Sunday, January 1, 2012

looking back over my single 2011 resolution

I was pretty little when my mom taught me about where the best meat is on a steak:  that part that's attached to the bone.  You have to pick up the bone like some kind of barbarian and gnaw it off, scraping your teeth along the bone, to get the best of the best part of a good grilled steak.  Mmmmm.  Makes my mouth water, just thinking about it.  (Oh crud, I hope I didn't just lose my vegetarian friends...pleeeeez don't leave!  I'll be good!) 

The end of the year is like that for me.  One of my favorite pondering-and-writing treats is my end-of-the-year blog, where I turn the year's events over and over in my mind, looking for the lessons, the gifts, the laughs, the signposts of hope.  And being Karen, I cant help but share what I find there.  If you've read me for very long, you KNEW this blog had to be coming:  let's suck the last, best bit of goodie out of my 2011.  This is just the first (the "naked blog" part) of what looks to be at least 2 (maybe more?) year-end blogs for me.

I only made one resolution for 2011, and it came a full week into the year, as soon as I heard it from the Lord...such a huge resolution that I immediately decided it must stand alone, unfettered by further additions:  I resolved to let God teach me how to love my body.  Within a day or 2, I was more or less in a panic.  Love my body?! How was I supposed to do that?!  Loving my body wasn't even within the confines of my ability to imagine. 

That's when the Lord so gently reminded me that this was not at all about what *I was able* to do.  This was about letting Him work in me, letting Him teach me, letting Him lead me.  This was about surrender, not trying harder.  That has turned out to be a lesson I've had to learn over and over. 

It feels easier, after all, to make a plan.  Recently I went looking for a prayer journal.  I found several of mine from past years.  Each was from the beginning of a year.  Each had just a few pages filled in:  self-examination, criticism, and strong, concrete plans for how I would fix myself.  And then big fat ZERO follow-through.  I could only laugh, reading them and seeing my own arrogance and cluelessness. 

This wasn't like that.  Every time I was tempted to "make a plan," here came the Lord, swooping in to remind me to get my hands off it and follow Him.  I learned along the way that loving my body:

  • is a series of choices, not a collection of feelings
  • that good choices lead to good feelings, which lead to more good choices...and I have spent way too much time in my life letting bad feelings lead to bad choices, which just lead to more bad feelings
  • is only possible one second, one step, one spoonful, one growly belly at a time
  • is very tied up in the words I say and think to and about myself
  • is very centered in discipline
  • frequently requires choosing discomfort, and that discomfort is consistently well-rewarded, when I make the choice
  • is possible at 100 pounds overweight, and does not have to wait until the scale matches a doctor's chart
  • is absolutely do-able, even when I have stumbled - starting over is ALWAYS just a choice away
  • allows for tremendous freedom, right there within the construct of discipline

In 2011, I got a new perspective on how much food is enough.  I learned to be able to sit with hunger and other physical discomforts and just accept them.  I got up off the couch and learned how to run, not all at once, not in a big fat hurry, but slowly, gently, consistently, until I found myself changed from someone who joked that "running is against my personal policy" to someone who finds deep joy in getting her feet out on the pavement.  I went from very sedentary to being able to run about 2.5 miles without stopping or even slowing down.  I found that as I subjected my body to discipline, self-respect bloomed in me unexpectedly.  I watched my growing ability to be firm with myself spill over into a growing ability to be more candid with others. 

This journey of letting God teach me to love my body is not over, but it's certainly well begun.  I am excited about pressing further into it in 2012, and can't wait to see what else He will open up to my understanding as I go.

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