club…basically the second I step out of a controlled environment my food addiction is skewing my view of the world. My thoughts revolve all around food:

“When will I eat next? When do I want to eat?’

“What will I eat next? What do I want to eat?”

“Where will I eat next? Where do I want to eat?”

“Mmmm is that a waffle cone I smell? I want it. ”

“Oh man, they are just pumping that fresh bread smell into the air aren’t they? I want it.”

“Mmmmmmmm gaaaarrrrllliiiiiicccccc. I want it.”

Have you ever looked out a window with blinds? When I was a kid, I used to spy on my neighbors all the time from my bedroom window. At night my blinds were drawn and I had to lift up a single blind with my finger to see out. If an object moved out of my very narrow line of vision, then I had to lift up a different blind to find the object again; sometimes this very small, but significant movement, made the difference between seeing something happen and not seeing something happen. And every night, despite the enticing promise of scandal or a funny scene, I would have to stop spying because my arms would get too fatigued to keep holding up the blinds.

My food addiction is like a set of blinds over my eyes. Some days the blinds are open and I can see pretty well. Some days the blinds are shut and I have to use a lot of energy just to see a very small sliver of the real world through my thoughts about food. And that usually means I am missing a lot of life due to food. I spend so much time worrying where my next meal will come from I don’t enjoy what’s happening in that moment. What if I get hungry while I’m hiking? What will I do? And on top of that, all that energy I spend trying to navigate life around my food thoughts is enough to exhaust me!

Goodness gracious, Liz! You’re not going to die if you miss a meal! This is so embarrassing to admit because I have never once in my life gone hungry because food was not available. NOT ONCE! I’ve gone “hungry” because I refused to eat something at dinner as a child. And that hungry wasn’t even real hungry. I missed ONE meal…ONE! And I missed that meal out of my own ability to refuse a meal that I didn’t like the taste of! That in itself tells you I was not really, desperately, hungry. Even when I was in Kenya and we ended up not having lunch, we still had lunch, because guess what? I packed a bazillion Luna bars in my bag just in case something like that would happen.

What I really need is to look at these food addictions. What am I running from? What am I searching for? What am I scared of?

I want to be full.

I want a reward.

I want to taste goodness.

I want to be satisfied.

I’m scared of being hungry.

I’m scared of missing out on goodness.

I’m scared of regret: regretting not eating something and later wanting it; regretting eating something and feeling guilt or shame over it later.

I’m running from loss.

I’m running from inadequacy.

I’m running from imperfection.

I’m running from unfairness.

I’m starting to recognize that I have a HUGE issue with envy: “I want to be eating that too…”, “I want to be able to enjoy eating kale like she does…”, “I want to want to stick to eating foods that are healthy…” I so badly want to be skinny, healthy, active, etc. but I so badly want to eat junk and drink with friends; I can’t have both. I so badly want to feel good in my skin with regard to my looks and physical health (no stomach cramping due to too much sugar and bread), but I so badly want to feel good in my skin with regard to eating yummy things; I can’t have both. Not in my current emotional and physical state anyway.

I fear writing these things because I know I will receive messages, comments, and emails from other men and women that say, “Eat that donut! You can feel good about yourself and eat what you want!”, “Love yourself where you are at and redefine what healthy means to you,” “Don’t let society tell you that you aren’t beautiful and worthy just because you carry some extra junk in the trunk.” And although there is SOME truth in these words, it isn’t the complete truth, which means it’s entirely a lie. Here is the honest to goodness truth:

I cannot eat whatever I want and not feel guilt or shame because the guilt has nothing to do with the actual food and everything to do with the fact that I am running to food instead of Jesus. Don’t tell me to not feel guilty over worshipping an idol instead of my Lord. Don’t tell me that I should not feel shame when I worship food instead of Jesus, when I cry out to donuts and Frappuccino’s during hard times, instead of my creator. The guilt I feel is a helpful reminder that I am sinning when I overeat and thus that I NEED JESUS for forgiveness, love, and help!

 “21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:21-25

 

As much as I try to make it so, loving myself does not come from redefining healthy. Sure there are some lies I believe about health, but guess what, redefining what healthy means for me isn’t going to change the fact that I have an insulin resistance problem and an addiction to sugar and carbs. I can tell myself that it is healthy to eat grain and sugar in moderation all I want and it won’t change the fact that, for me, it simply is not healthy physically or emotionally. Believe me, I have tried this for years! Four years to be exact. I can’t have sugar in moderation because if I have the smallest amount I need more and more and more and more and more. Would you tell an alcoholic to love themselves where they are at and redefine what it means to be healthy? If you redefine alcoholism then you won’t be an alcoholic!

