Just a note before I begin… I know it seems like weight and self-image issues are all I’m talking about lately. But this is an issue that God is dealing with inside of me right now, and I feel like this is not just for me. I started to apologize for sharing so much about this, but then I realized there is nothing to apologize for. I am learning to be open and honest with myself and others, as well as how to be obedient to my Father in heaven, who has given me words to write. My job is to be faithful to Him and Him alone. And that includes my writing. Even writing posts like this, which I absolutely did not want to do…
Tonight I found myself in a situation I have been in many, many times before. I stood in my bathroom in front of the scale, arguing – no, fighting – with myself about whether or not I would step onto it. Whether or not I wanted to know the number. Whether or not I could bear the truth.
3 hours ago, I had no intention of stepping onto the scale tonight. Yet there I was, fighting with myself over whether or not I would give in. Oh, how quickly things can change…
See, a few hours ago, I stood in my friend’s dining room talking and laughing about cleanses and pickles (don’t ask…), and my friend looked at me and said, ”You’re shrinking!” (If you feel like you’ve read this story before, it’s probably because you read this. Don’t worry, this is a different story…)
We all just finished doing a liver cleanse (I’ll spare you the details…), and my friend asked me if I had lost any weight during the cleanse. My response was, ”I have no idea.” She asked, ”You didn’t weigh yourself before and after?” I told her, ”No. I was kinda afraid to see the number. I haven’t weighed myself in a little while. Just not a wise thing for me to do right now…”
The scale and I have a love-hate relationship. Well, mostly hate. And I know myself well enough to know when I should stay far, far away from it. This happens to be one of those times…
The evening went on, and I didn’t think about that conversation again.
Until I got home, that is…
I walked into the bathroom and as I was washing my hands, my mind drifted to the cabinet below the sink. I said out loud to myself, ”You are NOT weighing yourself tonight. You’ve already decided that.” But suddenly, as if I was no longer in control of my actions, the cabinet door was open and I held the scale in my hands. I moved the rug and placed the scale on the floor.
I stood there, barefoot, facing the scale. I closed my eyes, and in my mind I could see what would happen next. I saw my bare feet on the scale. I saw the number. I saw my reaction to the number. Tears rolled down my face. Shame, like a heavy cloud, came upon me.
A chill ran up my spine as I opened my eyes, still standing in front of the scale, debating with myself. ”Should I do it? Do I want to know? Can I bear the truth?”
But the reality is, my decision was made the second I pulled that scale out of the cabinet. There was no point in arguing or fighting or debating with myself. I knew what I was going to do. And I knew what the outcome would be.
I stepped onto the scale, bracing myself for what was inevitably going to happen… Yet, to my surprise, I had lost 4.5 pounds in the last 4 days.
Relief washed over me. A slight smile appeared on my face as I took a deep breath. I felt good. I felt satisfied. I felt valuable. I felt successful. I felt lovable.
But within seconds, I heard a voice echoing in my spirit, saying, ”What if the number was different? What if it was what you expected? How would you feel then? Would you still feel good? Satisfied? Valuable? Successful? Lovable? Would you still know who you are and where your identity is found, even if the number was higher instead of lower?
My initial thought was, ”Geez, what a buzzkill!” That was immediately followed by, ”Of course I know who I am. That number does not define me! I am more than the number on the scale!”
As I thought those things, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. ”What a load of horse****!” I couldn’t even get the words out! I was using all of the clichés we’ve all heard a thousand times, trying to cover up my real thoughts. I was trying to LIE to GOD! HA!!! (For the record, that doesn’t work very well. That whole all-knowing thing kinda gets in the way of that…)
I stood there, staring at the number on the scale, with tears welling up in my eyes.
I said, ”Lord, I thought I was free from this. I thought this was my past. I thought I was over it. So why does this issue keep coming up? What am I missing? What am I supposed to be learning here?”
