After about 8 sessions of therapy, I came out of my “post move depression”. I made an amazing discovery about my identity as a child of God. I learned that avoiding conflicts makes everything worse. And I forgave myself for not being perfect. All in all, going to therapy was a total win. I recommend it.
There’s a great story I like to tell about how a motorcycle improved my marriage. Tim grew up riding motorcycles while I grew up being told (accurately) how dangerous they are. Tim waited about 18 years before beginning to persuade me to give him my blessing to buy one. It occurred to me at the time that we were exercising too much control over each other. So I told him, “I don’t approve, but get it anyway. Also, whatever you spend on it I’m going to spend on whatever I want.” This is healthy marriage talk.
For several years I spent that mad money exclusively on self care- acupuncture, massage, manicures, etc. That’s what I needed.
Home decorating has never been a priority for me. We have usually lived in rentals. We have never had extra money, and I knew we wouldn’t be around long. While in survival mode, curtains were not on my mind. But a couple weeks ago I looked around at our assembled possessions: two nice second hand armchairs in need of reupholstering, a baby grand piano we bought at Costco and wrote off when I was teaching piano lessons, a second hand oriental rug, oak bookshelves filled to overflowing, and a nice 8 person dining room table we finally splurged on. The stuff had potential, but the bare windows and table made me sad. Even though we hope to buy a house in a few years, I decided the time is now to start pulling things together. We still don’t have a decorating budget, but it’s worth my mad money to start with Target curtains and take it from there.
Making my home a haven will never be money wasted. And it’s another glimmer of hope that I’m on the right path.
Yes, 2017 has been a dumpster fire. But let’s not dwell on that. How about some positivity? Here are some great things that happened to me this year. I challenge you to make your own list.
In 2017, I:
Moved into a beautiful house.
Sent my daughter to college.
Got a good job.
Got a new car.
Got better with boundaries.
Deepened my faith.
Developed stronger relationships.
Learned to accept myself.
Got teaching credentials in AZ and CA.
Spent Christmas with all my kids, including the 3 who are adults.
Spent another year with my kind and loving husband of 24 years.
Wow! I have a lot to be thankful for, and I bet you do too. Happy New Year! Also, just a quick recommendation. I started reading Emily Ley’s A Simplified Life, and my mind is blown. Check it out.
One of my favorite scenes in Toy Story is the one where the toys pull off a highly dangerous mission to cross a busy street. They barely make it and stop to look at the traffic devastation in their wake. Then Buzz (Tim Allen) says, “Now what?”
I can relate. It is so tempting to forget the mission or run back to fix all the new fallout. But that’s not the point. In case you have not been following, I began a journey a few years ago to find greater health and fulfillment. It began with a Whole30 but evolved into much more. I’ve now embraced the intuitive eating model and body acceptance. Disordered eating and diet culture is devastating, especially to women. I’m rejecting the pressure to force myself to look any different than I was created to look.
There is so much more, however. As a serial people pleaser, I’ve allowed others to dictate my personality and life choices. Finding my identity in Christ has been life giving. Now it is up to me to live out my purpose. Creativity plays a huge role here. I’ve often struggled with creativity, but we are all meant to create something. Staying stuck in a receiving mode has left me depressed. I’ve learned the healing power of getting up and doing. This looks different for everyone and changes depending on our season in life. It’s been hard to reach outside my immediate family during the overwhelming years of child raising, but reaching out to someone is also key. It might be your infant; it might be a foster child; it might be a soup kitchen. Right now my creative purpose means sharing my journey with you, playing with my kids, visiting a little boy we support at a Tijuana orphanage, finding joy in my job as a music teacher, cooking something delicious for the family, or my personal challenge- writing a song.
My husband recently preached a sermon about our need, as the Church, to write some new songs. This is so true on a national scale, but it is also personal. Stay tuned.
Anne Lamott is my spirit animal. Do yourself a favor and have a listen to her Ted Talk.
One of my favorite quotes is, “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” These words are especially apropos during the holiday season. Contrary to those social media highlight reels, all families are flawed, many severely. So the cycle must continue: overlook, confront, protect boundaries, repeat until infinity.
I’m so thankful I have my faith to cling to. It always helps to remember my 3 identity truths: I am created perfectly, I am worth dying for, and I have a unique purpose. For those of you suffering right now, I would add: you are loved, you are worthy, and you are brave.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, encouraged me today with this: “Who are you going to blame for your life today?” Ouch.
It’s time to move on. A grieving period is appropriate when you take the brave step into wholeness. It will upset the status quo and ruffle some feathers. That can’t be helped. But inner peace is worth it. It’s time to stop looking back. It’s time to turn off the people pleasing commentary loop.
