I don't know exactly when it started, but I have entered a new phase of my journey. As you know the last two years have been super-focused on the physical affects of "healthy living" - the things you can touch, taste, feel, see. My journey up to this point has been tangible. It has been easy to see progress. For a while my mood revolved around seeing the number on the scale decrease each week. In fact, I almost got to the point of (dare I say) idolizing weight loss itself.
Don't get me wrong. I don't think weight loss is bad...at all. It is a VERY good thing! BUT when you get to the point where you can't be happy if you aren't losing? That's a problem. I'm finding it so much harder now to figure out who I am and where I fit into the world now that I am no longer a losing machine. It's hard, but God is continuing to work on me everyday...just in ways that I am not always so happy about. It's so much more fun to get praised by your friends, family, and peers about how "good" you look or how "thin" you are getting.
I have been brought to a place in my journey now where things are so focused on inward battles, hurts, and scars. Sometimes I am not sure I can unpack everything while being all the things I need to be for others in my life. I find myself bubbling over with anger because I can no longer "hold it together." I learned to be an expert at "holding it together" at a young age. I learned how to set my needs and desires aside and be available...which is a good thing. In fact, I think it is what has allowed me to be the mom I need to be for my four kids. However, now I am seeing how too much of a good thing causes disfunction.
The disfunction for me is that while I am so absorbed in caring for others' needs, my tank gets more and more empty. I also feel extreme guilt whenever I am not fulfilling my responsibilities - when I am away. It is hard to enjoy social outings. It is hard to really feel nourished by anything...but food. And I think that has always been the case. I have always used food to "fill" me. The times in my life where I was the heaviest were the times when I was least connected to the things I love to do. Now don't get me wrong...I LOVE my kids, my husband, my parents, siblings, inlaws, and friends. I am talking about things that fill my life with joy BEYOND people. You know, the things that bring the twinkle to my eye when I talk about them.
One of those "fillers" for me is art - creating. I have always loved art - all kinds of art. My nickname growing up was, "Doodle," because I would just sit and draw for hours. I also love to paint. I painted a replica of VanGogh's, "Starry, Starry Night," in High School. It is one of my most treasured possessions. I was so proud of it when it was finished. I love to write. I used to write a lot of poetry and songs and short stories. There is just something cleansing about writing. I suppose my love for cooking and creating recipes also falls in this category. For some reason I left most of my artsy side behind when I became an "adult." I am trying to find ways to bring it back.
Another filler for me is music which is probably most obvious to people who know me, but what you don't know about singing for me is that it only fills me when I allow the Holy Spirit to take the guilt and fear away and replace it with joy. Otherwise it is just another "job" to do, a task to check off of my to-do list. If you watch me when I sing, there are some times that I smile from ear to ear and then there are other times that I don't. The times I smile are genuine. The smile is a result of freedom - reckless abandonment - joy. When I don't smile it isn't because I am mad and it isn't because I hate the song I am singing, it is merely because something is in the way of God. It could be stress, anger, fear, sin, or a number of other things. When I am in that place I feel so empty.
I have always been moved by nature. Engaging in nature fills me. I find God in nature. I love animals and plants and the smells of fresh air and rain. I love the feel of grass on bare feet and the warmth of sun on my face. I feel so connected and peaceful when I am outside. Being a stay-at-home mom of 4 little ones a lot of times keeps me tied to the house, and that is hard for me. But it is getting better and easier to take them out the older they get, and thankfully Kokomo has some of the best parks around!
There are other things that fill me too, but those are the main ones. I am seeing just how deeply connected my overeating is with being under-filled. When I am not feeling nourished on a spiritual or emotional level I tend to eat to fill that void. Unfortunately the void only gets filled temporarily when you fill it with food. Even though I eat very healthy (as far as WHAT I eat) I still find myself eating too much at times. Now that I recognize why I do what I do I am learning how to change it. Sometimes I just have to stop and figure out what I am lacking. Maybe I just need a hug. Maybe I need someone to tell my I am important - that I am valued and special. And maybe sometimes I just need permission to do something for myself, by myself. The permission part is important for me. It sounds silly, but when my husband or friend says, "I want you to: go get your hair done/take a walk/take a bath/have fun at practice," it releases me from the feelings of guilt and allows me to enjoy what I am doing fully. Baby steps.
Does this resonate with you?
If so, I'd love to hear from you! I'd love to walk through this with you! Until next time!