Monthly Archives: February 2015

For my 9th birthday, (which was in 1997) someone (probably my grandma) gave me an American Girl journal (which became the first of many embarrassing documents in which I would chronicle how weird I was.) (True story- in one journal I brought home from Disney World-bright orange paper, front cover with FUR- I started signing it “Alex” and made a notation that I really liked that name and so would be signing my entries with the pseudonym from here on. WAT?)

Here’s what I can tell you about that journal (I still have it. I referenced it today.) I was in the 3rd grade. I wore a white long-sleeve t-shirt and a denim vest for school pictures. I lied about weighing 97 pounds. (Tangentially here, Dear American Girl Inc. circa Late 1990s. WHY ARE YOU ASKING LITTLE GIRLS HOW MUCH THEY WEIGH? THIS IS A BAD IDEA.) I wanted to be 1 of 3 things when I grew up: an Olympic diver, a lawyer, or a fashion designer.

Two of those things I can explain. To me, a lawyer or a fashion designer epitomized a woman who could GET SHIT DONE. To become a lawyer or a fashion designer or a fashion designing lawyer, I would have to be smart, driven, ambitious, and super freaking classy and chic. These were the things that at 9 years old I believed I was not only capable of becoming but also felt predestined for. I WAS NINE. Which explains the third career path of Olympic diver which is a little bit of a stretch, but at age 9 there were two things I loved to do: swim and read. That was pretty much it. I was only marginally interested in anything else. So diving professionally (at an Olympic level no less…) was pretty much my definition of paradise.

Here’s another funny thing about that journal. I went back later and crossed out my old answers to write in new ones that I felt reflected my more mature, developed self. (Including but not limited to correcting the spelling on my answer to “What’s the hardest part of growing up” which was “Responsabilitie”). That gives me a lot of heart feelings because, I’ve obviously been this way for a very long time. This need to self-refine is a thread that has woven through every stage of my life. At age 10, my childish 9 year old ways were a blemish on the bright young woman I was becoming and it wouldn’t stand to preserve those errors. Even on paper. To myself. Good grief. There’s some evidence that suggests that our personalities are more or less the same from childhood onward. Anecdotally, this seems true for me.

I have wondered lately, what 1997 Amanda would think of me. Sometimes, it is of great concern that I might be a disappointment to her. She would be horrified by how fat I’ve gotten. There’s no doubt she was CERTAIN that we would have gotten that thing on lock by 26. There just would have been too many other things to worry about, like winning Gold at Rio. I think she might be a little embarrassed that I didn’t make it any farther than the town with the Wal-Mart 20 minutes from home. I think she would be surprised to find out that compulsive journaling would translate into a love of writing and story telling and that I would actually pursue those ends rather than going pre-law or fashion and merchandising. She would LOVE Brett and I think be quite impressed with him. 1997 Amanda loved a good laugh. (That actually never changes.) 

I’ve been thinking about time management and energy management (there might be a post in there somewhere) and of course, as you know from journeying on with me, I never stop thinking about the woman I am and the woman I might become. But there is something that creates great pause in me when I consider the girl I was. And her dreams. And her hang ups. And her imagination. I want so sincerely to live up to her expectations- to become a woman for whom nothing is unattainable. Even prosecuting war criminals while wearing a diving swimsuit of my own design.

Advertisements

Emotional Space.

I realize that sounds incredibly loaded but I promise it’s a real thing.

I keep gushing about my new job. Anytime anyone asks me about it, I find myself repeating, I’m really where I need to be right now. (How can people stand me sometimes?!)

But that where that is here is a space of emotional openness. It’s wide margins (that’s the space between where your work ends and where you fall off the page.) It’s time that’s not dedicated to anything. It’s kindness in saying good bye and good luck to things that don’t serve me anymore.

It might go without saying, but it was not always this way.

