Monday, July 18, 2016

A Very Good Place to Start

I just re-read my last post, and while encouraged, I feel like a bit of a failure. The last few months have been ugly. Stressful, and more about surviving than thriving. Having my husband work away from home for three months, even with several visits, wreaked havoc on my health - both mental and physical. I placed such high expectations on myself, and assumed responsibility for so many things, that I had no chance of meeting any of those expectations, and had no energy to be responsible for the things for which I was actually responsible.

We're here now, in our new home, and tomorrow marks the end of school holidays. Tomorrow begins our new routine. I have no idea where to even begin, except to go back to the beginning.

Maybe this time I can make it a permanent change. I know I need to make a lot of changes, but instead of freaking out about it, I'm just going to make a small change, then another, and another. One change at a time, one day at a time. I want so badly to love myself again, to give myself the grace and compassion I give to others - but a lifetime of self-loathing is not easily undone. Perhaps one small act of kindness to myself, when performed repeatedly, will become a habit of kindness. From that habit, perhaps I will learn to love myself, the way others seem to care for me. I think I have unsurprisingly held the expectation that losing this weight would be straightforward and easy. It has proven to be the exact opposite, but it is not impossible.

But tomorrow is the beginning. And it is indeed a good place to start.  


Saturday, April 30, 2016

I Love HIM More Than Chips

I'm not even sure how to explain what's been going on in my head and in my heart of late. Growing pains, I guess you could call them. But oh, my friends - how beautiful is the person I'm becoming!

A while back, I encountered God in the car park of an Aldi. I know that sounds a bit crazy, but bear with me. I had had A Day. The Mother of All Days. It was ugly, and I was going to the shop, with the intention of buying and purchasing potato chips, a chunk of Brie, a Coca-Cola, and I was going to sit in my car, and soothe myself back to happiness by consuming those things as fast as I could. Don't judge me. I know how dysfunctional it is. I know that for me, food has become medication. Well, in that car park, on my way into the shop, God says (not an audible voice, but the words were clear as anything) "You know, when you say "I can't help it, I need this", what you're really saying is  - "I don't trust You." I wish I could say that was the end of emotional and disordered eating for me, but the end of that story is unfolding before me now.

I am tired of fighting this thing, this twisted and sick addiction. I am tired of the guilt, and the shame, and the feeling so hateful toward myself. I am done. I surrender all of it to God, and because I am redeemed, I know that my story doesn't end with shame and guilt. Oh no. My story ends with joy unspeakable, with grace unimaginable, with victory unassailable. I can't even explain it, but my desire for all those foods which previously held me captive - it's just gone.  

Recently, I had a surgical procedure, and an enforced period of rest immediately following. For a busy mum accustomed to existing on protein bars and coffee, It was a challenge, but I am so glad for it. This forced 'down time' has been an opportunity for intense spiritual growth and development. My faith has been strengthened, and my tendency to allow my worth to be defined by things like the state of my house, the behaviour of my children, or the busyness of my schedule-- has been replaced. I know who I am , and it has nothing to do with any of those things.

I had the opportunity to watch the movie War Room. It's a movie about the power of prayer, plain and simple. I can't really explain it, but it shook me out of my comfy Christian existence, and awakened something inside me. I'm praying like I've never prayed before, I'm reading God's word like never before, and my brain is constantly engaged. I also started reading a couple of books, listening to a lot of sermons, and it's as though EVERY SINGLE ONE has something important to teach me.

We have made the decision to move back to New South Wales. Initially, I was not happy about this. I knew it was the right choice, and my doing it was never really in doubt. It was more that I wanted more than to just be obedient to God's call on my life. In this case, that was loving and supporting my husband by trusting him to make the right decisions for our family. I wanted to be JOYFULLY obedient.

Guess what. God did that, too.

Today was an amazing day. For the first time, I acknowledged that yes, I am sad about leaving my friends. And nothing can lessen that sadness. But I had this thought - if God can do for me, and for my family, in just twelve months all that he has done? How much more will he do as we move forward? I am ready to let go of all that I am holding onto so tightly, to open my hands, to open my life, and to follow him wherever he wants to go. And not just go there - but boldly. Confidently, because I know that this move has been carefully orchestrated, down to the tiniest of details.

So I have reached an understanding that while I love my family more than chips, I think the reason it's never worked because I wasn't loving God more than chips.

But I do now. And that, my dear friends, means I already have victory.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Time For Everything

In Ecclesiastes 3, I read that there is a time for everything.

The last decade of my life has been a time of poor nutrition (with a few brief moments of awesome nutrition here and there), a time of little to no exercise beyond surviving each day with small children (with a few brief periods of genuine exercise), a time of exhaustion, a time of pitiful immune function, a time of just trying to make it to the next day, with no hope of thriving in this crazy life I lead. This season has left me broken, weary, and ready to give up.

But. God says (through the author of this passage) that there is a time for everything - and I feel like the time for the previous season is ending. My youngest is starting kinder/preschool, and I can no longer deny that while my children still need me to keep them alive despite all their efforts to the contrary, they don't need me quite as intensively as they did as infants. The time has come for me to focus a bit more on my own physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

I tried when I turned 40, and then again after that, and again after that, but this time I'm doing things a bit differently. I'm not focusing so much on metrics. Not using a scale. Not keeping a food diary. I am using a couple of apps for exercise, a couch to 5K and a walking app (I want to keep a record of distance). I'm not 'going paleo', or anything else special. I'm simply aiming to make each day a little better than the one before it.

Since a major factor in this adventure will be organisation and planning, I'm also including each day one organisational thing. I thrive on order. My brain works better, which will serve me well if I am to be successful. The last two days I have:  completely organised and cleaned (except for the bits I can live with) the room where my desk is located and come up with a menu plan for next week.

My plan (which isn't really a plan, per se - I just don't know what else to call it) is to eat more vegetables and more protein, to mostly stop eating my emotions, to earnestly try to drink a reasonable amount of water, to exercise more. To stop treating my health and well-being as a luxury to be sacrificed on the altar of domesticity.

That's it. No numbers, no rules, just standing up and trying again. This time, with the knowledge that I am fearfully and wonderfully made - not to be sick and tired and crabby all the time, but to be vibrant, energetic, and a joyful servant to the One who made me.

See you on the road,