It might also be time to cook that turkey dinner again. Just for you and your groupies. You deserve it. And now the journey begins.
One of my favorite podcasts is called Impolite Company. Each week, two super smart and accomplished women discuss religion and politics. It is sad that I need to introduce them that way, but women are underrepresented in these particular conversations. That is the understatement of the year and a topic for another day. Their names are Nish Weiseth and Amy Sullivan.
If you are anything like me, you might be experiencing a little pre-holiday anxiety. The conversations which might come up are enough to make me lose sleep. Perhaps this post is my warm up. I’m going to lay it all out here. When the time comes to respond in person, maybe I’ll be ready. Or maybe, knowing I am not going to change that family member’s mind, I will just smile and change the subject. Time will tell.
Twitter has been interesting of late. Things are terrible. We have a bully (see self-incriminating tweets) and a sexual predator (see self-incriminating video) running the country. There are some horrible people coming out of hiding- violent racists and pedophiles. And again the president fuels their fire. The worst part about all of this is that people calling themselves Christians support him. I know for a fact that a few of them support him for one reason alone. They think he will overturn Rowe v. Wade and stop abortion. I can respect that sort of, but I believe it is terribly misguided. Nish and Amy had an excellent piece on this topic, in which they laid out some fantastic statistics about the decrease in the abortion rate following Obama’s free birth control mandate, as well as other democratic policies dating back to the 80s. Being pro-life to me means being pro-adoption, pro-support of single mothers, pro-rehabilitation of criminals, pro-food for hungry kids, pro-clean environment, and pro-education. It is easy to say that churches should handle all the charity work, but the reality is that most churches are struggling to keep their lights on. If we leave all of these pro-life issues to the private sector and the Church, it is not going to happen. Also, several of these issues are not seen as pro-life by some branches of the Church.
The other very important issue here is that we are not a theocracy. Our country was founded on separation of Church and State. Pushing one version of one religion on all citizens is frankly unAmerican. I don’t get it. There is so much fear and control being pushed out and labeled Christianity right now, and serious damage is being done.
The good news of Jesus is love. Perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18). This has been my episcopal priest hubby’s mantra. A lot of damage has been done, but it is not too late for all who claim the name of Christ to return to this truth. We don’t need to fear someone’s political views. We should be much more concerned about the character of our leaders. We don’t need to fear what might happen to the country if people who look and believe different than we do are allowed to go on with their beautiful and unique lives.
We’re in an epic storm. One of my favorite throwback worship songs calls it the Refiner’s Fire. When the great sifting finally ends, I pray that the fallout comes out beautiful and fierce and compelling for those who are ready to seek refuge in God’s love. There is room for all of us.
#127: Intuitive Eating & Health At Every Size FAQs with Ashley Seruya & Christy Harrison by Food Psych Podcast – Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, Positive Body Image, & Eating Disorder Recovery
This is a major departure from the Paleo diet. I am going to leave this right here and encourage your feedback. Let’s discuss. It makes a lot of sense to me. Perhaps those of us who are obsessive dieters are sabotaging ourselves by giving our brains the message that there’s always a famine to prepare for. What if we started giving our brains the message that food will always be available? And not just nuts and celery, but even the good stuff. Our culture is obsessed with looks and perfection. What if we all challenged this notion and had the courage to be ourselves, regardless of body type? What if we all had the decency to treat everyone as equals regardless of body size? I want to be a part of this revolution.
During my recent emotional release and rebuilding process, I had two main goals. First, I wanted to establish an identity that had nothing to do with outside expectations. As a people pleaser/peacemaker, it is all too easy to be whoever other people want me to be. With the identity crisis, other issues were always present, such as low self esteem and a lack of purpose. The second goal I had was to deepen my faith. The current political climate is dragging Christian evangelicalism in the mud, but the views and actions of those in the news look nothing like the life and ministry of Jesus. I wanted to embrace not just head knowledge of this true Jesus, but a much deeper heart experience with Him.
It started with an “I Am” list. As my wise therapist pointed out, if we do not focus on who we are, we will be focusing on who we are not. I started the list with some talents I have, but it seemed too surface oriented. Then suddenly something clicked. I know I have heard this message many times in church, but framing it in such a way that addressed my identity was new. I started thinking about what I know about Jesus instead of what I know about myself. Suddenly my list flowed out into three perfect and profound truths. I am perfectly created; I am worth dying for; I am equipped for a unique purpose.
That pretty much covers everything. I’m good enough, even great – as is. Here’s the unique and compelling reason I choose Christianity over any other religion: Jesus died so that I could be saved. I can’t earn it or lose it. It is done. Also, there’s something special for me to do. Those three truths are all I need to fall on my face and lay down my burdens before my loving God.