“Mom, what was your worst, most shameful moment in your eating journey?”
When I heard that question, I stopped what I was doing and got very still.
Eric, my adult son who does all the tech part of this blog and podcast, went on, “I love your post from Thursday, explaining what The Inside Out Journey is all about. Now tell a little more about your own journey. Give the real.”
Just so you all know, working with my 26-year old son is not always fun. He pushes me. It’s usually in the right direction, but still.
My worst moment with food? Well, first of all, I don’t think there was ever a bad moment WITH food. In fact, most of my food memories are fantastic. I am a foodie and I love food. Always have. Always will.
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The bad moments always came after. Not immediately after, of course, because I became a master at Becoming Busy and Pushing Back any Disconnect.
The most difficult part of this journey? The closet.
I carried my extra weight around my middle and it was a constant stress trying to find clothes that worked with the extra thirty pounds of me.
Here’s the other hard part (and oh my stars, I do NOT want to share this with you but Eric told me I have to): after I got dressed and did my hair and my makeup and felt like I was “all that,” I’d flounce out of the bathroom and my husband never really looked at me.
He never noticed the extra effort I had put in. He never said, “Wow, is that a new shirt? Looks great, honey.”
It was a painful silence. And that, perhaps more than my clothes situation, was the most difficult thing to bear when I was heavy.
Later, after I lost about 25 pounds, my husband spoke clearly and eloquently about how great he thought I looked. That felt amazing. He always lit up when I flounced out of the bathroom. I didn’t even have to wonder if he’d say something. He would hug me and twirl me around and say, “Wow, how did I get so lucky? You look amazing, honey.”
Now. That felt great. But it didn’t take away the hurt I felt when he didn’t even NOTICE me when I was thicker.
Eventually, I asked him about his silence. As he pondered, I could see that he hadn’t truly realized his neglect. (And he certainly had not realized the hurt his silence caused.)
So I pushed him a bit. The hurt was real. What had been going on with him? He shared a bit of his own heart, explaining how it was painful for him to see me fight myself. He heard me sigh and fret and go crazy over how much I weighed. Yet I kept eating all the things. He didn’t know how to handle it and so he just got quiet about it, figuring it was just best to be silent.
There's another part of this that I don't really want to get into, but men are visually wired. I know, beyond a shadow, that I simply wasn’t as physically attractive to him when I was heavier. I get that. I wasn’t physically attracted to me, either.
But guess what? The little girl part of me? She just wanted to be loved. No matter what.
So when I look back at this Journey of Food, the most difficult part was right there, in my relationship with my sweet and kind husband. (Those of you that know Russ know what I am talking about. He is such a good man) Yes, right there, in this primary relationship, his lack of affirmation hurt me. A lot more than I want to admit. (And yes, he gave me permission to share all of this underworld with you.)
As I have sat and thought about this, it hurt because as a woman, I have always wanted to be loved and appreciated for who I am. And I knew I was much more than the number on a scale.
Yet. That number on the scale dictated a lot of my thought life. For years. I have journals full of angst. I have promises and commitments and plans. I have the anguish of not fulfilling those promises, commitments and plans.
No wonder my husband was silent. I was not well.
Even after I lost the weight, I still struggled with enormous food thoughts (and fighting, fighting, fighting the food) and on some days, it felt like I was just white-knuckling it.
As I look back at all of that, I am incredibly grateful for the journey that transformed all of those thoughts and I want to help others get out of that hell hole.
The transformation came slowly, as I began to truly realize who I am, in the deepest part of me.
And as I dared to believe the truth, a million insecurities just fell off of me.
Once I knew who I was, believing it to my core, I could just operate in and around food without wanting/needing it to fill me.
I was already full.
If it’s okay with you, I would like to share The Truth About Your Beauty.
By the way, this gets kinda deep. You might want to take a little break. Go brew yourself a nice cup of coffee, pour yourself a relaxing glass of wine. Then come back and settle in.
Alright, let’s go.
Okay, when I felt my husband’s loud silence, it came with a message.
That message: I was not beautiful enough.
