Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage? His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm. We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Let's be more aware of all the choices, situations, twists and turns that brought us to this place right here and now. They May Be Miracles.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let's Be Honest

My closet is overflowing with clothes.  If I wanted to I could probably wear a different outfit each day for at least a month, maybe longer.  That's just the clothes that fit me right now...I have a whole different wardrobe down in the basement in a large closet.  To be clear, I'm not a horder - I have given away many piles of clothes and sold others in garage sales. 

Here's the problem.  With all those clothes I still end up putting the same 3 or 4 outfits on each day/week...wash them...repeat.  At one point I asked a friend if she would nominate me for "What Not To Wear" so that I could get a new wardrobe.  But just recently when I was having an honest moment with myself I realized that even if I were to go on one of those shows where they teach me how to dress and proceed to give me a brand new wardrobe, more likely than not I would find 3 things that I really liked to wear and the rest would pile up in my closet and never be touched.

I have decided that it's a comfort zone situation.  In my mind I think the few things that I like to wear look half-way decent on me, feel comfortable, and wash easily.  On the days that I decide to go out on a limb and wear something else - or go to a dinner party or out somewhere that I have to "dress up" - I feel paranoid and wonder the entire time how bad or good I look.  Is the color right?  Does it wash out the color in my face?  Does it show the "rolls" in my belly (more than usual)?  Does it make me look shorter, squattier, boxie, rolly-polly, like a football player?  Maybe I just look like an alien with one eye...or a slime monster that swishes around.  Those days I use product and blow dry my hair, put on makeup, and wear jewelry so that perhaps the focus will be up at my head and not at what I'm wearing.  In my head I believe that magically people will only see my head and nothing if it's not all one package.

I was thinking about all of this yesterday and today while getting the same sweatshirts that I wear every week.  (sidenote - Those who know me and care about me might be happy to know that I finally retired the salmon colored "Polo" sweatshirt - well, it's not completely retired, it's just burried deep under the pile of sweatshirts on the top shelf of my closet.  I found 3 other sweatshirts that I happen to like better lately.  So some change is good, right?)  As I was thinking about all of this I just had to apply it to other areas of my life and may have unwrapped a reality about myself, the way I think, and why my weight has been a life-long struggle.

See, the comparison comes in when I think about the food I eat and serve my family.  I REALLY like certain things.  I really like pizza.  I really like fried chicken (esp. Hopocan Gardens in Barberton for a treat).  I really like bread.  I really like spaghetti, rigatonni, fetuccini alfredo, and buttered noodles.  I really like french fries, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes.  These are a few of my fa-vor-ite things....!  So, any time in my life when I was at a decent and healthy weight I gave up those foods...traded them in for healthy food.  Again, I do have healthy food in my fridge and pantry (just like I have lots of other outfits in my closet), they're just not my favorites!  To think about giving up the things I like the best once again just doesn't sit right with me.  And ask any fat person, including me, we KNOW what it takes to be could anyone NOT know this day in age??  We are in the information era...we are inundated with information!  I don't need any more information.  I know every "secret" of weight loss that exists!  (You mean, if I exercise, eat whole grains, lots of veggies, lean meats, some fruit, and occasionally all the bad foods I like in moderation that even I can lose weight??  Really??  Shocking!!!!) Truthfully, I like healthy food too!  I like all food!  There are maybe 3 foods I don't care for...but out of everything that's not bad.  No, a diet plan is not what I need...I don't think so at least.

It seems to me my weight problem stems from the same place as the clothing issue...wherever that place may be (probably Neverland).  It has something to do with resistance to change...fear of change.  My fear of changing clothes is that uncomfortable feeling that I just don't look right...and mostly that I look as fat as I really am.  My fear of dieting or changing my eating habits is that I won't get to enjoy my favorite things anymore...ever...or at least not as much. 

I've asked God to help me many times in my life with weight loss.  I've asked Him to magically let me wake up the next morning and be skinny.  Understanding that He doesn't do "magic" but mystery, I've asked Him to simply change my mind and way of thinking for me to make it easier on me.  That's been a no-go too.  I know that's not how God works either.  Really, this one's kind of on me, don't you think?  I mean, look, God gave me this vessel to walk around in here on earth so that I can do good for others and work according to His plan for me.  He charged me with the responsibility of taking care of this vessel.  So to go to Him and ask Him to do it for me...well, that's sort of counter productive.  He has given me all that I need in order to do the right things for myself and my's just a choice in the end. 

So, is it my choice to change or not change?  Can I be ok wearing something different?  Can I be ok eating the right way and treating my body the way I should in order to accomplish the things I was sent here to do? 
Can I deny myself the foods I love the most in order to make myself better?  What would it take?  I don't want a doctor to tell me I'm on the edge of a heart attack...and yet, I know I must be.  I don't want my kids growing up thinking that it's good to eat these bad foods all the time...and yet, that's what they're learning so far.  I'm a walking hypocrate.  So what is my prayer for my life and for those of you who have this or other similar struggles?  I believe God can give me peace of mind, people to support me, and all the strength it takes to make those kinds of changes.  Changing clothes...just a humorous similarity to the real problem.
I pray that God gives us all the strength, peace and support we all need to make the changes we need to make in order to be able to bless the lives He intends for us to bless.

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