Bread, Wine, and Finding Freedom.
This excerpt from Eat, Pray, Love is the only one I remember. I’ll explain why.
It was the summer of 2015, and I was on my lunch break at work. The heat had cast its hideous spell on Los Angeles already, and I was famished. I logged out of my computer and headed out to grab some food. As soon as I started my car, the mental game began. You know the one...when the innocent question, “What do I want to eat?” turns into, “What should I eat?” It had been months since I started my get-hot-for-my-wedding diet, aka don’t-eat-a-damn-thing diet, so I resolved that a smoothie was best. I was proud of myself. Or was I? No, instead, guilt jumped into the passenger seat, and told me, “If you have anything other than a smoothie, you will gain weight, and you’ll have to make up for that mistake.” This inner dialogue had been going on for months, but no one knew. Worse - I didn’t think it was as bad as it was. My pure desire to get in shape for my wedding had turned into a tight grip on control.
When I was a child, I would jump, and play, and explore, without a care in the world about how I appeared. Anyone else? My body was my rocket and food the fuel to blast me into one adventure after another. No calorie counting. No shame. No fear. I just lived, and allowed food to be an innocent part of that life. Yet, somewhere along the way, I got the idea that a thigh-gap + perfectly toned arms + a hot bikini bod = beauty. Self-love was no longer based on my integrity, joyful spirit, grit, loyalty, honesty, or who God said I was. This reality desperately needed to be confronted, but I had kept it private - passing off control and fear as good intentions to stay “fit” and “healthy”. I used head knowledge to normalize my struggle, and I allowed harmless compliments to fuel me further.
That was until this particular lunch break.
A dear friend had called me as I was leaving work, and invited me to her apartment for some lunch she had made. I felt anxious about not having a smoothie, and my mind began to wonder about what was in the meal she had prepared. I arrived, and my eyes wandered to the table. She had beautifully arranged a brunch setup: syrup, butter, milk, waffles - the works. She squealed with pride and excitement, “Waffles for lunch. Who doesn’t love that, right?” I looked up and faked a smile, as the panic grew in my chest. We sat down, chatted for a bit, and began plating. As I cut my waffle, she stopped me.
I looked at her. She looked at me. And in that moment, I knew that she knew.
She was Liz. I was Sofi.
Tears welled up in my eyes, and she softly said, “Let's talk about it.”
I opened my mouth to explain the problem away, and she gave me her look. This friend has a menacing look that communicates she is doing the talking and you are not.
“Here’s the thing, Tor. You are good and worth loving - not because of what you eat or don’t eat, and not because of how you look. I sense that you’re afraid of what food will do to your concept of beautiful, and I love you too much to let you go any further. This isn't what God wants for you.”
This isn't what God wants for you.
Her last sentence silenced me. This was one of the first times in my life when I had decided that I didn’t want what God wanted. They say that the same mistake made more than once becomes a choice. And I had made mine. Looking a certain way had become more important to me than embracing the defining, and completely freeing words of my Creator:
“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (2 Corinthians 6:19-20)
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)