Yes, that message was coming from his own humanity, his own woundedness and expectations. Yes.
And that message was also coming from my own humanity as well as my wounds.
The truth: our wounds always come with a message of “You are not enough.”
I handled that by eating, controlling all the people around me and not thinking about it.
How did this find a resolution in my life? Well, interestingly, by going back to THE BEGINNING.
St. John Paul II was fond of saying, "To understand our current lives, we have to go back to the beginning." Why did he go back to the beginning? Because IN THE BEGINNING was How It Was Supposed to Be. God's Original Plan was laid out in the garden.
To understand what’s going on in the HEART OF WOMEN, we need to revisit the garden scene.
Satan was at first a good angel, made by God. As such, he was beautiful. The issue: he did not want to serve God, he wanted to be like God.
Who else was in this garden scene? Well, Adam. God made him and he was the glory of creation. Yet he was alone. So God, in His goodness, created Eve, the glory of man. (1 Corinthians 11:7.)
She is Adam's "At Last!" (I love that phrase!)
There are lots of aspects of Eve that we could focus on but for now, I want to focus on her BEAUTY. Why? Because somehow we've lost our understanding of beauty and it plays a KEY ROLE in our lives as women.
Before we focus on YOUR BEAUTY, let's focus on the Beauty of God. Wait. He's an invisible God. How can we see Him?
Well, the entire world shouts of his beauty! Think of your special spot in this world, whether that be the mountains, the beach, or a grassy hillside on your farm. When you are soaking in the beauty of nature, what happens to your heart?
You feel renewed.
Always. Why? Because.that.is.what.beauty.does.
Beauty is the ESSENCE OF GOD.
EVE was made in the image of God's beauty. Beauty is the essence of a woman.
It was not something she had to earn. It was how she was made. The word “incarnation” means a person who embodies in the flesh an abstract quality of a spirit or god. (In this case, *God.)
Eve is the INCARNATION of the BEAUTY of GOD HIMSELF!
Satan, who had been perfect in beauty, saw Eve's beauty and he hated her because of it.
Not only that, but this woman shared in the DIVINITY of GOD and she could give life to the world. NO WONDER Satan went after her!
Eve was his greatest human threat.
WOMEN! This explains so much! Satan was defeated by our Jesus at the Cross but he is not dead. He still roams the earth.
"For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12
And you, my friend, are his target. WHY? Because as a woman, you are beautiful. It is your essence. This is not something that can be taken away. It was bestowed.
"Beauty is the core of every woman - who she is and what she longs to be - and one of the most glorious ways we bear the image of God in a broken and often ugly world." Captivating, page 133.
You have an indestructible dignity that has the potential to light up the world around you.
Do you see why Satan wounds you and attacks your womanly heart? It’s not because you are insignificant and unworthy.
It’s because you are vital and powerful.
YOU, as a WOMAN, are the MOST BEAUTIFUL LIGHT.
You are an incredible threat to the kingdom of darkness.
Have you ever considered what I am posing? That it’s not because you are weak that you’ve been assaulted and wounded. It’s because you are powerful and you have much to give to our world.
Think of how I felt wounded with my husband’s silence. Think of all of your own hurts in regards to your body and all the messages (lies) you’ve believed.
How does it change the way you think of your wounds when you consider that you are a threat and that Satan wishes to diminish you?
Are you starting to awaken to a new reality?
Okay. I know some of you might be grumbling, not really wanting to believe you are really that important or powerful. After all, you are just one woman. How powerful can you really be, right?
Well, here's the honest truth. We have lost an understanding of the Power of God.
He is a CONSUMING FIRE and He wants to IGNITE YOU WITH PASSION.
He wants to release old hurts and heal us THROUGH HIS LOVE. He wants us to leave our childish way of thinking of Him. It's time to leave the "Yes, Jesus Loves Me Because the Bible Says so" type of relationship.
I am going to dare to say that God wants us to go beyond the "He is my Savior" type of relationship.
I believe, with every part of my being, that He wants us to step into a more mature relationship with Him as a WOMAN.
