Archive | October, 2011

Five Randos

11 Oct

1. I started reading Long May You Run by Chris Cooper (with many contributing authors) the other night. If you’re a runner, this is an awesome book. Each “article” is only a page long, there are fun quotes and tips from amazing runners, and it includes a lot of fun stats and information about running that I never knew.

2. I love getting low on groceries. There’s something I love about using up the things that have been sitting in the fridge or cupboard for a while. I know, weird. Last weekend, I used up the last of our bagels that we’ve had for weeks, and last night, I used up our butternut squash, potatoes and part of a ginormous zucchini. Look at this thing:

3. There are two kinds of a’s. As I was driving to work this morning, I realized that while most people hand-write lowercase a‘s as a circle with a vertical line on the right, printed things use the kind of a used in this very font. I guess there are formal names for such a distinction but I just find it interesting that your brain can see these things without observing them.

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4. I have serious baby fever right now. And I mean serious. As in, “Maybe I shouldn’t do a marathon so we can start trying right now” kind of serious. (But I really want to do a marathon and I’m pretty sure Travis wouldn’t jump on the bandwagon earlier than we’ve talked about. So…)

I’m trying to remind myself to enjoy the freedom and peace of not having kids. I can do things like spend hours upon hours running each week. We can go out of town at a moment’s notice. We have a lot more money for fun things, like elk hunting and races. I can have a clean house without toys scattered everywhere. The only loud noises we have to deal with are dogs barking (and then, we can shove them outside). I don’t get spit up on my clothes. My body is (roughly) the same it has been for the past 10 years.

But still, about 95% of the young married couples I know (IRL) either have kids or are pregnant. I can think of 3 who don’t or aren’t (we make 4). I can think of at least 10 women who have recently had babies or are pregnant. I mean, seriously. Married without kids is a dying breed. 

Anywho…

5. Working out this week most likely isn’t going to happen. Before Thursday night, I need to:

  • Go grocery shopping
  • Make pumpkin bread, chili, and chicken wild rice soup
  • Clean the house
  • Pack for elk hunting
  • Help Travis set up the wall tent
  • Go to Book Study tonight and Care Group tomorrow night
Yeah… I’m a little overwhelmed.

Snow and speed.

10 Oct

Saturday morning, we woke up to rain and cold. I normally would’ve been excited, since weather like that is not that common in Denver, but with the race on Sunday, I was a little nervous. Those would be miserable conditions for a race – 35 degrees and rainy. Yuck. We had also planned to drive up to the Winter Park / Fraser area to do some scouting for elk hunting next weekend. One of the main roads that they have used in years past was washed out by abnormally large runoff and hasn’t been rebuilt so Travis wanted to familiarize himself with some other roads.

But first things first – while Travis had the Forge at church Saturday morning, I had coffee with my friend, Cathy. Then Travis and I headed downtown for the race expo and packet pickup. Since this is by far the biggest race I’ve ever done, I really enjoyed the expo. Usually, the expos at the races I do consist of a handful of booths of stuff that I’m not really that interested in. But this expo was different. There had to have been 40-50 booths and almost everyone was giving away free stuff. (Score!) Travis looked at new running shoes and got a 15% coupon for Boulder Running Company – which I can use for buying new shoes too! I bought a new stick of BodyGlide (mine was almost gone). After an hour, we decided to head home.

We ate lunch and loaded up the pooches. As we were leaving Denver, we weren’t sure whether going up into the mountains was a good idea or a bad idea.

This was just the foothills. We decided to play it by ear. If we hit a bunch of traffic or the roads got really bad, we’d turn around and head home. Luckily, the roads were actually almost void of traffic (this is the lull time between tourist season and ski season) and the road conditions weren’t bad – I did tell Travis several times to slow down but that’s pretty much the norm when we’re driving in the mountains. We drove over Berthoud Pass into Winter Park, then turned off after Fraser onto the back country roads. There was a good 6 inches of snow on the ground so while everything was very pretty, the roads were very slick (mud + snow = slippery!).

