A nearby storefront reminds me of my present heart’s struggle.
Eight months ago when I started writing here, I was having a hard time nailing down what I wanted to say. Of all things I knew intimately, the last thing that I wanted to write about was body image. I was scared to be vulnerable about my past. I was even more terrified that vulnerability might lead to change. I might change some of my own controlling behaviors that I had masked as healthy and necessary.
Control. I’m not talking about self-control, the kind of healthy control that is a fruit of the Spirit. I’m talking about the years of manipulative self-talk I’ve learned when it comes to food, exercise, and general “healthy habits.” What if I chose to speak and do opposite of what I’ve been doing for 20+ years?
These are some of the questions a recovering anorexic might ask, so please forgive me if they sound lame. What if I ordered a scoop of my favorite ice cream when I took my kids to Baskin Robbins after school? What if I chose to run less so that I could sleep more? And maybe the worst thing I considered was: What if I do these kinds of things and then I have to go up a size in clothing?
In an attempt to give over what was mine – my agenda, my future plans, my view of how I hoped people would see me — I pledged to make some different choices in 2017 as sort of an experiment in living differently.
I am skipping over the pale pink sticky sherbert and ordering some real ice cream. I am sleeping in some just because I’ve never done that crazy thing before. As a result, my jeans are fitting just a tad too tight, so I’m choosing to be thankful for elastic summer cotton that is forgiving and breathable.
And despite making some different kinds of choices, I am still the same ol’ me, just pulling around a little less burden on this journey.
I’m choosing to really live without so much fear. I’m learning how to listen better to people who matter. I’m practicing how to live Psalm 46:10 and not just hang on to it when I’m ragged, tired, and waving the white flag. Be still and know that I am God.
Eight months ago when I started writing here, what I really wanted to write about was mommas loving their boys and the stories I know from my grandmother and how people love each other most when they’re laughing together.
But this very hard week is revealing that the laughter is just as important as the hard cried tears. That often we don’t get what we want. That God builds our best and favorite relationships on paradoxes: sadness and gladness, work and ease, clarity and confusion.
That this life was never mine.