Tag Archive | failure

What Are You Afraid Of?

I used to be afraid at night. Afraid of the dark. Afraid that just beyond the point my eyesight allowed me to see that there was something lurking. Afraid that the darkness itself would somehow surround me and swallow me up…as if darkness were anything more than simply the absence of light.

I used to be afraid of tomorrow. Afraid that who I was would continually dictate who I am, and that who I would be might be someone who I didn’t like very much at all…as though there was no such thing as being made new.

I used to be afraid of opinions. Afraid that though words would not break my bones, they certainly would shatter my dreams…as though I started doing this for the approval of many, rather than the glory of One.

I used to be afraid of failure. Afraid of losing. Afraid of falling. Afraid of being wrong, creating busts, and looking absolutely stupid, because who am I to think that I could ever actually make a difference? As if those setbacks were anything more than the laying down of stepping stones on the path to success.

I used to be afraid.  Used to.

But then I did a little research.  And by that, I mean I re-searched, and I re-searched, and I re-searched, over and over again, and through all of my re-searching, I kept coming up with the same exact question:

What room does fear have?

What room does fear have when I cling to TRUST? What room does fear have when I lean on HOPE? What room does fear have when I search for something more, when I discover and realize what’s good, and when I stand in AWE? When I run with PERSEVERANCE, when I walk by FAITH, and when I rest in COMFORT. What room does fear have when I sing with PRAISE, when I take hold of INSPIRATION, explore the POSSIBILITIES, and step into FREEDOM? What room does fear have when I discover STRENGTH, EMBRACE COURAGE, REMEMBER PEACE, DECLARE TRUTH, CHOOSE JOY, EXPERIENCE LIFE and CONQUER DEATH? What room does fear have when I find perfection in the one place I never thought to look? In weakness, when I’m saved by the most unlikely of heroes. By grace, when I’m invited into a relationship more loving and intimate than I could ever imagine, as a child of God.

I’ll ask you again: what room does fear have when I step out of the darkness, and I bask in the light? When I let the past be the past and the future has no limit. When they can talk all they want, but their opinion doesn’t matter! And when failure is nothing more and nothing less than the road by which I walk my path to success.

I’ll ask you one last time: what room does fear have when in His Word, He tells me three hundred and sixty-five times DO. NOT. BE. AFRAID. As if I needed to hear that every single day. And as if that’s how many times I needed to hear it before I finally believed it.

What room does fear have when I make room for LOVE?

What are you afraid of? 

 

-Jon Jorgenson

 

Here is the video if you want to watch him speak it.

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A Letter To My Body: I’m Sorry.

I have been thinking about this idea for a while. I never got around to it. It kept slipping from my mind because I really do avoid thinking about body image. It’s a sore spot. Recently, in therapy, it came up and I didn’t realize how much of a sore spot it was. Since that session, I can’t seem to get it out of my head. I’ve tried it all… nothing seems to work. Body image is now plaguing me! It now has to be dealt with, and there is no running from it.

In trying to figure out how to get relief and start healing. I decided to acknowledge what I’ve done to my body. I decided to look back and come to terms with it all. I decided to write an apology letter for all that I’ve done. I’m trying to learn how to appreciate my body for what it is, so logically, I should start by apologizing to it!

As I was writing and realizing all I’ve done, I re-read this letter and imagined if I were writing this letter to a friend. Our bodies are our friends, right? As I wrote, I realized how terrible this letter would sound if it were going to a close friend of mine. I would never treat any friend this way, but it was okay to do it to my body; myself?

With that said…. Below is the letter to my body.

 

Dear Body,

Let’s clear the air and talk about the elephant in the room. There has been some tension between us. I think most of it is my own doing. I have to admit, I feel like a complete hypocrite. I find beauty in other women’s bodies, and try my best to encourage them to see the beauty in it, when all along I was ashamed of you. I’ve been so focused on your “imperfections” when I should have seen what you’ve done for me.  