This fall was an incredibly foggy time in my life. I was losing my job. Because I was losing my job, Brett and I had to back out of the contract we had signed to purchase a home. (You can wince here. I often do.) It felt like I might never stop crying. It was perhaps the most profound disappointment I’ve felt in my life. Everything that had seemed quite certain was gone in weeks and rather than try to weather any more transitions, I left my position about a week or so later. And then nothing was certain.

It felt very risky to give up a paycheck but I was in such a scary place emotionally at that time. The risk of bitterness and resentment lurked everywhere and it was a daily struggle to keep those feelings in check.  I didn’t want to be angry or sad anymore. So I left.

The next weeks felt like one long weekend. I rested and repaired my soul. (That is, I slept in and worked on craft projects) In all, I spent a little over a month without a job which was a true blessing and a testament to God’s hand in my life. I think there were some real things at work during that time that helped me frame the situation as a “transition”, rather than and out and out “crisis.” Managing those few months with some emotional dignity (and by that I mean I didn’t just lose my damn mind) helped prepare me to come into a new workplace and be readily available.

One of the things at work was that I was practicing for the first time a real awareness of vulnerability and the power it has to effect relationships. I watched this Ted Talk by Brene Brown and if you haven’t watched it yet, allow me to say, without exaggeration that it was transformative in my life. You see it at work here, in my writing, when I tell you that I’m both a person who is trying to lose weight and one who is eating an entire plate of fajita nachos for lunch (yesterday) and when I say that I like the idea of being healthy but love the idea of being skinny. Those things are silly and fun and we can all say YAS! but it was more than silly and fun when I realized that even though I felt hurt, I could still love and I could still forgive.

When I interviewed for new positions, I could speak candidly about where I had been, where I was going, what I was good at, when I had failed. As I orient to my new work, I am able to say I need help, thank you, can you repeat that? When someone asks how I like my new job, I say, I’m really where I need to be right now. 

What I want to tell you is that you can open up in this way. In fact, so many of you already have. (If you have reached out to me since I’ve started writing, allow me to say Goodness I just love you.) When I say open up, make space, what I mean is that if you are burdened by something, you can let that thing go. If it is spiritual, emotional, relational, or material. There is power in you that you can use towards whatever you want. Don’t waste it on anything that doesn’t serve.

Next week is a campaign celebration for the United Way, and it will be my last commitment as a member of the board, as my term has ended and I’m ready to step down. Can I be real here? Leaving is a scary thing because I am a doer. I am a get-things-doner. If I’m not there, who will do these things? Someone will. There is great potential in all of us (not to mention exceptional leadership on that board right now) and I don’t have to hog that piece of the pie.

It feels good to step away from that commitment because I have new priorities that I must make space for. The things I remain involved in are emotionally light and I can recognize heaviness a great deal sooner now. Maybe you are a person for which opening up means starting something new (introverts, I see you.) Fear can be reckless in our lives and it can be the thing that turns commitment into guilt or motivation into shame. You can join that club or go to that happy hour and people are going to be kind and warm to you. You can quit your job or leave that committee and the bottom will not drop out.  You can send that dancing cat gif in an email to your entire team, you won’t get fired. (Speaking from experience here.)

Make a little space today. It’s Friday so you’ve got all weekend to calm down from doing something really brave like that. I think it will make you a little lighter and that lightness might make you a little happier. And that little bit of happiness might make you a little more fortified to make a little more space and then, what could stop you?

Possibly you have been reading along on this blog and thinking, Amanda is just incredible. Her writing is transformative. I want to be just like her. 

This seems likely to me.

But possibly you might have just overheard me talking recently (I have a voice that carries, I grew up with a bunch of loud-talkers) and thought, Gosh, her voice is loud. How does anyone get a word in edgewise around her? Poor Brett.

This also seems likely.

In any case, I want to concisely share my experience doing intermittent fasting because it’s a weird thing I’m doing right now and so when people ask me about it I can say, “Uh, check the blog” and ignore them. (Kidding.)

Intermittent fasting is the practice of regulating (or rather re-regulating) periods of feeding and fasting. It can be implemented in several ways, most popularly every other day fasting, fasting twice weekly, or establishing a daily restricted window of eating, usually 6-8 hours. I’m experimenting with the restricted window, because I’m not a CRAZY PERSON.

