I literally just spent the past 45mins standing in the bathroom, naked, talking to myself in the mirror. I know, that was a severe level of TMI but I have to share my truth.
The first part of my talk was a very informal conversation with God. I told Him that I felt like I must be doing something incorrectly because my posts weren’t generating the feedback that I thought they deserved. I actually said that sometimes I get jealous (such a dirty word!) when I see more trivial posts get comments and likes out to wazoo while my truth- God’s truth- gets no attention. I literally did the very thing that I tell my 6yr old niece NOT to do …which is to do comparisons. But I just had to vent because I had been experiencing a writing dry spell and the dry spell was making me question my overall effectiveness. I just needed God to hear my side of the story, and standing there in my birthday suit, I felt my purest and most sincere.
And right there at the intersection of those two mirrors, God told me to hursh it. He holds no punches when He speaks to me because I’m hard headed….
God had to remind me that He didn’t place this ministry in my heart for likes and comments- He gave it to save lives. He further reminded me that the truth is never popular; it wasn’t popular when Jesus spoke it so it definitely would not be popular coming from M.E. In that time at the mirror, God asked me what was more important to me, making a difference or being liked.
Well since You asked, Lord, I would rather make a difference.
I realized that there were many times over the past few months where I worried about how many people visibly expressed their approval of my posts (because that’s all likes and comments are- a visible sign of approval). It mattered so much to me. I think I was honestly using their feedback as the measuring tool to determine my relevance. No, I was not focusing on those who had privately reached out to me to express how my words and truths had moved them (and that number is steadily increasing)….I seemed to only cared about the public display.
Flag on the play, Michelle.
Bathroom conversations like this one always seem to open my ears once I am able to close my mouth. Once I heard the foolishness of my words, I shut my mouth and listened to what God had to say. And the first thing He told me was that this was His ministry and His gift- He could withdraw both whenever He pleased if I misused them. Then He told me to remove whatever was stopping me from writing His words and just write what He gives, knowing that from there He would handle the rest. I just love how frank He is with me!
After talking about His ministry, I seemlessly transitioned into a discussion about my weight, weight loss, and overall health.
I thought about the fact that a family friend may be headed towards gastric surgery and how I had considered it, too. Alas, I realized that I would not be a good candidate for the procedure because of my emotional state. While I was not in “The Dark Place”, I still battled depression this year. I realized that my current weight loss was because my body literally could not process the foods that I loved, liked, and tolerated. (Loved- pizza and cheesecake; liked- ice/nice cream; tolerated- fruit). Whether it was my GI tract or my allergies, my body began rejecting my favorite things right after my birthday last year. This time last year I was preparing to indulge in an Oreo cheesecake that my pastry chef friend was making me for my birthday. I also remembered when I received it…and how I ate the bulk of it by myself.
For about 3months last year, I would venture to Wegmans every Friday evening after work and pick up a 2pack of their cheesecake and indulge in it. Then on pay Fridays I would have the cheesecake with pizza. That was my habit and I loved it. The food comforted me and took my mind off of whatever stressors I had encountered during the week.
But then my body began rejecting the food…
I was the definition of an emotional eater. If I was happy, I ate. Feeling sad? Eat the pain away. Feeling angry? Some chips can solve that. Every emotion could be soothed with food. And the best comfort food contained three main ingredients: fat, cheese, and carbs. To miss one of those three things meant it was not real food. I loved it… but that newly 30yr old body hated it.
In October of last year I began experiencing more GI discomfort than I had ever experienced in the past. I went to another doctor and had another Endoscopy. This time the doctor told me that in addition to my IBS and gluten sensitivity, I had inflammation of the stomach and small intestine and acid reflux. He gave me a very strict diet plan to follow, medication to take, and told me to drop to 5 small meals a day instead of 3 normal sized meals. For the first week I only listened to the meal size part (remember, I’m hard headed) but after talking a nutritionist, I decided to fully commit on November 13th. My version of fully committing meant completely following a plant-based diet.
Pause, but my family is Jamaican…meat is the only item in our diet!
It was the holiday season and I had no clue how I would survive without ham and my mac&cheese but I knew that I couldn’t live in pain anymore. So I committed to the diet change, not because I wanted to, but because my body was forcing me.
Back to present day…
So as I was standing in the mirror looking at my naturalness, I realized that my goal is to overcome the genetic conditions that have plagued both sides of my family. Yes; I still want to lose all of the weight that I had lost once and then regained over the course of 4yrs, but I also want to proactively fight against Diabetes, HBP, heart disease, etc.
I want to live.
I do not know what will ultimately call me home to the Father but I want to know that I tried my best to not cause more damage to my body. I also want to be able to run and play with my babies (whenever they and my husband arrive from God). I no longer want to feel limited or trapped because of the body that I am in.
But as I stood in the mirror, I realized that sad reality that had my body not rejected the food, I would still be consuming those deadly items. And that reality scared me.
Every night when I go to bed, I thank God for allowing me to make good food choices in the current day and I pray that He would help me through the next day. I stopped making big, weekly/monthly goals and decided to take it one day at a time. Lord, thank You for the choices that I made today and for Your provisions. I even changed my grace from that little kid’s recitation to a grown up version that fully thanks God for His provisions, while also asking that the food would be full and complete nourishment to my body. Changing my thoughts around the food that I consumed changed my thoughts on what food to consume.
For me, I learn my best lessons through some level of pain….
I learned to ease off of the pedal by receiving 6 speeding tickets (police officer and cameras) in 14yrs.
I learned to stop spending more than I had in the bank by getting hit with overdraft fees.
And I learned to stop eating what was not good for me by my body going into debilitating fists of pain.
As I stood in that mirror talking to God, I continued to relinquish control to Him. I do not know what will happen in the future and I definitely have no control over it. But I do know that when I stop trying to control every aspect of my life, God steps in and allows His grace and mercy to carry me far beyond that which I could have ever imagined.
Tonight’s mirror session reminded me that I am uniquely and wonderfully made. God made no mistakes when He created me in His image. He took His time to make each individual character component. He worked diligently on M.E…
Too diligently for me to compare myself to anyone else….
Too diligently for me to allow darkness to consume me …..
Too diligently for me for to allow M.E. to ruin His work.
Normally when I gather my thoughts for posts, I share truths but I limit revealing my full basket of imperfections. I guess I just don’t want people to really see every blemish. But just as I stood in the mirror, naked to my God, I want to stand [metaphorically] naked to you all. I have to be this honest because someone needs to hear how God can still work in our lives regardless of our flaws. Someone needs to hear that God does not seek perfection- He seeks commitment, trust, and obedience.
I also share my nakedness because it is in those naked moments when I am able to be the most honest with myself. With nothing covering me, I can see who I truly am. I can see what God sees and I can self-evaluate.
For you, beloved, I recommend some naked mirror time. Strip down to your birthday suit and have a real conversation with yourself and God. Talk about your hopes, dreams, and deepest desires. Removing the clothes is symbolic of removing the layers of society and outsiders that stop us from being who we really are. Remove all the barriers that separate you from yourself and from God.
….(but not if you have a roommate 😀😘😂)