Monday, July 30, 2012

So I have already found myself caught in the snare of trying to do this "right". ( a fairly consistent theme in my life. Being good enough, worthy, lovable) I was thinking about this blog last night and trying to narrow down my goal. It turns out to be simple, my heartbeat is to encourage other woman who struggle with self image and weight loss. It has been such bondage for me. My self image was negative for so many years. I would love to tell you there was one defining moment that changed everything. But for me, like it was in my sobriety and my faith, it has been more of a winding path. God placing people in my life to speak truth into me and encourage me to walk in a different direction. I could not see the "big picture". I would just move forward. Honestly, sometimes in despair,or in distrust. I was in a place of not being able to envision a life free from the shackles of being overweight, of my negative thinking, and fear. So there were points that I wasn't necessarily moving towards something (because I couldn't see it for myself) as much as being willing to move away from the pain. So often in my life, when I couldn't believe, He surrounded me with people who did. I believed that they believed, and often, that was my starting point.

I was worried last night. I am sure there will be woman reading this with all kinds of life stories. You are coming from different places. How can I reach and encourage such a variety of woman? Some of you struggle with self image as I did, some do not. How do I address what I did to confront my negative thinking without boring those who don't struggle with it? As quickly as I thought it, I was reminded that this is not about me. It is not about what I can or can't do. It is about what God has done in my life. That is what I want to share.

I guess a good place to wrap up is to share what I believe. I believe there is a loving creator who longs for you to have more than this. He loves you so much he sent His son, Jesus, to die for you salvation. (you specifically, not everyone else plus you. You were not lumped in. He came for YOU) But, there is so much more. That is not where the story ends. He came that we would have abundant life. Here and now. He took such care and created you with such love. He placed in you all of the gifts and talents and quirks and weaknesses on purpose. He arranged and rearranged until He saw you, just as He envisioned you would be. I can't help but see him smiling, "That's my girl". For so many years I apologized for who I was. I cry easily. I like watching birds. I love to talk to people. I am not organized. I worry too much. I get nervous and say pretty ridiculous things. I procrastinate. I was embarrassed by my weaknesses and shortcomings so much, that I began to hide. I was not good enough. It was almost as if my life had a sign over it announcing to everyone around me, "I'm sorry". This was not the life Jesus died for me to have. I believe it made him sad that I was missing the other half of salvation. He made us different on purpose. (I love 1 Cor 12:4-31). I was so focused on the strengths and gifts of those around me, all I could see was that I did not look like them. I could not see that I had strengths and gifts and talents of my own. God had given these to me to glorify Him. Yes I had weaknesses and struggles as well. But I have come to realize that without those, I would not be too inclined to pursue a life following Christ. I would be doing it on my own. (I've seen where that gets me). So I have come to a place of accepting not only my strengths and gifts, but my weaknesses and quirks also. That is freedom.  The way he made me was beautiful. I am beautiful. I could not say that for most of my life. If you are in a place where that doesn't feel true for you, take heart. There is hope. Because this is your truth as well. You are beautiful.

I started from a place of disengaging the emotion and focusing on the logical. (this was important because I am a very emotional person and God did not call us to build our life on how we feel. He called us to build our life on His truth). So my truth here was rooted in Psalm 139. God knows me intimately. He created me carefully. The logic that follows is that He would not put such care and love into creating me without having a calling for my life. I wanted to follow His will for my life, and felt like before I could do that, I would have to come to a place of embracing how He made me. So, my starting point in my notebook was listing out who I was. Things I liked and enjoyed. Character traits that I had. Things I struggled with. You see, I had worried so much for the last 20 years about being a "good" wife and mother that I focused on those roles and lost me. So it was interesting for me to see this picture of myself on paper. I liked talking to people. I liked bird watching and hiking. I love nature. Praying during worship is an intimate place with God for me. I am competitive and stubborn. I would just add to it as I thought of things. It was really a great exercise for me. Because in black and white, it made no sense that I was embarrassed that I loved watching birds. So what if my family thought it was lame. I love it. God put that love of nature in me.

I would encourage you to start there. Spend some time with the Lord. Ask Him to show you how He made you, and  what He loves about you. Put pen to paper. I can promise you, He can't wait to show you. He can't wait for you to see and celebrate His work in you! He longs for you to embrace how He created you so you can flourish in the life He has given you.

I am praying for you.