The aspens stood out against the snow-covered evergreens – very pretty.

As we were driving along, Travis noticed tracks in the snow on the road. He thought they were elk tracks but then we saw this:

A moose!

That was the first moose I’d ever seen so I was pretty pumped!

We drove a little while more until we found a potential camping spot for elk hunting and then we let the pooches out to run around. This was potentially Charlie’s first time ever seeing snow so we were curious to find out if she’d like it.

She did.

I didn’t get many pictures of the dogs – they run so fast that it’s near impossible to catch them in action. But this is a still from one of the videos. It looks like Charlie was whirling up a snowstorm but it was actually Travis kicking snow on her. 🙂

She did really like the snow, though. Here are a few more stills of her and Katy running around (they’re not the greatest quality but it gives you an idea).

 

Katy loves snow too – they’ll be great Minnesotan dogs one day.

Travis was craving a burger and fries so we stopped in Silverthorne to get Wendy’s. I tried their new Caramel Apple Parfait and while it was good (when is ice cream bad?), I think it would be better with yogurt.

We got home around 5:30 and I tried to be productive but I spent about 45 minutes looking for a specific devotional in My Utmost for His Highest until my brain hurt and all I wanted to do was lay down. I wanted to just go to bed but we had to figure out directions and logistics for the next morning, as well as get our race stuff together. Once that was done around 9:45, we went to bed.

My alarm went off at 5:00 am and I pushed my snooze button twice without realizing it. Good thing it’s only 3 minutes long! By the third time my alarm went off, I woke up enough to wonder what I was supposed to be getting up for. Work? Church? What? Oh, the race.

My hair was pretty greasy from not washing it for 3 days so I took a shower. Since it was so cold outside, I figured I’d probably not do my normal thing of putting my hair up half wet so I dried it completely. I wore my 2XU compression pants with shorts over them (just cuz), a long sleeve tech shirt, and a fleece vest. I also wore an ear warmer and stretchy gloves during the race, but ended up taking them off about 3/4 of the way through. After peanut-butter-ing mini bagels for us to eat in the car and doctoring my coffee, we grabbed our stuff and left right on time at 5:45.

It only took us 15 minutes to get downtown, but another 10 to figure out how to get into the darned parking lot the race organizers had told us to park in. That was the only part of the race that was frustrating – they had pretty much every street surrounding the parking lot closed off. Makes it a little hard to get in and out.

Finally, we parked and Travis left to find the shuttle to the start line. He later told me that he waited 20 minutes by himself in the dark for the shuttle and was about ready to run back to the car and have me drive him to the start when the shuttle finally showed up. He got down to the start line with the perfect amount of time to go to the bathroom, check his bag, warmup and jump over the barricade into his corral – he only waited 3 minutes before the race started!

Meanwhile, I was sitting in the warm car checking Facebook and reading my Google Reader feeds on my phone. I got done with that around 7:00, which was when the race started. I was pretty close to the relay transition point so I didn’t need to leave until 7:15 or so to give myself plenty of time before Travis would arrive around 8:04. So to pass the time, I pinned my number on my vest.

I watched a bunch of cars get towed around.

Which made me nervous about getting towed. So I made a sign to put on our windshield.

I took some random pictures of my chip timer…

…and my bored face.

Finally, it was time! I got out of the car and it was COLD! My phone said 35 degrees. Brrrr!! I walked the 5 minutes to the relay transition area and stood around for about 15 minutes before doing a short warmup. Then I stretched, the race organizers explained what would happen, and we stood around some more. Finally, the wheelchair athletes started coming. Then the elite, crazy fast runners. Then the really fast runners. And then the fast runners, which was where Travis came. He was the 15th or so relay person to come in.

I saw him coming around the traffic circle and moved to the front of the crowd, to take some pictures of him coming in. I reached for the car key that I was supposed to hand him too but it wasn’t in my pocket! Oh no! As I heard my bib number called, I had to run back into the crowd to find the key. Luckily, I found it pretty easily and still had time to take a few pics of Travis coming in for the hand off.

