The following few paragraphs are ramblings from this mornings journal writing. I usually don’t post these stream of consciousness writings…but this is a big part of who I am…those secret thoughts and words tucked away in my journal. I would not be authentic if I only blogged the highlight reel of my life.
I am so NOT happy with my weight/fitness right now. I am heavier than I have ever been. Ever. I feel awful in any clothes I put on. I feel even worse in my own skin. Lately, in order to deal with the pain, I have taken to just making fun of myself. I’ve made self-deprecating jokes about my weight and appearance. But inside I am hurting. Inside I am crying because this is not truly who I am. I feel like this journal entry is one that I’ve written more than once over the last few years. That’s depressing. I’m fighting the same battle, the same demons – and little by little (or lot by lot according to the scale) I am losing the fight. But why?! As I scribble these words I think the answer comes to me. It’s not an earth-shattering revelation…but it does provide me with some clarity. Mentally, I am already defeated. In my mind, I will NOT be successful…so then why even try? If I am certain of failure…why even try to succeed? That truth has permeated other aspects of my life besides just fitness/weight loss. Rather than put it all on the line and try with the knowledge that I may fail, I just “play it safe” and protect myself from the pain and embarrassment of failing. Wow…I am a mess. So, rather than face the possibility of failing, I remain disappointed – no miserable – in my current state. I keep making excuses rather than making progress.
One excuse that my brain tries to tell overweight me is the old “what really matters is what is on the inside…” rationale. I won’t argue that that is not true. It is. And I don’t think that I’m that super vain person who needs to look a certain way for others. Or to keep up with some image the world tells me is perfect. My “insides” are a work in progress. I am always working on the inside me that matters (well – God is doing all that work…I’m just opened up to him to do it.) This battle is about ME. Not others. This is about me believing that I can do what I set my mind to – and even if I trip and fall along the way, it doesn’t mean that I have failed completely and that I am not worthy. I have to believe in myself and when I find that difficult, I have to remind myself that my God is with me and that He is bigger than anything I face. And this anything is really small and superficial when I put it into perspective. I mean, it’s not cancer. I haven’t lost a loved one. I’m not being persecuted for my faith. It’s almost ridiculous that I have filled three pages of my journal writing about my “problem” that in the big scheme of things is really not a problem. I’m almost embarrassed to ask God to help me with this one. It seems so insignificant to bother him with it in light of the events of the world. But I know that my God is at work all the time in every situation. And for me, at this moment in my life, this is what I am facing. God knows and understands the underlying issues in me that make this my challenge at this time. So….I will try again…knowing that I may fail miserable again. But I still must try. I am no longer making excuses…today, I am making progress.
I haven’t blogged in a long time. For me, writing is very close to my heart. In brings me in touch with who I am and it helps me make sense of the world around me. When sense can’t be made, it allows me to at least express my emotions in the midst of chaos. I don’t know why I have not blogged. I have thought of it every day. Everyday. My confidence in writing has been kidnapped. My ability express my thoughts temporarily hijacked. I have felt like I have had nothing to say…nothing worth any “value.” This morning, I believe I may have turned a corner. Why am I afraid? My words, my writings are me. They are my thoughts and emotions and ideas. And yes that leaves me feeling vulnerable and exposed…but that’s ok. My words have value because they are mine. They may not come out in the most eloquent manner – but according to who?
Over the last many months, I have found such a treasure in reading Ann Voskamp’s words. She inspires and challenges and pretty much blows me away with every sentence she pens. And while I am so thankful for the time I spend reading her thoughts, and for the peace and joy her words bring, I have allowed her words to make me feel like I just can’t write. I have said it jokingly often that after I read Ann’s beautiful musings, that I will never write again. She can make doing dishes sound poetic! But those little quips of mine actually became my reality. I have let comparison kill my desire to do what I love. I will never be a great writer. I will always be…just me. But that’s got to be okay. I love writing. It makes my heart happy. It brings peace to my soul. I can’t allow myself to be shut down because someone else does it so much better. I have to learn to turn those feelings of inadequacy into feelings of inspiration. My thoughts are important – if to no one else – to me. My desire is for my writing, in a way, to be a form of worship to God. I can’t let any feeling of “less than” hold back that desire.
So here I am…typing furiously, tears flowing, convincing myself with my own words that its time for me to write again.
Sitting here in my dimly lit living room, feet up, my puppy lying in my lap. The furnace hums, having a difficult time keeping pace with the dropping temperatures outside. In the near distance, voices from the hockey game being played on my son’s tv call the play by play. Outside the picture window bright white snow begins to let go of the sun’s reflection and take to take on twilight. I look at the clock excited that my husband will be home soon and we will break bread together. Giving thanks to God for all of it. I add each of them to my list of gifts I have begun collecting. I do my best to capture these tiny moments in my memory to retrieve when joy seems elusive. For when I am too caught up in myself to truly live in God’s grace and feel His joy that is ever present. These little things are beautiful gifts given to me by a God who is full of grace. For all of these little gifts this afternoon I will be thankful and in them I will find joy.
