Ever had one of those days where you wake up and just feel like you’re fighting the enemy – and your own mind – ALL. DAY. LONG?
That’s today for me.
Driving to church this morning I was overcome with this need to reach out to God and ask Him to help. It’s almost like I forgot that was an option and, upon remembering, halted everything to make it happen. So, I turned off my audiobook and tearfully prayed that he would help me be free of this crippling sense of shame and unworthiness that I feel when I think about my weight and eating choices.
Now, let me get something straight. I try really, REALLY hard to eat well most of the time. And, I don’t feel this way every day! What’s that saying? Something about each day bringing its own new battle? But most days I have a little voice in the back of my mind that sits there scrutinizing and condemning even the GOOD choices I make – “Oh, you shouldn’t have added that coconut milk to your coffee, Stormye, you know that’s just adding unnecessary calories.” Or, “Did you just eat all of that, and so quickly? Tisk, tisk.” Y’all. It’s an awful, nasty little person that resides in my mind sometimes.
And, sadly, I’ve realized that person – that condescending voice – is me.
No one else is shaming me for my eating choices because, honestly, they aren’t bad! No one is looking at me in public thinking, “Oh that girl really shouldn’t be wearing that,” because NO ONE CARES. I’ve said this before but no one is as mean to me as I am.
Today, in church, the guest speaker was talking about shame and how it is a result of us placing our hope in things other than the Lord. And you know what I realized? That is exactly what I’ve done for my entire life. I’ve put my hope in losing weight and that making me magically happier with my life, in eating perfectly, in exercising the amount that everyone says you should, in following and being perfect like these little nutritionists I see on Instagram. And all the while, I’ve made myself miserable.
The verse that he focused on today was Psalm 34:5 – “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve been walking around with the dullest face on the planet. Instead of meeting with my maker every morning and letting him and his mere presence make me radiant, I’ve been hoping to find it in all of my aforementioned hopeless pursuits. I’ve been walking in shame and speaking so cruelly to myself for TWENTY SEVEN YEARS and I want it to be done.
Here comes the hard part. I can’t say all of this and it just be over. This is a long-term battle that I feel like I have constantly lost. I need help in this – I’ve tried the whole “pulling-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps” deal and it doesn’t work. Why? Because this centers around JESUS – putting my hope in the Lord – and not about what I can do on my own. This is one of those battles that I feel like I’ll never win, it’s on my list of “impossible prayers”, but today I saw that it really is possible. This isn’t me missing an appendage and hoping the Lord will grow it back – this is me aligning my heart to his and learning to hope in him and nothing else. THAT is possible. Is it easy? No. It, too, will take discipline, but it is the most worth-it discipline you can have.
Whew, that was a lot! I’m glad to get it off my mind and into yours. Maybe you’ve felt this way too? It may not be weight – it could be the lack of a significant other or family or even the job you wanted. Whatever it is, I hope that we can both learn how to overcome these insignificant societal woes and put our hope in God.