Dieting for women is how we fulfill our sense of belonging. After all, if you're not talking about body, weight, or diets with other women, what's left?
Life. Your life. The one you put on the shelf until you lost 10 pounds (or 50 pounds.) The one you believed you had to earn by looking and behaving a certain way. The one society said you weren't worthy of because of your size.
Your daughter's life. The one she will learn from you by example. She deserves the freedom to pursue those deferred dreams, desires and visions. Now.
So do you.
Join me - I made it through the other side and would love to share it with you!
Life is Difficult - M. Scott Peck
Spiritual abuse is the church's best-kept secret. It's usually subtle at first and gradually escalates into what makes headlines today. Caution is always needed when you see isolation, secrecy, care taking, and lack of accountability. These are the telltale signs that something unhealthy is happening. I know because I, too, have a church horror story to tell.
There are so many examples today of fallen church leaders and the victims they leave behind. Within a relatively short period of time, these do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do Religionists (I can't call them Christians) get transferred so their sins aren't exposed, or gather another flock around them and repeat the pattern with fresh followers. This time they are careful not to allow the kind of oversight that got them ousted in the first place.
HOW DOES SPIRITUAL ABUSE HAPPEN
Coming from a dysfunctional family system at home is the perfect setup for spiritual abuse. I was married with two very young children living in the suburbs of Las Vegas. I was starved for authenticity and connection. The church couldn't give me enough unconditional love and acceptance. The people were all so happy and they really seemed to like me! At first.
The burdens of my past lifted, shame fell away and a whole new world came into view. The promised land was here. I had freedom in Christ and the honeymoon was on. I learned solid bible teaching and couldn't get enough. I was thirsty for Living Water and came to the well frequently.
Subtly, however, I began to pick up on the unwritten rules and expectations that in THIS family, we were expected to be at every event. What started out as three times a week quickly extended to five. With two small children and husband who preferred to stay home, I sacrificed time normally spent with our extended family of origin to be with this new fellowship of people who 'got me'.
What I didn't know then but learned from "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by David Johnson and Jeff Vanvonderen was the range of unhealthy behaviors in a church that begin with unspoken rules and misplaced loyalty. "The real problem cannot be exposed because then it would have to be dealt with and things would have to change; so it must be protected behind walls of silence (neglect) or by assault (legalistic attack). If you speak about the problem, you are the problem."
If you would like to know more about Toxic Faith: When the Church Wounds Its Own, just
CLICK HERE to sign up and you will be sent the link to view a live webcast we did in March, 2017.
Please share this with anyone you know who is hurting from church drama but wants to hold onto their faith. We are here to help.
On average, a woman will embark on 62 diets by the time she reaches 45 years old. After all that, do you think the average woman weighs less or more than when she started? Statistics indicate that diets are the greatest predictor of long term weight.
What has your experience been? Do you look back at that first diet when you thought your body was hideous and long for the good old days?
Addiction is a pathological relationship with a mood-altering substance, event or thing that has life-damaging consequences. The top 5 addictions are alcohol, drugs, sex, food and gambling.
Beyond that, people in recovery tend to switch addictions frequently. They trade alcohol for meetings. Drugs for doughnuts. Gambling for internet. Sex for food - or vice versa.
Do You Have an "Addictive" Personality?
Are you "hooked" on something? Will you ever be?
Take this quick quiz and reach out if you have questions.
Answer Yes or No
1. Does your body or mind routinely crave a physical substance, such as cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, or food?
2. Do you often plug yourself into an activity for emotional catharsis (relief or escape), such as watching television, having sex, gambling, pornography, obsessional ideas, or risk taking?
3. Are you easily tempted, in love with sensation, frequently bored, or need to belong?
4. Is it difficult for you to find simple fulfillment?
5. Do you often feel shame or guilt or loneliness or despair?
6. Do you hunger for something that's beyond your reach?
7. Are you rebellious of authority?
8. Are you significantly overweight?
9. Do you drink a lot of caffeine?
10. Are you prone to excess?
Divorce is a mixed bag of tricks and I have never had the luxury of falling out of love before the final parting. It would be so much easier.