I love this quote about time…
“Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I have ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.” ~Mark Buchanan
My devotional this morning was about that rushing around that we all do. Trying to fit just one more thing into a day. Running around, stressed, over-scheduled and exhausted. The driving question of the devotional, “Who actually knows how to take time and live with soul and body and God all in sync?” This question and the thoughts it stirred up hit me hard this early, cold morning. If I take a real honest look in the mirror, my life is in a constant state of rush. I desire more than anything in my life to be close to God, to commune with him often, meaningfully. But it seems I try to do that by cramming him into a small window of “my time.” Dictating to him – the Creator of the Universe – how much time I have allotted him in my day. It is an absurd reality. God is the one who made me – who took the time to “knit me together in my mother’s womb” and yet I struggle to “find” time for him. Who ever finds time anyway? Where does one look for it? It should be my joy and privilege to GET to spend time with my heavenly Father…often, not just when there happens to be an open spot in my calendar that I can pencil him in. He is my first and foremost. My all. Does my schedule reflect that? Do I stop and slow down in the midst of all of the crazy that each day brings and simply soak in Him? I have to think that God looks down on us and aches for our attention. Longs for us to soak in His presence. To linger with Him in the quiet. My prayer today, Lord is to slow myself down and fully live in each moment with you…to enjoy each minute that you bless me with today. To see you in every bit of my day. Thank you God for helping me slow down and to live in sync with you.
I started a new devotional this morning. It seems that lately I keep seeking to find inspiration through people who I admire…people who I know are way further along in their walk with Christ and can maybe help light my path. Sometimes I beat myself up for this. This need to be inspired by someone else’s writings and thoughts. Why can’t I seek and find inspiration on my own? I go back and forth on what this says about my walk and my “study life” as far as God goes. I don’t think that being inspired by others is necessarily a negative. There are some amazing people out there who God has given beautiful gifts to and I am thankful they share those gifts. Then I sometimes think that if I can’t just merely sit down and open up the gift that God gave me – my Bible – then something is lacking in me. I am missing something if His inspired word is “not enough.” Yes – this is what I do – argue with myself, beat myself up, etc. After much reflection this morning, I actually think that a balance between studying the word of God and reading other’s words and thoughts is healthy and good for my soul. I don’t have to be a Bible scholar, but I can spend time reading my Bible and it WILL speak to me. God WILL reveal himself to me through those pages. I can also receive blessings, encouragement and inspiration through other people and will hear God through their words. I thank God for his guidance and instruction he inspired through the Bible. Time spent in those pages are time spent with my Creator. I also thank him for gifting people with such creative and insightful spirits whose words touch me and make my spirit soar. Writers like Ann Voskamp are so talented and produce such beautiful thoughts to share that there is no doubt in my mind she is speaking out her gift from God. I spent this morning reading Psalms of praise and thanksgiving. Recorded for me there is a picture of true adoration of God and the words of David inspire me to live a life that praises more, worships more, thanks more, and adores more. And then, in the same time of study this morning, I read from Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts Devotional” about her understanding of thankfulness and what God has revealed to her about being truly thankful, and I know that her words are a gift from God as well. So as I continue to reflect on my walk and my relationship with God, I am realizing that I am doing ok. I know that the desire of my heart is to seek God in all that I do. And it is ok if I seek him in many ways, places, and words. His Holy Word will always be my ultimate authority. But I also realize that he can and will reveal himself to me through others. For all of it, I am truly thankful.
Several years ago, I was introduced to a book called “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Brian, who I had just recently met. The basic premise of the book is that we all have different strengths that form our personalities and character. There are 35 basic strengths and we all have a combination of some of those. The book takes the reader through several questions and scenarios and then based on those answers, the reader’s top 5 strengths are revealed. I must admit that I was skeptical upon starting the process, but I forged ahead anyway (I was trying to impress Brian!). I thought I already kind of knew my “strengths” – although I really counted them as personality quirks…not necessarily positives. When my results were calculated, I must say that I was quite amazed. They really seemed to be ME. Number one on my list of strengths was EMPATHY. I think I knew this to be true…I feel such strong feelings of empathy for others. That’s just kind of who I am. I guess I was just surprised that a book could see it too. So…all of that rambling to set up this idea…Today, I’m not so much feeling that strong sense of empathy as a strength. Today it feels like my kryptonite. And I don’t think I’m anything “special” for possessing this “strength” as I think that any woman who has ever called herself a mother carries such a strong sense of empathy for her children. Today I was nearly crippled with the desire to take my daughter’s place as I saw the fear and anxiety in her eyes. I saw the pain and worry in her face and I physically felt it in my heart. Today my empathy did not feel like a strength – but rather like a huge weight on my soul. As they wheeled my baby girl down the hall to her surgery, I wanted more than anything to be able to trade her places. I wanted to take it all away from her and protect her from any pain. I’m not feeling so “strong” at the moment. My empathy super powers seem to be my enemy at this point. I hurt for her.