Almost two months ago I was completely motivated to make some changes. I had discovered a recent 15 pound weight gain, which had followed a previous 10 pound gain about a year before that. I believe God is teaching me the need for self-control in my health, money, and in my mental activity. Both to honour Him and to honour myself.
After a month and a half of eating so much better (cutting out all grains again, don’t think my body agrees with them; a treat every 5th day, a massive improvement from one everyday) and exercising more, I have not lost a pound. Not one. In my hubby’s encouraging words, though, at least I didn’t gain any more! I also take my measurements and with some inches lost and gained in different areas, I’ve still only shed 1 inch overall.
Talk about completely defeating.
With negative thoughts and feelings threatening to choke me all day long, such as: ‘what’s the point’, ‘my body is so broken’, ‘I’m so trapped in this fat’, ‘you’re doing all the wrong things’, and the worst, most powerful underlying belief is ‘my worth is in my body’, I’m refusing to give up. I also realized that certainly continuing to walk on the path I’m on is good for me, and choosing not to and to revert to old habits of continual self-indulgence is only bad for me.
I had a light-bulb moment yesterday while I was exercising, and I realized that every time I’ve tried to lose weight in the past 25 years, it was motivated by a very negative belief that I’m a complete shame when I’m fat. So I’m learning to say to myself that I choose to exercise and eat healthy foods in order to nurture myself, to celebrate doing good things for my mind and body, and not try to change all the things I don’t like about myself. This is really difficult to do because I don’t always believe it. But from now on when I exercise, I will say to myself that I do this because I want to care for myself. And instead of checking off another step towards frantically wishing to lose weight, I will pay attention to how I feel a little stronger and that I feel SO much better for loosening up tight muscles and that my mood and energy levels lifted significantly after a workout.
I also don’t want to ignore that my measurements showed that my body IS making some changes in response to my efforts. I did lose a little of something almost everywhere. And my past track record over my adult life has shown me again and again that my body is slow to respond to my healthy choices. Funny how my body has no problem to easily and quickly gain weight. Hilarious.
As I was struggling in my misery earlier today, I was trying to turn over my problems to God. I want to trust Him, I want to follow His lead. I need His help. And as I was just trying to let it all go into His hands, which didn’t feel like it was working because I still felt alone and choking on my negative thoughts, God came close and asked me to invite Him in to my space instead. Just invite Him in to the thoughts and emotions that were strangling my confidence and hope.
So I did.
And I’m stunned by how His comfort wraps around me. I’m amazed by His compassion for my pain. He whispers to my spirit that I’m so much more than my body. He gently turned my attention to my teeny son who was chattering about his Lego while eating his breakfast and showed me that there is so much more loveliness in a person than our physical appearance. That I have a purpose to love, teach, and nurture my son and my ability to do that has very little to do with how fat or thin I am.
I’m reading a book called Parenting the Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion. Lately, God has been beautifully prompting me to just keep my eyes on Him. Whenever I feel like I’m just itching to do SOMEthing, anything, that surely God doesn’t want me just hiding at home cooking and cleaning, God has consistently called me to rest. Again and again. It is hard for me to accept, and harder to do, because I want to prove that I’m worthwhile by all the wonderful things I do (which doesn’t work by the way … because by those standards a person isn’t worth much when things don’t succeed or get accomplished) but God wants me to rest in Him. And I’m talking about a kind of rest where I’m in a place fully trusting Him. Yes, it’s good (and needed) to physically do something restful, but I’m learning to have my mind and heart at rest in Him through the day. Learning being the operative word! God had done some prep work in my heart so that when I read Jeannie’s words in black and white ink bare in front of my eyes, I was ready.
“He wanted me to rest in his selflessness, in his patience, in his goodness, in his wild love for me. And he knew that only when I realized that by grace alone I am not only saved but also accepted would I find peace and rest and real joy.”
His love for me, and you, does not change. I repeat. It does not change. His love stays the same when you’re on the top of your game and in your worst day. It’s because He IS love. What incredible freedom and joy there is when we start to grab a hold of that!
And He doesn’t want me believing all the negative criticisms running through my head. God doesn’t teach using shame, criticism, and judgement so those kinds of thoughts aren’t even from Him. If they’re not from Him, then I don’t want them to hold any value for me. In my journey to self-acceptance, the only place where I can feel its beginning is in God. In a place where I’m loved no matter what size I am, and in spite of any good or bad I do, I start to see my worth. My worth being a product of creation by the most incredible Artist. And the efforts and struggles I used to bring to my life start to unravel and fade away as I let my Creator fold me into his arms.