He finished his leg in 1:04:36, at a pace of 8:16/mile. He said that the first mile was really crowded and they almost stopped completely after the first 500 yards or so, so we think that he was right on pace for the majority of his run, but that the first mile threw it off.

I handed him the camera and car key, grabbed the drumstick (our relay baton), and off I went. Since I was going to be entering the massive pack of runners way faster than me, I tried to be mindful and run on the very outside of the road, so that people didn’t have to swerve around me. Some still did but oh well. I was glad to be carrying something that showed I was a relay runner. Sorry to be so slow and running with the fast people!

But it was a LOT of fun to run with the fast people. I was in the thick of it – there were tons of runners around. Which probably was mostly to do with the 17,000 runners doing the race. If I had been back with the 11:30 minute/mile people, there probably would’ve been plenty there too. But running with the fast people also inspired me to run fast. My legs felt fantastic. The minute I started running, I felt great.

I pushed it. For the entire race, I toed the line between running my fastest and overdoing it. I started running at mile 7.8 and tried to calculate my pace at mile 9 but came up with an 11:30/mile. Crap! If I was having such a hard time maintaining that slow of a pace, this race was going to suck. I saw mile marker 10. I decided that if my pace really was 11:30, then there was no reason to really push myself like I was. But to my joy, I discovered that I had just done a 10:00 mile. Woohoo!

That gave me the motivation I needed to keep pushing.

Mile 11 – 9:45. Holy crap, I can’t believe it!

Mile 12 – 9:55. I’m actually running sub-10 minute miles!! But holy crap, this is hard. It’s so tempting to slow down. 

Mile 13 – 10:00. Only a mile left – don’t throw away this pace now! Think of how proud you’ll be. Think of how proud Travis will be. Keep pushing!

I picked up the pace for the last .1 when I heard Travis yell “Go Kath!” from the sidelines. I can honestly say that I ran my heart out in this race – so much so, that I almost felt like puking when I was done. That’s when you know you pushed it.

I finished 5.3 miles in 52:57. That is a 9:59 pace.

Yes!

I am still on a high from that race! What an amazing feeling to dig down deep and perform in a way that I didn’t expect. I was aiming for at least an 11:00 pace, wondering if that was even a stretch. And I blew that away!

Final time: 1:58:58

Average pace: 9:05

25/86 co-ed relay teams

I’d like to think that if this had actually been a 10K, I’d have a new PR (the only 10K I’ve run, I did in 62:36). And perhaps, I would. But I’m not sure I could have maintained that pace for even another 9/10 of a mile. I was completely beat. Regardless, this proves to me that I still have some speed in me.

After the race, I found Travis and while he went to get some food (they didn’t have any in the relay transition area), I stretched. We walked around the expo a little, rode the shuttle back to our car and headed home.

About the race itself, I was thoroughly impressed. The Rock ‘n’ Roll peeps have their crap together. I give this event an A++. The registration was easy, the pre-race information was thorough (they thought of everything!), there were tons of volunteers and portapoos (and spectators!) everywhere, the race t-shirt and medal are awesome, and the post-race food was plentiful. They had anything and everything you could want to eat after a race. They also had a family meetup area, a stretching tent and space blankets. I would definitely recommend this race. It is worth every penny.

Anyway, when we got home, we showered, ate a snack, and got back in the car to head to a friend’s birthday party, where Travis played flag football. Football isn’t my thing so I just hung out with pooches and talked to the other people who weren’t playing.

Then we went to their house, where we ate a ton of food, drank margaritas and beer, and watched football. I talked to a lady who had ran the full marathon that morning – it was her 13th full marathon and she had done two half Ironmans this summer. Impressive.

We left the party around 3 and like usual, even though my plan was to plop on the couch the minute I walked in the door, I couldn’t resist being productive. So I did the dishes, did laundry, went to Target and the post office, got gas, and then rested. We watched the movie Bridesmaids, which we had heard was hilarious. Um… no? We actually thought it was depressing and pretty much sucked. I mean, there were a few funny parts. But overall, meh.

