When I was in college, I ate canned green beans with some hummus and salt, and called it a meal. I also had a polar pop almost every day. I told myself that I wasn’t a healthy eater, and that was okay. That carried me into adulthood. I ate as cheaply as possible, so that meant a lot of pasta, peanut butter toast and sometimes vegetables. Plus Starbucks… a lot of it because I worked a lot. I labeled myself as an unhealthy eater, even though I knew better. Every once in a while, I’d try to change something – I’d give up sweets for lent, I’d fall in love with a couple healthier recipes, but I’d always tell myself, “You’re not a healthy eater,” and nothing would stick.
Something funny has happened in the last year. I’ve started to change. My whole mindset on food has shifted. At the beginning of 2017, I wanted to try one new recipe a month and also eat more vegetables. So I did it. I wish I could say the changes were significant or that I immediately fell in love with green things (yes, I still call them that), but I didn’t. I was still choosing to eat healthier though, so it had to count for something.
I just finished Whole30, and I could write a love letter to this program. It was fantastic. But maybe the more significant is how it gave me permission to change how I viewed myself. The pizza and red wine loving girl still exists, but I’m not defined by it anymore.
It’s as if Whole30 gave me permission to admit that I changed. Not just how I eat changed, but more of who I am had. I am no longer the girl who cannot say no to a second or third brownie. But first I had to let go of the identity before the behavior could truly change, or I’d keep bouncing back to the same behaviors.
I’m wondering what other identities I’ve picked up that prevent me from developing new behaviors.
I also started making my bed in 2018. For a decade, I’ve told myself that I was messy, and that’s why my room was messy. But, this year, I wanted to see if I could discipline myself to keep a cleaner room. You know what? It’s not perfect, but it’s getting there. An old roommate cannot believe that I make my bed every day because my messiness and chaos was something I used to be sort of proud of.
I’m changing though. And the person who it’s hardest on is me. Because of all the things I’ve told myself about myself. I have been my own obstacle to growth.
I’m digging deep to see what other stories I’ve written onto myself that may be preventing me from growing.
You’re not disciplined.
You’re not organized.
Your success isn’t the same as other’s.
You’re not worth a big paycheck.
You’ll never be successful.
You can’t finish projects or tasks.
You’re only a creative; you can’t handle the technical stuff.
You’re a feeler, and therefore illogical.
You’re obsessed with image.
You like spending time with people, but you don’t have a servant’s heart.
You can only endure if you’re still enthusiastic.
I’m realizing that I need to give myself permission to change. To be a different person than I was last year. To let go of who I expected I’d become, and just focus on becoming. Whole30 gave me the opportunity to say no to chocolate and pizza and wine, there must be other behaviors in my life that require an identity shift first. In some cases, the identity shift is easy, in other circumstances, there are deep rooted lies that need to be corrected before the change can ever happen.
It’s worthy work to dig deep and to dare to write new stories with our lives. These changes may lead to a different me than I planned on. There’s freedom in that, so long as I’m walking with God and continue to be focused on Jesus.