Have you ever felt shame about your eating or your size? Maybe you wake up and feel a horrible burden of guilt and shame is going to crush you…the thought of what happened last night…that you inhaled food through much of the night until you fell into bed exhausted…
Or maybe it is the annual physical where you go to the doctor’s and she sees your weight…is up…and you just want to crawl under the examination table and hide.
Seeing someone you haven’t seen in a while can cause shame to explode to the surface…
It is almost worse if, in any of these situations, you previously had lost weight and now have gained weight again.
Or boarding an airplane only to discover that your hips rub up against the sides of the armrests so much that the armrests won’t stay down…and the seatbelt is pulled out as far as it goes…or, worse, you have to ask for an extender.
Having the calling and responsibility of running the Thin Within ministry, coaching others to help them experience what now seems like a distant memory in my own life…and gaining so much weight…maybe even 80 pounds…well, talk about SHAME with a capital S! Each time I have a complimentary initial consultation with someone who is considering one-on-one coaching, the shame rises in me as I tell her where I am currently and invite her to disqualify me from being a voice speaking into her life because of my size. The fact that these women even allow me to walk with them on their journeys is a constant demonstration to me of God’s grace!
So what do we do with the shame we feel? Or the conviction that the Holy Spirit brings?
On June 8th, I woke up feeling such a heavy burden about what I had allowed to happen to my body while leading the Thin Within ministry and coaching women. I knew I had to do something drastic, something desperate.
Secrets breed more secrets. I didn’t typically overeat in secret, but the truth about just how far off the rails I had fallen certainly wasn’t obvious to the population of people I get to serve! One of the best things I could have done was speak the truth about what has happened.
Here are the things I have done to step out of shame and secrecy:
- Create this blog to chronicle my journey with honest disclosure.
- Develop accountability with my coaching groups and my prayer partners.
- Increase my personal accountability in some way by recording what I am eating and why…what my hunger numbers are when I eat.
- Speak to my doctors about what I am doing.
Additionally, God used this season (as interesting and unlikely as it seems) for me to launch the Thin Within Inner Circle membership group on Facebook where I live my daily life outside my comfort zone.
The biggest step forward toward escaping the trap of shame is stepping into the light. It reminds me of stepping into a basement or garage and turning on the lights…the mice scurry to hide in darkness. Like those mice, my secrets and shame simply won’t exist where the light is on!
How about you? Would you like a way out of the shame you feel, too? How will you choose to step into the light? I can’t pretend it isn’t terrifying…but it is worth it. My shame can’t own me as long as I live here in the light. I long for that for you, too. Who will you tell your secret to? Who will you be accountable to? When will you do that?