Uhhhh no…that’s not how it works. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. This is called denial. And this here is a simple problem of acceptance. I am not accepting the body God gave me. I am not accepting that I have limits. I am not accepting that I am human and not God; I am desperately holding onto the position of ruler of my body and captain of my soul, BUT I am not the god of myself.

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 

Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call! Psalm 20:6-9

 

And as far as not letting society tell me what should and should not be beautiful or worthy, that’s just a cop out, a scape goat, and blame-shift. Guess what? I am a part of this society. I judge others, because I AM A SINNER, because I chose to believe the lie that I have a right to judge others. Yes,  I do believe that society has influenced me and the way I think, but there is so much more that needs to be done than “not listening to society.” I need to start listening to God. I need to start influencing our society by starting to let God heal the brokenness in me instead of denying that I have any blame in my own brokenness.

14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head. 16From Him the whole body is fitted and held together by every supporting ligament. And as each individual part does its work, the body grows and builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:14-16

I don’t want my fix, I want HIS fix. I don’t want your fix, I want HIS fix. I want HIM to be enough for me, but when I run to food I never give HIM a chance to show me that HE IS. And when I run away from my part in the blame I just perpetuate the problem and ensure that it will continue to affect me and my community. And if you wave a donut in my face and tell me, “eat this, and you will be happy; surely you can eat this and feel no shame.” Then I will be forced to say, “Get behind me Satan!” Because God has told me I make an idol out of food, and I am sick of these stupid fig leaves of shame because I do not listen to Him. I wish to walk in the garden with my Lord once more. I wish to be completely exposed in his presence and feel no shame. He has given me a fix and all I need to do is accept it and press into Jesus. Easier said than done, am-I-right? But there is no better time than now. There is no better moment than this.

17So I tell you this, and testify to it in the Lord: You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 19Having lost all sense of shame, they have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity, with a craving for more.

20But this is not the way you came to know Christ. 21Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in keeping with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4: 17-24

 

“Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

One Does Not Simply Press Into Jesus

My husband gave me new clothes for Christmas. Well, he didn’t actually give me the clothes, but he gave me a visa gift card to use for the clothes, which is even better because we have very different ideas of what looks good. He wanted to make sure I actually went out and bought myself some new clothes. You see, anytime I go out to buy something new, no matter how much I may need it, I tend to talk myself out of it. Somehow I always manage to say, “you don’t need this” or “this is too expensive” or “you wouldn’t need to buy this if you didn’t put on so much weight, so you don’t deserve this” I even try to blame it on my husband “Dean will be like, ‘why did you spend so much on clothes?’”

Dean has never once questioned me on my clothes purchases. But I think he saw that I did this to myself and he wanted to give me a real gift. The gift became more about the guilt-free aspect of shopping for myself rather than the money. Treating myself to something nice, not because I earned it, but just because.  I was so moved, I cried.

Before I go further on to tell you why it’s been almost a month and I haven’t used any of the money yet, I want to tell you something my husband said to me after I hugged him for the gift. He said, “I was scared you were take this the wrong way.”

I didn’t have to ask him what he meant, I knew exactly what he meant, because I had a habit of doing this. And, in complete honesty, those thoughts did rain down on me like flaming arrows for a split second, before I lifted my shield of truth to protect me. Thoughts like, “he must think my clothes look horrible on me, otherwise he wouldn’t give me money to buy new clothes” or “maybe he is doing this because he is embarrassed to be seen with me when I wear my jeans that are clearly too small on me” or “is he trying to encourage me to lose weight with new clothes?” or “He must think I’m ugly” and the arrows could continue attacking if I let them. But not this time! I quickly lifted my shield of truth, “my husband is giving me a guilt-free shopping spree!” “My husband wants me to have nice things!” “My husband wants me to feel good about myself.” “My husband is trying to build me up, not tear me down!”

And yet, here I am a month later and I haven’t done one bit of shopping. Why? Because somehow I made an unspoken goal to myself, “I can’t buy any new clothes until I get back down to my preferred weight.” Apparently, I feel that the body I have now is not worth nice things. I don’t want to go shopping because I’m scared of what I will see in the mirror when I go, I’m scared of the disappointment I will feel when nothing fits right, I’m scared of going up another pant size….again, I’m scared I won’t be able to find my size on the rack because I am notoriously in between normal sizes and plus sizes and apparently women my size don’t deserve clothing because we are unidentifiable as normal or fat so no one knows what types of clothes we “should” be wearing. I’m scared I will come home and realize I have to lose 20lbs just so I can feel good about myself again. I’m scared I will find exactly what I want and put it on and realize that my calves have once again ruined a perfect outfit. I’m scared I will inadvertently buy clothing made by poor, starving children who are not paid nearly enough and as a result I am just encouraging the mistreatment of these poor innocent children. Ok, so that last one, I kind of just said that so you would think I’m not completely self-involved. And even though I cried when I watched documentaries on this subject, when I go shopping all I think about is I want, I want, I want, I want, me, me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, mine, now, now, now, now…..sigh.

