Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Change: the Second

I went to the gym today after a really long hiatus.  I made it 20 minutes in the elliptical and was only slightly better off than my last venture 1 week ago in which I wanted to cry just a little because my muscles had forgotten so much in the last three months.  I persevered though.  It wasn't the only thing I did but it was certainly the most taxing.

As I was there, I ran into someone I hadn't seen for quite some time.  We exchanged short greetings, after all it was really early, I think it was before manners are fully awake, and then went about our business.  As I left I saw that she was waiting for a tanning booth and I immediately began to judge.  The dialogue in my head went something like this:

Huh. Tanning.  Seriously? She's got kids, she needs to set an example. I can't believe how dedicated she's become to her body lately. I wonder if her marriage is in trouble? I bet she's not happy.

Immediately after those thoughts I felt really ugly.  Not physically, but ugly on the inside.  Ugly for judging.  I hadn't been in contact with this person for almost 2 years.  How on earth would I know what her life is like anymore?  How would I know what her marriage is like.  And more importantly, what gives me the right to even go there?!? And triply more important was the ugly little fact that all of that was just to cover up my feelings of jealousy because her dedication actually paid off!  I'm pretty sure the envy monster reared it's ugly head and I said to it "you go! tear her down! how dare she succeed where I have failed!"

My goal for this year is moderation.  Moderation in all things from how I spend my time to what I put in my mouth and in my head.  Part of that is what I do with my body.  How I treat it.  What I decide to put into my body and how I decide to use it.  What is it that I can do to be healthy.  Not skinny, but healthy.  To stop hating my body for whatever perceived excess I see and embrace what it can do.  I mean, we're in it for the long haul, it's time I stop criticizing and embrace it for what it is.  A gift from God.

On the other hand, my goal to be happy with who and what I am has had an unanticipated side effect.  I call it the "Wow! I think I've stumbled on to something, why is everyone else wasting their time on this diet thing and how shallow is that! Puft!" effect, and then in my mind I walk off self-righteously because I have clearly progressed so far above them.  Slaves to their bodies that they are.  Puft!

And then I find myself sitting at the computer with my 4th handful of Pretzel M&Ms well on it's way to being consumed and I realize that boy howdy am I a mess!

So here I am, confessing my sins to the world and wondering how I am ever going to conquer the beast of myself.  The beast of the sweet tooth.  The beast that condemns others for not partaking with me. 

While serving a mission for my church I had a moment of pure peace.  The Lord had brought me to a point in my life where I had finally figured out that I had worth.  That it didn't matter what anyone else thought, I knew that I was square with the Lord and nothing else mattered.  I knew that God loved me, faults and all.  During that time of inner-peace with myself, I accepted those around me without condemnation.  I actually experienced unconditional love for them.  Those I knew, those I didn't.  It was wonderful.  It was a time of building instead of tearing down.  My body and soul were working together instead of fighting each other.  Knowing that the Lord loved me with all of my faults let me know that He loved, and still does love, everyone that way.  There was nothing left to condemn because we all needed His help.  So why not help each other along the way and build things up instead of tearing them down.

I want that back.  I know I can get it back, but it's going to take practice.  I need to change myself.  In the mission field I accepted my soul.  I finally could forgive myself for my high school stupidity.  I had carried it around for so long, never feeling as good as those around me.  But the Lord helped me let it go.  Now I need to do the same for my body.  Accept it, faults and all.  Love it, love-handles and all.  And accept those around me regardless of shape or size.  Children of God.

So my change the second is not quite as concrete as my change the first.  However, it is just as important, well actually it's more important.  I will change the way I think about my body and consequently the way I think about others'.  I will strive to remember the lessons I've learned.  I will banish body judgements.  I will invite the Lord back into my life.  Isn't that what it all boils down to?   Remembering him in all things? I keep forgetting that we don't exactly pick and choose "all".  All is all.


  1. You've echoes quite a bit of my thoughts currently. Getting healthy without it being a weightloss race. Accepting where I am, but striving also to be my best. Its tough to find that balance.

  2. this is a wonderful post, Lora! I struggle in this area too... but maybe in a different way. I get jealous of people that are healthy! How lame is that? No matter what I do, I'm always sick in one way or another... and I love what you said. It's all about acceptance. This is how God loves me and made ME.

    You never know when people are watching you and wishing they were like you for many reasons...

    You are AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL! And I wish I could play the piano like you.

  3. I know I definitely have trouble giving credit where credit is due (to myself and others)as well as judging (again myself and others). Hope you find peace. There's far to little of that going around now-a-days. For that matter I hope we all find a little bit of TURE peace. CHEERS (Felt like a toast) Maybe it'll remind us of the better things so we can stop nagging about the crappy things.

    Love you. I do and you should too.

    Basically a whole hearted AMEN to your post.

  4. What a wonderful gift you have of putting experiences and feelings in just the right words. All I can say is ditto with an exclamation point. Thanks for your perspective which is so easy for me to relate to. (it is velvet talking not eli):)

  5. Funny to read this after posting my post on finding peace yesterday. It seems similar to me. And not in the "hey...that's what I said!" way, but in the, "I know a lot of people who are working through this right now" way. I feel that, maybe because of our age?, that we are going through a metamorphosis - trying to find surer footing than we had in our 20s. At least that's what it feels like to me. Something big happening...

    Gah! Never mind. I can't find the words right now. Too jumbled.

  6. Um, so for a shallow-ish comment to your deep post: Tanning can really help with the winter blues. I even had a friend whose therapist prescribed a certain amount of tanning each week. You never know. The end.

  7. JB, funny you should mention that, I myself am a theraputic tanner! you know, like once or twice every winter except this one because the tanning place that I used to go to is no longer there. My husband has actually suggested I go and I get uber-stupid-defensive. Have I mentioned I'm a mess!

  8. Tawnya: I had similar thoughts when reading yours! I'll blame it on the age.

    Velvet: so glad it's you, would have been worried if it was Eli!

    And for everyone else, it is heartening to know that I'm not the only one. Still feels good to say it out loud. You are all so awesome!