I have circled this island in my kitchen no less than fifty-two times and I swear, there is NOTHING to eat in this place. I am tired, irritated, and after having put the boys to bed, I just cleaned the "you-know-what" off of the side of the toilets and tile flooring. The stool overflowed again. Some days there just isn’t enough Clorox in the world to accomplish the super feats of “Mom”. It’s only 8:00pm. I drag like a weary, homemaking soldier headed home from the battle of mundane and want nothing more than to settle into the respite of my comfy tan couch.
“I Deserve a Treat."
That’s what I tell myself in the conversation I’m having in my head with the “other me”. I argue with “other me” much more often than I even care to admit. Sugar. Oh, how I crave sugar...
I stop to peruse the pantry and eventually settle on some God-forsaken manufactured substance that doesn’t exist in nature; believing that if I chew slowly and deliberately, the frustration will melt away into oblivion.
Fast-forward 12 hours. I am running. I am jumping. I am lifting. I am running, jumping, and lifting better than I ever have before and I think that I just may qualify for the Olympics (if only “trying hard” could get me onto the team). I study the familiar form of my body in the mirror and I can’t help but compare myself to the other twenty or so women’s reflections on either side of me. I internally hate on every “jiggly” bit I observe failing to defy gravity as I jump. I pant hard, not just in effort, but in remembrance of the compromise to my diet that I made the night before. Guilt settles in like an old familiar foe.
This used to be my “M.O”, my pattern of self-defeat. I had to get a grip. I was relying on a false idol to save the day when I already had a Savior standing on the sidelines, hands on hips, clipboard in hand, waiting for me to huddle up for the game plan. I ate in response to emotion and I exercised in response to emotion.
It occurred to me in a moment of exhausted clarity, that both the eating and the exercise were really the same thing: a complete lack of self-acceptance and an unhealthy disregard of the body I had been gifted. The difficult part of being a “food junkie” is that the consumption of food is required of us to live. Unacknowledged, it is a 24-7 temptation. We need help outside of the floundering attempts to submit to our own willpower, friends.
I don’t have a clue as to what your journey has looked like, but I will share with you some steps which have greatly improved mine. I personally needed to address my issue with God, so first and foremost, I prayed. I asked Him to forgive me for trying (unsuccessfully) to make food my savior. I asked Him to show me specifically the times of the day and life stressors that seemed to expose my weakness to eating regardless of hunger cues.
Secondly, I joined a community of people with a desire to nurture their bodies with proper nutrition and exercise. I became accountable to them and had regular check-ins. I was so encouraged by their stories of rejuvenation and life change that I worked hard until mine became a similar story. The Holy Spirit obliterated destructive patterns as He affirmed my worth in Him through the Word. Sometimes it's hard to hear the truth from others, but it is integral to success!
Finally, I made a plan and I stuck to it. I realized that I was experiencing a diluted version of an addiction in the area of food. I would eat a meal sitting in front of me, wondering what I would have for the next one and whether or not I would be able to make it until then without a snack. My plan was well-rounded and realistic...denying myself little in regard to types of food, but portioning all.
When all is said and done, I want to make my Father proud of what I accomplish in this skin through His strength. This body that He gave me, it grew and welcomed two beautiful boys into this world. It sings and serves. Its heart beats in love. It is strong and it is healthy. Thank you God!
The truth is, these bones and muscle are nothing more than a “well-worn, just right” t-shirt clinging to the soul eternal. I will age and the sleeves will rip and fray. It will collect stains and become all stretched out and wrinkly from wear. And on that marvelous day that I will stand before my real Savior, I will shrug it off as if it is laundry day…spirit skipping in forward motion, confident and full of gratitude for all the years of protection it provided, knowing that He will make it new again.
Love your bodies, girls. Care for them. Encourage one another and above all else, be kind. Let’s see food for what it is and certainly for what it is not. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus who reminds us, we are perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Just the way we are.
“This is why we do not lose courage. Though our outer self is heading for decay, our inner self is being renewed daily.” 2 Corinthians 4:16
Questions to "chew" on:
1. Are there times when you are likely to run to some bad habits rather than exercise self-control?
2. What are some activities you could choose instead?
3. Have you surrendered your "vice" to God? Have you admitted that sometimes you rely on food, TV, clothes, the computer, etc. more than Him?
4. Who in your life is not afraid to tell you the truth and encourage you regarding your health? Ask them for help!
Photo Credits: Padurariu Alexandru, Daniel Patterson, and Leonie Wise of Unsplash.
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.