Category Archives: God

Dear God, please don’t make me fat

If you trust God with your life, then you can trust Him with your body. And I don’t mean by going on one of those “biblical diets.”

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In November 2014 I told my therapist that I felt like God was going to ask me to let go of something very precious to me. I feared it was my daughter. As I began the process of anorexia recovery, I realized what He was asking me to surrender was my eating disorder. In another tearful session I confessed to my counselor that I had come to a place of acceptance if God wanted my daughter, but there’s no way I could let go of anorexia. Did I really care about my eating disorder more than my daughter?

Where did I think my daughter would go if I surrendered her? To heaven, of course. She’d be cared for in the hands of God, and I trust God. But to let go of anorexia would mean risking getting fat, and that would mean everyday suffering, feeling unacceptable, ugly, imperfect. No way did I trust God with my body.

My therapist reassured me that I wasn’t a bad mother. Rather my eating disorder was telling me terrible lies and manipulating my mind.

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Somehow we’ve gotten into the habit of placing our body trust in the hands of culture and media. God gets to have our trust and faith about life… kids, finances, marriage, decisions, tragedies, etc. When it comes to our bodies, however, we’re more like “Dear God, please don’t make me fat.” We take back the control and decide what weight we want to be, what diet we want to try, what foods we will or will not eat, and what exercise regime we’re going to use to force our body into the shape we desire. These decisions are based upon the body image expectations set by culture, which, simply put, says one must be skinny to be healthy, acceptable, beautiful, etc.  But I submit to you a new perspective:

If you believe God created you

and

You believe God has a plan for your life

and

You believe He knows you better than anyone

then

you can believe that God has given you the exact right body.

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Because God is the creator of you and your body, you don’t need to need to take the reins to make your body different. What’s cool about God is he’s already equipped you with the ability to feed and take care of yourself without the outside influence of the world. The way you stay healthy is connecting to and listening to the body God created for you. The same way you pray and listen for God’s voice in all other areas of your life is the same way you can connect with and listen to your body.

Turn off the media, turn off the outside voices of friends and family. Be still and know the body you are in is made by God.  Remember that God doesn’t think you’re fat. Tune into that quiet space outside your thoughts yet inside your intuition and connect with your body. Start with your breath and slowly work your way down your physical self. What do you feel, what do you sense, what do you love, what do you hate, what do you hear?

I learned to connect to my body through Yoga. It’s a quiet, meditative practice that forced me to pay attention to the most fundamental parts of my physical being. I’ve learned to appreciate my feet because they hold me up through the weight of my days. I’ve learned how strong and able my arms and legs are to carry the loads life hands me (including laundry! 😀 ). I’ve learned the value of a calming, centering breath. Before, during, and after my practice I say prayers of thanks, prayers of confusion, prayers of frustration about my body. I talk to God and ask him me to teach me what is so wonderful about my body. I’ve learned how to connect with both grief and joy about my body and become vulnerable in God’s presence. I’ve learned how to listen to God through connecting with my physical body.

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Through connection you become aware of how amazing you body is, how it communicates with you about everything from hunger, to the movement it needs, to the rest it wants, to the unprocessed emotions it needs to release. And in this process a spark of appreciation ignites that grows into a burning love for this physical body God has given you. Over time you begin to see how culture’s expectations don’t fit with your body. And it isn’t because there’s anything wrong with you; it’s culture that is wrong. I can tell you that what you already have is SO much better that what you or media could ever force your body to be.

If you believe God answers your prayers

then

give trust back to God and pray: Lord, teach me to connect with my body. Let me see, hear, and understand You through this body. Help me learn how to love myself as I am–as You see me. Let my body image bear the image which with You created me. Quiet the voices of outside influence and the doubt that fuels my body dissatisfaction. Teach me to be intuitively healthy, to enjoy food, to find the movement my body thrives in. Thank you for this body and the things it does for me and for You, even though I don’t really understand how it works. Lord, I trust you with my life and my body.   

