My heart goes out to every woman who has a longing to be at peace with her body, food, and health - but feels herself spending more time in a pit of hopelessness and excuses than she does making progress toward real change. When I have conversations with a woman in this place, often the conversation turns tearful and a common theme emerges - an array of internal and external obstacles standing between bondage and freedom.
Take a moment and think about your own personal health journey - whether it’s weight loss, energy, sleep, getting off medications, healing from a diagnosis, brain fog - and ask yourself what are the top three things holding you back from “being” the healthiest version of yourself? Here are some to get you started:
- The nightly glass of wine and weekend drinking binges?
- Toxic friends who don’t support your desire to be healthy?
- Stimulating and overtaxing your adrenals all day with caffeine and stress?
- Keeping tempting food that doesn’t serve you in your home?
- Your daily Starbucks run for a sugary and caffeinated drink?
- The stress of trying to control the people and circumstances around you?
- Unresolved resentment/anger/sadness from your past?
- Eating foods that are known to cause your body inflammation, joint pain, fatigue?
- All-or-nothing mentality?
- Waiting for life to get “easier” or more financially secure before you focus on you?
- Waiting to figure out a diagnosis before you really buckle down and do something about it?
- Not making sleep a priority?
- Waiting for the fear to go away before you get out and exercise, get a job you really love, set boundaries in your life or try new foods?
- Waiting until you lose the weight to communicate with your family and friends that you need their support?
It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of “waiting” for “something” to happen that will “make us” change. This can be anything from waiting until
- the kids go to school
- the kids move out of the house
- your big high school reunion
- a warm and sunny trip that requires you to wear a swimsuit
- a project at your job is completed
- you feel better
- your financial situation changes
- your husband decides to get on track too
...and the list goes on and on and on. This cycle of thinking is what I call a VICTIM mindset. The real danger in a victim mindset is that over time it can begin to “feel” really comfortable and even strangely permissible - to the point that you don't even realize you are in the mindset. This is especially true when things get hard, life feels overwhelming and life feels confined and restricted by circumstances beyond our control.
In seasons of life such as these - we can get REALLY comfortable with our excuses. They become a security blanket and they feel totally normal. We can even speak with our mouths how much we dislike our bodies and need to do something about our health - but remain shackled to excuses and habits that feel cozy in an uncomfortable season of life.
You may be saying, “Amber, you don’t know my situation”. You are right. I don’t know your situation. But here is what I do know. You will never rise up out of your situation and realize your full potential if you are a victim. You will never achieve what your heart desires if you give up your power to people and circumstances. And I know that all things are possible with God and He is always working all things out for our good. But we have to partner with faith, not fear - faith that this storm is not here to destroy us, but rather to refine us. I know that breakthrough in our emotional or physical realm doesn’t happen until the excuses stop.
I just returned from an amazing four day retreat called, Beautifully Flawed. This retreat was inspired by Bethany Hamilton’s story of losing her arm while surfing and encountering a shark. It is open to young girls who have lost one or more limbs either from birth, accidents, infections, etc. I was honored and blessed to be a part of this event and prepare healthy food for the week. Although I was praised for the delicious food and thanked constantly - I was the one who was most blessed.
During the week, I watched young girls and women struggle to do ordinary things that we take for granted - putting their hair back, drinking out of a cup, eating with a fork, walking on the beach, changing a baby’s diaper, holding their baby, climbing up and down stairs - even itching their nose. When I allowed myself to attempt to identify what their day to day lives must be like - it was not just humbling - it was life changing.
You see, they don’t have time for excuses. Excuses would leave them completely detached from the world. Instead they embrace a mindset to overcome every obstacle put in their paths. Many of these women surf regularly, they participate in crossfit, they raise babies, they mountain bike, sing, dance and praise God in the midst of their circumstances.
God has a way of using the ordinary to do extraordinary things. I am sure many of these women didn’t consider themselves extraordinary before their accidents or conditions took their limb(s) but God is using them for extraordinary purposes.
In our health journey, we can choose to have breakthrough. We don’t have to wait for some life altering event or discovery - we simply stop the excuses. When you stop the excuses of
- A Diagnosis
- A crazy schedule
- An unsupportive spouse
- Hating to cook
- I don’t feel like it
- This is just the way I have always been
- It’s too hard
- I don’t know what I am doing
- I can’t
- I won’t
- I can never be like so and so
- I have never been successful before
...this is when breakthrough happens. Because when the excuses stop - you give yourself the gift of confrontation in exchange for the gift of comfort. These girls live every day confronted by a world that doesn’t fit them. A world that doesn’t accommodate their comfort or understand their mental and physical struggle. These girls don’t get to choose - but in many respects we do. We can choose to confront our vices, habits, toxic people and unresolved baggage or we can shrink back into our comfort zone and choose to not rock the boat or ruffle anyone’s feathers. But remember, if we choose victim - we get the consequences of a victim - resentment, frustration, guilt, shame, weakness, anger, hopelessness and remaining stuck.
I will say this for myself - I will continue to pray to the Almighty God to reveal the things and people in my life that don’t serve me or support my life’s purpose so I can actively remove them from my life. I don’t want to wait for an accident or a loss or a diagnosis to force me into confronting my humanity and revealing my need for total dependence on God’s guidance, strength, wisdom, mercy, grace and salvation for my life. I choose it right now. I lay all my excuses at His feet that are holding me back from what He has for me next!
So it’s time to ask yourself:
- What breakthrough have you been waiting for?
- How/Where is your comfort zone keeping you from your breakthrough?
- What do you need to lay down and surrender for your breakthrough to happen?
I would love to support you in this process. It’s amazing how blinded we can become when we are absorbed in our own circumstances. Sometimes a fresh perspective from an outside source is all we need. I would like to offer a free coaching session to any women ready to take this on! You can schedule your free session here.