I read a few articles before starting my self-experiment, because even though my agenda was to try it out for myself (regardless of what research I found) I though it would be a good idea to see what kind of side effects I might expect. I linked to those articles in a previous post and I found them helpful in getting started. Yesterday my friend Courtney sent me this article from a recent study and it was the bomb.com. (Warning: It is SUPER SCIENCEY. Read only at your hour of optimum brain capacity.) (By the way, for me that is like 8:45 am and I still skimmed like 30% of it.) (Actually here’s a summary for you: prolonged periods of fasting will help you live forever. The end.) (Ok, it doesn’t really say that. Just read it.)

My eating window is usually right around 8 hours. I have coffee every morning, or tea, or sometimes a Diet Coke and usually, a small handful of almonds. I intended to start my experiment with a trial week wherein I just allowed myself to see how far into the morning I could wait to eat and it turns out, I can pretty easily just wait until lunch, which I typically take at Noon. I probably break my daily fast between 11:30 and 12:30. I’m a morning person so I keep busy and haven’t noticed any fogginess or loss of focus (beyond the typical Facebook wander.)

But what about BREAKFAST?! you ask. Indeed. If you are a breakfast purist, then maybe this isn’t the best practice for you. But there’s recent science that indicates that breakfast might not have a lot of influence over weight-loss at all. I KNOW RIGHT? Regardless of all the other implications of breakfast, by skipping a morning meal and the inevitable snack that follows a few hours later, I’m probably cutting around 500 calories daily. That is a good thing for this gal.

I eat lunch and usually an afternoon snack-something like string cheese or an apple and almost always one Hershey’s Kiss. I eat dinner between 6 and 7 pm, depending on if I workout or have a meeting after work. And once I eat dinner, I’m done. I’ve never been a late-night snacker (except DESSERT, HELLO) so it’s a pretty natural schedule for me.

My favorite part of IF is that you can still have BRUNCH which is far and away the best meal of the week. Weekends are probably the easiest time to try IF because Brett and I often sleep in, have a big breakfast around 11 and then do dinner around 5 or 6. You might be doing IF on Saturdays and Sundays and not even know!

I did experience some stomach cramps in the afternoons during my first week or so, but that side affect has since gone away. I try to stick to a whole-foods, vegetable heavy, wheat-light diet when I eat, but reducing my overall caloric intake allows some flexibility that I appreciate (and have taken a little too much advantage of. I ate a whole bunch of SOUR CREAM AND ONION POTATO CHIPS LAST NIGHT. Bless.) Overall, I try to abide by the 80/20 rule, so 2-3 meals a week, I eat with a little less discipline. It happens. Here is what I know: you can’t outrun a bad diet. IF is an intuitive strategy for me to cut my calorie intake. It’s one less healthy decision I have to make everyday. It’s a tool to help me lose weight.

If you think you’ll try it- let me know! If you think I’m a crazy person, well . . . At least I’m not fasting EVERY OTHER DAY! Who could do that?!

A fun thing that has happened since I started writing again is that lots of people (ha, listen to me) have told me that they really enjoy reading along.

Getting notes and comments are these sweet little gifts throughout the day that make me feel valued and they mean a lot to me. A fair number of people have also had chats with me in person. And let me just say, I am not a person who cannot take a compliment. I’m just no good at taking a compliment, plus.

You know compliment, plus. It’s “You’re such a good writer,” plus “you should write a book!” or, “I love your blog,” plus “I wish I could write like that.”

You know when you’re at a restaurant and your waiter says, “Enjoy your meal!” and you respond, “You too!” (And you DIE?)

This is what happens to me after compliment, plus. I am trying so hard to be appropriate that I zero in on the courtesy and cannot even begin to process social cues. Because you can’t just keep saying thank you.