If you have read my last 2 posts (There Is No Such Thing As “Guilt-Free” Food and When Being “Beautiful” Is Uncomfortable), you know that I struggled with an eating disorder for about 7 years, during high school and college. Until last week, that is something very few people knew about. I was so ashamed of that piece of my history, and I went to great lengths to protect (aka hide) that fact.
But I will be honest with you today. There are days when I still struggle. There are times when I find myself thinking the same thoughts, fighting the same battles, experiencing the same struggles as I did all those years ago. Even when I don’t carry out the behaviors, I still have the thoughts.
(Just to be clear… No, I do not still have an eating disorder. However, I believe when you struggle with something like that, if you do not rip out the roots of the problem, it doesn’t disappear. You can change your behaviors, but if you don’t deal with the root of the issue, the issue still exists. Which is why I struggle with thought patterns and belief systems in this area.)
Over the last 48 days, I have lost 27.5 pounds. And for the first time in my life, I have done it in a healthy way. I have not starved myself, and I have not thrown up. I have lost 27.5 pounds by making the right choices for my body. It has been one of the most freeing experiences of my life. That may seem like a strong statement, but it is completely true.
However, over the last week or so, I have felt so gross, so disgusting, so unlovable, and I couldn’t figure out why. I had stayed away from the scale for a couple of weeks, but I could feel my clothes getting looser and looser. I could feel the difference in my body. But even so, I was convinced the number on the scale was surely climbing higher and higher. I could see the difference in the mirror, yet in my mind, I didn’t believe it.
As my past is being dug up and exposed here, I have only 2 choices: Keep running, hiding, trying to figure this thing out on my own, and pretending it’s not an issue. Or face it head-on, and let my God, my Deliverer, deal with these issues that are obviously still rooted deep inside of me.
I’m done running. I’m done hiding. I’m done pretending. There comes a point where we must say enough is enough. And for me, that time is now.
What I’m learning during this time is something I’ve heard over and over again. But I’m learning that they are not clichés, after all…
The number on the scale does not define you.
That number cannot possibly tell you who you are, or who you’re not.
That number is not a source of joy, peace, love.
That number does not determine your worth.
That number does not determine how successful you are.
That number is not your identity.
You are so much more than that.
The truth is, on good days, I believe those things. But on other days, I don’t.
I thought I was over this. I didn’t think I had an ounce of this skewed mindset left in me. But the thoughts, the events, the writing of the last week are proving otherwise.
They are causing me to search my heart. They are causing me to question how free I really am. They are causing me to seek God and ask Him for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. They are causing me to ask Him to reveal the roots of this thing, which are so obviously still there.
It has been extremely difficult. Even as I am writing this post tonight, I am fighting with myself. I do not want to publish this. I don’t want to expose myself. I want to sweep it under the rug. I want to pretend I do not deal with these issues. I want to be the strong, healthy, “after” version of myself. I want to pretend I have been healed, set free, and delivered from this. I want to hide. I want to keep this between me and God.
But that’s not how this works. Not for me, anyway. He has made that very clear to me. My life is not my own. My story is not my own. My struggles are not my own. And my victories are not my own.
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will overcome this. Every part of this. Not by my own strength, knowledge, or power. But through Yeshua. My God is my Deliverer.
He has already done a miracle in me by helping me to overcome the behaviors associated with this. But now it’s time to rip out the roots. Now it’s time to go after the mindsets, the thought patterns, and the belief systems. Now it’s time to truly overcome.
I don’t know if you have ever felt the way I feel right now. I don’t know if you have ever struggled with any of these issues. I don’t know what your relationship with the scale is like…
But I know I’m not alone. I know there are women and men out there who know exactly how I feel. You know the thoughts I have, because you have them too. You know the struggles I face, because you are facing them right now. You have stood on the scale as tears rolled down your face. You have felt helpless. Hopeless. Alone. Unworthy. Unwanted. Unloved.
I’m here to tell you that you are more. You are loved. You are wanted. You are worthy. You are valuable. You are beautiful. You were created for a purpose. You have a destiny.
And none of that is determined by a number on the scale.