Today is a rest day but tomorrow, I start my base building training schedule. I will be taking several rest days during elk hunting – my MIL, Beth, and I will probably hike some but no running (because there will be no showers!). But then, it’s back to it!

Life on repeat

7 Oct

Does anyone else feel like they learn the same lessons over and over and over again? But at the same time, they never actually learn them?

That’s the way I’m feeling. Amazingly, instead of being discouraged, I’m actually encouraged that God is still around, still being patient and reteaching me something I thought I had mastered six months or a year ago.

The last couple of years have revealed two important things about me:

1) I am a perfectionist to the core.

2) I am a pessimist.

It’s not really that surprising that those two things go hand in hand, since things have to be perfect for a perfectionist to be happy. And how often are things perfect?

My point exactly.

I completed Morning #2 of writing (2 for 2!) today and have already encountered a challenge: how to make my “life on repeat” or cyclical problems interesting to readers and not bore them into screaming, “She’s still struggling with that?!?!? I can’t take this anymore!” while they throw my book across the room (or delete it off their Kindle, which would be very less dramatic).

So it is with some risk that I repeat these words from previous blog posts, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take because I seriously am struggling with the same thing again: expecting to be perfect and despairing when I’m not. The reminder is beneficial to me, and I hope, to you.

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From No such thing as perfect 8/24/09

My life will never be perfect. I will never feel like I’m on top of the world and am doing good at this whole Christian thing–at least, I shouldn’t feel that way and I definitely shouldn’t make it my aim to stay there.

Instead of letting my failures and insufficiency cripple me, I should let them humble me and lead me to the cross. Lead me to the One who is sufficient, so I don’t have to be. Lead me to the One who is perfect in my place. Lead me to the place where I can lay my burdens down and remember that “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Feeling like a failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing!! In fact, it can be one of the greatest blessings…because it reminds me that I am nothing without Christ.

Like Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I can be content with a messy house, piles of laundry and dirty dishes, a long and old TO-DO list, nails that need repainting, eyebrows that need plucking, plants that need watering, cars that need cleaning, books that haven’t been read, lessons that haven’t been learned, and pounds that haven’t been lost. I can be content with everything that makes my life a mess. I can be content with “my” schedule being “derailed” and God’s schedule being followed. I can be content with not being able to see how God is using me, knowing that surely He is doing whatever He pleases with my chaotic, unpredictable, so-not-a-routine kind of life.

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From Imperfect is good enough 12/9/10

{Holiday season is just around the corner!}

I need to let go of this idea that everything has to be perfect. My Christmas decorations can have a quirky doesn’t-quite-go-together kind of feel. I can do the exercises at the gym that I know how to do instead of following the newest “Bikini Body in 28 Days!” routine that involves twisting, pulling, jumping, and screaming (that might just be my version). I can read a few pages of a book before falling asleep at night. I can let the dishes pile up in the sink and do them tomorrow.

At the core of all of this is a belief that God is the one who has everything under control. He is the one who makes it all happen, not me. It is also believing that these things I have decided that I “have to do” don’t add or subtract anything to His love for me. He loves me the most He ever will right now, because He loves me with the same love with which He loves His Son, Jesus. Did you know that it actually says that in the Bible? John 17:23 says …”that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” That’s amazing.

It is Christ’s perfection that frees us to be imperfect, to be human, to not have it all together. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to do our best. It means we don’t get discouraged by failure or depressed by overwhelming odds. But we should walk through this victorious, knowing that “steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.” How I need so desperately to believe that truth in this season of my life! It is so easy to let these slight and momentary afflictions take my eyes off God and His sovereign goodness. But I mustn’t. I must keep looking to Him, trusting in Him, resting in Him. “I lift my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

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My last (planned) race of the season is this Sunday! I am excited to not have any more races (which means more free weekends) and I’m also excited to start another training plan (which is good because I’m in for the long haul now). And then, drumroll please… only one more weekend with something planned (elk hunting) and it’s free weekends from then on! Woohoo!