If you trust God with your life, then you can trust God with your body.

God doesn’t think you’re fat

God doesn’t think you’re fat.

You think you are.

The world may think you are–judge-y strangers, your doctor, your friends, your spouse, your kids. Whether they say it to your face or not, you can feel the judgement.

The shame, despair, and frustration sink deeply into you. These are sucky feelings; I had them too. I tried working them out for miles on a run or emptying my diet of calories hoping those feelings would empty out too. Maybe a detox would cleanse the heaviness on my body and my heart. If only I were lighter then I would be happier. Do you tell yourself that too?

We fret and feel bad because we live in a culture where we’re categorized as fat or skinny based on the size and shape of our bodies. Judgement of who or what we are is based off which category we’re in:

Fat= bad: unhealthy, not beautiful, lazy, not marketable, not profitable, not worth it.

Skinny= good: healthy, beautiful, motivated, marketable, profitable, worth it.

Our world is cruelly black and white when it comes to body judgement and, subsequently, personal judgement based on body-looks.

We’re left to live from the posture of– If I feel fat, then I must be fat and that’s bad. I need to… I should… Why can’t I just… I’m so bad… I got to be better…

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It’s easy to forget you don’t belong to the world;  you belong to God. 

God doesn’t think you’re fat.

He doesn’t think you’re fat because fat doesn’t exist to God. Skinny isn’t a thing; it’s unknown to God. Body size, shape, and image have no connection to beauty or personal value. None of these things are real.

But YOU are very real to God.

He cares only about one thing–your heart. Your heart is where your value lives. Right now, you’re hurting and frustrated and stressing out about food, how your clothes don’t fit, and why you can’t just stick to your diet. Your heart is flooded with feelings of shame, guilt, and sadness about your body; those feelings have washed away the truth about your value.

God isn’t asking you to lose weight. He’s not asking you to exercise more. Jesus isn’t telling you give up bread (or wine!) or detox from sugar. The Holy Spirit isn’t asking you to go on a diet or be more disciplined in your health regimen. The world is 100%, absolutely, most definitely telling you these things. But God is not.

All God wants is you as you are right now. There are no judgments, no categories, no expectations for you. God doesn’t think you’re fat, sweet friend.

Rest in this truth today.

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Did you find this post encouraging? I invite you to receive this guide I wrote for you called 4 Healthy Habits that are Hurting You. 

When God gave me the moon

“Lord, I just need to connect to your world right now. I know you’re here right now, but I can’t see you or feel you. Refine my spiritual senses so I can connect with You.”

I was sitting in the middle of my living room feeling squirmy in my meditation, wondering if I had prayed enough for other people and if it was okay to pray for myself. Somehow I have this ingrained belief that my prayers need to be for other people–the suffering here and across the world, my friends, my family, my town, and my country. When I want to pray for myself it’s usually prayers of thanks and asking for forgiveness for the sins I know I must have committed and the ones I am not aware of. But the whole “ask and you shall receive” thing I have a hard time with. It’s a problem.

I digress. On this day I just needed something from God. I just needed Him. I cautiously flipped my hands over so they were facing palm up as an act and symbol of wanting to receive. I prayed my prayer and I waited in silence, forcing myself to turn off my thoughts and just be. Seconds later I heard my son’s bedroom door open.

Don’t lose focus. Don’t lose focus. Breathe.

Then the upstairs toilet flushed and the sound of the water rushing through the pipes overtook the precious silence.

Don’t lose focus. Don’t lose focus…

“Hey, Mom? Mama?”

I let out a gentle and disappointed sigh.

“Mama? Are you there?” my son called from the top of the stairs.

“Yes, Buddy. What’s up?”

“You have to come see this. Come here.”

I confess, I didn’t really want to come upstairs. “Alright, I’m coming, Buds.”

As I ascended the stairs, Sean said, “The moon woke me up. You gotta see this.”

