Stop. Listen.

stoplistenI have been trying to do a better job of listening to what my body is telling me. In a sense, being in tune with what it needs and not pressing it to do what I think it needs.

For example, when I got back from a yearlong deployment, I kept hitting the gym five times a week, but was feeling increasingly tired and rundown. But instead of listening, I pressed in with more fervor.

More passion = results!

Apparently not, because my body entirely halted on me. Despite due diligence at Lifetime Fitness, there was no weight loss and there was no lean muscle building…my body just refused to budge.

Truthfully, I was kind of embarrassed by the fact that all I wanted to do was sleep. I was worn out by just the thought of being active. But those subtle messages were not an excuse to be lazy, but rather, it was my body telling me that it needed to rest!

So for while, I have been letting my adrenals recover, my hormones rebalance, and my energy levels recalibrate. And after a good time of renewal, my body is telling me it needs something else.

It’s time for me to stop and listen.

Listening to myself has kind of turned into an art form simply because I have a strong tendency to overshadow everything with what I presume I need.

Do a detox! Train for a race! Cut sugar!

All of those are good things, but is that what I really need to do in this season? Am I doing things just for the sake of doing something? So, I quiet my mind and really tune in.

The result is actually kind of interesting. My body knows that the winter is almost over, so it is craving sunlight, all things green, and fresh air. My season of recovery is drawing down. It is time to prepare myself to greet spring with better nutrition and better exercise.

That may or may not include a detox…to be determined!

For the most part, I think we get locked into the busyness of our lives and forget that we are beings who experience patterns and rhythms in our body. For the most part our work stress stays the same and our lives are perpetually intense and we assume that our bodies will sustain us in the same way that it always has.

But it won’t. So we have to stop and listen.

Unless you body is telling you to eat a cupcake, in which case, it’s probably better to ignore it…*wink*


Weathering the Storm

What a dark and miserable weekend this has been. Somewhere around Friday afternoon, the storm in my soul began and it was unrelenting until Sunday night. It first started with thoughts of insecurities and then migrated into self-loathing. I was entirely caught off guard by this hurricane of emotional fury and unprepared for the lies that it would bring to my mind. The deception came in a series of crashing waves, each lie stronger than the last. I was so overwhelmed by the darkness that I finally heard, “cutting will give you relief.” It was a coup de grace to my wounded and weary soul.

There it was. That option was on the table again. You see, dear reader, a couple of years ago, I gave into cutting as a way to provide relief to my very broken heart. It was a way to physically validate my emotional trauma. There were small cuts at first and then there was the four-inch gash to my arm that required a dramatic trip to the emergency room and 14 stitches. But cutting didn’t give any lasting relief; it just took me on a vicious cycle of despair.

Somewhere in that merry-go-round, God found me. Healing comes in layers and over time. My church community surrounded me with love and my friends stood with me as I was pieced back together.

There was also specific encounter with God. I remember holding a knife in my hand, so incredibly conflicted. I wanted relief, but I knew I couldn’t go back to that way of coping. God spoke very clearly that if I put the knife down, He would give me lasting relief. If I am entirely honest, I have to admit that I didn’t believe Him. But, I stepped out in faith, put the knife down, and immediately God covered me with a beautiful and sweet peace that I have never known before. In that moment, I was given freedom from the cycle of cutting.

And for over a year, cutting was not an option. Until this weekend, that is.

For two days, I have fought the despair, the deception, and the urge to take it out on myself.  It is so incredibly disorienting to find yourself back where you started. “But I thought I had won this battle, “ I told myself. “Why am I here again? I thought I was free.”

And then the biggest lie was presented to me, “You have never really been free.”

I absolutely crumbled under that untruth. It was devastating to think that cutting will never go away as an option. This meant that every challenge in life that presented itself would be multiplied because I would also have to face the battle of not taking it out on myself.

I prayed as best as I knew how, but the prayers of a battered soul didn’t seem very effective. My fiancé prayed for me too, and there were pockets of solace in those moments. But the torment still pressed in from all sides. On Sunday, I went to church, the weight of darkness on me. I sat quietly on a pew, wondering if God saw how beleaguered I was. But, the Psalmist was right, there is no place I can go, where He is not there. Even my “darkness is not dark to Him” (Ps 139:12) A friend came to pray for me, and in that prayer, something lifted, the lies subsided, and I felt God’s peace again. That beautiful and sweet peace.

There are storms in life that will come quickly and suddenly, without explanation. You will be taken to a dark place where you will face old foes and wonder if you have the strength to fight that battle again. But, let your soul be anchored in the truth of Christ’s love, let your community surround you and support you, and you will weather the storm.  If He has set you free, then you are free indeed! (John 8: 36)Image

The Royal Daughter

It is so easy for me to be burdened with my past, with my failings, and with my insecurities. When I think on my relationship with God, I am confronted by the weight of my sin and it is difficult to get past the barriers I have created between me and this gracious God.

But God doesn’t see these barriers. He sees His daughter who He so greatly loves. All sin is forgiven, all failings forgotten and all insecurities are covered by grace.

Remember how HE sees you and don’t focus on how you see yourself.