Between the discovery of my brain tumor and today, the scale is up 41 pounds. I could cry just re-reading that sentence out loud. (And looking at this screen grab of me from a video testimonial taken a day or two before surgery.)
At the end of 2017, I decided to take up battle on my health. I was averaging 4-5 days a week in the gym. I went vegan. I was reading everything I could on what the Bible had to say about food and gluttony and self image.
But. It all failed me.
And before you send yourself into an uproar over me saying the Bible “failed” me, I think it’s important to point out… the Bible from cover to cover says zero things about me being skinnier or liking the way I look. Quite the opposite. On many occasion, it’ll tell you the outside is fleeting. My health is a vapor. God looks at the heart. My desire for beauty is deceptive. It’s meaningless. A chasing after the wind.
The last two weeks, I got busy. That is almost always my trigger for destruction. I started spiraling. A term I shamelessly stole from some self-claimed Guidos on an MTV show for when they drink too much, start making poor decisions and ruining their lives. Except their drinking is my eating—eating unhealthy things in unhealthy amounts. My eating spiral is always something I keep private. I’ll be vulnerable with you AFTER I’ve turned the corner, but I’ll hide alone in my pit until then.
Thankfully, God never leaves me in the pit. (Read about Swim Lessons here.) And any suffering in this life has trained me toward obedience. When things go bad, I hold firmly to the only confidence I know… Jesus is better.
So I confessed details to a friend. Embarrassing, humbling, disgusting details. Accountability is good. I hate it, but it’s so good. And here I am, on day three of winning my days because I confessed and she cared.
I have two purposes in writing this. The first? If you are in turmoil, reach out. Ask for help. You’re not a burden. It’s okay to need someone. Or maybe I’m the only prideful lone wolf in the world that needs to hear this (and you can move on to part two)?
The second is what has me sitting here with a metaphorical ice pack on my head from the blunt force trauma’o’truth. Since December I’ve been consumed with my “health”. Quotations because that’s really just a pretty word for coveting Instagram bodies and self-loathing my reflection. And even though at points, I was actively and genuinely trying to purge myself of whatever sin I was entangled in… it was ALL A DISTRACTION. I wish I could claim the epiphany as my own. But I had some help. I want you to read what I did.
“Isn’t there something inherently attractive in thinking our problems are only skin deep?” -Love to Eat, Hate to Eat (A new—old—book I just started reading.)
My problem isn’t my appearance at all. My outer world won’t magically see resolution once I lose the weight or get the injections. My inner world, my soul, is the real disaster. Why is it so much easier to believe and assume that the trouble I’m experiencing is just because I weigh too much, have too many stretch marks, too many chins, too many scars, dark under eye circles, pimples, pores, yellow teeth, a paralyzed face, and and and (fill in your blanks).
Knowing what I mentioned before about the cover to cover truth… knowing what God actually cares about… it would seem all of it, every ounce of my focus on this outward appearance is a distraction from my real character flaws: sin, selfishness, self indulgence, fear, worry, greed, wasted time, and lack of self discipline. (Just to name a few.)
Turns out this expanding midsection and nerve damaged face is the least of my concerns. Also turns out, darkness can’t hide in the light.