I sat here, trying to write, attempting to reiterate what I’d written in my journal a few days ago lest I completely expose and embarrass myself… and I came to a profound conclusion…
I am going to expose it. I am going to broadcast the crazy. I am going to un-filter the flaws. Not because I’m confident that you’ll still want to read anything I write after you realize how out of whack my mind is, but because I’m fairly confident I’m not the only woman in the world to operate this way.
And my mission isn’t to get people to like me.
My mission to inspire women who are like me to overcome all that’s holding them back in order that they can walk in their true paths and purposes.
Said another way: if you think I’m an idiot after this post, you were never meant to read it in the first place.
So… here goes… everything.
Why is it that I’m so obsessed with my stomach? I mean, if I’m being honest, that’s what it is: my stomach. I can put on clothes, walk by a mirror, and feel pretty dang good about myself. But inevitably, like the masachist that I am, I will lift my shirt for a quick glance at my stomach–one quick reminder that I really have no reason to feel happy or good about myself.
Because that’s exactly what happens. I self destruct. I feel good, and almost involuntarily out of sheer habit, I force myself to remember that I shouldn’t feel good. It’s like I’m breaking myself down, pushing myself back into the box I’ve lived in my whole life. As if my mind cannot comprehend what my heart has already accepted; I am a daughter of the most High King. In case you didn’t know, that sets me apart as Royalty. That gives me an identity that cannot be defined by my physical appearance. That should empower me beyond the mirror. Because He, the creator of this universe, of all things large and small, of every trace of beauty and awe inspired amazingness that you can lay your eyes on, eyes that He gave you, sees me as more than good enough.
And it isn’t even just me not liking my full body reflection. This sort of dysmorphia has extreme power over me and how I feel about myself… it runs deep. If I get a compliment on how I look, my first thought is “Yea, if you saw my stomach you wouldn’t think so.” If my husband tells me I look good, my first thought is “Maybe, but not as good as that other girl so why even look at me?” This sort of thinking alludes to a fact that I’m more than ashamed to admit: somewhere along the line, I have been convinced that what I have to offer the world is my looks.
That’s the long and the short of it.
It’s not because someone told me I looked pretty in my Easter dress when I was five. It’s not because I heard “you’re beautiful” every day. It’s not because little girls receive compliments on their sweet, little faces and adorable little pigtails. In fact, it’s not because of anything positive at all.
Maybe it’s because I still identify as someone who went to a two year college for two and a half years, and left without a degree; if I can’t be smart, I better be pretty.
Maybe it’s because every time a boy broke my heart, it was for a girl who was thinner than me; it must have been because of my weight.
Maybe it’s because my college professor fawned all over my writing…and all over me; maybe my writing wasn’t so good, maybe he was just trying to flatter me.
Maybe it’s because I spent a lot of years doing a lot of things and hanging out with a lot of people who didn’t give me anything in return but a lot of insecurity; have to show up at the party, but hate every second of being there.
Maybe it’s just that: insecurity. Insecurity that feeds off of pain; it cannot live without food, and it knows that it can always find edible morsels just where my pants button meets the hole…or doesn’t meet it.
I don’t know when I decided that extra weight in my midsection could have the power to negate everything else I’m working towards, but I do know it’s time to reassess.
It’s time to separate my stomach from my mood. From my emotions. From my self-discipline to show up to the gym each day even though I can’t compete with girls getting sweaty in tight pants and bra tops with Beats on their ears like they were born lifting. It’s time to separate my stomach from my food choices and whether or not my body deserves quality nutrition. It’s time to separate it from my desire to write, serve, and lead and whether someone like me has the right to do any of those things.
I had myself convinced that I needed to lose 20 pounds by mid July in order to enjoy myself at the She Speaks Women’s Christian Conference I’ve been looking forward to for months.
Can I just reiterate that?
I was actually resigned to the fact that if I could not be a solid size 4 or less by July 21st, then 3 days of hearing and learning about how to connect with God and love women through writing- from incredibly godly, successful, inspiring authors and leaders of the field- would be ruined.
I write this, totally scared out of my mind to let you into my own special category of insane. It’s beyond embarrassing to admit, that without supreme intentionality, that is exactly how my mind works…
Now let’s lift the weight of this message, shall we? And yes, #punintended.
I’m an optimist. A dreamer. Full of hope and positivity and glass half full. And there’s just no way I would discover all of this about myself, put it into words, and then throw up my hands, shrug my shoulders, and carry on life as usual.
Stagnancy just does not sit well with me.
No, as silly as all of this is, it just has to be taken seriously. Because there is no God in self-hatred. And where there is no God, there can be no healing. Satan doesn’t make the scale go up or down. He just takes the opportunity you present him, by torturing yourself in your own unique way, to whisper lies and reignite the battle within.
Because here’s the thing, my friend, Satan doesn’t need us to gain weight and he doesn’t care if we lose it. He only requires us to focus on it so much that it leaves us without any energy or confidence for carrying out Kingdom work on the level that God intends for us to.
Do you hear that? Your internal conflict, your untamed negative thoughts, your indisputable contempt of yourself in any way shape or form- physical and non- can keep you from your absolute purpose on this earth.
Romans 6:16, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin [your weight, looks, pride, etc.] or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living!”
And when I realized that, God spoke these words straight into the core of my being:
“You can lead a women’s small group and still not love yourself. But you cannot lead a movement of sisters in Christ to overcome their fears and doubts, to call on God to make masterpieces out of their madness, and light the world on fire with God’s truth, love, and goodness, if you yourself do not live as if you are truly free and fully accepting of your infinite, God ordained value.”
These words tumbled from my fingertips, at the end of my journal entry, and the words are still echoing in my soul. Because they weren’t from me. They were for me. God through me, tough loving me into obedience. God through me, demanding I get over myself and refocus on Him. God through me, illuminating the spaces in my mind that must be dealt with head on if I’m ever going to move forward in His plans for my life.
Now, I realize that not everyone wants to or is designed to “lead a movement” or anything on such a grand scale as all of that. This message was personal, from my Savior to me, because I believe that quiet, meek, and reserved are just not the words He has decided will describe this introvert’s life. You can replace the actions in the above message, but the point is clear: A person can live as they are, doing good, being content, even spreading the Good News here and there, without actually ever dealing with the strongholds in their life…but they cannot operate on a God-inspired level of peace, joy, love, and fulfillment if they do not face their own, specific chains that are keeping them in bondage.
Romans 8:6, “So letting your sinful [prideful, hurtful, meanful…] nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”
Please don’t dilute this post by commenting about how I look. If you’ve gotten to the end and feel like this is even a little bit about weight issues, I’m afraid you’ve missed the point.
But if you’re here, reading these words, and you have deep conviction in your heart that you can relate to any of the struggle I’ve relayed, then please comment, reach out to me, or at least send up a prayer that more women in Christ would truly, and fully, overcome the pressures and lies of this world.
Philippians 4:8, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Sister, this is not just a vent sesh. This is not just me whining, crying, throwing a fit about how hard it is. This is a Holy Spirit inspired command to stop.
STOP judging your life by the shape of your stomach.
STOP allowing your weight to decide how you treat yourself and others.
STOP letting the enemy make a playground out of your feelings.
STOP spending precious time on trivial matters.
STOP saying no to God because you’ve already said yes to Satan’s attacks.
And START living in the freedom that Christ gave his life for you to have.
And if this message spoke life to you, grab the image below and share with your sisters!