I have struggled to write this and post it. For several reasons. When I began this blog, it was a way for me to get photos up that were easily accessible to our family to view at their convenience. It was an attempt to keep our family "in the know" about what we were up to.
Since the inception of this blog, it has changed. Evolved. It has become more than just a family update. I hope that you come here to not only see what our family is up to, but as a place where you can be entertained. Encouraged. Inspired.
And so, I hesitated to post this. But, I'm gonna. Because what I know is that being transparent and honest frees the soul and can serve others. Maybe one of you will read this post and think, "Ah. I'm not the only one that feels this way. I'm not alone." And so, I'm about to be transparent and honest with you. I pray you might find some encouragement and inspiration here today.
I have struggled with my weight my entire life. Of course, when I was little, I didn't realize that my weight was an issue. But as I became older and more observant, I became aware. I began to hear things others would say about me. Hurtful things. Mean things. Things said that might have had a good intention but that hurt, none the less.
At some point, I began to believe that my worth came from the way I looked. And because I was chubby, and heard other negative things about how I looked, I felt my worth as a person was very low.
Now let me stop here for a second to clarify something. I've always had a good dose of self-confidence. But self worth was something else all together. I did not get this self-worth issue from anything my parents did or didn't do. My parents were (and still are) great parents. They did nothing but love me -- unconditionally.
But others? They were not unconditional. I had a hurtful nickname the kids would call me. So began the belief that I was what I looked like, or more specifically, I was what people thought I was. Chubby. Dumb. Slow. Nonathletic. Clumsy. Unattractive. Unfit. Frumpy.
As I aged, this became more of my self perception. I was who I thought other people saw me to be. It truly became an issue in high school when I "tried out" anorexia. I stopped eating and dropped weight. I LOVED the comments, compliments, and feeling of control the anorexia gave me. I thought that if a little weight loss was good, then more would be better, right? Uh, no. Not for me. God did not design me to be a young woman hovering at 100 lbs. My body paid the price then and still does today. When my parents became aware of what I was doing, changes were made. I regained some weight and began dancing. I was fit, looked good, and thought I was happy.
However, I still identified ME as the person I saw looking back in the mirror. My body shape. My hair color and style. The color of my eyes. The shape of my teeth. The tan or lack of tan. Pretty shallow. I didn't see any worth in myself past what was visible on the outside. That feeling continued for too many years.
Over the years God, in His infinite mercy, has granted me a new vision of myself. I now see myself as more than a body shape. I am His. I have worth far greater than rubies.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30 -- if you haven't read Proverbs 31, do it. Do it now!
That truth from God is not easy for me to accept. It is much easier for me to look at a part of myself and hate it than it is for me to thank the God that created this body for me. To know that I am perfectly made, in His image. That I am worthy because He says I am His.
But I still struggle. Everyday I struggle. "Eat this good food, don't eat that bad food." or "I only fit in 30 minutes of cardio today. That's awful, and therefore I am awful." It's a horrendous cycle, my friends, and a place where Satan can find a foothold and attempt to bring me down.
Frequently I find myself imagining what others are thinking and saying about me, "Oh, she'd be so much better looking if she dropped a few pounds." "Did you see her in a swimsuit???" "That outfit is so out of style and so unflattering." Crazy, huh? But, I'll bet I'm not alone in this craziness.
Because I have lived with this for so long, I find the cycle/obsession/craziness hard to break. I would love to be uber-fit and have what I would view as a "perfect" body, but I'm not convinced that is best for me or my family. In order to do that, I would have to tip my schedule scales precariously to the "me only" side of things. That would feel pretty selfish. Right now, I feel like my schedule scale has to be equally balanced between my tasks as a wife, mother, and woman. Yes, working out and taking care of my body is in that schedule. But eating and working out to be healthy is much more important to me than is a fad diet and countless hours in the gym to obtain a "perfect" body.
I can't say that I don't/won't have days when I feel as if all I've thought about is my weight, what I've eaten/not eaten/would like to eat, or what others think of me. But I've come to realize that there are things much more important to me. Such as being present with my family. Truly being present -- taking part in all activities. Not sitting on the sidelines because I don't like the way I look, or because I am worried about what others might be thinking.
So, I considered it a HUGE victory today when, surrounded by women who have what I would consider "perfect" bodies, I donned my swimsuit and dove into the pool with my kids.
Get behind me Satan, get behind me. "I will stumble, I will fall down. But I will not be moved. I will face heartache, I will make mistakes, but I will not be moved. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. I will not be moved." Lyrics by Natalie Grant
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing, and perfect will." Romans 12:2