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But that’s a different issue entirely, back to the point.

Yesterday, I split a pair of jeans and not because I was too big and they were too small, but because I actually wear out my jeans. Before puberty I wore my jeans out at the knees from exploring, playing army, climbing trees, wading in creeks, etc. After puberty my butt became increasingly competitive and was determined to wear out my jeans before my knees did. And although holey jeans are pretty trendy, split jeans are not. So when my husband came home from work I said, “I split a pair of my jeans today and now I can finally go use some of that money!” His response?

“That’s not the point.”

I thought about it. I guess it wasn’t the point. The point was to treat myself, and here I am waiting until it becomes a necessity so I don’t feel guilty about treating myself, because when it comes down to it, I don’t think this body is worthy of special treatment. I don’t think this body deserves to look beautiful, because then I will settle for fat, right? I know this doesn’t make sense, but in my head it makes so much sense!

Part of me desperately wants to hang on to this money until I lose the weight so I can feel completely guiltless and good about myself. But what if I never lose the weight? In the past it didn’t matter if I lost weight, because I always wanted to lose more, it was never enough weight to allow me to feel good enough. I know weight loss is not the answer. Losing weight will not magically make me feel worthy of nice things, worthy of new clothes, worthy of beauty, and worthy of my husband’s love and affection.

I’m not saying weight loss is bad at all. I’m just saying, I’ve been trying to fix a worth problem with a weight solution. New clothes won’t make me feel worthy either, that would be trying to fix a worth problem with a clothes solution. The only fix to my worth is Jesus.

The end.

Yay, rainbows, puppies, unicorns, happily ever after.

(Insert HUGE eye roll here)

I know Jesus IS the answer, but whenever I say that in my head I think of that one lady in church who counters everything you say with, “Just press in to Jesus.” Even though there is incredible truth behind her statement, I get the feeling she has never actually done it herself. And even though I have done it before in parts of my life, I have not done it for this layer of my life, so I want to turn into Boromir from Lord of the Rings and say to myself (and her), “One does not simply press into Jesus.”

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Before I press in, I have to let go. I have to let go of my dreams of being skinny. I have to let go of my dreams of having a pair of jeans that perfectly sits on my trim waist and shows off just a tiny bit of perfectly formed lady abs: not too chiseled, but still defined. I have to let go of the idea that my worth comes from my size. I have to let go of the expectation that if I slim down my husband will never ever even be tempted to let his gaze fall on another woman.

Pressing in isn’t just pressing in, it has a lot to do with letting go.

Mark 10:46-52

Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
46
Next, they came to Jericho. And as Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho with a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48Many people admonished him to be silent, but he cried out all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man. “Take courage!” they said. “Get up! He is calling for you.”

50Throwing off his cloak, Bartimaeus jumped up and came to Jesus.

51“What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“Rabboni,” said the blind man, “I want to see again.”

52“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Bartimaeus threw off his cloak! Ok, I want to clarify this for you, a man’s cloak was not simply a coat. It was his shelter. Bartimaeus was blind, he could not work, his cloak was probably one of his only possessions. But in order to reach Jesus as fast as he could, he threw it off! Instead of drawing it in around him so he didn’t stumble over it, and risking it getting caught on the limbs of others in the crowd and pulling him back. I imagine it’s like when I walk by a door, chair, or cabinet and my slouchy cardigan catches onto some piece of it and yanks me backwards with surprise. Bartimaeus didn’t want to risk going one more moment without Jesus so he literally threw off his shelter, his possession, his only worth to reach Him without delay.

One does not simply press into Jesus. One must throw off everything that could delay pressing into Jesus. One must throw off anything that could separate oneself from Jesus. And that means identifying what it is I get my worth from.

What does that mean for me? I’m throwing off this desire to be thin. I’m letting go of this desire to try and control my husband’s thoughts about me. I’m done judging my worth by my weight. I want to know what Jesus says. I want to know Jesus’ healing.

And Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

“I want to know that you have chosen me, you love me, and you think I am beautiful.”

“Go, your faith has healed you.”

Will you worship with me? Closer by Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger 

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.

 

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