We walked into his bedroom and to his window. A crystal clear, bright white full moon was glued to the indigo backdrop of the early morning sky. It was gorgeous. I thought I should grab my camera to capture this moment.

No. You’ll miss it. This moment is just for us, said the sound of my thoughts but in a voice that wasn’t mine.

“You can see the craters, mom.”

“I can. You said it woke you up? What do you mean?”

“I was sleeping and all of a sudden a bright light came to my eyes and I woke up. I didn’t know where the light was coming from. So I turned on my bedroom light, but that wasn’t the right light. So I turned it off and laid on my bed and I saw the moon out my window. It was the moon making the light!”

“I want to see how you saw, Buddy. Show me.”

We climbed onto his bed, and as I lay my head down next to his on the pillow, I saw what he could see. This crisp brilliant moon framed by the tree branches pressed against the sky. For 25 minutes my son and I watched the moon ever so slowly lower itself through the branches while we talked about how the earth moves.

I thought out loud, “This is what the passage of time really looks like, Buddy. Isn’t that weird? Usually time feels faster because we’re so busy filling it up with activities, we forget how slow time actually moves.”

“Cool,” he said.

Then my own light came on. “Hey, did you know that right before you called me up here I was praying to God that he would help me connect to his world? I wanted to see God and the next thing I know you’re calling me up to your room to look at this amazing moon and we’re having this really neat conversation, just you and me. He used you to talk to me. That’s really special. I feel so much better now.”

Sean turned to look at me and gave me his signature smile.

The moon landed behind a cluster of branches where we couldn’t see it from where we were lying. Sean squirmed to adjust his position to get a better view.

I let out a gentle laugh. “It will drop below those branches in a few minutes, Peanut. We’re getting impatient because we can’t see it, but we know it’s still there.”

Ah. Just like God, said my thoughts again, in that familiar voice that wasn’t mine.

We lay there several more minutes, but the moon never reappeared from behind those branches.  But I knew it was there. I could feel it.

 

 

 

 

 

Why, God, why?

I hear your cries of “Why, God, why?”
I feel your laments within the depths of your heart.
You wonder if I’m even listening let alone caring about the wiles of this world.

Please understand, my dear child, this is my world and my country too. It all belongs to Me. All that has happened and all that’s been lost; the injustice and death are my greatest grief. Don’t you trust I feel it too?

You cry out “Why?” and I say to you, Thou shall see what I will do.

Do I only get your hand and heart when life is grand and goes your way? When things are as you expect or understand? Will your faith remain with Me as I lay out my full plan?
Faith only matters when it’s tested and too hard to hold on. Will you? Straining and wiggling with a white knuckle grip or will you let go and let Me set you free? Free from the struggle and what you think you understand. I’m asking you, dear child, to please trust Me.

This season of time about which you lament and cry was harsh and wild and shocking and surreal. I know. “It’s too much to handle, dear God, why?” Sweet child, I don’t ask you to handle or deal. I ask you to listen, to trust what’s Real.

All those times I gave you space to breathe and fresh eyes to see; from the trip across the ocean, warmth in tropical air, to the solitude of your cabin at the grand mountain’s base, to the dawn of that Thursday morning in your bedroom silent and calm. All the family you hugged, the friends of cheer, to the new lives and new love born–I gave you blessings dear one, I promise I did. In the midst of the pain and the plan, I heard you. Don’t you trust Me?

Do you trust when branches are pruned that new and much fruit will grow? Do you trust that crushed grain will make fresh bread? Dear child, there’s pain in each cut and every thrash, it’s true, but the vine does not die, the grain does not become pulverized. Both bring life–one bears fruit and one of grain flour ready for the finest use. Do you trust My plan, My way to prepare you? To prepare this country? To prepare this world?

To know pain and despair is to know humility; with humility comes quiet wisdom to understand. Do you trust Me?

I hear your cries asking “Why, God, why?”
I’m pulling you close and say to you:
“Trust Me, sweet child. I love you, and thou shall see what I will do.”