“I love your blog!” “Thank you!”
“You’re a very talented writer.” “Thank you!”
“You express things I’ve thought to myself before.” “Thank you!”
“You should write for a living.” “Thank you!”

You see the problem. So I try to be engaging and charming because that’s obviously the image I’ve created for myself here and I end up telling a story and or making a joke that only I laugh at. I don’t like it when people feign false humility (Oh no, stop it, no.. Really…) or when people take credit for things that are clearly simply gifts (Well, I did study creative writing and have worked very hard to self motivate) because no. That is awful.

I just don’t have any clear method to communicate gracefully what I want to say which is “Thank you for reading my blog. I am so happy  that me being a weirdo resonates with you in a meaningful way. I am a good writer, but only because God decided I should be, as the laziness that contributes to my XL-ass also permeates into other areas of my life including, but not limited to studying, practicing, and editing. Therefore it seems quite unlikely I will ever write a book, though I agree it would be a cool thing.”

YOU CAN’T JUST SAY THOSE THINGS TO PEOPLE.

I really don’t want to discourage anyone from telling me they like reading my blog. Please do that. As previously mentioned, it’s like a little gift for me. Just please don’t think less of me when I completely bomb what could otherwise have been a straight-forward social experience.

I’ll now direct attention away from my social being and towards my physical body because I really just can’t spend anymore time thinking about how awkward I am.

Spin is great. It’s become a total blessing to me because I like it and I want to go which is a new feeling I have towards exercise. Wednesday night was probably my best class yet as the hour seemed to go by in half the time and my feet aren’t going numb anymore! I had a tingly toe by the end of class. Only one tingly toe!

I’m still trying to figure out if yoga class is for me because honestly it falls at the end of the day at the end of the workweek when I am my least emotionally fortified. There’s no question that I’ll feel great if I go, but if it’s a test of will to even get there, well… you’ve been reading along, you know how these things work.

Intermittent fasting is going surprisingly well. It is not my nature yet but results are encouraging, and I’ll be experimenting through the end of February and I’ll be interested to see how I feel at the end of the month.

I think I’m learning to be more kind to myself. There’s so much to be said for that. I’m leaning heavy on God. I’ve believed in his love and provision for a long time, but well, it’s a journey and He is meeting me in this place right now.

So progress is progress and I want you to know I’m making it. I want you to know that I am so glad you are a little wonky about things in your life too. I want you to know that when you tell me that what I write resonates with you that you are getting vulnerable with me too and I hope you know that even though I am a little bit of a bird brain in that scenario that I treasure your honesty and I hope that I’m being a good steward of it. Thank you, all of you, for your support and cheerleading. Please don’t stop. (Even though I made it kind of weird up there.)

I just finished Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas. You’ll be receiving a copy in your mailbox soon because it is my wish for the world to read this book. While I loved Made to Crave (and am ready to read it again), it was aimed expressly to women and speaks most to women who are struggling with weight loss. But Every Body Matters is a book for the human condition. Kingdom work is hard and we could all be in better shape for the long road ahead. (For my non-Christian brothers and sisters- how are your physical struggles getting in the way of what you could be doing with your spirit? We’re on the same page here, I know we are.)

A chapter of the book is titled “Heads Without Bodies” and Thomas laments the way the Church fails to address the manner in which our physical bodies influence our spiritual strength. We focus on the intellect, the mind, the emotions, and give little attention to what literally weighs us down. I have been as guilty of treating myself as a “head without a body” and likewise a “body without a head.” Let’s continue our conversation from yesterday- What’s different? 

In 2013, (and by all means, check the archives if you wish) I lost about 30 pounds. That was cool. But it was a treatment of my body without a goal for my head. I white-knuckled my way to that point by running, trying a variety of food limitations, and posting progress reports whether it felt good or not. It is no wonder I simply tired of the race.