Better yet, we might get out of going back to Minnesota for Thanksgiving and Christmas (although we might go early December instead for Matthew’s Eagle scout ceremony). I mean, love going back to see family but it is exhausting. It takes me weeks to recover from those trips. So I will only be slightly sad if we don’t go back. Plus, I really enjoyed celebrating Christmas just me and Travis last year. Right now, anything relaxing sounds like heaven.

A Morning Routine.

6 Oct

Last weekend, when I was going through all my old files at my parents’ house, I came across novels I had written in junior high and high school and a sheet that said my life goal was to publish novels. Seems I’ve  known for a while that I wanted to be an author someday…

I realized a while ago that I just need to buckle down and write already. I just have to put my nose to the grindstone and get ‘er done.

I had actually forgotten about my BHAG of finishing my book by the end of this year. Whoops. It might still happen. But it might not. I’m not going to get rid of that goal completely, but I’m making it more concrete by shooting for writing for 45 minutes, 5 days a week. 

So I am going to implement a new morning routine (bet you haven’t heard that before!). I am going to get up at 5:30 and after feeding the dogs and eating breakfast, get in the Word from 5:45 to 6:30, then write from 6:30 to 7:15. After that, I will resume my regular morning duties, such as showering and making a lunch. All workouts will be pushed until during lunch or after work. So far, I’m 1 for 1! It feels good to be productive in the morning and be able to relax with God and the Bible before heading to work.

And I’ll just leave you with this hilarious pic:

 

 

Minnesotan Nostalgia.

4 Oct

I’m back to work today after my wonderful (too short!) trip to Minnesota.

My flight out Thursday night was uneventful and I arrived in Minnesota at 10:30. My parents and oldest brother, Jeremy, and his wife, Jennifer, picked me up from the airport and we drove down to Rochester (where I grew up). After talking a bit, we all called it a night around 1:00 am.

We spent the first part of Friday eating breakfast, getting wedding and baby gifts together, and I went through a bunch of stuff I had stored in my old closet before going to college. I threw away a bunch of stuff – old pictures, old notes, old boyfriend memories, etc. I am not a keeper. If I don’t think I’ll actually use it or look at it, I toss it. Done!

After some frantic rushing due to a car malfunction, we made our way up to Minneapolis for the rehearsal and groom’s dinner – my mom was a reader and my brother was an usher in the wedding. We were about 20 minutes late to the rehearsal because of traffic but other people showed up late as well so all was well. After we checked in to our hotel and I changed, we headed over to the rehearsal dinner at Loring Kitchen + Bar. It was a great time – perhaps because it was an open bar and I probably had the equivalent of 4 glasses of wine (they kept refilling it before it got empty so it was hard to keep track). We returned to the hotel and went to bed around 11:30.

We stayed downtown at The Hotel Minneapolis. The cousin of mine that was getting married is actually part owner of the hotel and was involved in the development of the hotel. We got to see the inside when it was just an empty space with carpeting over the gorgeous marble floors!

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Before going to bed on Friday, I discovered St. Anthony Main was only 3 blocks away and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go for a run on my old stomping grounds. So many memories!

The trails I used to run on.

The lab Travis worked at.

The Panera we ate at every Sunday morning.

The building I lived in my junior year of college.

Ahhh… Minnesota.

Even though it was only 47 degrees out and I had only brought a t-shirt and shorts to run in, and I could tell I had drank a bit too much the night before, and I didn’t have anything to eat beforehand, I enjoyed every minute of that run. And I finally got to take advantage of the lower elevation without humidity! I ran 3.93 miles in 39:05 – a 9:57/mile pace. Heck yes!

We went out for brunch at Key’s Grill & Bar (delicous cinnamon french toast!) and then it was time for the wedding. Josh and Laura got married at The Basilica of St. Mary. This cathedral is gorgeous.

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Their ceremony was a very traditional Catholic one and was very nice. I’m not generally a fan of Catholic homilies but it’s not my wedding.

