Saturday, March 31, 2012

Would Look On Me With Love...

Have you ever stopped to think that the God of all time...the same God that created the universe and everything in it, looks on you...and loves you?  That thought blows me away.

First, that God LOOKS on me.  That I am worth the time of the Omniscient, Omnipotent GOD of the Universe.  Surely He has more to do than be involved in my life?  And yet...the Great Initiator chooses to be part of my life and calls me to share it with Him.

And then...even more...that He LOVES me.  That He considers ME of far greater value than anything else in all of creation.  How can that truth not TOTALLY change your world when you fully embrace it?

If you've been following my blog for the past few posts, you'll remember that I am using the verse of a song - Who Am I by Casting Crowns - to share some of what God has done in my life lately.  I heard this song in concert a couple of weeks ago, and it really spoke to me, helped me understand my journey in a new way.  And now I'm sharing it with you, too.

Who am I?
That the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again.

God knows my sin.  He looks on me as I'm in the act of sin.  He sees me as I contemplate I commit I contend with the consequences of my sin...and LOVES ME!  HOW is that possible?

Because it's His nature.

The Bible says that God IS love.  Not God loves...although He does.  But He IS love. 

Do you see the difference in that grammatically?  The "is" in that statement is a linking verb.  It equates the subject to the object in the predicate. equated, intimately intertwined.  You think of one, it automatically brings to mind the other. 

God does love...the actions that demonstrate His care and concern for me as His creation.  But really, what I need more of in my life is the other promise.  God IS love!  I need Him to be love in my life. 

To be LOVE for me despite my lack of love...for Him and others at times.
To be LOVE for me in the face of my failures...all of them.
To be LOVE for me when I least deserve it...which is often.
To be LOVE for me when I'm too stubborn to ask for it...but still need it.
And the most essential one...
To be LOVE for me so I can learn to love myself...and then love others. 

Because you see, without this, I go nowhere fast.  Learning to love myself has been one of the most difficult parts of this journey for me.  To see myself as God does, not as some unworthy, huge lump in the mirror.  But rather, to LOVE me...just as I am right now, with all my faults and warts.  Just like He loves me.

God IS love...and He looks on me with love...AMAZING!!!

Which brings us to how the last part of that verse...His love is how I rise again.

On to the next post...!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

That The Eyes That See My Sin...

I've heard this preached many times before, so let's see if I can remember how it goes.

Sin is not an action, per se.  It's an attitude, a state of mind and being. 

It begins with the eyes.  We see something.  We think about it, ponder how it would be to have it, plan for how we're going to acquire it, enjoy it, make it part of our lives.  Then we act.  We go for it...invite whatever it is to come be part of us.  By this point, we are ensnared, enslaved, ruined.  Our sin was the thought, which led to the action.  From its very beginnings, sin is a mind game. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Who Am I...

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to see one of my very favorite bands in concert, Casting Crowns.  It wasn't the first time that I've seen them, but they never fail to amaze me.  This concert was no exception.

They have a song, Who Am I, that moves me every time I hear it.  One of the verses says this:

"Who am I
That the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again?"

This time when I heard them sing this in concert, I immediately knew that my next blog post was right there, just waiting to happen.  It will be the first time I've written for this blog in a "series" so to speak.  But these lines are going to tell you a big part of my story over the past 25 years while I became a big girl...and then found the REAL girl inside me and have begun to let her emerge.  Some of this, you've heard before.  Some will be new for you.  ALL of this is what God is working out in me. we go...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just As I Am...

Once in a while in your life, people come around who hear you.  Really hear you.  Not just what you say.  But even more importantly, what you don't.  They can see behind your words and into your heart.  You know the kind, right?

This week, I've become better acquainted with a few of these people in my life.  These are friends I've met primarily through this blog, but they've been blessing my life greatly as we've developed a friendship.  And they pointed out some things to me that I truly needed to hear.  I'm grateful for the reminder.  Maybe you will be, too.  Here's what they had to say...

You really can't love anyone else any more than you love yourself.

And I haven't been loving myself all that much.

For nearly two years now, I've been more conscious of not being negative about the choices I made long ago that got me to the point of being 328 pounds with bone-on-bone arthritis in both knees.  I've told myself that I was a different person then, and until yesterday, I honestly believed that to be true.  Until this.