In 2014, I started seeing Holly over the summer. I have mentioned previously that this was a reaction of fear. I remember saying to her in an early session “I want to be in the best shape- mind, body, and spirit when I become a parent.” Isn’t that nice? It is nice. But it wasn’t actually true. (Holly has since graciously pointed out that most of us know the “right” answers to the questions and supply those whenever we can. I have since admitted that I want to lose weight because I want people to like me more.) (I’m working on that.) What I should have said was this, “I AM FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I WANT TO GET A HANDLE ON THIS AND I’M HAVING A HARD TIME.” We spent a lot of time working on learning to relax, to let go, to recognize what is good about me. (Around this time, Holly introduced me to my dear prophet Brene Brown. Just go right ahead and treat yourself to a morning Ted Talk. Go. Right. Ahead.) What I failed to address last summer was any real plan to lose weight. I gave a half-hearted attempt at going wheat free for 2 1/2 weeks. It was all head and no body.

So here’s a fun thing. I’ve lost about 10 pounds since I started writing again. But don’t freak out. It’s just water weight. In fact, I think I carry about 15-20 pounds of water weight at all times. It’s a medical thing. Like having no metabolism. Which is another thing I have. (Or, don’t have.)

I share this because it’s something I’m glad for but also because to me, it matters. It matters because it represents my body and spirit working in tandem. This is something I will continue to work very hard for (even if it means writing this same post over and over again). A scary thing that Thomas references is a study from Oxford University that determined obesity can shorten a life by 10 years. No matter our mission, and though I can love on and lift people up just the way I am today (and am loved by God perfectly,) I could do this good work for 10 more years if I address my weight now. It so hard friends, but I am called to do it. (To turn north, if you recall.) My living is service to my earthly vessel. Living good and doing right by my gifts is not simply a matter of willpower, or blood pressure, or positive thinking. It is wholehearted worship.

White Knuckles

There is an early scene in the movie Silver Linings Playbook when Bradley Cooper’s character Pat has a session with his therapist Dr. Patel. They are discussing his bipolar disorder and Pat says:

So I then realized that, oh, wow, you know, I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. And uh…and without any supervision I’ve been doing it all on my own, uh… with no help, and um…you know, I basically I’ve been like white-knuckling it this whole time.

This phrase, “white knuckling it,” has spoken so much truth into my life.  When Brett and I saw this movie, we literally turned to each other in the theater and gave a silent “YAS.” We’ve referenced it in countless conversations since. Determination is a powerful thing (I’ve heard.) Willpower can make movement. But, to borrow a phrase, the struggle is real.

Raise your hand if you are perfectionist. Ah, I see you. Yeah, me too. I expect so much from myself. My growing up life was as the oldest child of divorced parents and I created a structure for myself that I didn’t get at home. I zeroed in on how good it feels to be recognized early on and have spent many of my years as a president, captain, and chairperson. Bless.

But what’s a valedictorian to do when she finds herself on the other side of a 60 pound weight gain? What does she do when it just shows up one day and she doesn’t remember inviting it in or even giving it her number? I can tell you what I did.

I tried so hard. So hard friends. I tried to run and write and track and weigh-in. I willed myself to make it so. I leaned on my own understanding. It was so much work. It was so hard. It required so much sacrifice. And, ultimately, it led to bitter failure.

I have shared my struggle with past failures here. I have asked, why should I take myself seriously? I have thought on this and searched for the answer to a better question, What is different this time

To put it simply, I know better. To rely on willpower is to invite failure. I am now deeply focused on methods that are intuitive to my own person, my own schedule, my own preferences. This is indeed transformative.

I am a social creature and so my friends come with me to spinning every Monday and Wednesday.
I want to make more space for myself and invite growth so I’m going to a yoga class Fridays after work.
I need coaching and direction so I meet a couple times a month with Holly for conversation and acupuncture.
I need reminders so I schedule alerts to take my vitamins, jot down a note of “self love.”
I thrive on “top of mind awareness” so I read every article I can about wellness and exercise and buy books that help guide me.
I am weak and food is my battleground so I pray that I will “trust in the Lord with all my heart.. submit in all my ways to him, and he will make my paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I struggle with overall calorie reduction so I am trying intermittent fasting for the next 3 weeks. (You can read more about that here, here, and here.)
I get a little up in my own head (right?) and so I am building new practices that require no evaluation, but simply action.

