It wasn’t intentional that I haven’t blogged over the past week. Since last Thursday I have been on three different airlines in five cities and home in between and then weather sent me home again due to a cancelled flight, only for me to get the flu. The real flu. Like nothing I have ever had. High fever and aching from my teeth to my toes. Literally it hurts my fingers to type right now. And not to worry, Grandma, I’m going to the doctor, today. Thank goodness for rural healthcare in my own backyard on the North Dakota prairie.
In the midst high school basketball games of our son’s in January and now travel and then the flu over the past week, I have been doing an online Bible study along with 43,000 other women. It’s Made to Crave through Proverbs 31 Ministries and written by Lysa TerKeurst. They encourage Thursday blog posts with a theme each week. This week’s entry isn’t going to be my best work but I am attempting because I have failed to post my last two weeks worth of content. The theme this week is Peace.
Making peace with what I see as flaws in my body but are realities and accepting them and its realities as a gift from God. It’s not an easy topic to tackle.
I have always been a big girl. Not obese. Just big. I was the tallest in my class until junior high when finally a couple of boys started growing and then my friend Jackie grew taller than me but ended up going to a different high school.
But to most, I was big. With glasses. And a big nose to hold up those glasses.
I was big and so skinny that I was made fun of for being too skinny. Junior high years are brutal. My nickname from a few boys and one teacher became “Etha” for Ethiopian. Ethiopia was suffering from mass starvation and there was global headlines about it. I know. It’s terrible and disrespectful. I never want to go back to junior high. Although adult life still has its flashes of junior high moments we can’t seem to escape.
Needless to say, in junior high or high school, I didn’t feel peace about my body or who I was.
So I starting eating and eating and eating to add weight and muscle. I had a tough coach who pushed me, year-round. I lifted weights. I ran. I became a discus thrower and a shot putter. I jumped boxes. I jumped rope. I became a strong, big girl. Not too skinny and not overweight.
But did I have peace with my body and the gifts God gave me? Absolutely not. I was an insecure girl. We all have been and most still are. I didn’t see who my identity is through Christ. I only defined myself by the world.
As as adult, I was reminded that my paternal grandfather had a 60″ inch waist at one point in his life. That’s like Jared on the Subway commercials. I have those genetics. I also have my mom’s high cholesterol genetics. My eating and eating and eating philosophy of junior high and high school caught up with me, especially when college athletics ended for me. No more daily workouts. No more coaches pushing me. No more heavy lifting or running sprints.
Then I was just a lost young woman in her early 20’s. I joined different health clubs and tried an array of diets. I was a Christian but I never connected my faith to my self-image.
I followed Weight Watchers and lost 30 lbs, on the program nine years ago. I was 26 years old and extremely motivated to be a beautiful bride.
Then, I gained 60+ lbs in pregnancies and lost it all after, only to slowly gain weight back. My closet in my late 20’s ranged with clothes across four different sizes.
I have exercised with a trainer. And without. I have gone for months with no exercise and then gotten back on track to at least a few days a week.
The point is, like all of us, I have had my own story and struggles. At the core of it, I have learned how to define myself and make peace with who God wants me to be. It’s been a faith journey more than a weight or food journey.
I have learned to not define myself by a number on the scale, the measurements of my waist or hips or what pop culture says I should be. We all want a little less of that or a little more of this. But I am not perfect and never will be.
Through a long struggle, I have learned to define myself by my faith and accepting myself as who God made me to be. My husband has played a huge role in helping me find peace and defining who I am. He loves me, all of me, no matter the number on the scale or the size of jeans I am sucking myself into on any given day. He also encourages me when I am working hard to exercise or lose weight. He understands my need for exercise. He never comments negatively, ever on how I look. His confidence in me helped me see through the worldview and look deep into God’s view of who I am.
Now, weekly, I step on the scale to be accountable for my health, not to define myself by a number. My body is a gift for good. It’s up to me to make sure I use it to its fullest for my family and faith.
For my family and for my faith, I must have peace with who I am to do my best work. I must have confidence in my abilities. In order to do that, making healthy choices matters. I am Food Choice Mom. We have many foods we eat and enjoy. I don’t remove one or a few foods from my diet to find peace. I include variety and am at peace with the abundance of choices. Actually, I celebrate food choices, which might have to a blog post on another day.
To be at peace with who I am in Christ, as a wife and as a mother, I have learned exercising relieves stress and adds strength. When I stay within my healthy weight range I am happier and have more energy. I have to spend time in God’s word, studying, growing, forgiving and seeking wisdom to be at peace. That peace is the peace that I need, far more than any number on a scale.
Therefore, working through and reading Made to Crave has given me a wake-up and reality check to make sure I am on track, not just for myself, but for my family, and God, who I ultimately honor and serve.
Today, I am leaving you with a verse that was highlighted in Chapter eight of Made to Crave and one I spent time studying and praying about over the past few days.
“Praise the Lord, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5
No matter where you are today, know that you are good. Y our body is good and God made you for good. Look for another blog post on this Bible study next Thursday.
How are you working to find peace in your life?