Here we go. Because I don’t know how to start (who really does?), I’m going to dive right in.
Last summer, I weighed 100 pounds. I ate very, very healthy. Only whole foods, fruits and veggies, no sugar, minimal grains. I even found a “plan” that made me even skinnier. At first I was just consuming green smoothies with one paleo meal a day, but then I found this plan. So I dove in prepared to follow the militant restrictions. I kept my fats and carbs away from one another and spaced my meals every 3 hours like instructed. I never ate carrots (frowned on for carbs), and replaced my potatoes with radishes. I ate only sweet potatoes, on rare occasion and when I did…would watch my carbs the rest of the day.
I was eating very healthy foods.
But this is what I looked like.
Meet me with grace here, in this post. I have tears as I post these pictures because, until just a few weeks ago, I longingly have gone back to these pictures. I’ve stood in front of the mirror and situated myself in these exact positions to see how close I am to this size. I’ve cried over these pictures. I’ve shut the computer after viewing these pictures and let my hands travel down to my thighs to feel how much bigger they are now.
I was a disordered eater, a disordered thinker and a disordered feeler. I was completely in disarray. But God is not a God of chaos, and because this space was truly chaotic, it meant I had given Him no invitation into this space.
Sometimes disordered eating doesn’t necessarily come in the form of starvation or over-eating….but in the form of mental/spiritual starvation and over-thinking. I found that I can eat all the whole and healthy foods that I want…but if I’m not eating them with the same freedom that I was given at the cross, i was not truly feeding my body. Nor was I truly grateful. I can worship in my eating, and should…but only when it’s done with the same abandon and freedom that I was given.
My path for healing didn’t begin until I began to feed myself. Not just eat.
I gave my big, heavy book about “the plan” away and sat down to refocus. Everything in my diet was good, whole, and healthy. Everything was from the earth and natural. I was supposed to have the best immune system in the WORLD according to my diet but I was sick almost every week. My adrenals were tanked. My organs weren’t even fully functioning.
What was missing?
I was eating whole healthy foods….but my whole self was starving.
The reason I write this post? Because in this fire of self-hatred….Dwell:Practicing Whole Wellness was forged. God led me to a Christian yoga instructor and as I began training I had never felt so thin….I felt spiritually thin. I felt emotionally thin. I felt mentally frail. My body wasn’t thin solely because of my lack of eating; my body was thin because I have learned that what I eat or don’t eat directly reflects what I’m feeding my heart, mind and soul–my heart was starved.
So I made a commitment, starting at Lent. I was going to gain unbridled, unmeasured, un-time-intervaled weight. Not physical weight…spiritual weight. I decided it was time to spend all the tv time, the journaling & food journaling time (where I just poured out the frailties of my slender little heart), and my reading time ALL in the Word. I deleted my excel sheets of “the plan,” and all the complicated baking recipes. I hid the Facebook group from my feed. I poured myself onto the mat and the postures of my body- the sticky places- truly reflected the postures of my heart. I gave myself no spiritual restrictions and everything I didn’t understand I decided to go to the brave spaces, even the “non-theological” spaces for answers. Wherever I found Jesus…is where I went. I stopped looking at everything through the lens of how it effect me, and instead looked through the lens of Jesus….what does every situation and every word in the Bible say about HIM? Not about me. I embraced freedom and ate His Word in big, hungry bites. And the more I ate, the more hungry I realized I was. I didn’t even know it….but I was completely malnourished and starving in my soul space. I went through a beautiful process of learning my blessed inheritance and position as a daughter of the KING.
And then, something CRAZY happened: I gained weight. I gained probably 15-18 pounds. In 9 weeks of training. The crazier thing? I hadn’t realized it. That’s peace that passes all understanding…when I don’t notice my weight changing. That’s eyes glued to Jesus not my thighs. How did this weight gain happen? I truly lived. I had begun eating the cookies with the boys when we baked them together. Little Small Fry kissed the chocolate off of my cheek. Strawberries were on sale, and, one day when Nugget couldn’t fall asleep during nap time, we snuck into the kitchen and snacked on them together. He told me about how he wanted to be a chef that was also a fireman when he grew up and suddenly we realized that we’d eaten almost the whole container. I sat on the hood of the car with my hubs and dug into a crate of fresh peaches brought back from Michigan. We talked about everything from grace to Small Fry’s hilarious booty shake dance. When I got to retreat at the end of my training the girls would laugh at my full-to-the-brim plate. But I was really truly that hungry. I was so, so, hungry. If only you girls could have seen what my plate would have looked like before. You know–maybe it wouldn’t have looked that different as I ate the same healthy foods before. The foods I ate then and eat now didn’t change that much…but my heart when I ate them, and HOW I ate them….that transformed. So I take that back. If only you girls could have seen the girl holding the plate before.
Here’s one of the most beautiful parts of my weight gain: it stopped. I haven’t budged since then. When God brought me back to balance…He replaced what I had lost. All of my broken things, and empty spaces were filled and I was balanced again. My body needed those extra 18 pounds to be at my healthy weight and Jesus gave them back to me. It’s where my body’s healthy balance is. He does this with us. He gives back what we’ve lost…what we’ve thrown out…what we’ve rejected because it’s hurt us in the past. He puts the pieces back into the confusing puzzle of our hearts and suddenly we see the picture we forgot that we made when we’re wholly living.
This is me now…in the same spot as last year. 18 pounds and 1 million inches of grace and mercy later….
Where I realized that I am not well when I’m eating perfectly with portioned ratios. I am not well when I’m exercising 60 minutes a day. I’m not well when I’m practicing yoga 5 times a week. I’m not well when I achieve a handstand.
I am only well when it is well with my soul.
Now I’m not the girl afraid to do anything. I go SUP boarding.
And I do crazy things…things that could hurt me & heal me.
And I truly….for the first time, FEEL that love. I accept it.
When I forget…when my heart is screaming lies and my mind is overwhelmed, not knowing how to process, I just go upside down, knowing that I, without Jesus, am disordered. He sets me right when I don’t lean on my own understanding, let go, and invert myself…bowing to His plan.
I’m just not skinny anymore. I am strong.
Because I’m free.
So, my heart for you, friends is that when we look at ourselves, we don’t see the overweight, the underweight, because we know it’s ALL under the blood. This means that, when we give our hearts over to Him and let Him feed THAT space you will find yourself in the best place for your body as well as your life. He will guide you…and when it’s time, you will shed what needs to be shed, and He will fill what needs to be filled. He restores our souls and restores balance. That’s HIs character.
I have learned that I should never pick up the fork without picking up the cross. Picking up His grace. Picking up His mercy.
Friends, my prayer for you today is that you have joy and have it more abundantly. That you eat peaches, carrots, onions, and brownies. That balance is found in your healing. That freedom is found in your faithfulness to just try.
That you know that He desires to make it WHOLLY well with your soul.
Feed friends….feed on His grace, feed on His fruit of the spirit, and then….feed on the fruit of the earth.
All of my love,