I am so at the beginning of this journey. I ORDERED FRIED SHRIMP FOR DINNER ON SATURDAY NIGHT, OKAY?  But my sweet soul has been hurting. I have been white knuckling it and trying to do it on my own with no supervision. But as with all struggles, the heart of my God is aching for my success. My friends who I love so deep lift a banner for me. My dear husband, who is my gift today and everyday, offers rest and a place for peace. Alone no more and that is so precious to me.

 

 

(Disclaimer: I may alienate my male readership with this post, but I am near certain that demographic is populated solely by my husband and he’s got to love me anyway. He promised.)

There is this part of my personality and I don’t know where it comes from, that simply savors good advice. I genuinely adore whenever someone cares enough about me to impart some piece of their own story on to me, with the sentiment that it might do me some good. And whenever I listen to someone share with me, I try really hard to send out vibes that let them know This matters to me. Thank you. I’ll try to be a good steward of this information and not some maverick who wants to live fast and die young. 

You know, I want people to know I’m not a maverick. (Ha.)

Maybe it’s because I treasure it so much that people feel inclined to take me under their wings and give these gifts to me. Or maybe I’m sincerely likable and universally adored. Or possibly I’m such a train wreck that folks fear the consequences if they don’t intervene. No wait . . . It couldn’t be that. Let’s go with universally adored.

The point is I’ve had these lovely mentors in and throughout my life and they’ve lifted me up and loved on me and spoken true words of wisdom and encouragement.

My grandma was one of my earliest heroes. She is so damn smart and a firecracker to boot. And she begat my Aunt Cheryl who to me, now and always, is the picture of good taste and deep loving. And she begat my cousin Jer who has loved me like I was her own babydoll and is the first person I believed thought I was beautiful (even when I didn’t believe it myself). I have a big big place in my heart for those ladies.

My first boss Debi who become more like a mom and a lot like a friend who would dutifully listen to me launch into “So Brett and I got into a fight. . .” every Monday morning during the first year of my marriage and gave me the immutable advice to Be patient. Be kind. Listen first. (In addition to giving marriage guidance that is just aces, it’s also worth noting her fancy footwork in a board room. She’s got moves.)

And I have these friends, who have given me enough guidance and goodness that I need to call them something more, like Rachel (who has a PhD and yes, I mention that because I’m awfully proud to have a friend with a PhD) who taught me how to ride a bike (yes) and reminds me ALL THE TIME just do what feels good and keep doing it. Or my other Rachel who came into my life via my husband and his good taste in friends and his friend’s good taste in beautiful women, who I have seen become a MOTHER (you guys… she’s incredible) and who always takes the time to share with me how important it is to Love yourself first. Or Holly who has evolved so far beyond me that I literally pay her to tell me what to do.

It’s pretty likely that I’ve left someone influential off this list, but if I did, here’s one thing I can tell you: Its a woman.

Ladies. What I am trying to tell you is that I need you. We need each other. When I think about my people, my team, I see this crowd of gorgeous and intelligent women who decided it would be the best thing to help me get better. And I want that for our girls.

Last night in the locker room after spinning, my friends and I got to chatting with a couple other girls about my Six Dollar Boots. We talked about good buys and crappy shoes and back problems and I got to brag about my Six Dollar Boots to an audience that isn’t Facebook. When we left, I said “Girls, this is going to get me through my week,” and I wasn’t joking.

I live on that brand of social kindness. When someone interjects with joke? That is like flipping on the light switch of my heart. Because I am sincerely afraid of people. And since my gym is a facility of the medical school where I work, I can tell you honestly that I am terrified of the students who are smarter than I am, stronger than I am, and can somehow spin in a hooded sweatshirt without the threat of heat stroke (isn’t that the epitome of cool?!).