After a lengthy separation, it was clear that although my husband and I still felt love for each other, neither of us was willing to compromise on key value differences that had surfaced. The time had come to let go and move on. You would think that the months of living apart could have covered some pre-work in the grieving process. It is the logic that if you know someone you love is dying, you have time to prepare yourself and it won't hurt as bad when it happens. But the psyche appears to have no protection against the final blow.
So I began another dance with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s grief cycle of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Not necessarily in that order.
Each change brought another loss and its challenge to either wallow in what was – or what we wished it was – or walk in what is and make a go-forward plan. When I couldn’t pretend it wasn’t happening, I felt angry. When the bargaining didn’t work out the way I had hoped, I became depressed. When neither of us could bridge the gap that threatened us, I blamed God, which took me to an entirely different level of rage.
Here are the things I had to learn about letting go of life’s inevitable losses, no matter who started it:
Judith Viorst in her book Necessary Losses promoted the idea that the first half of life is about acquisition and the second half is about letting go.
Women approaching midlife are smack in the middle of facing life's necessary losses. Beauty fades. Brains fart. Skin slacks. Bodies ache. People leave. Love dies. Careers end. Homes are sold or repossessed.
We weather all the external changes with varying degrees of dignity, angst, strength and even humor. People either worry about us or think we are so strong nothing phases us. But what about the internal struggle from which there is no escape?
Children dream without limits. Adolescents dream without ending. Adults work hard to make their dreams come true. At midlife, we evaluate how closely we are living the life of our dreams.
We explore our dreams of what this stage of life would look like. Perhaps we had dreams of extended family love. We internalized dreams of romantic encounters and happily ever after. Some of us hoped for dreams come true of a 50th wedding anniversary or of being cherished by children and grandchildren. Later on, we held dreams of holding hands in old age or dying at home.
Everybody has dreams of reaching some pinnacle of career success or marital bliss. It is the human condition.
DREAMS DIE HARD
When life hands us a loss, we react in stages of grief first postulated by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, we may deny that it happened, or that it bothers us as much as it does.
We may become angry at the person or thing we think is keeping our dreams from fruition.
At some point we will bargain hoping that 'if only' we get counseling, or get another certification, or lose another 20 pounds then we won't have to face this loss at all.
Finally, when none of that works, we sink into depression and feel the gut-punch that loss delivers, or we cycle back to anger and run it again.
Only after we have travelled the entire circle are we able to accept the loss and begin to build a new normal.
DREAMS NOT DRAMA
Step 1 - Face the facts. Not only have you lost something tangible like a partner, a job or a possession, but you have been sucker-punched by a reality that threatens your basic beliefs about the goodness of God, life, or mankind. Yes it is awful to lose someone you love - whether by death or divorce - but devastating to realize the dream you held so dear to your heart can no longer happen.
Step 2 - Feel the feelings. Emotions are like weather that will pass through eventually if you allow them to. If you try to avoid them, what started out as rain clouds can develop into a life damaging tropical storm.
Step 3 - Focus on the solution. Only after you have faced the facts and felt the feelings can you find the energy to focus on rebuilding a new dream from the ashes of what you hoped would be. Armed with new information about life, yourself, and inner strength (what doesn't kill you makes you stronger) you can dream a new dream and take responsibility for your own happy ending.
Good grief means those dreams don't have to die hard - the losses can be survived and from the ashes new dreams can be birthed. From a place of acceptance you will not carry forward unresolved anger or bitterness. There is peace in facing reality at all costs. Now is the time to take responsibility and craft your own happy ending.
Are you up for the challenge?
Kim Halsey is a human resource professional and executive coach who helps people overcome life damaging habits, restore important relationships, and live their dreams without drama.