I have an ugly past with men, and I react with venom to anyone who has the potential to hurt me.

I have a somewhat sordid relationship with my own self-worth.  I can be a man hater, a victim, a workaholic, and a people pleaser…and after a time of self-reliance in these areas, I wind up not only exhausted but seething with anger. 

I have used exercise in unhealthy ways to escape and I have used it in healthy ways to find strength, ability, and control where I thought there was none. There is no straight forward formula here.  Exercise and nutrition can help heal your broken parts but it is only a band aid to your brokenness.

I have used food and fitness both to punish myself and as an outlet for extreme hurt and frustration… and I am not alone in this.

I  know countless women who abuse their bodies in the name of gaining or keeping love or power. I know just as many women who abuse food as a means of controlling one variable in their seemingly out of control lives. I know women who starve, I know women who binge in secret, I know women who workout for hours to punish themselves for binging, I know women who refuse to workout with any real effort because they fear failure….and at different times; I have been all of these women.

 I can tell you from experience that our failures and hurts run deeper than the last cookie we ate or workout we skipped.  The symptom is revealed by the disease and I have experienced enough to know that an obsession with our bodies is often the result of a deeper sickness.

Some of you are in the middle of an affair and others of have been cheated on…

Some of you are still married or single but you are desperately lonely.

Some of you have perhaps lost control with your children using your force or your words, and some of you come from a background of abuse.

Some of you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and some of you have been the victims of an addicted person.

Some of you are so consumed with maintaining the façade of perfection and comparing yourself to other women, that you haven’t experienced real peace since childhood.

The question is this, how will you move forward? 

Are you stagnating in guilt or are you stagnating in fear?  Either way there is only rot and waste.

My heart breaks for women who have been hurt, physically, or emotionally. My purpose in fitness is  to strengthen women where they have been damaged.  I am not however, interested in investing  in an attitude where we are forever victims  either at the hands of someone  whose love we are desperately trying keep, or by our own hands, as we claw desperately for love, attention, and control in a broken world.

So what has broken the stronghold of an eating disorder, compulsive working out, insecurity and fear in my life? 

It wasn’t standing in front of a mirror shouting affirmations… not that there is anything wrong with practicing a positive declaration of self… it’s just that I could never fully buy into It… I know the truth about myself and that while I am loved and created for purpose; I am also capable of self-destruction.

 It is not that I needed to think more of myself. In fact, I already thought of myself too much…In every phase of life,  in different ways I was obsessed with myself…with my  inadequacy…I was obsessed with changing myself physically for all the wrong reasons…my eyes were constantly on every flaw,  and those to whom I compared.

I had to stop allowing the pain in the past to drive my reactions.

I had to discover the beauty of my own purpose outside of anyone else’s opinions

I had to seek the one who created me to discover the value He placed on me.

We move forward when we stop wallowing and start looking forward. 

 My relationship with Jesus Christ grew out of the complete implosion of my marriage and personal life. Loneliness, exhaustion, and desperation allowed me to see for once that all my efforts were not only vanity but wasted in light of eternity.

It is not that I need to think more about what I am or am not.

It is that I need to think more of who He Is. 

Hebrews 12 tells us to “lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith.”

It is to this passage I turn when my heart is weary or my head is swirling with rage. 

If you are frozen by failures, and in bondage to your past…stop looking at yourself and stop looking at others. and fix your eyes ahead.

Are you good looking? Is that the limit of your self-definition? …fix your eyes

Are you popular, admired, even envied? …are you working constantly to keep that idol fed?

Are you consumed by your flaws,  do you wake up daily hating your body?…fix your eyes forward.

Have you been hurt, beaten, insulted, and marginalized? … fix your eyes

Are you fearful, prideful, independent, or codependent?…fix your eyes

Do you want to break the cycle of strongholds in your life? Whatever they are, Stop looking behind you or around you, and fix your eyes on Jesus the author of your life and the creator of your purpose.

I’m sure not everyone reading this is a Christian and this may seem like pointless advice.  But it has been the only thing that has broken the cycle of obsession and eating disorder in my life and I would be a liar to pretend it were anything else.

When you dwell on being hurt you only condition yourself to be hurt and to hurt others.  When you obsess about your inadequacy, your inadequacy will be your only expertise.  When you continually work to build a veneer of perfection, reality will outlast the fantasy every time.

When you focus on Jesus, you are reliant on HIS perfection, who he created you to be, and what he created you for…

Working is replaced with resting,

Frustration is replaced with peace,

Hurt is replaced with healing.

You cannot force a false self-worth, you will always fail to measure up to the perfect standard in your head,  your value system has to  change. Physical beauty, male attention, failure, addiction, and every manner of thing that can weigh us down become dim in the periphery of your obsession when you realize you are fearfully and wonderfully made, loved with and everlasting love, forgiven without boundary or hesitation, and created for purpose.