Breaking

I have returned  from a 17-day journey and I am experiencing a phenomena that is a first for me.  It is breaking a RULE I have been subconsciously following my entire life and I think you probably have been following your life too.

You see, I feel physically pretty YUCK today.  I’m tired, I’m bloated, I’m fatigued and yet……I am STRONG and HEALTHY.  My body?  Oh no, body is no good today.  But my MIND and my SPIRIT?  I’m #winning.

Let me explain….

So, as I am very lucky to get to travel as much as I do, it can be a challenge to stay healthy.  Luckily,  even away from home, I typically do pretty well health-wise on staying pretty consistent.  I have dialed in my health #rituals that I love so much that I have learned to do them wherever I am and whatever time-zone I may be.  So, the first 10-days I spent in Colorado was no problem for me.   Feeling A-ok body, mind and soul!

But then, things started to fall off course….

It started when I was on an 11-hour plane ride to Tokyo sitting next to a very friendly man, but a man who was a self-described “hard core atheist, tea party republican, and Jack Daniels drinking” man who was on his way to meet his SECOND girl friend that lived in Laos while he left his FIRST girlfriend back in Las Vegas.  Typical right?!   “Don’t worry,” he told me, “They know all about each other.”  RIIIIIIGGGHHHT. 

While I did casually introduce the fact that I’m a Faith-based health writer, he just laughed and he told me not to try to “convert him to Christianity as his parents had been trying that for decades now”  and instead proceeded to drink….and drink….and drink. I had already learned the lesson that talking politics OR religion DO NOT mix well with alcohol (Take Note!), so that was enough of a sign to let me know that my time would be better used working on my laptop for my clients. 

Somewhere along his 7th Jack Daniels of the flight and constant interruptions, I decided my productivity wasn’t going to happen and decided since he was drinking enough for the both of us, my vice of choice should be CHOCOLATE.  So I attempted to “cocoa coma” myself to sleep with fair success and he left me well enough alone. 

Well, having just finished an elimination diet to test for gut and food intolerances, after going 3-weeks sugar free, this necessary chocolate move hit its stride!

I found myself in the hotel “all dessert” buffet one afternoon (totally worth it by the way) and then as we were visiting my 3-year old step daughter Eden {where she lives with her mom and (Navy doctor) step-dad in Yokosuka, Japan,} those darn gummy bears and cookies found their way into my mouth on several occasions as well!  Again, these things are to be expected and I consciously chose them while having fun with the family.

Naturally, upon my return, my body feels YUCK.  My stomach hurts. I have a headache. I’ve put on several pounds (although I will not be weighing myself to see exactly how many!).  My clothes don’t fit very well.   This is the reality of what these foods do to me.  Sigh.

Nevertheless, here is where I have made a break through. 

You see, I have been anticipating a battle in my mind after I overdo it on vacation—I call it the BATTLE OF THE BODY SHAME. 

I realized  not long ago, that where I thought I had been “guilting” myself all these years, I was actually SHAMING myself over my body. 

Reading the books, “I Thought It Was Just Me But It Wasn’t” and “Daring Greatly” by shame researcher and renowned author, Brene Brown, I had this aha moment. 

Guilt is what you feel when you realize you have done something wrong.  “It was a bad idea to eat that much chocolate so many days in a row.”

SHAME is what you feel when you internalize your feelings to now define who you are.  “I AM bad because I make such stupid decisions with my eating.”

She explains, shame is something all humans experience.  We each have shame and may even use shame to employ control over others. 

Because my body image issues have run very deep in my personal history, naturally, these are the areas that I feel the most shame about my “imperfect” and indulgent behavior.   I would tell myself that I was “gross” or “disgusting” when I would put on some weight.  I would look in the mirror, pinch my fat and scoff at my reflection.  I would berate myself for not being “strong enough” to overcome the sugar cravings and I would punish myself with a “DETOX” or 2-a-day workouts and only vegetables and protein. 

I have realized that I have been operating on the RULES of the world.  A rule that is completely logical, mathematical even,  and is something that we ALL follow in some way.

