One year of blogging and looking ahead

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It has officially been one year and I have the same heavy body I had last February when I started this blog.

I’m writing from the same couch. Same living room. Same house. Same warm dog lying next to me.

So much has remained the same but I know that when I stop and think, I’m at least a little older and whole lot wiser.

A lot can happen in a year.

If I’m being honest, I really thought that if I gave myself over to the honesty of writing and sacrificed myself on the alter of this blog, that somehow all of my excess weight and self doubt would magically melt away by the sheer power of humility.

I would NOT hold back and I would come out of this transformed and on my way to being a big deal. Spiritually, mentally, physically and creatively superior. Ready to impact the world with my success story.

Well, that didn’t happen.

What has happened is REAL life, and not the la-la land I was imagining where magical things unfold without any work.

One thing I’ve learned is that love hurts. Sometimes, love means turning the other way. Destructive and repetitive family cycles are agonizing to remove yourself from, but for wholistic health, it must be done!

When trying to soak up someone else’s pain only makes them sicker and you, sicker…the downward spiral deepens. Having to let go of someone you love because you can’t be their savior…walking away from their pain?
About the worst thing I’ve had to attempt and see through. Somewhere along the way I’ve believed that taking care of others is way more important than caring for myself. I’ve learned the hard way that this is just simply untrue. I have no idea how or what that looks like.
Still working it out.

Because of not knowing how to properly care for myself and my own needs, I’ve also learned that I can’t trust myself around food and REALLY can’t trust myself around a bible.

My spiritual life is connected to my tangible eating and breathing life, is connected to my creative life, is connected to my mental life is connected to my spiritual life…blah blah blah. I know that the more I struggle against my creator the worse I seem to struggle mentally, creatively and physically.

So why the struggle?

I know all the proper “theological” answers. I am a sinner who wants to be my own God…I want to captain this ship of mine on my own, and thus will suffer from these ill navigated waters until I surrender.

Boo.

That’s really not it.
I’m just desperate for an authentic faith. I reject being boxed into a “Christian-living-looks-like-this” box. As much as I try to not care and act aloof about the whole thing, at the end of the day I just want to press in and get close enough to Jesus to touch the hem of his garment. To push through the crowds and see him for REALS. Be near Him. Be healed. Without anyone telling me I’m doing it wrong, or interpreting it wrong, or questioning if my motives were biblical…or WRONG.

I’ve let my distaste for our audacious “Christian culture” and all the rights and wrongs create distance between me and the source of love and life.

It’s weeks like this past week that bring me back down onto my knees where faith and reality meet head on.

A beautiful friend of mine suddenly passed away from a violent athsma attack. She was my age. A mother of 4 young children and a wife to a husband whom she adored. Her death was shocking and heart breaking. A few days later, the news of another friend from high school, taking his own life.

No matter who you are or what you believe, when your heart is breaking you look for the goodness of God. You search to find light to chase out the darkness. To fill in the cracks of what’s been broken.

Perhaps that is why he allows us to endure hard things, so that we will put down our rubbish and shenanigans and get back to finding and staying near to the source because we certainly aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.

So, this year I will continue to do just that. Seek out He is who is the source and stay near to Him. I will continue to write and throw myself onto this blogging alter in that pursuit.

No expectations of crazy miracles or outcomes, just me, keeping it real.


*I was surprised by who was on the sidelines cheering me on at the start of this blogging journey and am equally surprised by who remains and is still here pushing me onward.

So, in honor of my one year blogging anniversary, THANK you so much for loving me despite what a maniac I am.

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Blinded by the light

I’ve been stating from the first blog post I ever put up, that this “journey” is about my pursuit of a meaningful make over. It is more that just losing weight or slapping on some make up. Beyond learning how to shop for my shape or find more flattering ways to wear my hair. Though I am interested in beauty rituals and think they are important for self-confidence as a woman, the main event has been the dissection of my heart.
The exposure of the whys and how’s I was allowing myself to operate in an attempt to understand and evolve. Above any other motivators, the thought of staying stuck in my dark, miserable cave of self loathing had become too much. I had reached my limit.
I will throw myself out in the wind and be vulnerable again, creative again, and honest again and again and again. Because I know that there is real life to live out here. That’s all I have really…my honest experience. That is what I share here. A REAL account of trying to be the woman I was created to be. Cutting out all the B.S. expectations we all stick on ourselves as women, wives and mothers. The “pinteresty”, fake, pressure-y ways we compare and judge each other. I believe there is MORE to this womanhood than looking good and appearing good.

This has opened me up to a lot of new experiences. One of which being the 12 step recovery group I’ve committed to. Last night recovery class was intense. We are working on the fifth step which is, ” We’ve admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

“… God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7 (NLT)

There was lots of talk about walking in darkness, and exposing ourselves and our stuff in the light. Lots of talk about hiding and functioning with denial. Lots of talk about confession and admission. So many of us neatly packaging and tucking away our issues instead of dealing with them until we reach a point where we can’t. I heard someone say last night, “Self deception keeps us going because it works for us, until it doesn’t.”

How true.

The majority of my adult life was lived in this way. I think we are all guilty of deceiving ourselves at some point…it looks different for all of us. For me it was the nonchalant way that I dealt with my body image and self-worth. Making fun of myself and acting like it was fun to just go ahead and be fat and eat whatever I felt like. I had accepted being the fat woman. I had turned myself over to it.

It worked for me for a long time- until it didn’t.

Walking in the light, means practicing truth. It means that I am no longer deceiving or hiding. It means I am opened up and free to have intimacy with God and other people. Telling the TRUTH sets me free and may also help others to be free. It’s contagious. The light is warm and it thaws even the most hardened and frozen parts of myself even though it is sometimes painfully uncomfortable.
Being open always is. It is scary because honesty and openness may leave us feeling rejected or humiliated…but that fear that keeps us in the dark, keeps us living lies. Deceiving ourselves.

Yesterday I posted a cartoon about butterflies. The transformation that caterpillars go through in a dark cocoon to become what they are truly intended to be is not pretty. They actually dissolve into a liquid form and then reemerge into something totally different. Did you catch that? They dissolve into mush. In a dark place. We must surrender. Dissolve. Trust the process. Sometimes the dark is necessary to reemerge as we are intended to be in the light.

Living in the light is a choice I’ll have to make daily. Maybe even hourly. But with each new day here, I’m realizing its worth it.

Mandi Holden

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