After the ceremony, we went back to the hotel (where the reception also was) and ate some snacks in my cousin Colleen’s room (she’s actually only 9 months younger than my mom so it’s weird to call her my cousin). Then we headed over to Nicollet Mall to walk around and look at the shops. I had only brought 2 pairs of boots with heels + my casual slip-on sneakers (which would’ve looked very weird with my wedding outfit) so my feet were very unhappy by the time we were done walking around.

When we got back, the wedding reception had started. We retrieved our gifts and headed downstairs to the open bar. I had a “Laura’s signature cocktail” made with black cherry vodka, ginger ale and some other stuff, plus two glasses of wine. The cocktail hour was held in the lounge area of the hotel and the dinner was in the restaurant – perfect space for a wedding reception if you can swing it!

At dinner, I got to sit with all my brothers, 2 sisters-in-law, my cousin-in-law, and my brother’s and cousin’s girlfriends. Fun! Everyone missed Travis and wondered where he was. I wished he could have been there too but when you live 1,000 miles away, you miss out on a lot of things. I was just thankful that I could make it.

Since my dancing partner was missing and no one else from our group seemed particularly interested in dancing, I didn’t dance at all. We just sat around talking until we all went to bed around 11:30. I actually went to bed before my parents! I felt like such a loser. But when I get exhausted and want to go to bed, I am absolutely worthless so it’s no use trying to stay up.

Sunday morning, I got up early again to do 20 minutes on the elliptical + some strength training in the hotel gym. Then we went to breakfast at Bruegger’s Bagels where I had an egg + cheese on a pumpkin bagel (not as gross as it sounds) and a pumpkin coffee. I miss Bruegger’s. (Although I have to admit that Panera’s breakfast sandwiches are way better because they use real eggs, not egg patties.) And then we went to church at Bethlehem Baptist! It was so fun to be back there, even though I didn’t see/get to talk to anyone I knew. Piper’s sermon on sharing yourself with others was great – you can listen to it here.

After church, we hightailed it over to Roseville to pick up the food for the baby shower and then hightailed it back downtown Minneapolis to Colle + McVoy where my brother, Chris, works. They have a cafeteria space that people often use for wedding receptions and parties and it was perfect! Best part, it was free. We were running about 30 minutes late but luckily, so was everyone else! We ate a bunch of food, played some games, and opened gifts. It was a great time (I don’t have pictures yet, but when I do, I’ll post them – my SIL is so cute with her baby bump!)

The shower was only supposed to last until 2 but we didn’t leave there until 5! After we cleaned up and loaded the car, we drove back down to Rochester. We ate some burgers and fries at Newt’s and then got the tour of all the new additions/renovations around Rochester. I really think Rochester is a nice town. If I didn’t have this weird thing about not wanting to move back to the town I grew up in (and if Travis didn’t consider southern MN to be only one notch above Iowa), I would be tempted to move there. It’s changed a lot since I was in high school (for the better). Back at the house, we looked at old pictures of Jeremy until it was 10:45 and time for bed!

Monday morning, Jeremy and Jen took off after breakfast. After I packed up, showered and went through some more old stuff, my dad, mom and I went out to lunch at a new restaurant called Pi Pizza. I had a veggie pizza with red onions, sweet corn, green peppers, tomatoes and goat cheese. It was so good that I ate the entire thing!

Then my dad headed to work and my mom and I went on a walk around Silver Lake, looked at the U of M’s Rochester campus downtown and had some Italian gelato. I ate so many sweets this weekend! (And it hasn’t ended because I ate a cookie after lunch today. But no more! Time to get back on a normal eating schedule/diet.)

At 3:00, it was time to head to the airport and by 4:30, I was inside the airport, waiting at the gate for my flight that didn’t leave until 7:30! I had gotten the time change mixed up and thought my flight left at 6:30. I bought a newspaper, read every article I was remotely interested in, and then did the crossword. Then I got a sandwich and a latte, called Travis, and read some posts on Google Reader. Finally, my flight was boarding.