THE RULES:

BEHAVIOR (+) = EMOTIONAL RESPONSE (+)

BEHAVIOR (-) = EMOTIONAL RESPONSE (-)

If I engage in healthy, positive choices and behavior, I enjoy the positive, loving, and joy-filled emotional reaction, and vice versa.

Meaning, if I eat healthy, practice self-control, engage in exercise as best as I can, I am rewarded with feelings of pride, joy, peace and a healthy mindset. 

However, on the flip side, if I go over the top with my eating, over-indulge in foods I know better than over consuming, don’t exercise as much as I should have, and consequently feel the physical repercussions of those actions, I naturally feel the emotions of disappointment, regret, guilt and YES, historically a lot of BODY SHAME. 

These RULES we come to depend on and rely on so much that we continue to implement new behavior patterns and habits so we might avoid the negative emotional consequences we suffer from again and again. 

Even just a couple months ago, I wrote about a trip I came back from in London where I seemed to have OD’d on High Tea Cookies, Cakes and Crumpets.  On this occasion, I anticipated and was met with the expected break-down of BODY SHAME.   I spent a solid morning pretty upset, crying, and angry with myself but luckily sought refuge with God, who of course gave me the resiliency I needed.  In His strength, I recovered quickly and moved onward.  I shared the 4-steps that got me out of it. 

I was anticipating a similar morning today.  I feel just as crappy as I did after that last international trip, so I thought I would naturally have the same emotional response. 

But what I am experiencing is unprecedented.

I am NOT having the negative emotional response I’m supposed to be having right now.  I am feeling good and even, dare I say, joyful, even in the midst of feeling physically ill. 

How is this possible? There is only one explanation that accounts for this newfound reaction:

I’m WINNING THE BATTLE of BREAKING THE RULES

You see, what I have realized that the ROOT CAUSE of any one ever feeling shame is that this is the number one strategy the devil uses to try to win.  If he wins our minds, he wins our lives.  This is what SHAME does.

SHAME keeps us playing small.  SHAME keeps us looking backwards in our life and dwelling on what we “should have done.”  SHAME is a major distraction to the path that God has laid out before us.  SHAME denies us of our Truth that God loves us and we are WORTHY of His love and eternal blessings no matter what stupid things we fall for.    

This is the kind of stuff the devil THRIVES on.  He wants us to believe that we HAVE TO DO SOMETHING to earn the forgiveness from God and the emotional response we desire.  He wants us to keep “trying harder and harder” and putting more and more responsibility on ourselves.

I subconsciously fell for it my entire life.  You might be falling for it too, but the TRUTH shall set you free.  And, the TRUTH is….

 GOD ABOLISHED ALL THE RULES.

In God’s presence, there is no law that says BEHAVIOR (-) = EMOTIONAL RESPONSE (-). 

No, God’s law says that no matter what we do in our BEHAVIOR (+/-), He can give us the EMOTIONAL RESPONSE (+) when we seek Him with our heart

God has broken EVERY RULE when He sent His son Jesus to die for our sins.  Even HIS OWN LAWS that He gave to Moses that He commanded His people to follow for thousands of years were ALL BROKEN when Jesus was resurrected. 

We are never going to be able to be “enough” on our own.  But because we have the sacrifice of the only perfect Man to ever walk this planet in Christ Jesus, we no longer have to suffer from all of the “RULES” of life. 

This means the RULE of self-criticism, punishment and even SHAME that we often feel after making poor decisions is abolished too.  When we have GOD in our heart, we don’t have to follow those rules anymore.

It is NOT ABOUT RULES, but about a RELATIONSHIP. 

It's Not About RULES

My relationship with God TRUMPS my historic relationship with myself—my self talk.  When I take the victory that God has handed me when Jesus rose from the grave, I take that victory in EVERY SINGLE WAY that the devil tries to beat me in the battle over my mind. 

Today, I guess I realized just how strong and resilient I really am.  Because I know that when I’m weak, my God in me is STRONG. And when I’m strong, He is even STRONGER. 

The devil has NO PLAY when I stop playing by his rules.   This Battle is not mine, but is the Lords.

  “And the Joy of the Lord is my strength.”  (Nehemiah 8:10)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.