I am so sorry for the way I’ve treated you through the years. I’m sorry that I thought you were never good enough. I’m sorry for what I’ve said to you; yelled at you. That you’re too fat, not strong enough, too muscular, not thin enough, not flat enough, too soft.

It would be easy for me to point my finger at our Western culture and say that the messages sent by the media did it all. That would be a lie. Sure, they didn’t help, but some of the decisions I made were my own. I’m sorry that I allowed the photoshopped images to tell me that you weren’t good enough. I’m sorry that I never focused on what we could do together.

I’m sorry I don’t love you yet. I’m sorry I don’t appreciate you the way I should. I do have to be honest; you’ve done a lot for me. You’ve done so much for me, and I have not repaid you in any way. In fact, I have punished you for what you’ve given me.

I punished you for not listening to me, not reacting the way I expected, not giving me what I want. What I didn’t realize is that every decision you made was to save my life. When I wanted your number to get lower, and you wouldn’t budge, I was angry; furious; but it was for my own good. It was to save my life. I’m sorry that I didn’t (couldn’t) see it. I’m sorry that I revolted against you and just punished you further because I was sure you just didn’t get it. I do see it now.

I’m sorry for trying to “fix” you. For trying to take control and change who you really are. For depriving you of what you needed while feeding you the exercise I thought you should use. I neglected to give you the bare essentials that you needed, but you were still there for me. Even though I took from you, you still protected me.

I’m sorry for thinking you failed me in the past. When I was little. When I got injured. When I was trying to recover from surgery. I’m sorry I was angry with you for what you really didn’t do. I realize that you didn’t fail me… instead, I wasn’t listening to you. For the most part, you have done what was asked, and I only focused on your failures. You sent me critical messages that you were in a crisis, and I ignored you. I thought you were weak when things became dangerous. I was angry that you couldn’t keep up with my terrible regiments. I’m sorry. You were trying to save me.

I’m sorry for not trusting you. For thinking that I know better, and that you didn’t have the understanding of what was important. I’m sorry for letting you down when all you were trying to do is support me. Trust isn’t something that comes lightly, and I ignored what you tried to give me. I understand why you don’t trust me. After all of this, who would?

I’m listening now. You are a precious gift given from God. I only get one “vehicle” in this life, and it’s time to really appreciate who you are, and what you can do. You’ve carried me through 31 years of my life, and you’ve promised to continue doing so, without me asking. You just want me to take care of you.

I know our relationship is a work in progress. I’m really trying here. I will try. I will work. It’s not that I don’t want to love you, because I do. I really do. I will learn to appreciate you for what you can do; what you have done. It’s time. Time to stop criticizing you. Time to focus on your strength.  Time to appreciate you. Time to embrace you. It might take a little work, but I’ll get there.

Hopefully soon I’ll be writing you again… but this time… a Thank You letter acknowledging how much I appreciate you and all you’ve done.

Until then…  please know that I do really care.

Sincerely,

Rachel

On Addictions…

I was listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast on my way to work this morning and what was said really hit me quite hard. The topic was about emotional healing but the focus was on addiction. It was how addiction changes us and affects us as we are trying to live our life.

When referring to addiction, for me, I’m talking more about the addiction of over exercise weight loss; anorexia. Addictions come in many forms and manifest in different ways – work, alcohol, drugs, food, exercise etc. just to name a few.

A few small comments about addiction really made so much sense, and it got me thinking. I was well aware about my addiction to exercise and weight loss and what it has done to my life was not something great. There really isn’t an addiction that is great or that will do something positive for a person (unless it’s an addiction to your faith). Addictions control a person’s being from the core. When you are addicted to something, it lets go of the person we really are and also lets go of our purpose in life.

