Monday, June 30, 2014

Healthier Days Ahead

  I've never blogged about my weight loss.  I am not a "weight loss" blogger.  But those who know me, know my journey.  I lost 100 pounds after graduating college.  My weight fluctuates, but for the most part, I've kept it off.

Two summers ago, a friend of mine asked me (okay, pestered until I gave in) to lead a Made to Crave study at our church.  That was the summer I realized that, even though my body was no longer obese, I still had heart issues that God wanted me to bring to him.  I had a very healthy summer, and achieved a good weight, but unfortunately, those heart issues remain today.  And those heart issues are what breed my physical battle.

When I am lonely.... not bored or happy or anything else... but when I am lonely, I am driven to food like others might be to a drug, a lover or a drink.  This is a direct reflection of the experience of my childhood.  I remember growing up in a house where I felt very lonely a lot of the time.  My Mom started working nights when I was young, so even though I was in the house with other (older) family members, I was basically on my own.  I would lie in bed and watch TV all night.  I don't really remember playing with toys or having other hobbies.  Sometimes I would read or write (the 2 hobby-esque things I still enjoy), but mostly it was me and the TV.  While I was watching, I would go into the kitchen to get snacks--always high salt or high fat (read: chips, cookies, ice cream).  They were my friends.  TV.  Chips. Ice Cream. Cookies.  Ham sandwiches with mayonnaise.   Whatever I could find. 

And as I write this truth about my past, I shed tears.  This is a heartbreaking truth for me to confess... just so we are clear.

I so wish I could leave that childish behavior in the past.  But I haven't been able to stop this cycle I have of grieving those friendships while still holding tightly to them as if they are all I have when I feel alone.  But it's not all I have.  I have friends.  I have a family.  I have interests and other ways to fill my time or feel connected.  I have other actual relationships that I could turn to for comfort, laughter, joy, companionship, fulfillment.  Yet I hold onto food because it has never hurt me nor turned its back on me or made me cry.  It has also never brought me joy, held my hand, made me laugh until I cried, brought a smile to a stranger's face or fulfillment to my heart.  It has never saved my soul or dried my tears. 

Food is food.  If I can just remember that.  Food. Is. Food.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It is necessary.   But it is not everything.

And if you're reading this, food may or may not be your heartbreaking truth.  Maybe you have something else that you run to like I do to food.  It doesn't matter what it is.  It's the thing that plagues you, frustrates you, battles you.  Whatever it is, it's not everything.  It doesn't define you... you just let it.  God sees more than that in you in me.  He sees someone he created for greater purposes.  You (and I) are meant for more.  Let's start living like it.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Everything Old is New Again

Faith.  It's a funny thing.  I've "walked" in my faith for so long that, like an old pair of pants, I've forgotten how much I was  in love with them when I first bought them.  My faith has been washed, ripped, stretched, flooded and worn to the point of being just like those old pants I'm ready to throw away because they remind me that I'm not {new, young, skinny, vibrant, fill in the blank...} anymore.  The fresh faith that carried me through so much of my teens and twenties is now tired, worn, and... what was that word I used on Facebook yesterday?  Ah, yes, reticent. 
  • ret·i·cent
  1. reserved: unwilling to communicate very much, talk freely, or reveal all the facts about something
  2. reluctant: unwilling to do something
What a sad word to have to use to describe my faith.  Reticent.  Unwilling to communicate, talk freely or reveal all the facts.  Reluctant.  Unwilling.  "...having a form of Godliness, but denying it's power," is the way Paul phrases it to Timothy (2 Timothy 3).

But here I am blogging, as I am prone to do when I need to think through my life and faith... when I need God to make me new again.  When my reticence must give way to the life of faith (because make no mistake--any faith described as reticent is no faith at all).

This all comes on the cusp of God telling me "no".  I've had "faith" that God would provide financially for my family in a couple of very specific ways as I start Graduate school next week.  As of Thursday, He has officially said no to both of my expectations.  It makes me angry.  It hurts my feelings.  It makes me want to cry and kick and scream and potentially give up on this dream I have watched God hand deliver to me over the past year. 

But that is not the way of faith.  The way of faith takes the first step without seeing every step on the path.  The way of faith allows God to direct.  The way of faith is simple.  It is not overthought, hyper-planned or easy.  It is serendipitous.  It is beautiful.  It is fun and unexpected.  It is allowing God to make me smile instead of counting on myself for joy.  It is peaceful--something I have not been for months.

Faith lets go.  Faith opens its heart.  Faith smiles.  Faith breaths.  Deeply.

So as I begin this journey... however long it takes and wherever it may take me, I will breath.  I will be quiet.  I will stop trying to be in control of everything just because that's what responsible middle class American adults do (ha).  I will learn to walk in the way of faith--a way I started walking 20 years ago--and I will learn what faith looks like each day.  And if you happen to see me, please ask me how my faith is growing and changing.  And if you sense any bit of resonance in my answer, ask me again.