He wants to awaken us to a deeper reality. He wants to enter into a much more intimate relationship with us, one of bride and bridegroom.
Whoa. Wait a minute. WHAT?
I don't know about you, but at first I wasn't sure I could accept the idea that GOD wanted a more intimate relationship with me. What did it mean that He wanted to pursue me? I knew it wasn't sexual, but having my Creator pursue me in a bride/bridegroom relationship meant something altogether different than I've ever experienced before.
As I analyzed my feelings (with the help of my priest) I realized I didn't want to be THAT OPEN, THAT VULNERABLE.
So I kept pushing the thought away.
But it kept pressing in.
I finally went to my favorite place to pray and I asked God to reveal more about this whole “love” thing.
With expectation, I opened my book, “He and I” and read, "My little girl, nothing exists but your Christ. Then could anything keep your heart from Me?" Then He went on and stated that He wanted to attract me right to the very inmost depth of my being, which had been created for
Oh.my.stars. I just sat there. I was created for IMMORTAL BEAUTY. I read on,
"Unwind yourself from your self. Fall in love with your God - this glorious Reality. And if you are in love with Him, you will think about Him more often. It is this remembrance of Me that I want in you, this desire to please Me...keep your heart yielded, not by force, but by love that fuses two wills." He and I, page 305.
I knelt down and simply cried.
I thought of all of the wounds I had received. I thought of all of the messages I had believed about myself (that I was not pretty or feminine, that at six feet tall, I was too big, too loud, too crass). I thought of all of the ways I had tried to outmaneuver the pain that came from those messages.
I reminded myself, "Lori, Jesus did not die so you could live in slavery to the messages of your wounds."
He came to set us free.
Instantly, I knew this was about trust. Could I trust my God to love me as I really wanted to be loved?
I felt naked. Vulnerable.
I begged Him to touch my heart with the fire of His Love. I prayed over and over, "I give you my cold heart. Take it. Give me Yours instead, full of passion and fire. Ignite me, Holy Spirit. I trust in You, I trust in You, I trust in You. "
I released my heart to Him.
I then sat back in the pew, and asked The Holy Spirit to speak to me. I opened my Bible and at first I was a little confused because I had turned to the Old Testament. But I had spent enough time in the Word that I knew, when I prayed with an open heart, He always spoke to me through Scripture, so I trusted that He had something to say from the O.T.
Then I read,
"I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts." Ezekiel 36:26.
Oh people. I wept.
I am telling you, the spiritual life is MORE present than the physical one if we will just open our eyes to Him.
After that experience, I praised Him all the way home. I knew that I didn't have to earn His love. I didn't have to fear that I would lose it.
It was mine.
In His love I could find rest.
Why is this important?
The most powerful force on earth is a woman that knows she is loved.
As WOMEN, our beauty inspires and invites and invigorates. Our beauty gives grace and joy and healing to others. Why? Because our beauty reveals God in this world.
You are beautiful. Your beauty is not something you have to go "get." It's who you already are.
Stop fighting it and rest in that love.
When I use the word "rest" I mean enter into the relationship in trust and simple confidence. When you see two people in love, that's real rest. They don't have to compete for each other's love. They have it. They rest there. Real Love is a safe, life-giving place.
Rest in His love.
And then, when duty calls, as it absolutely will, take that love with you. And give it away. With your kind eyes. With your smile. With your beautiful, womanly essence.
You bring hope and healing to the world around you. Awaken to that reality. You are powerful in your beauty.
* * * * * * * * * * *
When my son Eric pushed me to share my "most shameful food moment" with you, I balked at first. I mean, come on, kid. Why share that? But as I prayed (and maybe ranted out loud) about it, I felt almost compelled to share not only the crap with you, but also HOW I was healed and HOW I realized the TRUTH about my BEAUTY!
Even though this post is long, I didn't spend a lot of time writing it today; I simply took segments from Lesson 9 of my new online course, Inside Out. (That lesson is called "Awaken to Your Beauty" and it's my favorite.)
The course is about transforming your food thoughts at the deepest level.
Find out more: INSIDE OUT.