Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sometimes It's Just Hard

Today I read an article about Mr. Rogers. His show was, perhaps, my childhood favorite. The Land of Make-Believe was a land that made a big impact on me--I was an avid pretender for longer than I care to admit. His words, his neighborhood adventures, his teaching moments were ones that were marked by the air of a listener. He knew the words to say and when to say them but even through the TV screen, I remember feeling at ease, almost like he and I were having a sit-down conversation. He ended each show with the words, "You've made this day a special day by just your being you. There's no person in the whole world like you. And I like you just the way you are." It was a statement of weighty affirmation. Lately, I've forgotten the truth in that sentiment. I lack the confidence that Mr. Rogers helped instill in me about liking myself just the way I am. 

It is a struggle sometimes to see yourself the way Christ sees you...loved unconditionally. It is a struggle to live according to your new identity. And sometimes, you listen too closely to the lies whispered in ears too eager to believe them. 

I've hit a rough patch. For half a year now, I've worked diligently at trying to tame my body into submission and bring it to a place of better health and a leaner silhouette. And the progress that I expected and held onto hope would happen over the course of painstaking time, has not and I feel defeated. There have been some changes, yes, but not the significant ones on which I set my sights.  It's funny how something as menial as working out with few results can put you in a slump.

Why do I start to chip away at myself over this? A lifetime of struggle with this particular conundrum may be part of that. Or it could be that current life events find me groping for trust in a sea of murky doubt. Whatever the cause, I feel pressed with the weight of the effects. Like dominoes tumbling down, one after the other, body image only begins it.

I can intellectually call to mind all of the "right" answers for this downturn: read scripture, pray, pray scripture, remember who I am in Christ, praise, give thanks. I am trying but I'll admit it is a half-hearted attempt. Sometimes I feel like I just don't have it in me. And I just want to be held. 

I won't even get into how hard it is to give grace; to give love when I feel empty of it. Funnily enough, I attended a women's conference at church a couple of weekends ago on this very topic. It's ironic that the copious notes I took have been put to so little use between then and now.  I am trying to remember. I am trying to be still and know. But trying is hard and right now, I just want to lay myself down and have it poured over me. 

I write honestly and in the middle of it all. I cannot offer a glorious truth that has washed over me and given me a fresh new day. I cling to the hope that that is to come. Reading over this, it smacks of self-deprecation and a pity-party atmosphere. But I put it out there anyway, because weary overwhelms sometimes and maybe I'm not alone. Perhaps this is you right now, too. I will pray for me and for you. I will trudge through the half-hearted attempts of each "right" answer because trudging is sometimes progress, too. 

Cling to these with me: 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  -Matthew 11:28-30

"Forgiven, beloved, hidden-in-Christ, made in the image of the Giver of life, righteous and holy, reborn and remade, accepted and worthy, this is our new name. This is who we are now."  -Jason Gray

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."  -Jeremiah 31:3

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  -Romans 5:8

There are many, many more. Cling to them. I'll cling to mine. Until next time, peace be with you.


  1. Thank you for writing this. I cannot begin to tell you how much I feel the same. For about 11 years not I have been unhappy with the way I look. This unhappiness escalated when Mike and I got married. He loves me always has, always will but he desperately wants me to lose weight and to not only be healthy but happy with the way I look. I know how it sounds. Very worldly. He should love me no matter what and he does but I know on some level he doesnt find me as attractive and to be honest I dont blame him. Its messed with me over the years. Most people that have only known me for a few years say "oh you dont look fat you look good" yes well compared to before I had kids, I am fat! 120 vs 180.I dont necessarily want to be 120 but 140 would be nice. I cant seem to find the motivation and that makes me feel even worse. I know how you feel. I havent really taken the time or effort to really try to lose weight so I cant say that I cant lose weight. I am however trying to eat better and I know once it warms up that I will be more active. I too struggle with a little voice that tell me "your fat, your ugly and no one loves you, he will leave you". Stupid stuff like that. Keep trying, if nothing else your heart will be healthy :). You are the friend Ive known the longest. I love you as a sister and I miss you being around. When I moved from Florida to here I missed you and the others so much. I am so glad we have been able to stay in touch all these years and I look forward to many more. You are a wonderful person, dont stop trying. Sometimes it just hard, but we should lean on those who understand. You have a great husband and friends. Believe me though I understand.

    1. Katy, first, thank you to your words of encouragement to me by way of sharing your struggles. I appreciate them! I am so glad that we've been able to stay in touch since the beginning of our friendship in FL and I am so grateful for that.

      Body image is a funny thing. And there is a careful balance of appropriate and healthy body image. I know that as far as health standards are concerned, losing weight is good for me...or rather, becoming leaner. As I am learning, it is optimal to replace fat with healthy, lean muscle...the weight is of no concern, per se, as long as body composition is healthy. And I really like this perspective because it takes the focus off of the number. But it's been driven into us for so long that it's the number that matters...and it's hard to let that go.

      I could talk ad nauseum about our men's levels of attractiveness toward us. But I will save that convo for another time. Suffice it to say that we should give ourselves grace in the area of losing weight. That is not to say we should excuse away our mistakes--which is something I do too much--but grace the way God gives it. If we're moving and working out and making a solid effort to eat right, we don't need to beat ourselves up about the results. A million things can make weight loss and getting into shape a long, hard road. For me, I've discovered that I've been doing the same thing for too long and so I took a week off, and will start changing it up next week.

      And the last thing that I will encourage us both on is the goal of getting into shape for ourselves. I won't deny that our men will probably like the results of all of our hard work before it's all said and done but they can't be the reason--they just can't. And I have to tell myself that all the time. Being healthy is part of being a good steward of the body that God gave us and working out, despite the lack of results, makes me feel good. ME. Let's cling to that together. I love you!! :)