"Just because you want to change who you are does NOT NOT NOT mean that you can not LOVE yourself today.  The future Angie should love the TODAY Angie -- after all they are the same."

That's what someone told me.  And I can't dismiss it.  Not without thinking about it, mulling it over, and considering the truth behind that statement.

I've been so concerned with being on this journey to a "new" me, that along the way, I've forgotten that I need to love the me I WAS...and the me I currently AM...just as I am.  It's not enough to love who I will become, because that implies that I will somehow have earned or deserved the right to be loved.

And the more I ponder this idea, the more I am coming to believe that love isn't earned...or deserved.  At its highest and best, love is unmerited favor.  And loving myself can be no different.  I need to give myself grace in the here and now and stop thinking that the "new" me will be so much more lovable than the person I am now.  I AM lovable...I just haven't been very loving or kind to myself. I can easily see every flaw I've ever had, and while I may not beat myself up about them like I used to, I still think them...regret them...mentally dwell on them. 

That's what's got to change.  In short, I need to love myself right here, right now, just as I am.

Just the way that God loves me.

Because, friends, if I can't do that...then who else will?  And more importantly, if I don't love myself, then how can I love others?

I don't have any answers to these questions, but I think the struggle to find them will be worth it.

Stay tuned...I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What Lies Beneath...

Beneath that lid lies my nemesis.

Anyone who knows me knows EXACTLY what's inside that box.  It's my favorite pizza.  Ledo's.  Precooked bacon on top.  That's how I usually order it.  Last night was no exception. 

And while I was at the restaurant, I ate only 2 slices of a small pizza...perfectly OK as a once-in-a-while treat for dinner.  Not too calorie laden, just enough of a taste of my very favorite treat to satisfy my craving for this food of the gods.  It was what happened later that kinda got out of control!  But, as with most of the chaos in my life, in that moment, I discovered something vital about myself that I needed to learn on this journey to the new me.

It's not the pizza.  That's not my nemesis.  It never has been. 

It's me.

There is no denying that right now I'm dealing with some huge professional and personal hurdles.  I talk about some of the things going on in my life right now on this blog, but there's so much more that I either can't or won't share here.  Just like all of you, I have a life that gets complicated.  Those complications repeatedly play in my head.  They make me feel all range of negative emotions:  insecurity, lack of self-worth, sad, hurt, lonely.

Last night was a particularly difficult night emotionally for me.  And after I got home from Ledo's, I was stressed from thinking about all the difficult things that I'm trying to process.  And although I was no longer hungry - for anything but comfort - I got that box of leftovers from Ledo's.  And I ate 4 more slices of my favorite food.  Add that to the 2 pieces I ate earlier, and you have now just been invited to a 6-slice dinner!  THAT is not an OK once-in-a-while treat.  THAT is calorie overload in a week that I've been struggling with a weight gain anyway!  Tomorrow morning is not going to be pretty on weigh in day.  It's just not.

If you are familiar with Ledo's pizza, you'll recognize that 6 slices isn't quite as bad as it sounds on the surface.  For those of you who have never experienced this slice of heaven on earth, you should know that Ledo's pizzas are square, not round.  The slices are about 3 inch square slices, rather than the traditional triangular slices that most pizza places serve.  Six of them is probably about 720 calories or so.  Not a huge problem for most people to absorb in their diet.  Pretty easy to down, actually, without feeling overly filled and uncomfortable.

So, then, what was my REAL problem?  If it wasn't the wasn't the extra calories...then what was it?

My reason for eating. 

I am an emotional eater.  Period.  I thought I had made some gains on this.  I mistakenly thought I was "over" it.  But I'm not.  I never will be.  Emotional eating is not completely out of my control.  But it's not ever going to go away, either.  It's part of who I am.  Do they have a 12 step program for this?

"Hi, I'm Angie.  I'm an emotional eater."

I have been, am now, and will always be an emotional eater.  THAT'S my nemesis.  THAT is what I will spend the rest of my life controlling.  I eat when I'm not hungry.  I eat my way through all manner of emotions - not just the bad ones.  And no matter how hard I try, I always will be an emotional eater.  It's no different for me than it is for an alcoholic or drug addict.  Truly.  And living with it will mean much the same thing for me as it does for them.  One day at a time.