But what if we as women moved about the world in such a way that said to each other – You don’t have to be intimidated by me. This is not a competition. Get over here so I can love on you. What would it look like to give that gift to each other?

I think we can do it. I think we can do it if we are socially awkward or misfits or introverts or pageant queens (Hi Jenny!). I think we can do it if we are medical students or grant writers or teachers. I think God has given women the gift of magnificence and our consumer culture has worked us down into tight little fuzzballs of anxiety. Let’s free that up. Let’s unclench. Let’s take a girlfriend to lunch and spend almost the whole time telling her that her hair is driving us to tears it looks so good today. Let’s step into a coworker’s office and remind them how they killed it during their presentation. Let’s call our mamas (or papas) and thank them for putting us into this universe where we can do things like take friends to lunch and freely give compliments.

Not everyone is like me, I know. A conversation about Six Dollar Boots doesn’t do it for everyone. But it never hurt anyone, either. And you might just speak love to someone who needed it so bad today. Give those gifts ladies. Give them freely.

Turning North

You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north (Deuteronomy 2:3)

I mentioned that I was buying a book called Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. I read it last weekend because when I need to hear a message, I just have to get to it, ya know? There is so much good content and I want to unpack some of it here. (What I really want is for you to read it too and for the two of us to grab coffee sometime and talk about it, but this will do for now.)

I’m pretty anxious that someone is going to scan through the archives of this blog and notice that this isn’t my first rodeo. In 2013, I lost almost 30 pounds. I had some real success, but I just stopped. And when I stopped, I gained that weight back. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been and I’m afraid that makes me a fraud. Why should you take me seriously? Heads up- this is another example of when you is me. What I’m really asking is . . .

Why should I take myself seriously? 

Indeed. Past failures are haunting. They creep around in the corners of my mind and whisper to me when I’m trying to sleep. You couldn’t do it before, what makes you think you can do it now? 

Reader, I have been commanded to turn north.

Made to Crave is about recognizing our deficits and the patterns we fall into when we attempt to fill them. What are we seeking? What are we consuming? Where do we lean for strength? Turn north, my friends.

Today, I’m choosing to accept that my struggles with weight are a chapter of my story. Failures are raw, but they speak a truth into my life that words cannot. Something was not right in that time, in that space. Something was not intuitive. The lens was not focused.

Don’t just circle around again, turn north.

TerKeurst warns against becoming victims of our circumstances. There is no sense in pretending this will be easy or that I won’t encounter hurdles or that my heart won’t hurt when I don’t have the strength to skip the plate of greasy, salty fries. But these moments do not signal the end of my trip, only the moment in which I have the opportunity to turn north- to do something different that I did not do before.

What does turning north mean for me? For me it begins here- this safe space where I can be unapologetically vulnerable. I am putting light on some of my most raw wounds and bless you friends for being so kind and so careful with me. I love you.

I am scheduling regular acupuncture appointments with Holly again. She helps me find my center. She helps focus my lens.

I am making a calendar that includes spinning on Mondays and Wednesdays and yoga on Fridays and scheduling moments for taking vitamins and writing in a Moleskine notebook that says “Self Love” on the cover.

I am praying, God, be present with me in this space. Be the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

I am giving up fast food and cutting out wheat. I am eating whole foods and keeping wine and chocolate. I’m giving up going back for seconds and eating most things that come in packages.

I’m trying new things and if they don’t work, I’m putting them down and trying something different. I’m forgiving myself and I’m taking my value as a person off the table. My outside appearance is manifest of an inner struggle. It is my heart and mind that must turn north, so my body can follow.

I asked my best friend if she would pray for me. And, I’m sitting here crying a little bit because her answer was It would be an honor to pray for you and I can’t get over how special and important it is to have someone who loves you so much they would intercede on your behalf. Her answer pointed me true north. Mercy.

It is so easy to listen to that whisper and to feel discouraged by the preface to my story. But today is new and there is so much light that wants to shine into the darkness of our corners if we will open up and receive it. Today is my chance to turn north, I have no interest in circling that mountain again.

xoxo