I fell for the lies.
I used to think if I was in better shape I’d somehow be a better version of myself as a wife, mom, coach, or whatever other role I had in my life at the time. For me though, better shape had everything to do with how I looked. Not necessarily how I felt about my body, or how healthy I was mentally, emotionally, relationally. Being in the best shape almost cost me my marriage.
And while on some level being in better shape did make me a better version of myself, it also made me a worse version of myself.
A crazy thing started to happen, and it was so subtle I didn’t notice it until it was almost too late or really even until after the fact.
The more ‘fit’ I became, the more selfish I had become.
I was obsessed with myself, with my body, with the food I ate. To the point that my marriage was crumbling.
There were times I thought about leaving my life, and my family behind. Starting over in this new, amazing body I had invested so much time and energy into building.
You see, I think we are sold this idea that if we were in better shape the whole world would open up for us, and our problems would melt away…kinda like the fat on our thighs.
The reality is, if you’re just doing the work on the outside (and not also on the inside), you will have new problems.
You can’t fix the outside, expecting it will heal the broken places on the inside.
I was afraid of letting myself go, giving up my fitness obsession. Or my thoughts about having a certain body.
My identity had become so wrapped up in my body.
While my fitness journey may have started out as a healthy endeavor to get in shape to be a healthier version of me.
It was fueled by negative emotions from the get go.
You see, I didn’t start out feeling ok or at peace with my body. I wasn’t grateful for what it had survived to that point.
I was at odds with my body, and blamed my weight for my problems.
With anything there is a point of diminishing returns. Meaning more isn’t always better. Just like doing nothing is not better either.
I think there is always the temptation to teeter between two extremes. This is dangerous because you’ll always either feel like you’re totally out of control or fall into the false sense of control that being too much of anything provides.
I fell prey to the lie that our relationship would be better if I was in better shape. That I needed to change my body in some massive way to be a better wife.
What actually needed to happen was I needed to become a better wife by focusing a little less on myself and more on loving my husband regardless of what my body looked like.
He didn’t care if I was a size 0 or a size 10.
Here’s an outline of how I backed off of my fitness obsession little by little.
I didn’t realize just how much time and energy was spent on worrying about food, what I was eating, my weight, or what I looked like until after I left diet culture behind.
Thinking less about my body has opened up so much more time for me to think about my husband, yes, but also so many other things.
The most ironic thing is I am to this day, as confident as I was at my smallest, if not even more.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight because you think it’s what you need to do to be more worthy of love from your partner or you’ve lost the weight, and now you’re frantically trying to keep it off, there is a better way.
And I want to show you how to get there. The Mindful Eating Project is opening soon. Fill out the form below to get more info, and just for doing so, I’ll send you a FREE gift that will help you get more of your time back. Who doesn’t want that?!
Too late for a #throwback?
I was 26 and probably about 15 pounds lighter in the picture on the left.
I was also exhausted from being a mom of two young kids and felt drained all the time.
I was trying so hard to be the perfect mom and wife and was honestly miserable in so many ways.
I was putting everyone first and chasing the wrong things.
I would make the excuse that I didn’t have time to take care of what mattered, because I had let busy take over, and tried to keep up certain appearances.
This is the side of motherhood that is rarely, if ever talked about because motherhood is supposed to be one of the best times of our lives as women.. my heart is racing even as I type my feelings so openly. There were days I thought about running away and leaving them all behind.
Looking back, maybe I was suffering from a little #postpartumdepression, bit more than that I think I was suffering from putting so much pressure on doing it ‘right’.
Fast forward 7 years.
I see life and vibrancy and passion in her eyes.
I see a woman who has completely embraced motherhood in all of its messiness and a wife that has endured a great deal of heartache over the last 11 years. But she is filled with joy. She is content. And she is confidently laughing at whatever the future may hold.
If you’re still reading this, I hope you know you’re not alone. Motherhood is messy. Being a wife takes a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice.
I’ve heard you can’t have it all…I’m starting to think that’s a lie. If you ever feel alone, know that you are not. My inbox is always open
Gratitude changes everything…
Have you noticed that the practice of giving thanks is every where right now? And for good reason. Taking inventory of what is good in our lives can give us hope and can encourage us to carry on even when we are weary and feel like we are stuck in a hopeless situation.
The Bible talks so much about giving thanks and counting your blessings. There is a reason for that. It points out that even in the most desperate situations there are specks of hope, light, and good. And that God, in His faithfulness will work all things for the good of those that love him and are called according to his purpose -Romans 8:28
That means that even when you can’t see how He is working, you can trust that He still is. And giving thanks is one way to keep your mind steadfast and free from the distraction of what may not be working so well in the moment.
How can you cultivate an attitude of gratitude or a state of being grateful regardless of your circumstances?
Start a gratitude journal. Head to Target or TJ Maxx or any other cute shop that sells journals and pick one that elicits a feeling of gratitude. Then start by journaling at least 3 things you are thankful for each and every day. It could be something simple like having a hot cup of coffee by yourself in the morning, or perhaps something bigger has happened that is worth noting. By journaling, you will be able to look back and see how God has always provided, and you can use it in times of trial to spur you on in your race.
…be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged..
The other day I woke up, clicked my Bible app open and this was the verse that was there waiting for me. It was just what I needed that day as I was battling some pretty toxic anxiety and fear that has in the past kept me from taking action.
It is crazy to me how each and every day, there is always just what my heart needs waiting for me in my bible.
“Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the LORD your God, am with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 GNT
No matter what you face today, remember you have been commanded to be determined and confident. You are never alone, and everything you need to face the day is ready and waiting for you.
