For as long as I can remember I have struggled with my weight, self-confidence, and relationship with food. I have been overweight for the majority of my life and turned to food as an anti-depressant and emotion regulator. Had a bad day? Eat some ice-cream, that will fix your problems (not). Then when I felt fat and unattractive post ice cream/burger/whatever other unhealthy food I chose, I was filled with regret and shame and self-loathing. Then repeat that cycle… over and over. I was living in the chains of overeating, chubbiness, and shame. Back in December I reached my breaking point and I knew that it was time to change. I knew that I was living in bondage, and I was made for freedom. I needed to change the way I viewed food and exercise and health in general. I had subconsciously been viewing it as a punishment for not measuring up to what I was supposed to be. I was chunky and had no self control and I was bad and because of that I had to feed myself diet food and restrict all the things and I had to workout until the fat melted away. But then, I had this incredible awakening. I realized that I had been believing lies about my body and my worth and my God. I ripped these weeds up by the root and began to plant new seeds. Slowly but surely the new beliefs have been springing up and I am changing from the inside out and I have been walking in a new freedom that I always longed for but never knew.
Whenever I think of freedom I think of Galatians 5:1,”It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery”. There is this idea that freedom means doing whatever the heck you want to do, to just do what makes you happy or makes you feel good. Typically these type of things make you feel good for a moment and then the next emotion is shame or regret because freedom does mean freedom from consequences. For example, I’m a little sensitive to lactose, specifically when it comes to cheese. I have the freedom to eat cheese but the consequence is that I will have an upset stomach. I have the freedom to sit on my butt and not exercise, but the consequence is I’ll feel sluggish. I have the freedom to do whatever I want, but the question I ask is will my choices increase my freedom or does it make me a slave to my decision?
My desire through this health journey was to experience increased freedom in my life. When I choose healthier foods, exercise, and good sleep I then had more energy to do things that I loved. As I make more positive choices I see more positive results and the amount of freedom I experience grows and grows. I feel more confident and strong and free than I have ever felt in my life. I look in the mirror and I think I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT’S ME! Or I wake up earlier in the morning to workout before a busy day and I think I CAN’T BELIEVE I MADE WORKING OUT A PRIORITY! Or I think back on the past 6 months and I think I CAN’T BELIEVE I’VE BEEN CONSISTENT FOR THIS LONG! I go for a run and I think I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST RAN THAT FAR, I’M AWESOME AND STRONG! Each choice I’ve made has brought me to this place. Each time I chose a workout over extra sleep, or a salad over a burger has brought me to a place where I am experiencing freedom. Real and good and true FREEDOM.
I think that people are hungry for this. They are tired of being in bondage over their food addiction, or their porn addiction, or their loneliness, or their anger problem, or their alcohol or drug addiction or depression. They used their freedom to make poor choices and now the consequences are keeping them in chains. If I could sit down at a table with them, with coffee of course, I would look them in the eyes and say “you don’t have to live in these chains. Real and good and true freedom is available”. It is found by making one healthy and positive choice at a time, one day at a time. I know that is probably to simplistic for some struggles. I can’t imagine the pain that comes with a drug or alcohol addiction. But I think that making one good choice, one day at a time, is a step in the right direction.
It is for freedom that we have been set free. Not fake freedom, not selfish freedom that leads to slavery, but real and true and good freedom. The kind that frees you from the shackles you’ve been living in and gives you the space to dance wild and free.