Alright. I ask for your patience and your grace today as you read this. Today is one of those posts straight from the heart. I haven't thought it out or spent the week thinking about what I was going to say. Well, actually I did, but this wasn't it. Today is I am sharing part of my soul and like me it is at times awkward and strange and doesn't always make sense or look pretty.
I had a big realization today.
It’s so simple, yet it’s taken me 36 years to get here.
Here it is:
I can’t do anything without God
I know, this is the point where some of you roll your eyes. I get it. I’m still there. Though I find lately that I am feeling more comfortable calling myself “a Christian” I am still battling to let go of all of those preconceived notions of little church ladies so hilariously brought to life by Dana Carvey on SNL. Nevertheless, it’s true.
You see, somewhere in my late teen years I started to dislike myself. My body to be more specific. I’m not exactly sure when it first started. In high school, I wore dresses and skirts the lengths of which I will never let my daughters don. I remember at one time feeling more carefree about my body & my appearance; unconcerned with what I wore and rarely wearing makeup. If pressed I would say it started as a pesky voice somewhere in high school whispering about how my tummy wasn’t as flat as ____’s or reminding me not to cross my legs that way, but never really interfering in my life. Over time it became an inability to wear shorts that didn’t at least reach my knee and eventually to stop wearing them in public at all. It turned into days of feeling horrible and unattractive, to changing my clothes 10 times and finally just wearing something because nothing really looked good. It made me step on the scale six times a day and cringe and this was when I barely hit the triple digits. It made me cry some days to feel as I did. It made me cry to hear compliments because I just couldn’t see it.
Always I would obsess about it for a bit, but it would lessen and I could go about my life without it crushing me. Other times I would work hard to fight it and take up yoga or running and work hard to love my body for what it could DO rather than what it looked like and it would work. For a time. Then I would be back there, like I was yesterday. Like I am today. This cruel tape recorder of ugly words playing in my mind that I’ve been playing for years. It’s only gotten uglier as the years have gone by. Since I’ve had kids it’s been heavy, sitting on my chest making it hard to breathe. Nearly impossible to leave the house some days. Stretch marks, love handles, loose skin, saggy boobs, double chin, goiter. It plays over and over. I’ve tried buying new clothes; that’s what I did yesterday. “Nice pants you’ve got there. Too bad the higher rise just turns your muffin top into an spare tire. You’re not fooling anyone.” It’s affected nearly every aspect of my life, especially my marriage. It’s taken all the energy I have not to let my kids see it; this crazy inside of me. It’s taken everything I have not to sob in front of them when they comment about how squishy I am and ask if I have a baby in my tummy. I don’t want to pass this along because somewhere inside of me I know it’s not right to beat myself us this way.
But I don’t want to write this because I want your pity. Being fat AND pathetic is just not a step I’m ready to take yet *wink*. And lord knows I’ve heard my fair share of advice- everything from diet tips to buying myself a girdle. Also, I am not looking for words of encouragement here. Frankly, I would just assume you’re all a bunch of liars just trying to make me feel better about myself. Ask my husband, he’s tried it and it’s exhausting & won’t get you anywhere. I don’t want to sound bitchy here, I mean, I know people’s intentions are good. But it’s missing the point. I didn’t love myself when I weighed 100 lbs soaking wet so I think it’s safe to say that more encouragement or working hard to lose weight aren’t going to bring me satisfaction. Not really. Sure, I might feel better about how my pants fit, but in the long run I don’t think it’s going to change how I think about myself. I also don’t need to hear the “Who are you to complain?! it could be worse!” things either. Because it’s not really about my size- size 0 or size 20, it’s all the same. I think that my body has just been the scapegoat for how I really feel about me sometimes. Because really, what’s worse than hating on yourself?
