looking for the reason why

Several weeks ago, I received an email from Lydia Hirt offering me an advanced copy of the book Shades of Hope. The book is written by Tennie McCarty, who runs a treatment center for addiction in Texas and specializes in food addiction in its various forms. I almost turned down the offer - thinking the book wouldn't be of any use to me, but a little voice inside my head told me to accept the offer and crack open the pages of the book once it arrived. Maybe it would resonate with me, and then again maybe it wouldn't.

I am so glad I listened to the little voice. I've had the book for almost a month now, and while I haven't finished it yet, I am growing more and more as I read the words.

My life has been all over the place, and the free time I've had has been spent doing things like shopping and game nights with friends. But my mind often wanders to the book and all the lines I have highlighted.

There are so many things that make this weight loss journey difficult. Some of those things right now include my busyness. But most of those things are the choices I am making - choices that are not beneficial to my losing 100 pounds. Because even if I am busy, there is still time for me to make good choices. There is still time for a quick work out. I just don't make the choice to squeeze in a work out or the choice to eat a salad instead of a hamburger.

The question then becomes why. Why, when I know what I should do, do I choose to do the things I shouldn't do? Why, when I have come so far already, do I find it difficult to move forward and allow myself to slide backwards? I hope to one day, preferably soon, have the answers to those questions.

I don't want to fail. I don't want to go weeks without seeing the inside of a gym or weeks without drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day. I don't want to let all my hard work, and the work of those who have taught me, inspired me, and believed in me, to go to waste. I want to stand on the scale and see a 100 pounds lost and know that I am the winner of my own life.

Shades of Hope speaks to some of this. When I read the pages, I find pieces of myself in the book and am reminded of the fact that even though I feel alone in this weight loss journey I am not. There are many people who have gone before me and mastered so many of the same questions and struggles as I am trying to master right now. There will also be people who come after me and need to be reminded that they also are not alone.

There's a quote near the beginning of the book that says "The one thing I do see - from the woman looking to lose forty pounds to the man who needs to lose four hundred - is that our addiction is not defined by how much or little we eat, but rather by how we feel about ourselves."

I underlined those words, and went back to them just now. Because I feel like I've lost - like I can't do this.

I know I shouldn't feel that way, and while the feeling has diminished some, it is still there. Sunday morning found me feeling heavy, ugly, and frustrated with myself. I wanted to simply stay in bed and hide from the world, but I got up instead, showered, fixed my hair, put on make-up and walked out of the door still feeling heavy, ugly, and frustrated with myself.

Our church started a new series on Sunday based on the book Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll. At the end of the service, we had the opportunity to stand in line and take pictures in a photo booth - married couples, dating couples, singles and families. While we each took a copy of the photos, the church would also get a copy and hang them up in the prayer room so that during the series they could pray for all of us.

I grabbed a few accessories for both my husband and I, after making him stand in line, and we ducked into the photo booth and went about taking four pictures. Minutes later, we held them in hand, and he turned to me and said "See? I told you that you looked beautiful."

When I looked at the pictures, I felt beautiful too. Not quite where I want to be but beautiful still. The girl I saw in the pictures wasn't the girl I had seen in the mirror earlier that day.

And suddenly those words from Shades of Hope resonated even more. Because I realized that busyness has not been the reason at all that I've made poor choices. It's been what I placed blame on as I took my eyes off of myself and stopped feeling that I was strong and capable as I had weeks before.

I always say that I am in a season of life. And usually when I say this, I say it as a way of prefacing something. It's a way to explain why I did this and not that. But being in a season of life is not a reason to do or not do. It's not an excuse to hold onto when I make the wrong choices. Being in a season of life is simply part of life, and I need to welcome it with open arms instead of considering how to get out of it.

I'm really not sure where I go from where or what I'll do next. I just know that I have to feel positively about myself. I know that, as our church unpacks marriage, I need to turn to my husband more and let him in even more because he is there to help me. And honestly, as independent as I am, I can't (nor do I want to) do this - any of this - without his support. Because he is my biggest supporter and cheerleader and accountability partner.

What I do know is that I am excited. I am excited for this season and the opportunities it is providing. I am excited for the lessons I am learning - lessons I hope to be able write down and somehow share. I'm excited for the future and for the constant reminders of how lucky I am to be living this life God has blessed me with.

And I'm excited to look in the mirror and start seeing the girl from the photo booth.

(title from "blinding light" by switchfoot)

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