As 2016 comes to a close I sit here in my kitchen looking back over my year and wondering what I accomplished. As I ponder this I’m struck with the realization that I haven’t done much other than just survive this year. I’m looking forward to 2017 and wanting to set those lofty goals that we all dream of achieving: I want to lose 60 pounds, completely declutter my home, pay off our car loan and start taking steps towards getting my degree in nursing and midwifery.
There is nothing wrong with all those goals; they are admirable and great goals. However, I am overlooking a huge first step. Before I can begin to tackle even one of those lofty goals I have to first figure out why I want to achieve these specific goals. Do I want to lose 60 pounds because I feel called to live a healthier lifestyle or is it for vanity? Do I want to start taking classes because I feel like being a stay at home mother isn’t enough, that being a Mom isn’t worth all my time and energy? Am I feeling unproductive and useless on the financial side of our home life or is it because this truly is the time that God wants me to step out and begin my studies in midwifery. If I can take a minute to be honest with you, my 2017 goals are all based on selfish ambition not formulated at the feet of Jesus.
As I look back over not just the last year but the last 10 years I can begin to see a pattern woven through every decision I’ve made. I have been spending all my time and energy trying to better myself with knowledge and wisdom hoping that it would make me like who I am. I have devoted countless hours to researching eating plans and exercise routines not because I have a desire to be a healthy strong woman so that I can serve my family and my Lord more fully. I have spent that time desiring a thinner frame because I am ashamed of my body fat, my extra rolls on my belly and the cellulite on my “thunder thighs”. I have spent all my life in pursuit of the one thing that will take me from the ugly, slimy wriggly caterpillar to the beautiful elegant and colorful butterfly we all dream of becoming. I have been working so hard on self development because deep down I hate my body. I have made changing myself a priority because I am ashamed of the overwhelming need to fill all the emptiness inside me with food, tv, novels anything to make me forget how much I despise myself.
So this year I am resolving not to lose 60 pounds or to pursue more knowledge. I am resolving to be still and to get to know the woman that I am under all the extra weight. I am going to take this year and embrace the rolls, embrace the stretch marks and learn to love myself right where I am. I’m no longer going to wait until I’m where I feel worthy of love and pride in who I am because feelings are oh so deceptive! I am a beautiful creation made in God’s holy image. Other people find me worthy of friendship, worthy of their time and efforts. I am going to take a step back and try to view myself as others see me. I am going to get out from behind the camera and be a part of the memories being made all around me. I am going to stop tamping out my shine for fear that people will see how overweight I am. I am going to let myself be carefree, seeing the good and the joy in every moment.
This year I want to learn to feel comfortable in my own skin. I am going to stop stressing over my weight. Last week my youngest Kolton, who is now 18 months old, was playing in my bedroom. He loves to stand in front of my full length mirror and make faces at himself, it is adorable! I left the room for just a minute to grab something from the kitchen only to hear an ear splitting crash. My little monkey had somehow managed to knock the mirror over and it was shattered in a million pieces all around him. Thankfully he was completely unharmed just a bit shook up. I have yet to replace that mirror and I’ve come to the realization that I shouldn’t replace it. I have spent far too much time, emotion and energy weeping over my reflection in that mirror. I have been so consumed with how I look it has kept me from fully embracing myself.
I’m going to stop the relentless pursuit of getting things done, I’m going to take the time to listen to the beautifully orchestrated song, I will stop and listen to the silly curiosity that flows so freely from my son. I will let my husband and boys see the stretch marks that cover my bloated abdomen and I won’t shy away when my oldest asks why my stomach is so bumpy. I am not going to be ashamed of my belly! I will proudly tell him the beautiful reason for every one of those scars and marks on my fair skin for they are the story of how he came to be a part of our family. Without those stretch marks or extra pounds I wouldn’t have either of my wonderful blessings that call me Mommy.
It’s time to stop hiding. It’s time to come out of the shadows and be a part of this beautiful mess of a life that my husband and I have built. There is no reason to be on the sidelines afraid to participate.