As we took off, I looked out on the lights of the Cities and was sad to be leaving. For some reason, Minnesota just feels like home. Bugs, snow and humidity notwithstanding, I love Minnesota. And even though we enjoy Colorado and have great friends, a great church and good jobs, it just doesn’t compare.

I can’t wait to move back!

Just a thought…

1 Oct

I had this posted in my shower in high school and when I was in Rochester yesterday, saw that it’s still there:

Today is yours for the taking. Do with it whatever you want. But remember that days don’t stockpile themselves. If you waste today, it’s gone. Life is short. Live it now.

My body is not who I am.

1 Oct

 

Last Tuesday, I went to the second meeting of our women’s book study at church. The study I chose is Love to Eat, Hate to Eat by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Even though I had found peace with food back in December of 2009 and I like to think that I have healthy eating all figured out, food and body image are still a struggle for me, and have been for a while.

It started the summer after I graduated from high school. I was bored because I only worked 20 hours, my boyfriend was gone for the summer and all my friends were busy. So to pass the time, I started exercising intentionally and counting calories for the first time in my life.

I took a detour my freshman year of college, when I became a pothead and gained 20 lbs from the munchies. By my sophomore year, I was back down to my previous weight, but more obsessed about diet and exercise than ever.

After becoming a Christian the summer after my sophomore year, things got better but this struggle continued to be a roller coaster.

I tried to dethrone my idol of thinness in 2008.

I swore off counting calories in 2009.

I talked about accepting my body shape in 2010.

I thought I had discovered the solution to emotional eating in March of this year.

But here I am, still struggling. That’s why I signed up for the book study. In all the years of my dealing with this, I had never talked to another Christian woman about it. I advocate vulnerability and transparency in all areas of life. I have been very open in talking about my life before I became a Christian and the body struggles I had then. But I have always conveniently glossed over my current trials.

Because I’m ashamed. This is an ugly sin. It’s judgmental and critical and harsh and unforgiving. It makes me feel superior to some and inferior to others. I have really good days when I think, “Oh, I must be over that struggle.” And then there are bad days when I think, “I’m so fat and disgusting and I feel like a blob.” Then there are days when I wake up and feel good about what I see in the mirror but after eating a little too much at dinner, I swear to never eat again.

I have tried almost everything I can think of to conquer this demon. I’ve reminded myself of truth – that God created me this way and I’m beautiful to Him. I’ve tried to be inspired by other women who are confident in less-than-perfect figures. I’ve ditched the clothes that make me figure-conscious and instead donned clothes that I can feel comfortable in. I’ve traded in my bikini for a tankini. I’ve sworn off sweets for months at a time. I’ve sworn off having rules about eating at all.

And here I still am.

I think this book study will be good for me. I know God wants to change this area of my life (because it is nas-tay) and I have long been trying to fix it myself (like I always do). I think it will not only be good to have other women to talk to about this, but also to have a meeting every two weeks to keep my mind focused on this. And this time, I am not expecting any quick fixes. I am not expecting this problem to be solved overnight, or for me to able to remind myself of truth one morning and have my struggles vanish into thin air. This will take time. This will being reminded of truth over and over and over and over…

The truth that is helping me refocus right now came from John Piper’s sermon called Staying Married is Not About Staying in Love Part 2: Our bodies do not represent who we really are. All along, I have been operating under the purview that I am only as good as I look.

But that’s not the truth – about me or any other person. The truth is that our bodies don’t have the glory they were supposed to have. We lost that glory in the fall. These imperfect bodies remind us that God will someday give us new bodies – bodies that are perfect and beautiful and free of sin. These bodies are vessels that house our souls, which cannot be seen but are precious.

“Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:4).

Trials in our lives remind us that we don’t belong on earth and someday, we will be with Christ in perfect joy. In the same way, imperfect bodies can remind us that we will be glorified one day – but not today, and not here. Instead of chasing peace and perfection on earth, I can let these trials redirect my gaze to the greater reality of heaven and a new body.

I’m sure this is just the tip of the eating/body issue iceberg so there will be more to come.

What truth helps you accept your body the way it is?

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