Transition. The place of waiting for what is next in our lives. In transition, we can find ourselves struggling to make sense and move on from the past beyond a failure, disappointment, regret, loss or even a success. We can also get stuck in projecting forward into the future to an unknown point in time when we will finally have, do or be something different. The problem with both of these perspectives is we miss the beauty of the present moment and the power that is only available in the now.
Let me tie this to our health journey. Through The Healthy Edge process, I guide women to heal and make peace with the past. Our past is not to be ignored. As a matter of fact, we will never experience love, life, peace and victory if we run from the pain, sadness and disappointment of the past. These are interconnected through the vehicle of vulnerability. The power of vulnerability awakens our mind, body and soul to fully embracing the human experience of life - not just walking through it like a zombie. Embracing vulnerability is what breaks off the stronghold of numbing ourselves from our pain - food, pills, alcohol, sexual dysfunctions, shopping, sleeping, overworking, etc. Our pain has to be acknowledged, honored and healed or it has to be managed.
Think about it. If there is a struggle to release weight, it may be because you are locked into patterns and behaviors that numb and isolate you from the fear, pain and shame of your past. This is so often the case with the women I work with. Long-term weight release and optimal health is never going to happen with a “diet”. Even if you do get to your desired weight, you will not feel the peace, joy and confidence you imagined you would feel because your past is unreconciled. You will not keep the results because your pain is still there and your methods of numbing the pain are familiar and automatic. You might feel the pain go away for a little while as you strut around in smaller pant size, but all it takes is a remark, rejection or reminder to open the old wound and you find yourself running back to your place of dysfunctional comfort.
Now, let me be clear. This doesn’t have to involve laying on a couch or spending thousands of dollars with a psychologist (although some people do and it benefits them greatly). It doesn’t require going back to your mother’s womb or even confronting people of your past. I believe there are three key elements to releasing yourself from the weight of your past.
The most powerful thing you can do for yourself and for your health is to forgive. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Forgive God. The number one thing God sent Jesus to do was to forgive our sins. It’s the foundation of Christianity. We are made right with God through the blood of Jesus. Our sins our forgiven and paid for. There is nothing we need to do but accept this free gift. With this truth, you are released from the regret of your past. You are forgiven through the process of repentance (which means “to turn away from”) and ask God to remove your sin. God commands that we forgive others and extend the same grace God has given us. When we forgive others, we do not say what they did is okay, but we release them to God and let go of it’s hold on us.
If you carry unforgiveness in your heart and refuse to move through the process of fully forgiving - a bitter root will grow inside of you and it will permeate into every area of your life. You will become cynical, judgemental and your heart will be hardened. You may be able to smile your way through life, but you will not experience the fullness of what life has to offer you.
- SEEK GOD’S TRUTH
The second most powerful way to overcome your past is to identify the lies and replace them with truth. This is what I do with my clients who struggle with things like perfectionism, fear of failure, fear of success, rejection, body shame, the self-sabotage cycle, emotional eating, etc. There are so many lies we walk around our life with that are masked as truth. This lack of distinguishing lies from truth will hold us captive from all God intended for us to enjoy and have and will fuel frustration, disappointment and mediocrity.
The enemy comes only to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10) The enemy is a master at twisting and manipulating the truth and he will use any and every opportunity to do it. All you have to do is believe the lie and it forms a stronghold that will influence your thoughts and behaviors from that point forward. But Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Many of us have lived a majority of our lives not knowing God’s truth because we have listened to other lost and broken people or the enemy speaking in our heads instead of going to our Father in heaven. Or we look at our circumstances and make assumptions about God instead of going to His word and learning about the character, love and plan of God. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9). What are the lies in your life that you have accepted as truth? Could this be a key to why you feel stuck, frustrated and indifferent?
For example, a woman may have experienced physical or verbal abuse growing up and she believed lies from the enemy about her identity and value. She walks through life with shame and low self-esteem because she lacked the wisdom and guidance as a young child or young adult to know that the truth is that the abuser(s) is broken, sick and lost - not her. She lacked the mentorship of someone wise in God’s word to speak into her the identity and value that God has given her. So when this same woman tries to lose weight without the perspective of truth and power. What may happen is if this woman experiences some success, the attention from men and women rub against her shame and strong inclination to not be seen and that internal conflict will drive an unconscious effort to sabotage her results - because she of what she believes about herself and other people. The lie has to be rewritten and the false identity of who she believes herself to be has to be reconstructed for this woman to walk in emotional, spiritual and physical freedom.
