It was a hairy situation

I heard a scream from the kitchen. Not a short, scream of shock but a long one of agonizing pain. It was the 10 year old. I ran in there to find the electric mixer attached to her head. Her gorgeous, long hair had fallen forward while she was mixing pancake batter and within a split second… pain. Unfortunately, she instinctively reached for her hair with her free hand and sustained injuries to it as well. Tears. Lots of tears. Her hair was a mess. Some yanked out of the scalp, some still entangled in the mixer, and the rest splattered with batter (along with her face and clothes). Her hand was bleeding and swelling. The part of me that knew we would laugh about this later (and we did) wanted to snap a picture… the mom in me ran to my little girls’ aid. Her sisters pitched in too.

We’ve all had those times when we’re going along, happy as can be… envisioning our light and fluffy pancakes slathered in syrup… when all of the sudden, it becomes a hairy situation… maybe not literal hair involved… but you know what I mean. A phone call changes your day… or your month… or life as you know it. An accident flips your world upside down. Words slice your heart in two. Life is full of these unexpected things and how we will handle them is often a surprise to us. We react.

Reacting is natural of course, and sometimes our reactions are exactly necessary (like crying when we hurt). Sometimes though, our reactions can bring on stress and anxiety and trust issues.

Years ago, my mom told me about a man who decided to change the way he reacted to life situations by relinquishing control to God. He determined that everything he had belonged to God and that he was just using what God gave him to use. One day he he got into a car accident and his vehicle was severely damaged. Instead of getting upset, and freaking out about how on earth he would deal with the expense and inconvenience of this, he said, “God, I don’t know why you wanted the side of your car bashed in, but you must have a reason for allowing this.”

Whoa! Now that’s a total mind-shift. So often we try to control everything (at least I know I do). However, we can’t control everything.

It is card sending season, and yes, I know this seems I’ve taken a 180 turn in a completely different direction, but just stick with me here. I’ve already mentioned my issues with perfection and “controlling” things. Well, I usually am pretty particular about our Christmas cards. We’ve been in a “themed” series for a number of years. A family member will draw a picture for the front and another family member will write a poem for the inside. The family photo is always color coordinated too. Well, we were running behind on getting them out this year (again, read the post I linked above for more info). I read over everything quickly and I totally missed a typo before the Husband took them to be printed. As I’m stuffing envelopes, I see it… then one of the kids spots it. I felt bad for the kid who wrote the poem. I’m the one who typed it up and I dropped the ball. I knew if I told the Husband I needed to trash those copies, he was going to say, “Sorry babe, not spending another dime on Christmas cards”. Trust me, he’s no Scrooge, and if I asked sweetly, I know he would have reprinted them. I just couldn’t bring myself to ask over something I knew was small in the grand scheme of things.

As I stared at the typo I thought, “Lord, I don’t know why you wanted this card to have a typo, but you must have a reason for this.” The first thing that popped into my head was, “yeah, to teach me not to rush through proofing things.” And then I had another thought. Maybe it was to put yet another nail in my “gotta be perfect” coffin with another lesson in “letting go“. And then another… perhaps, it was to assure some sweet, discouraged soul receiving the card… “See, Jules isn’t perfect either… and it’s ok”.

When we come screaming into this world, we aren’t promised rainbows and unicorns (although advertisers and “prosperity preachers” try their hardest to convince us otherwise). Life will have hairy situations. The question is, how will we react?

The DIEt Monster

One thing women all over the world have in common is the desire to be beautiful. We long to have someone treasure us. We want to believe we’re attractive. We dream of being someone’s princess. We like that “forsake all others” notion and want to be worth making that sacrifice for.

Unfortunately, there is something hell-bent on distorting it all. The DIEt Monster knows what we long for and he uses it to get us to turn on our own bodies. We starve ourselves, chronically diet, excessively exercise, undergo surgery, pluck this, shave that, push-up, suck in, color, polish, make-up… It’s no longer about “accentuating our positives” but rather about chasing that elusive image we have in our heads of the perfect woman. The problem? She doesn’t exist. She’s an airbrushed figment of mankind’s imagination. Striving to be her is like striving to be a unicorn. It’s a myth.

The DIEt Monster tells us we can’t be satisfied with our size. It tells us we can’t be trusted around food. It’s that voice in our head echoing every “expert”we’ve seen on TV or read about in books and magazines. He bombards our minds with those voices and before we know it we’re left with carrots and celery sticks to choose from…. and they must be organic too. He cycles fear through our mind that letting go of the diet books, diet apps, calorie counters, scales, weight-loss forums, and exercise regimes, will find us stuck in our bedroom, unable to fit through the door. He makes us question our worthiness of love if we gain weight. He praises us for losing weight, then turns around and mocks us saying it isn’t enough… pressing us to lose more.

I’ve got news for you (and me). For the DIEt Monster, it will never be enough… never. Even if we get to our goal weight with diets… if we don’t let go of the diet mentality… if we don’t kick the DIEt Monster out of our life… we’ll still be miserable. You see, happiness isn’t in a number on the scale or on a clothing label. Never has been, and no matter what the diets promise, it never will be.

Why do I keep harping on the diet mentality stuff? Because I believe it’s one of the first steps in moving on (First is admitting there’s a problem). Most “naturally thin” people aren’t that way because of genetics. I believe they don’t have a weight issue because they don’t consciously diet. They eat when they are hungry, and stop when they are full. They rarely eat for emotion sake and they never beat themselves up for what, when, or how much they eat. They simply don’t diet. The hard part for professional dieters is the letting go. We’ve bought into the lies of the DIEt Monster and letting them go is mighty hard. It’s a daily battle for a while. It’s a battle I’m in even as I type.

I woke up this morning craving fruit. I questioned whether this was me trying to start another diet, or perhaps feeling guilty for what I ate last night. I haven’t craved fruit in months and yet all I could think of was strawberries, blueberries, oranges…. etc. I didn’t want them because some diet said I should have them, I wanted them because my body was telling me fruit sounded good. I could imagine the juiciness and how it would taste. The DIEt Monster would have me believe that allowing donuts and pancakes and ((gasp))… coffee… would doom me to perpetual binging. Well, obviously this is simply not true. This morning I ate fruit. Just fruit. I ate it till I didn’t want anymore.

Now, I could suddenly think “I’m cured! My obsession is over!” While that is a tempting leap to make, I know that if I box myself in like that… and then I eat a bag of Sun Chips for lunch, I’ll be more likely to feel like a failure and I know I’ll question whether this process is such a good idea. I would be setting myself up to let that diet mentality back in. Instead, I’m choosing to look at this morning’s breakfast for what it was… breakfast – nothing more. Does it show progress, sure, I can admit that. However, I’m not putting pressure on myself to eat fruit tomorrow morning or a salad for lunch today. I’m simply saying, “I’ll eat what I want the next time I’m hungry”.

What I’m learning is that the DIEt Monster is a liar. While in the beginning it appeared he was right… that I would be totally out of control for as long as I “let go”… that is going by the wayside the more I truly let go of the diet mentality and stop judging myself for what I eat. I’m learning I can trust my body’s signals in this area. More importantly, I can trust the Creator of this body. I think the DIEt Monster is a bit angry I’ve kicked him out, but that’s ok with me because I don’t want him around anyway.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10:10 (AMP)