When I was obsessed with weight loss at the depths of anorexia, nothing else mattered. My day was focused on when I will work out, how much I will run, what food I will eat and what my estimated weight loss of the day could be. My purpose in everything else was lost. The addiction becomes your only purpose and that purpose is empty. It’s an emptiness in us that is filled quickly by immediate gratification and more emptiness. The different between addictions and things we do (habits) is when we can’t function without thinking about it. When your purpose is based around that addiction, it is something that is no longer positive in your life.

old you

Addiction is obsessing over and worshiping what is comfortable. It’s easy to stay in the same place when we are comfortable (and by “comfortable” I mean we are used to it). It’s difficult to change – anything! So many of us are comfortable in many things that are not addictions and that might not always be a bad thing. But that comfort of “I don’t want to have to do _____ and start over” is dangerous when it is severe enough to stop us from making happy and healthy decisions.

Many of us are ashamed to admit our addictions. The secret of our addiction is what keeps us sick in the moment. We are not able to heal until we are open about it. That’s why AA meetings start with “Hi my name is ______ and I’m an alcoholic.” (I could be totally wrong, but I have had enough therapy that I’m pretty sure that’s the case!) When you can take the power from the secret, you are well on your way to understanding that addiction and not allowing it to be your purpose in life. Exercise, weight loss and anorexia was my “purpose” every day until I was able to look at my psychologist and say that I have a problem, and this is out of control, and this is no longer “an eating thing” that I am controlling. Yes, for QUITE SOME TIME I called my anorexia “an eating thing”…. And I worked so hard to convince her that is just what it was…. I was in control! <insert sarcasm> Truthfully, it was controlling my life. It was controlling my every day. My purpose in life was lost. It was more important than my husband, my poodles, friends and who I was as a teacher. Confession: one time, in the middle of an observation with my principal, I lost the place in the story because I checked out to think about food, working out, weight loss and how I could achieve it. I love teaching and it is who I am. That addiction was more important than my job at that moment and more important than those students I was teaching and shaping. My purpose was lost.

04

Sophie, Remmington, Bella

Sophie, Remmington, Bella

These are the things I do :)

These are the things I do 🙂

I love Gingers! :)

I love Gingers! 🙂

Often we choose an addiction as a means of survival. It feels like it serves a purpose for quite some time. And, truthfully, I think it does. I think it is a coping skill that is there to keep us trying to work with/deal with/avoid something painful. What is that pain? It’s different for all of us. Trauma, family struggles, emotional struggles etc. That addiction is something that we do in efforts to survive in some way, shape or form. It becomes dangerous when it is a part of us – when it is something that we can’t see ourselves without. When I started running everyone thought it was great and gave encouragement, and understood why I couldn’t meet them because I had to get 10 miles in…. but it quickly moved to something I had to do every night, or there was some sort of despair attached for my failure.

So where does addiction go from the point you know something is a problem? People love miracles. We want so badly for God to deliver us from whatever struggle we have. Sometimes we want to bypass all of the struggle because it’s so tough. I wanted to bypass everything – I still say that. This is where patience is key (if you haven’t read my post on patience, it might be purposeful). Each time I try to have patience but want to move through this process my psychologist is quick to remind me that the healing is in the learning. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to be delivered from the pain and struggles of the path of recovery. At times, it sucks eating, gaining weight, adding variety and figuring out if I’m over exercising (and by “at times” I really mean ALWAYS). She has taught me that I can’t make recovery stick until I learn and go through the process. Moving through the process is where the learning and change comes. I can’t fast-forward to being recovered because I’ll never understand the core of this issue.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we want clear answers, but sometimes we won’t get it. As much as we want to be delivered, there are times when maybe our journey is to go through (as much as that feels terrible). If we want to move out of the “comfortable” spot, we have to allow ourselves to feel uncomfortable. We have to be willing to disturb the “peace” in our life in order to make peace really happen. We can’t live our life by our feelings. If we lived by our feelings we would miss out on so much! If we want to find be happy we have to move from the survival into thriving. I truly believe that is the only way to reach true happiness.

Failure

I was sitting in church this weekend and the topic discussed was failure. I thought it was a great topic because so often so many of us feel like failures in many areas of our life.

The pastor speaking made a lot of great points but the overall message was that God expects us to fail, and that is okay. He loved us before we failed, and he will continue to love us after we fail. This is true! In the Bible, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times. Although Peter didn’t believe it, it was true. Jesus knew that he would fail, and was okay with it, and still loved Peter anyway.