I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Another example is a woman who had a critical mother whom she could never please and who reminded her often how imperfect she was. She may have watched her mother overly prepare herself with make-up and clothes to go anywhere - even to the grocery store and observed the attention of men towards her mother. The woman began looking at herself in the mirror at a young age and critically evaluating her body. She found that if she looked and acted a certain way - she could get the attention of men too - this made her feel she had the approval she so desperately wanted from her mother. She became obsessed with diets and being thin and spent more time focused on looking good on the outside than anchoring her worth within. She attracted a successful and good-looking husband that makes for a great family portrait but her marriage is completely devoid of love, intimacy and connection. She looks good on the outside, but only the truth about God’s love and concern for her will bring the peace and joy she longs for but will never achieve with outside beauty alone. God will bring her to a place of vulnerability that she never experienced in her childhood because growth can only happen with vulnerability.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
Last example. A woman experienced a lot of responsibility as a young child. Perhaps it was because both parents worked or maybe a parent was sick and responsibilities that should belong to an adult were placed on her. Instead of having a childhood, she was taking care of siblings, cooking, cleaning and being an emotional pillar for those around her. She made up a lie that her needs don’t matter. She made up a lie that giving to others is what makes me valuable and worthy of love. This is the woman that I work with that doesn’t know how to give herself permission to take care of herself because the guilt of doing anything for just her paralyzes her. She needs the truth that she can take care of others better when she takes care of herself. She needs to find her voice and use it. She also probably needs to get angry (God is not afraid of our emotions), grieve her childhood and forgive.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
These are only a few examples. You have your own story. And maybe you have rummaged through your past like I have - on your hands and knees, picking up the pieces that showed you something about yourself, others, God and the world around you that will serve your journey on earth. But there are a lot of things in our past that need to be discarded. Things that we pick up that are just garbage. They stink. They are of no value. They take up space. They remind us of something that is not who we are. They don’t belong to us. These are the things that need to be discarded so we can be free in the present moment.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed way; behold, the new has come.”
None of us would deny the fact that we can never relive the past. We can never, ever, ever go back and do or say something different. It’s a fact. It’s a truth. If we can’t change it, we can let God us it to transform us. The greatest growth in my life came from the most devastating losses, regrets, mistakes, disappointments, rejections - you know, all the stuff I would WANT to change if I could. It is from these very experiences that I have seen God work through that has removed impurities, broke off selfishness and pride, revealed my weaknesses and sin tendencies and lovingly built my strength, faith and resilence for the next leg of my journey.
- WALK IN VULNERABILITY WITH GOD
Your journey doesn’t end with tying your past up in a nice bow. Everyday is a battle between good and evil. Between lies and truth. Everyday we have to choose what voice to listen to. The world is saying something very different than what God is speaking to your spirit. But we get numb and our spirits become deadened to the voice of God when we don’t spend time in His word and with Him.
There is nothing that delights our Father more than seeking his presence and spending time with Him. I spend time last year at a four day retreat with absolutely no distractions (phone, computer, family, friends, work) and I heard more from God in those four days than I felt I have in my entire life (up to that point). The practice of getting quiet will do wonders for the sensitivity of hearing God’s voice. BUT, what CANNOT be replaced with “quiet meditation” or a ‘gratitude journal” is spending time in God’s word. The word of God was given to us for training, guidance and comfort. It reveals who we are and who God is. If you do not know God’s character, His ways and His standards - you will be pulled along by feelings, whims and outside influences that lead you down a path of destruction. God wants to lead you, but He will not force you. You get to choose.
I spend a lot of my Christian walk going to church and never spending any time in the bible or even praying to God between Sundays, unless I was in a crisis. I believed in God. I was saved. But I was lost. I had no relationship, I had a religion. Now, I spend more time daily, learning about God than I do watching television, working out or scrolling through Facebook. I have daily time with God that is a non-negotiable item because if He is number one then my life habits have to reflect that. I am not saying this to exalt myself, I am sharing this to inspire you to seek more from God because He has more for you. I love Matthew 7:7: Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. God wants a relationship with us so we know His voice and we can follow his ways:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
THE POWER OF TRANSFORMATION
We all want to live life fully alive and present in the moment. But it is often a more common reality to live life trapped in the past, banking on some distant future and simply existing in the present. You can get stuck in saving yourself for “someday” and miss “today”. You can spend your entire life trying to achieve a number on the scale that represents “enough” or “perfect” or “success”, but what if it’s a lie? What if it’s one more thing you believed (without questioning it) that is just serving as a detour from your pain?
In the pit of my hell of my past, I discovered:
- I ate to the point of being overly full because I felt so empty.
- After stuffing myself, I would binge so I would feel some resemblance of control that I felt I didn’t have over my life.
- I dieted to achieve the perfect body because I believe it would make worthy of love.
- I had a distorted view of the difference between attention was love.
- I believe is was more important for me to be who people wanted/needed me to be than to just be me. This was to avoid the pain of rejection, I have felt often in my life. So I strived to be perfect (at least on the outside physically and in anything performance based.)
I could go on and on. But I provide some examples because now, look at these examples and they are no longer my truth. God used circumstances, disappointments and loss in my life to reveal to me the lies and lovingly replace them with His truth of who I am - not based on what I have done or been through. This process was not easy. It was not without pain. It was not without incredible discomfort. And unfortunately, the process never ends. God keeps revealing more and more defects from my past that need to be hammered out in the beautiful armor God has provided for me to battle and enjoy life in. The same is true for you my sweet sister. I love that we have a God so committed to the process of us becoming whole and free and able to have peace in the NOW.
If you need support in weeding out the lies and establishing truth in your life so you can live free, whole and healthy, let’s chat. It’s time to stop waiting for a future that will never manifest until you take back your power in the now and release the anchor of the past. Schedule a free coaching session and let’s have an open and vulnerable conversation. The process I lead women through includes nutritional education, empowering mindset training, spiritual growth, community support!