Is there an area of your life that feels beyond repair? A habit you've formed that seems impossible to change, an obstacle that feels impossible to conquer?
There is for me.
You see, something happened after Carl and I got married.
I just got bigger.
Maybe it’s that I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, preferring an extra few minutes of cuddling to time spent on a treadmill. Or maybe it’s that we were so excited to be living daily life together that we got overzealous in the cooking department. Or maybe it’s that our wedding season was so packed full of parties and gatherings and fun that I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating. Or maybe it was the all-inclusive honeymoon that kicked things off on the wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it) foot.
But either way, a few months into us being married, I started to notice that my clothes were getting tighter. Wearing jeans was a minor form of torture and I would find any excuse to wear yoga pants and baggy t-shirts—anything to help me ignore my rapidly expanding waistline.
I was packing for a trip when I realized the jig was up.
Headed to my cousin’s wedding that weekend, I figured I should try on the dress I planned to wear. I did it as a precautionary measure. It was a loose dress, I knew it’d fit.
I slipped it over my head, and shimmied it over my body, and promptly found out I was wrong.
I had gained weight. I couldn’t hide from it anymore. The truth was staring back at me in the mirror, wearing a skin-tight, ill-fitting dress that used to be my favorite.
I didn’t think, didn’t even wait a beat, I just burst into tears. Grabbing loose clothes as fast as I could, I pulled them on and dove into our bed and under our covers. I didn’t want Carl to look at me, I didn’t want to look at me, I just wanted to disappear until this extra weight was gone.
I felt ugly and untouchable. I felt lazy and like a failure. How could I have let this happen? I chided myself.
I was ashamed for letting it get to this point. But even more than that, I was afraid. I’d tried several times to eat better and start working out again. But my will-power disappeared as quickly as it’d come. I’d tried and I’d failed.
I felt stuck in my skin, ugly in my body, and making a change seemed impossible. I was stuck like this forever.
It was a terrible moment to be sure, but it was in that moment that something finally snapped in me. Carl always says that people don’t change until something hurts enough, and for me, that was absolutely true.
I wasn’t willing to make a change in my lifestyle until it hurt enough, and that moment hurt.
So I took one small step. I downloaded an app where I could track my food, and promised myself I’d eat right for one day. And then the next day I did the same, and added a walk around the parking lot to my repertoire. I’ve kept going like that—one more day, a few minutes on the elliptical, and much to my shock, I’ve actually started enjoying it!
It’s been three weeks now, and I’ve been working out, and eating better, and feeling better, truly. I even tried on a pair of jeans and got them on without a problem. It was an amazing day. I considered throwing a party.
But most of all, more than being able to fit in jeans, or go through a day without being furious at myself, the biggest win has been realizing this isn’t impossible.
The truth is, there are areas in each of our lives that feel stickier than others. There are habits that feel almost impossible to break, and we slip back a thousand times before we get it right. There are areas of our lives that feel wrought with despair, where we beat ourselves up mercilessly for not being good enough.
But through walking this path that I really thought was impossible, I’m learning we’re capable of much greater things than we believe. We really can do hard things—we all can. We can make changes in our lives and grow in the ways we’ve always wanted to grow. It feels impossible but it’s not. It really isn’t. We can do it.
So I tell you that story because we’re real around here, and because I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has felt this way.
And I tell you because I want to invite you to walk with me on an impossible journey. We can do hard things, and we can do them together.
I’d love for you to write a little note in the comments about what the impossible thing is for you, and how you’re going to get started conquering it with me.
P.S. If you're needing more encouragement in this area of your life, check out these podcast episodes:
Girls Night #2: I'm not in the Shape I Want to be in, I Don't Feel Confident in my Skin — How do I Change That?
Girls Night #71: How to Overcome Insecurity and Embrace Your Identity in Christ (this conversation is with Priscilla Shirer and it's such a good one!!)