So today, in a much better emotional place thanks to time in prayer and wise counsel from some of the people I love most in the world, I'm absorbing the reality of this into my life.  If this is who I am...if I know this about myself...that it lies in wait beneath the surface, and that it always then shall I live?  What changes will be needed in my life to keep this in check?  I'm not sure I have all of those answers yet, but I will continue to search for them.  I have to.  This isn't going to go away, no matter how emotionally and physically healthy I become on this journey to the new me.

Now you know what lies beneath the surface.  This is scary stuff...facing your nemesis...taking it on rather than letting it rule you.  Pray for me I do for you.  And if you've got any ideas for me...bring 'em on.  I'm listening.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Post I Never Wanted To Write...

I've been sick lately.  Double ear infection. Sinus infection.  Just generally feeling icky.  Between this sickness and parent teacher conferences, I've missed more than a few gym visits over the past two weeks. I was very grateful for the chance to have some medication to help me feel better.  Got it last Sunday.  And it started helping my ear pain immediately.  My sinus pressure has been getting better day by day.

But this has all come at a cost.

I weigh 5 pounds more today than I weighed a week ago today. 

Now, you might be thinking what I did initially...this is an OK trade off.  The infection is leaving my body.  When I'm done taking the antibiotic, a particularly strong one given multiple sources of infection in me, I'll probably lose the extra 5 pounds I'm carrying.  Even though I checked the prescription information and it didn't list "weigh gain" or "water retention" as side effects of taking this medicine, I am hopeful that once I'm done taking it, my bloating and swollen joints will return to normal.

But what if they don't?

I've become so accustomed to the scale running the other way that to see the gain in weight has just about undone me.  I can see the water swelling my joints.  I can feel the "squishy" feeling of water weight.  But what if it doesn't resolve when I'm done taking the antibiotics?  What if I have to lose these 5 pounds all over again?  Or worse yet, what if I gain more?

I didn't ever want to write this blog post.  I didn't want to have to come here in public and claim a 5 pound weight gain in a week's time, no matter what caused it.  And I almost didn't.  But a friend reminded me that this is another part of the journey.  And people need to know about it.  Because it happens to you, too, and you need to know you're not alone.  That's what this whole blog is about, after all.  So I swallowed my pride, sucked up my gut, and sat down at the computer to fully disclose what's happening in my journey this week.

Things aren't always successful for me, just like they're not for you, nor for anyone else in the world.  This past week has been so hard to take.  It's been a struggle to see myself realistically.  I look in the mirror and see pudge in places that I KNOW it was gone from just a week ago.  Physically, I'm finally starting to feel better.  But emotionally, I feel like I've been beat upon by a prize fighter.  We're in the twelfth round, and I feel like I'm going down!

The great thing about being where I am, almost 2 years into this journey to the new, improved version of Angie, is that I understand a few important truths. 

First, what I FEEL isn't necessarily what is TRUE.  I may feel defeated, but I know for certain that I'm not.  Regardless of whether the scale moves back down or not when I'm done with the antibiotic, I have lost 104 pounds and have gained enough self-confidence and self-esteem to know that I will eventually lose all the rest of the weight I want to lose to reach my goal.

Next, losing weight is an important part of this journey I've been on, but it is not really about that.  It never has been.  It's about total wellness - physical, mental, and spiritual.  And right now, it's more important to resolve the infection in my body than to focus on keeping weight off.  If the side effect is temporary weight gain to eradicate the infection, then so be it.  Priority wise, being WELL is more important than a number on the scale.

Finally, the journey has taught me everything I need to know about losing weight.  If this 5 pounds doesn't immediately drop off my body, I know what to do to lose it.  And when my body is well, I can do it.  Eat less, move more.  It's really very simple.  And I know I can do it.  I've already successfully done it.  And I will again.

So, full disclosure.  That's what sharing this journey is about.  No, today's post isn't one that I ever wanted to write...nor is gaining 5 pounds in a week something I ever wanted to experience.  But here we are.  And honestly, I'm grateful.  Why you ask?  Because you're here with me...supporting me...encouraging me on the journey.  Taking this ride with you has been a highlight of my life! 

On to better days, my friends...on to better days!


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