I Lied

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and when you leave it, you think, “I MUST remember all of what was said because that was HUGE and some day it will be VERY important!”?  I remember every detail of conversations like that and as I continue to move through adulthood, with my own life, my own family, my own etc., those conversations often flood the forefront of my mind because now is when they are important to me.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat at the dinner table with my family of four and faintly mentioned something about body image.  The beautiful, inquisitive 13 year old who sits across the table from me every evening asked a question and I lied.  I lied because of the VERY important conversation that had been tucked away in my heart for so many years.

One of my mentors told me once that she makes certain to positively comment on her body when he daughter is around.  She explained that she did not want to pass down a legacy of negative body image, but rather of health and positivity.  She said that even if she isn’t feeling great about herself, she will purposefully force herself to compliment herself, out loud, in earshot of her sweet, precious daughter.  She told me of one time that she was getting ready and happened to be in her under garments when her daughter walked in the room.  She had no less than twenty seconds ago, picked apart her body while looking in the mirror, but now, with her daughter in the room, walked to the mirror and out loud praised God for perfectly piecing her body together.

This conversation, I remember, made me fight tears the whole way through it.  I remember thinking, “I want to do the same for my daughter some day!  I want to do the same for the girls who are in my life intimately!”  The legacy that has been passed down to me is a legacy of weight loss and dieting and therefore an inherent displeasure with my body and weight.  Without meaning to, the women in my family spend a lot of time focusing on weight and we have passed that down from generation to generation.  I see it in my grandmother, my mother/aunts and now in the generation of women of which I am a part.  This is NOT the legacy I want to pass down to the next generation.

So, when the 13 year old asked her question, I lied.

I said something like, “I like my body.  I am not worried about what other people think.  I try to be healthy and try to make sure that my husband is pleased with my body, but I don’t let either of those things define me.  God gave me everything I’ve got; He made me knowing that this would be me and I’m happy with that.”

After I said it, there was a weird feeling that rushed over me.  I wanted all of the things that I had just said to be true, but in my heart, I knew they weren’t.  I struggle with body image just as much, if not more than most women.  I am not pleased with every inch of my body (mainly because I feel there are too many inches around and too few inches lenghtwise, lol) and if I had all of the money in the world, I probably would waste a large chunk of it altering things about my body.  I want to be taller, thinner, prettier, …ier.

None of what I said to the impressionable girl across the table was fully true, however, I knew it was my opportunity to change the cycle of such a negative legacy.

(I have recently had the incomparable honor and opportunity of “junior editing” Shannon Ethridge‘s new book and I HIGHLY suggest that when it comes out, every person reads it because there is a section on body image that has the most amazing story of changing negative body image legacies.  I wish I could share it with you right now, but it is my joy and honor to point you towards Shannon’s book for now.)

I guess the question I have to ask myself, though, is one of morality.  We teach the 13 year old that lying is not okay.  She is often grounded or on restriction from some privilege because she hasn’t been entirely truthful.  In our home, we tell her, there is no circumstance when lying is acceptable.  Yet, I lied.  I broke our own rule.  I had good reason, but I still lied.  Was I wrong?

There is the whole idea of “fake it until you make it” and I think that was my intent when I told the lie.  I want what I said to be true and I suppose that if I speak it often enough, it will be true (out of the heart, the mouth speaks?), but I feel like such a faker in the meantime.  I desperately want to leave a legacy of contentment, pleasure and gratefulness when it comes to body image to the girls I have the privilege of encountering, but do I have to lie to do it?

My prayer is that it won’t be a lie forever.  I pray that I am able to love what God has created and that I am able to some day speak the truth when I attempt to pass down a legacy of health and appreciation.  My prayer is also that I am not alone in this.  How devastating it would be to work so hard to pass on a beautiful gift of loving our bodies only to have the world/other women contradict what I am trying to do.  I don’t want my daughter(s) to leave me only to find out that the world won’t accept her for who she is, no matter what she looks like.  I want my daughter(s) to be confident in who they are and to surround themselves with women who feel the same way; women who will also pass on a legacy of positive body image.  I can’t do this alone.  None of us can.

