Holy Day of Obligation

It’s Ash Wednesday.  Which means, as of one hour ago, I am no longer stepping on the scale.  Well, I’m doing the cheaters’ version of Lent…so technically, I can get on the scale on Sundays. But this is still a far cry from the multiple daily trips to the scale that I usually take.  I am reconsidering giving up the scale for Lent and switching to something easier – like food.  Or water.  Or breathing.

Regardless, as of about five hours ago, my anxiety reached such epic proportions that I completely freaked out.  My small group was having a game night, complete with a table full of food and guess who decided to quell her anxiety with food and alcohol?  Yes, that would be me.  I think I might have managed to stick to the plan (dinner, a small “treat” of some sort of fulfill the rest of the day’s caloric requirements) had I not decided to stay a little longer.

The original plan was to leave at 9 pm on the dot so I could go to the gym for a run before bedtime.  But we were still playing games, the one guy had left and it was looking more like a girls’ night.  We were about to start playing my favourite game.  I decided to stay.  Within three minutes there was a beer in my hand and I was breaking open the package of sour patch kids I had brought along.

The most frustrating thing was that I knew exactly what was happening.  In fact, I explicitly told the girls I was with, “Do not let me eat or drink anything after this.  I am eating because I’m anxious about the fact that I’m not running right now and that’s not an okay reason to eat.”  I KNEW.

And yet, I kept trying to stuff down the anxiety with food and, afterwards, exercise.  Granted, I felt much better after a run and some stretches and a some time on the stationary bike, but I know my reasons were faulty.  I felt the muscles in my legs strain, my stomach cramp, my back start to spasm as I ran too many miles on too little sleep.  I briefly thought, “I have a race on Saturday.  This is supposed to be a light training week.”

And then I thought, “To hell with it.  I’ve got to burn off these calories.”  Quickly followed by, “Dear God, I’m sorry.  I’m-sorry-I’m-sorry-I’m-sorry-Please-let-me-do-this-my-way-just-tonight.”

So my prayer tonight is that I can somehow get up in the morning (er – four hours from now) and find in Him the strength to get back on board with the plan.  To not let the anxiety so overtake my mind that I fall back into patterns of control and manipulation and self-destruction.

On the contrary, I NEED this anxiety.  I need to sit in it and experience it and let God be Peace and Love and Comfort.  This is so much easier said than done, but man.  If I can stick it out, I can have a whole new understanding of God and myself by Easter.


4 thoughts on “Holy Day of Obligation

  1. I think this is a cool thing to give up for Lent. My pastor talked last year about “taking something on” for Lent and how that can be just as noble. Maybe you can remind yourself that you’re taking on the anxiety so that by the end of 40 days, you’ll be closer to God as your comfort and closer to the person that He wants you to be (which is a whole and healthy person.) How are you doing with your plan? And how did your race go? :)

  2. I do actually find myself repeating over and over “anxiety is good, anxiety is good, anxiety is good” these days. I so desperately want to be closer to God at the end of this (and in the middle of it). Thank you for the reminder that God wants me whole and healthy – I really struggle with that and with the idea that God would even care about such things as my health and wholeness.

    I’m doing okay with my plan, I just tire of it – it’s a lot of the same stuff everyday because I’m still afraid of so many foods. My counselor is looking into finding a suitable nutritionist for me, hopefully a Christian with experience treating EDs. As it turns out, my one nutrition class in college is not sufficient training for creating a meal plan for myself. I’m doing the best I can for the moment, and it’s certainly better than it was 2 weeks ago (and a FAR different story from 3 months ago), so we’ll take it for now.

    And the race was excellent! Official times are not up yet, but I believe I finished within about a minute or so of my goal! Plus, I only fell once on 5 miles of trails, which was exactly two fewer times than I’d anticipated. :)

  3. I think this is a really great thing to give up for Lent too. I so know about the cheater’s version of Lent–my grandmother swears by it lol! She always gives up ice cream but she has it on Sundays–“technically it’s not really Lent.” Anyway good luck with this. I know it seems so, so hard right now but in the end it will bring you closer to being whole and healthy so that you can be closer to God.


  4. Ugh. I totally recognize the need to sit in anxiety. My counselor keeps telling me to just sit still and stop striving. Sometimes that will mean a near panic attack. But even that is better than my crazy need to maintain control and prevent instability.

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