It’s something that I’ve felt so helpless about. I mean, how do you begin to change something you know to be true about yourself? Because sadly, it is something I know just as I know the earth is round. It goes beyond belief for me because I know it in my heart at this time this very day to be factual. So how do I tell myself otherwise? How do I change one of my intrinsic beliefs about who I am and what I look like? How do I stop a tape recorder that plays so soft I cannot even hear it though it’s words shape my every day? The answer, my friends, is that I can’t. I can’t do it. At least, not by myself.
So that brings us back around to my epiphany. I can’t do anything without God. So I did what I do most everyday, now. I prayed. I sat in my car in the parking lot looking like a crazy person talking out loud to myself. After all, this is where we have most of our talks. Out loud in that crappy, rusty, Chevy Cavalier. I talk to Him on the way to the grocery store or after dropping off the kids. Today I had to wait until I stopped the car and then it all came pouring out. My need for forgiveness as I have not been thankful of the gift He has given me. That I have not been rejoicing in the abilities He has bestowed on me. I can walk & run & dance. I have grown TWO HUMAN BEINGS IN MY BODY! I mean, what the fuck?! That’s amazing!! And instead of being exuberant, instead of dancing in praise I spend my time belittling what He has made and what He has given me. I have been letting the world have power over me- judging myself by human, worldly standards rather than His. I have been trying to live by the words of Mark 12:31- The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” How do I begin to do that when I have not yet allowed me to love myself?
So today I begin my long and arduous journey of hunting down that tape recorder and making a new message. The good news is that I won’t have to go it alone. That doesn’t mean it will be easy. Hell no. That’s something I didn’t understand before. Before I began getting to know Jesus (I know, eye roll. Don’t worry I will be kicking my own ass for this I am sure) I thought that Christians had it all made. You never had to worry. Jesus had your back and it was all good. Life was easy knowing you weren’t alone. And it’s true to an extent- there is a sort of comfort in that, but it doesn’t mean shit won’t be hard. That you are done suffering. That you still won’t feel alone sometimes. I know that God isn’t going to snap his fingers and make it all right. I know that I will still have to do the work. So I begged for his help knowing I couldn’t do this alone. Knowing that this is a change of heart I can’t make without Him. I asked for His help so that I can recognize when I start playing that damn tape. I asked for this to be done as He sees fit- whatever that means- but I asked for clarity in recognizing it. I asked for strength as I endure it. I asked for grace when I fail, because some days I will. Today I start to record a new message and with His grace I will begin to record a new message.
So here is what I plan to record:
-Kelly, you’re body is amazing! Evolution couldn’t have done this. Only God could have made you so intricate and complex. YOU are a wonder to the world. Did you know:
*You are made up of 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 octillion) atoms. For perspective, there’s a ‘measly’ 300,000,000,000 (300 billion) stars in our galaxy.
*If your brain were a computer, it could perform 38 thousand-trillion operations per second. The world’s most powerful supercomputer, BlueGene, can manage only .002% of that.
*Your body produces 25 million new cells each second. Every 13 seconds, you produce more cells than there are people in the United States.
*Your brain’s connected neurons look similar to the structure of the universe. In a way, our brains are modeled after the universe. Perhaps God has a sense of humor.
-Kelly, your body grew two human beings. TWO HUMAN BEINGS!! For 33 weeks and 3 days you carried two beautiful girls in your belly. You gave up your life to lay on a couch for over 9 weeks to grow those gorgeous girls safely. You are an unstoppable warrior. You gained 40 lbs and stretched that belly until it measured the same as a woman 43 weeks pregnant. You had them cut out of you- yeah, CUT- and were down by their bedside an hour later, up and walking as soon as you could feel your legs and home with them in 3 days. Your body is an amazing tribute to all it has done.
-Kelly, I know today feels rough but remember this:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
-Kelly, I know today is hard but repeat this. Now repeat it again:
-Kelly, I know today feels impossible. Remember you cannot do this yourself. Remember this:
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Do you know you are fearfully & wonderfully made?