Monday, June 6, 2011


"I hope you don't hear this the wrong way, but I'm really proud of you."

This is what a friend said to me last Saturday when she came over for lunch.  We talked about many things during those two hours, but that's the phrase that stuck to me.  I've been thinking about it ever since.

She was affirming me for changing the way I eat.  For changing the way my family eats, actually.  And for making other, healthier lifestyle choices (taking supplements, choosing organic, trying my hand at growing vegetables (still no tomatoes but my fingers are crossed!), removing plastic containers whenever possible, and more).

(For a great article on the whole plastic container issue, click here.)

It's hard for me to receive that affirmation.  In part because I resent it.  There.  I said it.  I hate the fact that choosing health is such a polarizing issue.  That, if you add words like organic or naturopath into your daily lexicon you suddenly conjure up visions of love-bead-wearing hippies.  I don't like being lumped in with a group in such a generalized way, based on preconceptions and misconceptions, especially when I don't identify with that group in many, many ways (but, of course, I do identify with that group in others...damn those generalizations!).

I also resent it because it's true - the implication behind her words...the truth that making the change took guts, took repentance actually.  I resisted choosing a healthier lifestyle for many years out of sheer stubbornness, I think.  And pride.  I only made the choice when I had to make the choice - when my doctors were telling me that the only way to get better was to eat better.  When God Himself was telling me to "eat well".

Isn't that the way it always is?  In our gross, yucky, fleshiness we fail to do that which is clearly best for us.  (For an ancient version of this same concept, check out Paul and Romans 7: 18-20.)  And then, when we finally make the choice, it's really hard to admit that we resisted making it in the first place.  To walk humbly.  We'd rather pretend like we knew it all along and walk about with our peacock feathers prancing about us.

At least, tell me I'm not the only one?!?

So here I am, stuck in the middle between the past and the future, in this present of transition and affirmation.  My friends who made the choice before me are proud of me.  My friends who have not yet made the choice are supportive, inquisitive, respectful.  No one seems to be judging me, yet I still feel judged.  What is that?  Why am I so fleshy?

I do not have an answer to that.  I can't sum this post up in one pithy point.  But I can go back to where I started and finish with this: with the amount of change I've walked through in the last ten months, I've realized one, very key thing about myself...I need affirmation.

I don't just want it.  I actually need it.

I believe that to be true.  That's why when my dear, sweet friend affirmed me for making the lifestyle/food/whatever-you-want-to-call-it change, her words sounded like a voice-over while the whole rest of our conversation faded into white noise in the background.

That's why I don't feel safe around doctors that only want to discuss facts but never give feedback or encouragement reflecting the hard choices I'm making to choose life, to walk in health.  They may be helping me, but their help is only so effective because what I actually need is more.

That's why God talks to me.  And I mean in a real, live, audible voice.  He knows that I need to hear Him speaking actual words that build me up and spur me on.  (He may speak to you differently.  In fact, I'm sure He does - because He knows what you need.)

This revelation of need, not just want, has really helped me in the past few days.  It has helped me "frame the view" as a gardener or interior designer might say.  In other words, I will make different choices based on this revelation about myself.  I will actively seek out people and situations where affirmation abounds. 

To put it simply, I will choose to get my needs met, and I will refuse to remain in places where they're not only not getting met, but where they're actively being denied.

I don't say this out of selfishness.  I say this out of balance (which is what this whole healthy-living thing is about to me anyway).  I say this out of love: self-love and love for others.  (Why would I want to continue demanding something from someone who is so ill-equipped to give it, setting him or her up for failure and us up for bitterness?  Better to move on with grace and seek spaces of love in my communicated in a way I can understand.)

And I say this out of a desire to love better.  If I cauterize the places of bitterness I allowed to grow where I did not get the affirmation I needed, I can remove diseased flesh and create space for healthy humanity to replace it.  I can heal and recover in such a way as to operate more fully, being able to give out more graciously, from more of an open heart, ultimately needing less in return and really loving the way He loves.

So anyway, this post may seem a bit random, but there you have it.  The intersection of the practical and the metaphysical via Holy Spirit revelation.  He made me this way, and I need to honor it.  I want to honor it.  That is my spiritual act of worship.  Amen.

Linking up with Soli Deo Gloria again this week.


  1. There are several major things that stand out to me in this post, but the one that applies to me and where I'm at right now is "need vs want". So, so many areas.

    Oh and ps it sounds as if you do have something to be very proud of :)

  2. I've also been working on this whole past year the need vs. want. I think I'm really getting it!
    You wrote this beautifully. I was into every word. Yes, you should be proud, and not just for the healthy choices in food but the healthy choices in who you listen to! :)
    (visiting from SDG Sisterhood)

  3. Ladies, already my cup is so full from these words of affirmation - thank you!

  4. So, I don't think this was random at all. So clear. So concise. So wonderful.

    And, of course, I'm proud, too, friend. Of so much that you have done.

  5. It's hard to turn the ship of poor health habits. The exciting thing is that it seems to be a key of some sort. Once you tell your body no to that donut, it's easier to tell your mouth no to disrespecting your husband...etc. Maybe that's why fasting is so important. It keeps our "flesh creature" under subjection to the spirit man.

  6. Your words resonate within me. It is true that we must choose the road of healing...either within our hearts or our bodies.

    For many years, like you, I have rebelled against eating healthy, then the bottom dropped from under me and I needed to become healthier.

    It is now a necessity! Like you, I want affirmation from others. But the best one comes from my husband and my children. And being in the knowledge that I am doing the right thing for me and following HIS prompting.

    Oops!, I am sorry for writing so long in the box - but I am in the same journey! :)

  7. "I am proud of you" are words that I use very often and I always mean it as an encouragement and affirmation. I would love to know more why those words were hard to hear. They are words I would love to use well.

    Thanks for sharing your journey.


  8. Oh, you're making such great steps toward a healthier lifestyle. Good for you!

    And your words really resonated with me as well. My love language is words of affirmation too, so I hear you on needing that encouragement.

    So, you're making great steps! Stick with it. One change at a time.


  9. One thing that God taught me through the last few years is that everyone affirms in a different way. I'm a jump-up-and-down kind of person. My kids are used to that jubilant type of affirmation.

    I found your post to be self-convicting in some points and I thank you for that. God has used you more than once to show me His desires for me.

    Thanking God for you today,

  10. I am proud of you too! I really understand what your saying as our family has done a similar thing.
    I think the movement is growing and there is less judgement but there is a large bit of population who think all that is nonsense.
    I choose not to listen:) I feel better and so do the kids when we eat better.
    I'm glad you choose to be who God made you...that is where we shine the most and are most effective I believe.
    happy weekend:)