September 27, 2011

Put the shovel down

From time to time, I've written about my weight struggles here. It's been part of my life and who I am. It's been my choice to write what I have about it here and I have been careful about what I have shared as this isn't the safest of venues to write about such a thing.

But if I were to be completely honest with myself, I would say that 9 times out of 10, writing about it here is in efforts to save face. I have grasped for my dignity here so that others, family, friends, complete strangers, YOU - would all know that I am aware of my weight issue and I'm desperately trying to do something about it. I thought that maybe if I didn't write about it, people would think I had given up, deem me a failure and write me off.

I have been spinning in this world where I am constantly worrying about what others perceptions of me are. It influences how much I eat in front of you, what I wear, and even if I decide not to attend some kind of social gathering because it's been a bad day and it's easier to hide than show up feeling like a whale. The voices I hear in my head that are critical and judgemental have faces. And there are many, many faces of people who have wounded me here over the years.

For almost five years I have been trying to get to the bottom of why I am the way that I am with food. I've been desperate for healing and have cried out to God to just cure me of what feels like a disease. I've tried diets and counseling and programs and I've kind of exhausted myself to overcome the struggle I have with food and my weight. I would even dare to say that it's been a central focus because I've felt like it's needed to be. Even on the days where I've felt defeated and lived that way, my body and my figure and food are just at the forefront of my mind.

Five years later, it is absolutely evident that this runs incredibly deep for me. I have discovered, that my journey with food and my weight and addiction just looks different than I ever even thought that it would. There is a reason that the things I've tried haven't "worked" so-to-speak.

Along the way, I've experienced much healing and change within myself. But because it has never manifested in the weight loss I've hoped for, I've felt like a failure and that I need to work harder at it. And I've taken on the belief that everyone - EVERYONE - around me thinks that I'm also a failure and that they too think I should work harder.

I've not only been enslaved to food, but I've been enslaved to trying to heal myself from it somehow. I would dare say that I've even made it an idol of sorts. Because I am constantly thinking and dwelling on it. ALL. THE. TIME.

I can't tell you how often I have begged and pleaded with God to help me with this. To show up, to heal me, to give me self-control or discipline. Sunday morning was another one of those times where I came boldly to the throne of grace telling Him that He's left me stuck here and maybe it's because I'm just not spiritual enough that He's stricken me with this awful thing that I just can't be rid of. I haven't known where to put Him or His apparent "sufficient grace."

The words "put the shovel down" came from a very dear friend who knows my heart well. She recognized where I have been digging and furiously working here and asked me what it might look like to put the shovel down and rest.

Initially, the thought of resting here sounds like giving up and throwing in the towel. And I first went to the place of "Well, what will everyone think if I don't keep digging here like I have been? What will they say or do or think?"

But the same day that I had another yell-fest at God, was also a day where He spoke to my heart in some tender ways and left me dumbfounded because I had kind of missed something that I had never really seen before.

All this time I've been working and digging and trying to find healing for myself, my eyes have been on me, my body and what I am doing in all of this. And I've felt left by Him here, not because He hasn't been here, but because I haven't even tried to see Him. And it wasn't that I wasn't spiritual enough, but I had put all of this - the work, the therapy, the processing, the worrying about how others see me - all of it has been above Him or His thoughts about me.

Writing all of that out sounds kind of churchy, and I don't want to sound that way at all. It almost even feels elementary. I can almost hear the condemnation of churchy people who I know in their desire to want to try to say something and help, have even left comments here before of what they thought I needed to do or what books I needed to read - or just give it to God and focus on Him!


So, I realize that what I've written about placing what I'm doing and how others see me above God sounds a little bit like what others have told me to do all along and wa-lah! - there's my cure. And it is that, and it's more than that. It's this relationship I have with God where we've been in this life-long tug of war with one another. And the closer I have allowed myself to get to Him, the less I want to pull back and I want to just run to Him instead. Those feelings however, are new and very recent. I can't say I've ever desired God in the ways I have found myself longing for Him until now.

1 Samuel 16:7b - For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

God sees my heart in this while others only see my outward body. And it is no longer true that my body is an outward reflection of all of these undealt with pains that need healing and processing. I will always need healing and need to process through hard things, yes. But the condition of my body doesn't necessarily mean that my heart is the same way anymore. I think it used to, but it doesn't now. I think that is what has made all of this so frustrating. I feel so different and new on the inside of me and the outside is the same because breaking habits and really changing with food itself is HARD and taking more time than I ever thought it would. And in all of this, I've completely disregarded what it is that God says about my heart because I'm more concerned with how others SEE me.

I guess what I am trying to say in all of this, is that I'm done trying to heal myself. I am done trying to find all of the answers and figure it all out, because I can't. I am done having my body and food as the focus of my every day. I am done trying to keep up with the thoughts running through my head about what others think of me. I am done exhausting myself because I'm worried I'll be a failure if I don't quit working. I am done digging.

It's time to put the shovel down and rest.

I'm not exactly sure what all that entails yet, but I do know, that for now, or for a while, or maybe even forever, I won't be writing about it here. There is more to me and my life and my heart than the weight I am or I'm not. I do know that I'm probably going to turn things down a notch in therapy department. I have plenty of things to sit with and I think I need to breathe for a little while. I have plenty of tools in my belt to know what I need to do. I'm more aware than ever of every bite of food I put in my mouth and why I do it. I am equipped for success. I've put in the work.

Now, it's time to rest a bit.

And maybe just spend time with the One who I thought had left me to figure this out by myself.


  1. Wow. I hear how much you were beating up your own heart in the midst of worrying about what you look like to others. I love the verse about God seeing "the heart." Interesting that in our efforts to heal, we miss what God has intended as part of our redemption.
    I'm glad you have decided to put the shovel down for awhile. Your heart needs rest.
    I hope your time with the One is bold and intimate.

  2. Your blog brought to mind a verse that was my mantra for a while. Something I struggle with and still strive toward daily....
    Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight your battles for you; you need only to be still."
    I love seeing where you are and where you are going. I miss you! <3

  3. I am glad that you are giving yourself a chance to rest. You have needed it and I am glad that you are resting in the truth of how God sees are a new creation in Him...I know you will continue to "fight the fight" are and have been equipped with the tools you is to not worrying about what others think about you!! Enjoy your well deserved rest. I love you no matter what, but more importantly,,,,GOD loves you more. I look forward to seeing what HE can and will do in the coming time of resting in Him.
    Lov ya

  4. Very insightful. I wish I had half of the self-awareness you do! Enjoy your time of rest, without the shovel.

  5. Jenn, this was quite powerful and deep. I know of the rest you speak of and I also believe it's an important part of the healing and moving forward. I think healing from the inside out takes time... and I KNOW you are going further and further in the right direction! You are beautiful. NOW.