I am traveling with my husband this week and so it is with great pleasure that I get to keep sharing blog posts written especially for you all but BY you! People who are in our blog community here, commenting along with you, in the trenches along with you. This author has a powerful challenge for us! Then, tomorrow, Christina will share some valuable insights for pregnancy (and beyond!). ~ Hugs, Heidi
A few years ago, I competed in a women’s triathlon. When a competitor arrived for the event, a volunteer would write two things on her calf. On the outside of the calf, the volunteer wrote the competitor’s race number. On the back of the calf, the volunteer wrote the woman’s age. As I competed that day, whenever I would race behind a woman, I noted her age and her figure. Was she thinner than me, or bigger? Older and younger? I wanted to be thinner than the other women, and younger, too. I hated to realize that many times, I was neither.
Suddenly, I felt a firm conviction from the Lord. “You’ve set a standard for your life that did not come from Me.” Having a perfect figure had always been so important to me; but apparently, not for God. As a child, I was a normal weight, but was pushed into dieting at a young age. I wonder now if it was because I developed early, and the extra curves made everyone uncomfortable. Either way, I knew my body was the problem in my family, and I needed to “fix” it. When I wanted to eat normal food, instead of diet food, I had to sneak it. I felt guilty about my appetite. I also felt doomed, because I wanted more. More food, more approval, more love, and more of anything than filled the aching hole in my heart.
When bullies at school targeted me, they made fun of my body. Humiliated daily, I retreated further into both shame and striving. If only I were perfect, I thought, the bullies would stop. I made it my mission to eliminate anything that made me a target for cruelty. I wanted, above all, to fit in. To be perfect, and perfectly acceptable.
Believing the lie that perfection is a good and obtainable standard is like staring into the eyes of a snake. I’ve read that some snakes hypnotize their prey this way, rendering them immobile before the poisonous strike. Overeating became a way for me to “break the trance” of perfection. It allowed me to give up the fight temporarily. But God calls me to give up the fight forever. He is asking me to love peace not perfection.
Surrendering to God by living within my 0-5 boundaries also means surrendering my attempts to insulate myself from pain. God never promised to spare me from reality; He did, however, promise to redeem it. To have the peace of surrender, I must accept the pain and uncertainty of imperfections. I must, actually, accept myself.
And that’s a race I’m just starting.
Hunger Within states, “When we are assaulted in this spiritual battle and tempted to give way to despair and old patterns of thinking and behaving, we must remind ourselves that God has provided his spiritual armor to equip us for holy action.”