The day Donald Trump became president

“Mom? What’s an olive branch?”

“It’s a sign of peace and reconciliation. The olive branch as a sign of peace that goes way back into early Bible times.”

“Mommy, do you think what Mr. Trump said in his victory speech is really his heart on the inside? I’m confused.”

“I don’t know, buddy. I’m confused too. I hope the Trump we see in the speech is who we really experience as our president. We have to give him a chance now.”

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Today is where the rubber meets the road for me as an advocate for love and Jesus. Will I choose to love radically, trust radically, and believe there is something bigger going on here than I can see? Or will I remain in a place of fear, cynicism, judgement and distrust, both for God and Trump?

I understand now why Jesus was so unsavory and scandalous to people in his time. It is far easier for me to love the people whom Trump ridiculed, abused, and cast aside as invalid. What’s hard is loving Trump. But that is exactly what Jesus would do. Love in its truest form is hard and humbling. President-elect Trump is a hard an impossible guy to embrace, trust, and radically love as a human being right now let alone as a leader for my country. While Jesus certainly wouldn’t condone (and would likely challenge) Trump’s words and behavior thus far, Jesus would accept him, love him, and hang out with him. At the same time, He’d call out Trump on the hardness in his heart and give Trump the choice of pursuing a new self or remaining in his current self. Any repentance and transformation that would take place would happen between Trump and Jesus only.

That space between Jesus and Trump isn’t my place to be. Jesus calls me to pay attention to my own heart…

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I’m very uncomfortable as I process the history that’s unfolding before me. But it’s when I’m most uncomfortable that I know God is working inside me. Ultimately I find myself squirmy in my own heart as I examine my beliefs juxtaposed with my feelings.

I believe in Love–capital L. I believe divine Love includes ALL people, and that means Trump too. It has to. And while Mr. Trump hasn’t shown a value for all-inclusive love, that does not give me the right to cast him off in return, and to do so would make me hypocritical.

I believe in unity and peace; I believe the more division we have, the more vulnerable we are to Satan’s wiles to perpetuate hate, violence, and fear. To turn my back on our new president makes me part of the problem. True to God’s nature, the only way to unite and experience peace is to do the exact opposite of what we’re doing now in angry recoiling and harsh backlash. We have to draw near to one another and come along side President Trump if we want to experience the unity that defines our nation.

I also believe in innocence until proven guilty. I confess the media has done an excellent job in convincing me that Donald Trump is a criminal on multiple levels; if I am going to remain true to my beliefs and values, then until he is proven as such I have to radically trust his innocence. I’d want that for anyone else.

Fair is fair regardless of my feelings. It’s okay to feel shocked, uncertain, and disappointed (I refuse to feel fear); however, it’s important to not let my feelings blind my values. Otherwise I am simply a fair-weather Christian, living out my values when it’s easy and feels good.

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Here’s the bottom line for me and what I’ve literally told my children today:

  • “God took one of the most vile, dangerous men in the Bible, Saul, and turned him into Paul. Paul became one of the greatest advocates for God’s love and kingdom; he is one of the most revered people in Biblical history. We have to trust that God can and will do something amazing with Mr. Trump as our president. I believe He will.”
  • “God is far bigger than Trump and Clinton and this election and our country. What we’re experiencing today is evidence that we are not as in control of things in this world as we think we are. That’s humbling and that’s okay. With humility comes wisdom.”
  •  “Our job in our own lives is to continue loving people the best we can, being kind more than ever, and living a life of love, no matter what. So we are going to pray for President Trump; we are going to pray for our country; we’re going to stand up for what’s right when called to do so.”

If someone didn’t trust me, I’d want the chance to prove my trustworthiness.  I’m willing to give President-elect Trump my open heart, my open mind, and a chance to make American great again.

Welcome to the presidency Mr. Trump. May you experience support, growth, and a successful career as the United States President.