This week it really began to feel like fall…
I pulled into Starbucks, grabbed my laptop and my rain jacket, and made my way inside. Tall coffee, light room.
When my sweet friend made her way in, I closed my laptop and grinned that we were able to make this foggy, perfect, fall day work for both of us to be sitting in this Starbucks together.
“How is Celeste doing with image?”
Whoa. I felt like I had been cruising, and I had become comfortable, so I stopped being alert and ran straight into the reality of my heart.
I began to pour out how last year was so hard. Going to doctors, being continually frustrated when I would look in the mirror or when I would see pictures, and trying to limit my diet so that I would finally be satisfied with myself. I’ve kept going, kept believing that things have to get better if I just keep trying. I mentioned to her that I think I came to a place where I was seeing something that wasn’t real. The way I looked at myself was adding imperfections, discrediting everything that was uniquely designed. That feeling of being unworthy, not good enough, creeped into everything that I did. It affected my relationships, my relationship with my Heavenly Father, my willingness to be adventurous and take risks.
I was sitting idle in a dangerous routine.
I would schedule my work outs. Now hear me when I say that isn’t a bad thing. But if I didn’t make that work out then I couldn’t eat. When I did eat, even though my feet hadn’t met the treadmill that day, every bite that moved passed my lips wasn’t nourishing my body…I believed the lie it was hurting it. My brain had reached such a state that it was wrong, it was an illness. I was conintuously obsessed with what I ate, how much I worked out, how intense my workouts were, what the scale said and it made for a never ending stress in my life.
I was having allergic reactions and hormonal reactions to medication, panic attacks, and getting various blood tests done. I was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and a variation of other things that made it hard to eat according to a specific meal plan. IBS is different for everyone, because everyone’s stomach has a different level of sensitivity. I was collapsing under the pressure of being told I couldn’t eat certain things, at all, ever, even though I hadn’t figured out what exactly would make me sick, what I could eat in moderation, and what fueled my body.
I would go through these really awful cycles where I would be incredibly strict for a month or two. Then I would have one doughnut or cookie, but that wasn’t satisfying enough, and before I knew it I legitimately had made myself sick physically and mentally I was a failure.
I was telling myself that those things would ruin any progress I had made or that they would send me into a downward spiral. Instead of finding balance I would hold off and hold off and hold off and then cave. When I caved, I told myself I wasn’t capable of self control so what was the point in even trying. Then I would feel sick and angry and tell myself I had to make a change, but there was no grace. The unworthiness seeped further into my heart and the viciousness of the lies and the pain of constantly disappointing myself made it impossible to find balance.
I went and worked at a summer camp again this summer, and I didn’t have much time for comparison or worry. The focus I had to have on my job, the students, and the youth pastors was more than enough to distract me. I didn’t even really have time to obsess. Since coming home, I have noticed moments where I am beating myself up again or I’m not satisfied with how I look. And somehow, the voice inside my head whispers,
“you’re doing the best you can. you are loved. and you are beautiful.”
I’ve done enough of believing the lies that have ran their course repeatedly, but while I realize that I also realize this battle isn’t over. I will probably struggle with it for many days to come. I will have to surrender everyday, make balanced choices everyday, make time for rest, and be incredibly honest with where my heart is at.
As the seasons change, I’m not willing to go back to this season last year. What I am willing to do is continue to trust God. I am willing to trust in His plan for my life, even if I haven’t heard the whole story yet. I am willing to trust that He is good and He has made me beautiful, chosen and cherished.
I hope that you would trust Him too. I hope that as you continue to figure out what balance looks like in your life, that you would know every moment of everyday Love is being poured down on you.