April showers bring May flowers.
I saw this cute and timeless phrase appear in many posts over the last few weeks, and each time I thought, “I just love that phrase, but it’s not true.”
Well, if you live on the Central Coast of California, it isn’t true.
Except, it is for me.
The month of April brought many showers in my own life. I cried, literally, many times, and I cried out to The Lord many more times. I can’t really say why, or what started it, but the month of April brought more showers of tears in my life than I have seen in almost a year. And as I pressed into The Lord, especially in the last days of April, I couldn’t help but believe that those April showers in my life will certainly bring May flowers. And the more I prayed and listened to The Lord, I felt it necessary to expose, once and for all, the reality of those showers in my life, and watch as the fruit blossoms.
The fruit of peace, and the fruit of joy are at hand.
In full bloom.
You see, for most of my life, I struggled with my body image. Being from small town Alabama, it was not uncommon to witness obesity and the lack of health. It was also not uncommon to be blissfully unaware of all things healthy. I had little to no knowledge of a healthy lifestyle. Honestly, I did not know what a calorie was until I was twenty years old. Some would call that ignorance, but for me, I simply was not taught anything other than the culture I grew up in. I literally did not know any better.
As years passed and life carried me all over the world, I began to experience cultures other than my own, and my eyes began to see lifestyles that displayed health. I also began to see lots of healthy people, with very healthy, fit, and in-shape bodies. While my mind began to long for health, that desire became quite messy in that my emotions longed for the perfect image. It became harder and harder for me to separate physical health from an image. Don’t get me wrong, I know that most often the two will go hand in hand, but the image has to follow the health, not the other way around.
For me, the desire for the image was far greater than the desire for health, and this led to an entirely unhealthy obsession with diets, fasts, quick fixes, and especially with the scale.
Honestly, the obsession I had was everything but healthy.
With time and revelation and so much love from God, I transitioned out of that obsession and into a journey of health. Over the last two years, I became the healthiest I have ever been. Yes, my body was transforming and becoming healthy, but more importantly, I was finding health in my mind.
Then, April happened.
As I said before, I don’t know what happened. I just know April happened.
The showers came, and let me tell y’all, it didn’t just rain. It poured.
Out of nowhere I was completely obsessed with my body image. This is raw, but it is real. I was literally obsessed. Every time I ate food, I was completely terrified that one single bite would be the bite that took to me to seven hundred pounds. I would literally cry at night because I was suddenly terrified of being unhealthy and obese. I was weighing myself all the time, and absolutely devastated by the completely natural and common fluctuations of weight. I was imagining all the worst things. I literally felt like I could not eat without gaining weight. It was as if I believed that I actually didn’t have a metabolism, and that I would become the real live Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Somehow, I would just keep growing until I popped.
Even as I write these words, I am so aware of how ridiculous it sounds, yet it was so real to me. The struggle was so real.
As April was nearing a close, I felt a nudge from The Lord to commit to health during the month of May. I felt Him gently convicting me of how unhealthy my thought processes were, and revealing to me the truth that if health is my goal, my thoughts and obsessions were literally the exact opposite.
As I asked The Lord for practical tools, I heard Him say, “No way, May!”
And I thought, “What does that mean?”
Again, I heard, “No way, May!”
I kept pondering.
Several times later, I got it.
“No weigh May.”
The Lord was asking me to give to Him, with open hands, my greatest obsession, my greatest security, and my greatest weakness. Honestly, it terrified me. The fear of The Lord, however, is far greater than that fear, and I know for certain that God does not anything of us that is not for our good. After all, He is for us, not against us. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, and is after our hearts, and longs to bring us into freedom.
So with tears in my eyes, and still fear in my heart, I gave The Lord my weak and humble YES.
Sometimes that is all we have.
But He can use it.
So, for the month of May, I am saying No Weigh.
I am worth so much more than a number on a scale. And health, true health, is so much more than a number on a scale. I am not saying it is simple or easy. I have already cried about it twice, and it is only the fourth day of May. I do believe, however, that is worth it, and that God wants to use this time in my life to bring beautiful fruit. He wants to take the showers and turn them into flowers.
And why am I sharing this?
Because I refuse to let my weaknesses be hidden in the dark. I refuse to let them be covered in shame when they can be exposed to the light, become light, and bring freedom.
I believe that being raw and vulnerable, even though entirely scary, can bring such freedom to my life, as well as to those who may also have these struggles and fears, yet feel they are alone.
If that’s you, take heart. God is so much bigger.
And the showers will, without a doubt, bring beautiful flowers.