I am so excited to introduce to y’all today my friend Charity.
I have told y’all before one of my most favorite things about blogging is meeting like minded people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and well, this gem of a girl is one of them. We met around this time last year when we both sponsored another blog. I have loved following along on her journey as she grows through her writing (y’all she is so real, like really real) and it makes my day having her stop on by over here. So grab your cup of coffee, make yourself at home, and be ready to be inspired and convicted and loved on.
I think most of us live on a proverbial teeter totter, bouncing between our culture’s definition of a beautiful body image and the real world we live in. We curse the magazine racks with their perfect Photoshopped cover models, but we lament when our cottage cheese thighs won’t fit in our jeans any more, and to make ourselves forget that we don’t have a size two frame we order another Starbucks grande Caramel Macchiato, and as we sip liquid heaven we wonder why God made all the bad foods taste so good and exercise hurt so much?
Sometimes when things get too desperate we join a gym, sign up for the latest diet program and pray we can get off at least 20 pounds before our family vacation. Thus, begins our up and down ride on our teeter totter, each time less enthusiastic and each time less hopeful of real change.
This is where I was two years ago, addicted all things junk food and my butt planted on the couch. As my muffin top grew, so did my despair. I knew I was heading in the wrong direction with my weight, but my love for Pepsi was greater than my love of a flat stomach, and my love for donuts superseded a thigh gap, so what was I going to do? How was I ever going to overcome my failure, and live a life of abundance and health? How was I ever going to lose weight and keep it off?
I discovered something very important when it comes to a lasting change in our lives, including losing weight, and living a healthier lifestyle — self-love. As I pursued the heart of God, and his delight in me, I discovered how much I really hated myself. My thoughts were filled with negative and self-destructive thoughts. I hated my body, so I never took care of it. I hated my life, so I comforted myself with food and inactivity. Deep down I believed I wasn’t beautiful or worthy to be beautiful. I discovered that everything I believed contradicted the words God was singing over me. I realized I was believing the lie, instead of the truth — the truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
This is when I decided to go on a journey. A journey that I am going to be on until the day I die. There is no destination, there is no perfect moment, no perfect weight, size or shape. There is only one goal on this journey, to see myself as God sees me, and I will never stop pursuing Love and his delight in me. This journey is never about being perfect, but finding true love.
First, I faced myself just the way I was — flabby, dimples (and not the cute ones), bad habits, whatever I hated, and I began to practice accepting myself. Every single day I would stare at myself in the mirror, and I would begin to love the girl I saw. I would speak of her beauty, her strength, and her fire inside. I didn’t look away. I asked myself, “If nothing about yourself ever changes, could you love her just the way she is?” I began to call the lies out and replace them with truth, because until I love myself right now, in this moment, I don’t care how skinny I get, how perfect I can make myself, I will still hate the girl.
True and lasting change comes from the foundation of love and knowing I am worthy of that love.
Second, I began to practice self-forgiveness. Every day I would drive to the gas station to get my super-sized fountain Pepsi, and the whole way home, I’d say to myself, “Charity, I forgive you for drinking this soda. You’re on a journey, and you are going to love yourself more than this soda, but today I’m not ready, and that’s ok.” It took three months of practicing self-forgiveness and kicking shame out the door, and I was finally ready to quit soda for good. That was two years ago, and if you knew how much I loved soda, you’d understand this was a huge step in my journey, but I couldn’t take the step until I was ready to make it forever.
There weren’t very many other big changes for the next year. I continued to eat fast food, and forgive myself. I continued to squeeze my flabby arms, and say, “I still love you, Charity.” It was a journey of daily renewing my mind, learning to love myself in this very moment, and forgiving myself for not getting it right.
It didn’t seem like anything was changing on the outside, but I was changing on the inside. I was walking a journey to self-love, and inside there were so many true and lasting changes taking place under the surface, and then, four months ago, I decided to cut out refined sugar, like, within a day. I was shocked at how easy it was. Two months ago, I started working out, and I love it. I’ve added in mountains of rabbit food. (Barf, ain’t nobody got time for leafy greens! Except, you know, I was ready for them, and I actually like them.)
I want to share with you my favorite salad that I pretty much eat every single day, and if you’d rather be on Pinterest pinning pecan pies and deep fried pork chops, then that’s ok. That’s where you are right now, besides, it’s more about enjoying your journey, then making it perfect. Love yourself now, because you’re perfect just the way you are, and you’re on a journey to discover how much God takes delight in you, and how much you’re worthy of that love.
The Most Amazing Spring Salad
2 handfuls of leafy green salad mix (make sure to add fresh spinach and kale for extra power foods)
1 handful of blueberries
1 handful of cut apple chunks (Tart apples are the best. Fugi are my favorite.)
1 handful of grilled chicken chunks
Blue Cheese crumbles (See, it ain’t perfect. I’ve have more than one person tell me to lose the cheese. No way! I’m not ready for that!)
Homemade Vinaigrette dressing
Homemade Vinaigrette dressing:
1 part apple cider vinegar
1 part virgin olive oil
Dried Basil seasoning
Red pepper flakes (if you like a kick)
Shake it all together and pour over the salad.
You’re so beautiful just the way you are, and remember, you are not on a journey to perfection, but rather you’re on a journey to Love.
Charity shares pieces of her messy journey over at The Wounded Dove. If there is anything Charity has learned from her broken story is to embrace her past, practice gratitude, and pursue Love, because from that freedom is found. When she’s not writing, Charity is managing four fabulous young children who continue to inspire her to be a #GoodEnoughMom. Come connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.