I hope this encouraged your and strengthened your heart today, my friend…
Raise your hand if you’ve ever said yes to something and almost immediately regretted it..yep, me too. I am not exactly sure why it is that we do that to ourselves, but it was one of my intentions coming into 2018 to save my yeses for only the best things to come my way. That may sound incredibly selfish, and believe me it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I knew it is what I needed. I found myself saying yes to so many amazing opportunities out of guilt or obligation.
I’ve done some soul searching and a whole lot of reflection over the past year and I realized that I was simply trying to be too much to too many people. Handing out my yeses to anyone that asked was really depriving the people and the callings in my life that really need me…including myself. In the past I’ve casually given my yeses away because I felt guilty or because there seemed to be a genuine need. And by no means am I suggesting that we only ever do the things we want, but I am suggesting that we need to be more thoughtful and intentional with our yeses.
If you find yourself constantly on the run, burned out, and exhausted from honoring everyone else’s agenda then read on..
So how do we get off the hamster wheel?
One of the first things I did was identify my core values. Who were the people I was committed to showing up for? What causes and organizations do I feel led to serve? What were my existing obligations? What am I about?
Your best yeses or your sacred yeses will align with your values and ultimately what is most important to you not just what is important to the world around you. Sometimes the two will line up and sometimes they won’t. It is ultimately up to you to discern for yourself what that is. By having your values clearly outlined you will be able to decide what you really should be spending your time on and what you can pass on.
I know how hard it is to say no, especially when the cause or the need seems relevant, real, and is good. But if we crowd our schedules according to everyone else’s agenda, we don’t leave any time or space for Jesus to show up with his agenda for us. That is often what has led me to feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
Once you get some clarity on your core values you will know when you should step up and when you should step aside and let someone else take it on. Asking questions always seems to reveal what is really going on in your heart.
Not sure if it is your best yes?
Here are some gut checks:
Does it align with yourvalues?
Does this align with your vision?
Do you have the time?
What will you have to say no to in order to make this a reality? **This one is especially a good question to ask yourself..because you can’t say yes to something without saying no to something else at the same time.
By creating the space and giving myself the permission to say no–even to ‘good’ things I am able to give more and to give better to the things that matter most and it frees me up to say yes to the things I was really called to do. I am able to show up in a bigger way and serve with more joy in my heart. We were created with certain gifts, dreams, and visions. And in order to step into those fully we will have to learn to turn down the things that tempt us or distract us from staying the course.
One day about a year ago I was combing through some of my old journals and started just randomly flipping through the pages reading some of the entries from as far back as several years. My eyes began to slowly fill with tears and a subtle sadness came over me..
I began to realize that while I thought I had been making so many huge strides in my life both personally and professionally, I became acutely aware of how much I actually had not changed. Sure, I had overcome some pretty big obstacles like unfaithfulness in my marriage (we were both guilty in case you are wondering), got my college degree with 2 kids under the age of 8, and endured a year long deployment. There were also many smaller challenges and obstacles that were documented on those pages. The thing that really got to me the most was reading my responses to the various trials that life had thrown my way.
While I did make it out on the other side in one piece, I found that I handled each with similar tactics. I held onto anger and bitterness. I placed the blame on everyone else or my circumstances. Essentially I saw myself as a victim and I saw that life was just happening to me.
This literally tied my stomach in knots. It was in this moment of raw truth and clarity that I realized I had been living all these years as a slave. I was still chasing other things and other people to give me my identity, to fulfill me, to give me worth. As a Christian woman I should have known better. I should have known that from the day I professed Jesus as my Savior, I was free. None of the past mattered anymore and nothing the future could throw my way could derail me from my new life…that is if (and a big if) I chose to be free, chose to live free.
I suppose in a perfect world that might have been how my story would have unfolded, but as I have learned in the last year you can proclaim one thing with your mouth and have your heart still shouting another thing. This was revealed to me in those pages that day and was clear by my actions, my insecurities, my ever present fear and anxiety when things didn’t go quite as I had planned.
I don’t know exactly the day or the formula that things began to change. I am not sure that there is a specific formula for a thing like this anyway. What I do know is that the last year has been an amazingly painful, humbling, and most of all life giving year. I shared earlier in a live video that I am a perfectionist (recovering anyway), I am a first born, and I like control. I truly believe it was in part those tendencies that drove me to try to save myself time and time again in each of those obstacles. I would try through my works. I would try through my grades. I would try through my physical appearance.
Each and every time I came up short.
That is no coincidence, and it really isn’t even indicative of my ability or my skills. It points simply to the fact that no matter what I cannot save myself. I am sure this will be practice for me for the rest of my life. I can also assure you that the amount of peace and freedom that have come from realizing that I am not capable of saving myself is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I still mess up plenty, but I know now and truly believe it does not define me.
What does define me?
I am covered in grace.
I am a child of God.
I am free to be me, no matter what anyone else might think, say, or do.
Even when I fail, I will still be ok. I will still be enough. I will still be worthy.
Regardless of the number on the scale, in the bank, the likes/comments/follows I am still valuable beyond my wildest dreams.
Friend, sister, it is my desperate hope and prayer for your life that you would find this freedom too. If you aren’t even sure how to go about that, it is ok! It starts with your heart and your desire, your true desire to change. The rest is up to Jesus. And I know from personal experience he won’t disappoint. When you really show up in that vulnerable, “Lord, change me” way…he will! It may seem like it takes forever, and it may be in the blink of an eye.
You have to trust, know, and believe he wants you to change more than you do. Don’t mistake that for you not being good enough as is. If you are a mom you might understand this analogy: you could never love your kids more than you do right now, but that doesn’t mean you want them to stay the same. You want them to grow. Our Father is the same (arguably better than we ever could be).
If you need a friend through this process, I am here for you! You can email me at email@example.com.