Confession time. Just over a year ago, I had a photo album on my phone titled “thinspiration.” You’ve probably already deduced the photos were a collection of ladies that I completely and totally envied. Celebrities. Friends. Personal trainers. Even a frenemy.
The idea was whenever I wanted to chug a Coke (my vice, weakness and heavenly delight), or eat a Happy Meal, I’d take a quick look at this album. It served as my own personal stop sign of shame. A scathing reminder of what I wanted to be. And what I certainly was not.
A month later, I had gainedfive pounds. Apparently, shame is a terrible motivator (not that I needed my demented little experiment to know this). Comparison is poison. Honestly, why are so unkind to ourselves?
So here I stand, one year later, at a very unfamiliar place. The queen of all or nothing, settling into a strange place called middle ground.
My journey here has been a rough one. From an eating disorder that spanned a decade, two children (sixty-pound weight gains with each, thank you very much) and two miscarriages that came with long bouts of depression. I realized something so profoundly simple. Grace is so transcending and vast. So why do I deny myself grace in this area, one where I need it the most?
When I look back on being a new mother nearly thirteen years ago, I have so much regret. I didn’t enjoy the preciousness of that season. Because I was consumed with fear. Fear that I’d never lose that last 30 pounds. That my then-husband found me disgusting. Fear that something awful would happy to this new baby that I loved beyond words. Fear defined my season that should have been one of gratitude and newness.
But fear crept in and completely took over. Friends would call with dinner invites and I would be internally freaking out. “I’ve used all my calories today! I can’t eat dinner!” Of course, I didn’t say that (because that would sound insane). But I had fitness at God-level. It consumed my thoughts and my time above everything else.
Over the years, I became much less rigid. Nine years later when my youngest daughter was born, I was at the “nothing” portion of all or nothing. Fitness was no longer at God-status. But I had neglected my health and hadn’t honored my body. A 5K here and there, bouts of depression/stress eating, and tons of anxiety. This was my way of life. And it wasn’t honoring God either.
So, I had a come to Jesus moment.
I was scared, frustrated, disgusted and all around weary of the whole weight battle. I bring everything else to him, so why not this? God created my body, he formed me long ago. So why was I living in a way that I had to figure it all out?
And so, I prayed. “God show me how to do this. Show me how to honor you with my health. I could care less about having a thigh gap. I just want to be healthy. And if I’m being honest I want to feel good in my clothes too. But I don’t want this to be my God. I don’t want to put this or anything else before you. Guide me. Show me the way. But above all else, let me keep you the main thing.”
And you know what? Day by day, he is.
I still have a way to go on my journey. But I choose to lean in to the fact that at every size I have been (and my size has varied vastly over the last decade), his love for me has never changed. I’m loved the same now as I was thirty pounds heavier. And when I reach my goal weight, I won’t be a bit more loved than I am now.
That is a love worth celebrating. Even more than the milestones of success I celebrate on my journey to health. And each step along the way, I continue to pray that I keep the main thing the main thing. That I keep God first. And although I am trying to be a good steward over my health, that he remains first.
Maybe my struggle resonates with you. Maybe you hear parts of your own story within my story. Can I encourage you today? Lay down the struggle.
Know you are so loved, right now. I so believe that God cares about ALL that concerns us, both great and small. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:33.
You’re going to love it here on middle ground. Freedom is waiting.
Becca Fee-Carter is a wife and mother of 2 amazing daughters. She lives in Kentucky where she enjoys obsessively reading, running 5Ks with her daughters and bargain shopping. She loves Jesus, daily discovering new facets of God’s grace, and the fact that she’s so far from perfect and that is just fine. Read Becca’s posts here.