“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin..”
I am going to be honest here and tell you that this verse straight up irritated me years ago. It put me off because I did the EXACT opposite of what it said. I worried about the clothes I wore and the food I ate. A huge part of my life was about managing my food intake and the way my body looked. I controlled that part of my life with a fine tooth comb.
How could God tell me not to worry?
How could God tell me not to care about my health?
How could He this, and how could He that...
And that was my problem. I didn’t see this verse as love and a chance for freedom. I saw it as accusation and carelessness on God’s part.
For years, over a decade really, I’ve worried about my body, the food I eat, the clothes I wear and how much exercise I get. It’s been an anxiety in my heart and my mind all my adult life. One that’s been praised and applauded. Who doesn’t applaud a “healthy and fit” woman nowadays?
My health and wellness journey began as a goal to be my healthiest self, but over time it turned into an obsession with goals that were unattainable in that mind set.
My goal went from being "healthy and strong" to being "perfect and praised." A recipe (pun intended) for disaster. Disaster of my mental state and of my time.
But now...I’m tired. I’m tired of worrying. I’m tired of trying to live up to unrealistic expectations I’ve placed on myself. I’m exhausted from trying too hard, to keep up, to fit in, to be the best. Tired of running a race that wasn’t meant for me to be in, in the first. The race of comparison and let down. The race of envy and highlighted scrolls. The race of selfishness and single minded thinking.
I’m tired of the race that was born by the ways of the world and not of the Word of God.
Don’t get me wrong, goals and aspirations are amazing. Even in the fitness world. But once your motives turn sideways and your thoughts are consumed with worry over your body...it becomes an idol in your life. One that sucks the energy right out of you, disorients your priorities, and takes the first place spot on your heart. (That’s the recipe for disaster I spoke about earlier)
To be even more real, I got trapped. The comparison game got me like a mouse wanting that come-hither-cheese.
The world lured me in. With scrolls, hashtag goals, and promises of happiness on the other side of where I was.
The mouse trap was set up perfectly and I got suckered in.
The promises of this world were shiny and full of false hope and once the snare snapped, I willing stayed there without a fight. Slowly dying from the need of getting that cheese, no matter what the cost.
I now refuse to be a victim of the mouse trap. Of the hamster wheel. Of the rat race. (Anymore animal analogies?)
I refuse to worry about my body, what I will eat, and what I will wear.
I refuse to turn away from a verse, that I know with all I have, to be God's truth and one that is not accusing but freeing in so many ways.
I’ve heard that your greatest struggle will be the thing that God uses you to bring the most glory. His glory. And I believe that to be true.
Your biggest struggle is your biggest weakness. And in our weaknesses, He is strong. That’s how and why we are still here and I’m writing about it right now.
My body image, my thoughts, my actions when it comes to myself are in fact, my biggest struggle. The negative mindset. The nasty thoughts. The obsessive behavior. Weakness. But His promises of peace, of His care, and surrendering my worries to Him is strength.
Last week, on Instagram, I posted something I rarely do. I posted that I had gained weight and that I was doing my best to be okay with it. This is an unusual post overall because society has us thinking that we should only celebrate weight loss wins NOT mindset wins.
But from the comments and the private messages I received, I’ve realized that women need more TRUTH and that we all need more authentic posts. Even if it means saying you gained weight during a pandemic (hello-welcome there’s millions of others in this club) and that you’re doing your best to be ok with it.
So here I am posting about it again and giving you a deeper back story so that YOU KNOW that no matter who you are, what you look like, how much you’ve gained or lost, you are beautiful. And you are NOT alone in the battle of trying to fit in, to win, to be applauded, and of comparison.
And you, my friend, are definitely not alone in the battles you have with your mind.
I’m no where near where I want to be. I’m not talking physically, but mentally. And I’m grateful that something this quarantine has given me (besides the extra pounds to love) is the chance to finally let go and let God, when it comes to worry and my controlling obsessions with my body.
And my hope is that you too begin to love your wonderful self. No matter how much you weigh. Because in reality, with the chaos of the world around us, there’s truly no time or space for that kind of negativity anyway.
So, I'll leave you today with another amazing truth, the verse that's on my phone's lock screen:
"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."
Song of Songs 4:7 (NLT)