As the pastor went on, he spoke about Michael Jordan. We’ve all heard much about Michael Jordan and his life. He is one of the greatest and most famous failures in life! Along with many others.

Famous-Failures

failure3

As we go through life, we can’t learn unless we try new things. We can’t learn unless we fail from time to time. As much as failing at something, or making mistakes, can hurt, it’s also necessary to learn boundaries and paths of knowledge. Thomas Edison stated that he did not fail, he just learned 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb. Had he quit after the first few tries, where would we be today?

Failure is not final, it is a platform for our future. It gives us the opportunity to learn and see what needs to change to grow. In order to grow, we have to learn. We aren’t perfect; none of us can be. In order to keep growing to get better and better, we must learn from mistakes and make changes. It’s hard to accept, but we have to understand that failure is a part of life.

failure

I’ve had many failures in my life and I’m really not afraid to admit many. For some reason, when it comes to treatment, I thought I couldn’t fail. When I first entered Partial Hospitalization I said I would NOT be a frequent flyer when it comes to treatment. I said this is going to be a “once-and-done” type of thing and that would be all. Things just didn’t happen that way. I didn’t gain all of my weight and had to go back into treatment (IOP) last winter to finish gaining. I felt like a failure not being able to stick to the meal plan and do it on my own, but I also always knew that dinner was my most difficult meal, and it still is.

Failure has been a part of my life in different forms. I didn’t want to accept it, but truthfully I am not perfect at many things:

  • Teaching – sometimes lessons just flop!
  • Home projects – how many times have we had to start over?
  • Sports in high school – can’t win every game!
  • Sports in college – can’t win every title.
  • Coaching – you can’t teach everyone everything.
  • Treatment – sometimes we just need more help, and that’s okay.
  • Meal plan following – hey…. we aren’t all perfect! That’s a hard thing to do!

Failure is for learning – we aren’t and we can’t be perfect as much as we hope and try to be. We know in our hearts that we aren’t perfect because we are made this way. When we learn to accept that, we will accept our mistakes and failures. Trying to pretend to be perfect is incredibly exhausting, and not worth my time anymore. I’ve come to find that each time I’ve failed I’ve learned something. Not winning every game playing hockey taught me so much about how to be an effective coach. Now winning every game as a coach, helped me to become a better coach.

failure2

Going through recovery, Ed often makes me feel like a failure as an anorexic because I’m eating and I can’t maintain a low body weight. Let’s be honest, the only successful anorexic is a dead one! As tough as it is at times, I’m glad I’m a failure at being anorexic because it does feel so good to be healthy. It also feels so scary at times, but the “good” feeling trumps the fear.

When we fail at something, we learn – we learn what didn’t work and what we can do to be right. We might find the right way to do it, or like some of our famous failures, another wrong way to do it. Either way, we always learn something of value because, in truth, all knowledge is of value. My mistakes as a player have helped current players learn. My mistakes in treatment have helped others feel like they are “more normal” and my mistakes in life have made friends feel connected.

I had a fairly large “failure” lately when I found out my weight and I decided to weigh myself. I have worked so hard for 1.5 years to not know my weight, and a little slip has caused me to begin weighing myself again. Sure, it feels like a failure, and maybe it can be considered that, but I can learn from this. I can learn that I can’t let my guard down at all and that at any moment Ed can creep in fast and win.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we don’t know what the reason is, but I do think there is a reason. Our unanswered prayers are often purposeful. If everything happens for a reason, I think failures happen for a reason too. I think they happen to teach us something more. Each time I have “failed” at recovery and resorted back to restricting I have come to realize that I hate Ed more and more, and that this eating disorder does not do what I thought it would for me. Those “failures” and going back to the eating disorder were necessary for me to see that it is not serving a purpose in my life, and now, when something big happens and I want to restrict, I know that it is not going to work for me.

So, as hard as it is, I am trying to see failure as a learning experience.