Barlow Girl- Mirror

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, Have I got it?
‘Cause Mirror you’ve always told me who I am
I’m finding it’s not easy to be perfect
So sorry you won’t define me
Sorry you don’t own me

Who are you to tell me
That I’m less than what I should be?
Who are you? Who are you?
I don’t need to listen
To the list of things I should do
I won’t try, I won’t try

Mirror I am seeing a new reflection
I’m looking into the eyes
of He who made me
And to Him I have beauty beyond compare
I know He defines me (Yeah)

Who are you tell me
that I’m less than what I should be
Who are you?
Who are you? (Yeah)
I don’t need to listen
To the list of things I should do
I won’t try, no, I won’t try

You don’t define me (You don’t define me)

Who are you to tell me
That I’m less than what I should be
Who are you?
Who are you?
Yeah!
I don’t need to listen
To the list of things I should do
I won’t try, no, I won’t try
Yeah

Who are you to tell me
That I’m less than what I should be
Who are you?
Who are you?
Yeah
I don’t need to listen
To the list of things I should do
I won’t try, no, I won’t try

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Waiting

I am not a very patient person.  Just today my husband told me, “I think I figured out what we are going to do for our anniversary… but I can’t tell you.”  Instead of expressing my joy that he has taken it upon himself to plan something for our anniversary, I responded with, “I hate when you do that!  You can’t do that to me!  That isn’t fair!” and walked off in a huff.  The idea of knowing that there is a plan but not knowing any part of the plan drives me crazy; especially when I know that someone else knows the plan.  I don’t like feeling out of control.  I don’t like not knowing.

It feels as if the theme of my life revolves around my desire to be in control.  I am constantly trying to plan and prepare and God is constantly trying to get me to trust Him.  I think it is because of this constant tension, this never ending tug of war that I play with God, that I have spent the majority of the last six years in major times of transition.  It is difficult to be in control when you are transitioning into the unknown and that is exactly where I find myself more often than not.

I’m currently in the midst of transitioning into the unknown.  My husband is out of work.  I am almost halfway finished with my master’s program.  The house that we rent is up for sale.  We thought we were going to head toward a big city for more opportunities for my career and then a career opportunity here in our small town where we could be without a home with just 30 days notice at any moment presented itself to my husband.  We have no idea where we are going.  Before we had a child, we would laugh about these periods of transition and make silly hand movements while saying “adventure!” in weird cartoon like voices.  We never liked the times of transition, but we were able to find the positive side to them.  We haven’t said “adventure!” one single time in this period of transition.  I think we both feel the burden of providing for another human being and it is keeping us far less lighthearted about it.

Transitions into the unknown are tough.  They are painful and sometimes leave nicks and bruises and even scars.  These transitions test my patience and force me to rely on my God who I know is faithful because I have experienced His faithfulness so many times, especially while transitioning into the unknown.  For example, I remember moving out of an apartment I had picked out because Gavin and I were planning on getting pregnant.  We were moving out of the apartment, not pregnant and with no place to call home next.  It felt like my dreams were dying and I had no say over it.  And then, when I did get pregnant unexpectedly, God moved us to where we are now, which happens to be the place of my junior high dreams (for real) and we live in a house double the size of that dinky apartment and pay half the rent.  He knew what was best and my plans were so inadequate.  He provided.  He was faithful, even when I was faithless.

So, while I continue to transition into the unknown, I will wait.  I will wait with a heart of faith and gratitude.  I am thankful that I learn from my mistakes.  Just the other day, I started to worry and was allowing the anger to build in my heart about why we are going through this same thing again and then a wave of gratitude came over me.  Through tears, I was able to verbalize several things that came from this rubble both prior to and after it being rubble.  In junior high I wrote in my diary that I wanted to live somewhere green, where it rains a lot, is cold and near the beach.  I literally live in the place of my dreams right now.  Thankfulness.  I have made friends and experienced community deeper than anything I could have imagined, yet exactly what my heart was longing for.  Thankfulness.  I have had the opportunity to have a young girl in my home, which is exactly what I thought I wanted to do with my life when I started college.  Thankfulness.  My husband and I have grown and continue to grow into each other, into truly becoming one flesh.  Thankfulness.  There were several other things on the list, but you get the point.  While I wait, I will choose to be thankful.  I will choose the be faithful.  To listen and to follow His leading.  I will choose to continue to serve my God who is so faithful and loving.  I will continue to worship my God who provides all things and romances me with His trustworthiness.

And here is to you, my friends who are also transitioning into the unknown.  May you also know God’s faithfulness, yet experience it in new and exciting ways.  May you hold tight to the knowledge that your plans are inadequate and infinitesimal compared to His.  May you learn from your mistakes and walk through the fire with a heart of gratitude.

While I’m Waiting- John Waller

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve you while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord