The Comparison Trap

Do you ever find yourself in that trap…you know that comparison trap? I find myself there far too often. Someone is always prettier, thinner, smarter, has the better job, never seems to struggle. It’s not a good place to find myself, and I don’t think it’s a place God wants me to fall into.

It’s a dangerous place to be for so many reasons:

1. It undermines the unique person God created me to be.

2. I find myself feeling sorry for myself.

3. I focus on things that truly don’t matter and deserve my focus.

The truth is, I know things aren’t as they often seem. People are good at putting up facades. Sometimes the people who I think have it all together are fighting their own battles. For me…I can’t eat the stuff everyone else can. My skin isn’t as clear as I wish it was. I’m not where I want to be professionally in my career. My writing isn’t where I wish it was. And on and on.

On the radio the other day, I heard a reminder that God works while we are waiting. His plan for my life is uniquely mine. No one else is designed quite like me. Me with all my frustrating food issues, imperfect skin, voice that can’t carry a tune….He loves me. He created me to have a heart toward the elderly residents I serve, a gift to express myself in words, and the ability to emphasize with others who struggle with food issues.

How amazing to think that the God who created all the stars, no two snowflakes alike, the beautiful butterflies…created me, too. I need to keep my eyes and focus on Him.

Galatians verse

Letting Go…

I’ve been in a quandary over this for a little while. It seems like a simple decision, but it’s one that I am having some difficulty with. It involves letting go.

Let me digress….I’ve never been very athletic. When I was in 7th grade, I lost weight through diet and simple exercise. When I was in 8th grade, I ran track because my friend asked me to. (I ended up with a bloody knee during a practice, and I still have a faint scar to remember it by!) In high school, I played club soccer because another friend who had recently moved to the area missed soccer and wanted to start a team. We needed players, she recruited friends, and I played. I enjoy physical activity, but I am no athlete. Yet, a few years ago when I became ill (see my About post), I needed an outlet, something to relieve my frustration and fear. So, I began running. Running is not anything I ever did beyond the mile in track. But, I began running. I ran in all forms of weather. I enjoyed the solo runs-just me, my thoughts, and my Heavenly Father.

To be honest, if I look back, I know running was also a way to keep my weight down. When I was ill and battling through my issues, I teetered barely above 100 pounds. I wasn’t able to eat a lot, and when I did, I burned it off quickly due to the infection. Yet, running served as my sanity and release. I couldn’t control what was happening to my body, but I could control to a certain extent how I felt through running. It gave me a purpose to wake up early and hit the pavement. I loved to run. I ran multiple 5Ks. I’ve ran 10Ks. I loved to run.

On multiple visits to see my nutritionist, she has voiced that she would rather I walk due to everything my body has been through. I have always protested telling her how much I love running. Only, lately, I’m not so sure I do.

The other day, I was running. The cold air felt refreshing, but the way I felt running did not. Lately, it kind of feels like my body is being jarred out of place when I run. It’s hard to explain. I have chronic colitis, and the running seems to aggravate my symptoms at times.

So, I struggle….do I want to, should I, do I need to take a break from running, give it up all together? I have several friends who run. I have no issue with running. I am not here to debate the running versus walking debate. This is completely about me and what is best for me. So, why then is it so hard? Why not just take up walking?

I love to walk. In fact, before I began running, I walked regularly. What I think is the lesson for me here, is a lesson in letting go. I looked at running as a way to control what I could not control.I used it to control my weight. I used it to control my emotions. It was something I never thought I was able to do, yet I did it.

If I am truly going to submit to God’s will for my life and what is personally best for me, then I need to submit and let go of the things that are standing in the way between Him and me. I think my own steps are. I believe we have seasons in our lives. Running was a season.

running

My running shoes need a new name: my walking shoes. Trying to run to lose weight or look like someone I am not created to be is not what God wants for my life. I can no longer hide behind running. It’s time to let go.

Is there anything you need to let go of today?

Thanksgiving…a day early

I love Thanksgiving…time with family, delicious food, a day off work, and the reminder to pause and reflect on all I have to be thankful for. That being said, I will admit…I loved Thanksgiving much more a few years ago before all these stomach issues. I loved the stuffing (especially the oyster stuffing), Aunt Linda’s date pudding, sweet potatoes oozing with brown sugar topping, buttered dinner rolls, Buckeyes (a delicious chocolate peanut butter combination), and all the pies. It was also much easier a few years ago before I had to juggle multiple family get-togethers and a career in healthcare which operates 365 days a year and 24 hours a day.

Even with the challenges the day brings, I still look forward to Thanksgiving. Thankfully, I love turkey and sweet potatoes although I have learned to always ask before I eat anything I did not personally make. One year, the sweet potatoes had been dredged in flour before they were coated in the gooey topping. Who does that? Oh well, they were good, but I paid for it later.

As I am now. This morning after a delicious cup of coffee, I visited one of my favorite natural, locally owned health food stores. I wanted gluten-free oats. This store sells them in bulk, and they are the cheapest I have found. I meandered around the store and that’s when I saw it….staring back at me…enticing me with all its pumpkin-y Thanksgiving charm. A generous slice of gluten-free pumpkin roll. I stared, considered, and walked away. Then, I came back and my resolve had dissolved…I succombed to temptation and bought the slice of gluten-free pumpkin roll telling myself that I would save it for my Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

Thanksgiving came early for me. I no more than walked through my front door before I had a bite in my mouth. I savored that cream cheese filling smothered between the sweet pumpkin. I stopped myself, though, and placed it in the refrigerator. For tomorrow.

I exercised. I ate lunch. I helped my daughter on her paper. And tomorrow came….like 3 hours from the first bite. Only I didn’t stop there. I made hot chocolate with new Silk Cashewmilk and Caffe D’Viata organic hot cocoa mix with a little extra carob powder for good measure. (I love the new cashewmilk from Silk!!) I ate that entire piece of pumpkin roll while I drank my hot chocolate. Yup, I ate my Thanksgiving dessert a day early.

It’s been about 2 hours later, and my stomach is churning. I am completely uncomfortable and in pain. And yes, I regret giving into temptation. So, my feet are up in the recliner, and I am having a lazy afternoon like my favorite chocolate lab as I wait for the tea kettle to whistle. I need ginger tea.

SadieAll I want to do is sit in this chair and be lazy like my lab. The chocolate, sugar, and dairy are definitely not settling well. I seldom eat sugar, and I rarely drink hot chocolate. And I consume very little dairy for this reason. It’s frustrating to have to be so careful with what I eat. I am recovering from a nasty reaction to tuna last week. My lips swelled, and my skin around my mouth peeled. I wanted to wear a mask at work! Thankfully, it’s better now.

The thing is, I have a general idea of what I can and cannot eat. Unfortunately, the cannots outweigh the cans. I am human, though. I give into temptation like that pumpkin roll today.  I am reminded that life is like that sometimes. I am enticed by the instant gratification of something. I don’t pause and take the time to really reflect on whether it is worth the potential consequences. Whether it is food, purchasing shoes I don’t need, or trying to get ahead of God’s will for my life, I can make the decision to say yes or no to temptation. Sometimes, I am succesful at being stronger than the temptation, and other times like today, I am not. My stomach-ache will pass with time, and hopefully I will remember the lesson from today.Thou shalt not eat things that look delicious when they will cause horrible stomach pains later!

1 Corinthians 10 13 snow design

Faith, Hope, Love, & Food….Explained

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

It’s one of my favorite passages in the Bible.

Faith…in God, family, friends, and that goodness still exists in the world. Hope…in things greater than I can see. Love…of God, family, friends, my country…and food!

So what does food have to do with these three words? So much! Food…truthfully, I love good food….homemade, healthy, and wholesome food enjoyed with a cup of coffee and with great company.

Food is also the source of a lot of turmoil in my life. After a lengthy battle with my health, I now live with a host of food allergies and intolerances. I went from super skinny (due to unplanned weight loss as part of my illness) to being just normal. I’m human-I love chocolate, and I overeat sometimes. I have “fat” jeans, and I don’t always like what I see in the mirror.

But…I am learning that God loves me as I am. He cares about the big issues in my life and the small issues in my life. My illness has forced me to re-evaluate my life on so many levels. I am learning to trust God, to trust that He loves.

Join me in this devotional journey. Together as women of Christ, we can truly learn to embrace the women we are in God’s eyes, not the world’s definition of the ideal woman. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and join me!

Coffee

Devotional thought for the day:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

Wow….God really does care about the little things in our lives. Everything we eat, everything we drink….should be for the glory of the One who loves us. The Bible talks about our bodies being temples…we shouldn’t put things into them that damages our bodies. But what about looking at it another way? We should enjoy eating. We should enjoy fellowship with others over a good meal.  (Really, really looking forward to Thanksgiving!) The pressure I  put on myself to be the same size as my “sick self”  isn’t fair to me or the One who created me. He healed me of my scariest  health ailment so why am I wishing that I was that Hollywood stick thin size? I  want to honor Him in all I say, think, and do. I am definitely a work in progress, but I will enjoy my turkey, sweet potatoes,  gluten free pumpkin pie, and cranberry salad this Thanksgiving  with my family!

Any thoughts?