So...along this Journey I have faced physical challenges as well as emotional and spiritual growth opportunities...to put it nicely!
I started this Journey without much thought...Meaning it was somewhat impulsive and I did not mull over the in's and out's of starting this process. I just knew it was what I was supposed to do!
But let me be honest...If I had in fact, thought about it...I may not be here right now. I may not have been so willing to lose my gut (s)...in more ways than one. I may not have really considered the potential "growth opportunities" as opportunity at all...but instead...it would be like me...to be intimidated by taking on such a life change for fear of failing...for looking foolish and for fear of disappointing myself and others.
But here I am...wading through layers of fluff of all kinds. Yes, my primary goal is still to somehow, some way lose the years of extra padding I have accumulated. But there are other layers of "padding" that I have kept on my person...emotional layers that over the years have prevented me from being my true self. Not to say that I have been living some kind of lie...that is not it at all...I just know that I have censored myself, protected myself over the years from being the kind of vulnerable I have been here over the past 9 months.
So when I talk about all of this "stuff" here and I say things that sound like something I already said before...I can get really critical of myself and think there is something "wrong" with me.
I have a friend who has had some really difficult struggles in her life...and she is fighting those battles in her own way. She lives within an environment that echoes the idea that there is something "wrong" with her for having intense feelings...and she wholeheartedly believes that to be true. She is having to learn that God did not create us to be picture perfect...He did not create us without fault or feelings. He does ask us to trust Him and believe that we are Loved and covered with God's Grace, even in our very imperfect state. I don't know about you...but that is quite challenging for me at times...to believe that despite my mistakes, my sometimes reckless free will that I am still Loved..unconditionally.
I am reading a book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. The book is pretty intense! But..I am finding some insights and support for being connected to my emotional health and the belief that I am developing that says...I am a person who feels deeply, who needs to be emotionally healthy and aware in order to be in an authentic relationship with God.
He says the following about Christians (he includes himself) as a generalized group:
"Many of us Christians believe wholeheartedly that anger, sadness, and fear are sins to be avoided, indicating something is wrong with our spiritual life. Anger is dangerous and unloving toward others. Sadness indicates a lack of faith in the promises of God; depression surely reveals a life outside the will of God!...Like most Christians, I was taught that almost all feelings are unreliable and not to be trusted."
For me, most of what he says is something I have experienced...I have heard and seen many people whom I know are biblically astute, confident Christians who are mortified of feelings and are of the belief that feelings are a sign of weakness in faith, in character and are a negative personality trait.
Here is what I know for myself...I too have believed and at times,still do believe..that my emotions represent a weakness in Faith and Character...but I also know that along this Journey of trying to shed the fat...I am finding a wonderful freedom in embracing how I feel..sharing it with others..."owning it" and not running from it. It makes this Journey so much more meaningful...and I can attest that my spiritual life has grown immensely.
Here is another thing I know...I must be in a strong, committed relationship with God in order to continue to pursue this goal to achieve an overall healthy lifestyle that will enable me to be the best me possible.
And finally, having said the above... for me, being in a strong, committed relationship with anyone...but particularly with God...requires that I feel...that I am honest, that I am confident about who I am and that I am authentic to my very core. Being "emotional" lies at the very heart of a relationship.
That is just how I roll! :)