The most powerful definition of a word is in the absence of it. I don’t believe you can truly understand and appreciate freedom until you have experienced captivity. And the worst part is, many times we don’t know we are held captive because the bars we look through everyday have become our normal perspective. We don’t know any different. I didn’t know any different. ED fooled me into thinking I was free from being “fat” and from being “average”. I wasn’t searching for the key because I had settled into my cell and called it home. I never asked what was on the outside because the inside was all my mind and heart could remember. Even when others beckoned me from the outside of my jail cell, I thought they were the ones suffering. They were the ones who couldn’t control their calorie intake, who were going to end up overweight and full of regrets, who would never have the motivation to take care of their bodies. The ones on the outside were the poor souls in my mind. What an embarrassingly empty way to live.
But then one who loves organized a jail break, and I found myself on the outside of my safe little prison world. The outside was overwhelming and horrifying at first, but slowly, as my eyes adjusted to a vision clear of metal bars, I began to realize what I had been missing out on. That is what I want to share today. I want to share the definition of freedom. Because, friends, it is incredible.
Freedom is . . .
Not caring about calorie counts. I truly don’t. I don’t look at food labels anymore, I’m not even tempted to. The amount of fat, the calories, none of that matters to me. I am not tied to a rectangle on the back of all food packages anymore and it’s heavenly. All I see when I look at food anymore is a tally. I have an automatic tally counter and a portion size scale in my head. I’ve been living by tallies for over a year now and guess what, I haven’t ballooned up to 500 pounds yet. Not even to 200 pounds. I’ve gotten to where I”m supposed to be and have leveled off and maintained. Calorie counting is hogwash. It’s a chain we put on ourselves. I eat my tallies in correct portion sizes and move on. No more calorie counting is freedom in my life.
Freedom is . . .
Setting my own exercise goals. Now, – and I double check this daily – now, I make my own choices in how I exercise and for how long. I’ve been super conscious of my exercise and why I do it because I don’t want to fall into any traps. One of those traps is my own personality. Snap Fitness is doing a challenge right now. I thought about joining, but I have learned that my personality grabs hold of a challenge and won’t let go. I know that my competitiveness would have had to be top of the list and that need to push myself to achieve against others’ goals would have set me on ED’s path. Instead, I choose my own path. That path is to exercise for my health in mind and body. I know now that I exercise because I truly enjoy it. I love the feeling of health, of pushing my own personal limits within reason, of being aware of my body and what it can do. Exercise clears my head, strips distraction away until it’s just me for a small time in a day. There are mornings when I can’t exercise, but I prefer to start my mornings in that laser focus of orienting my mind to the day. I choose to not over exercise because I don’t exercise to burn calories anymore. I exercise to be healthy in mind and body. I trust myself because the bars of my prison have cleared my vision to the purpose of exercise in my life.
Freedom is . . .
Living each day in gratitude. Never take for granted the simple choices, the daily schedules, the normal routine of each day. Because when you live in a prison of your own making, each day is ruled by fear rather than thankfulness. And that difference is crucial.
These daily joys shoot my soul full of gratitude because I get to experience them now. I missed so much by being scared. I want to shout from a mountain – don’t live life scared! Live life free. This is how I do freedom . . .
- I started having an egg for breakfast everyday. Eggs don’t make me fat.
- I sit on my couch with my laptop most afternoons doing work and homework because I have to get it done. I don’t get fat from not being on my feet all day long.
- I love the sweet potato fries at Four Brothers restaurant. I’ve had them probably twice in the past six months but those 2 times have not made me fat at all. No weight gained from those fries.
- Benj and I sat and watched the boys play at a McDonalds play land one weekend and then treated them to ice cream. I ate an M&M McFlurry and enjoyed every bite without feeling an ounce of guilt afterwards. And guess what, I didn’t get fat from it.
- On Isaac’s birthday I had to cut my workout short by 10 minutes to get his balloon and birthday breakfast donuts from Walmart. Ten minutes less of exercise that day did not make me fat.
- I had pumpkin dessert leftover from Thanksgiving in a house full of non-pumpkin lovers so I got to have one piece every night after supper all to myself. Eating pumpkin dessert for a week straight did not make me fat.
- My boys had to decide between going to a movie on Saturday or going swimming. We went to the movie and so instead of getting to be physically active I sat on my butt in the movie theater watching Captain Underpants. I checked my maturity level at the door and enjoyed the fun they had and didn’t gain a pound from choosing inactivity to movement.
- I repeat to myself daily how good I look and get annoyed with any part of me that starts comparing. Because I am not fat.
- I realized that I can take the bull by the horns and be a leader. I don’t like to crawl in a corner and hide. I’d rather get stuff done instead of worrying about whether or not I’m getting fat. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I lived in a prison because I believed ED’s lies instead of trusting in who God made me. I am grateful everyday for my personality and my choices. I am grateful for the confidence God has given me. I am grateful for the past year of figuring out who I am. Each moment of gratitude solidifies the knowledge that I am a child of God created to thrive. I am not meant to live in fear. I am meant to be free in surrender to the God who loves me. Freedom is knowing God created me, holds me, and molds me. I like me. So I will walk around with my head held high and my eyes on the prize. That singular focus alone drives my life into gratitude rather than captivity based on lies. God designed freedom. Fight for it. Every moment of pain in the battle is worth your freedom. Freedom is worth it.
God made us to thrive.