Fighting The Temptation To Purge

Purging is such an easy way to deal with the mental and physical shame I feel. It helps me get rid of the constant disgust I feel about myself. It’s so easy. Sometimes I don’t even see anything wrong with it. It’s so easy…so simple. Sometimes it even feels good and rewarding. The temptation is so strong. It’s all I can think about. It consumes my thoughts and once it’s taken over me, it separates me from myself and my surroundings completely. For instance now, I’m at a gathering and I left the room with all my friends who love and care about me…sometimes in situations like this, I go purge. Other times, I go to reflect and fight it. Right now I am fighting it. My mind tells me there’s nothing wrong with purging, but in my gut there is something telling me to fight it. The voices in my head are telling me to hate my body and that it is my fault that I am undesirable and disgusting. The voices tell me that purging is an easy fix for the mistakes I have made…for binging or not taking control of myself.

This is what takes a hold of me. It covers me and takes away my happiness. I feel disgusting, and this feeling of disgust is what makes me think that I deserve this…that I need to purge and all in order to feel okay. I want to more than anything right now. It has taken a hold of me. 

Where are you Sabrina? 

Are you buried under the weight of the temptation?

Break free. It has taken hold of you but I know you are strong. Look up. What do you see? A cross. I am sitting in the pews of the church I call home. This is my home- the house of God. This room is filled with love. Can this love overcome my temptation? The temptation is so strong…so so strong. I know it won’t leave my mind. It is always there. 

But so is God. God is always there and even greater than my own temptation. I admit. I am weak. I am so weak. I thirst for strength and comfort. I thirst for contentment and satisfaction. What can safisfy this? At the moment, I feel like purging can. 

But this reminds me of the line that speaks to me: “I’ll give up the truth for a lie… trade the sun in for the moonlight…” 

What is the moonlight? The satisfaction I receive from purging and giving into temptation.

What is the sun? Real love…from others, from myself, and from God.

What do I choose?

I choose love. I choose to love myself unconditionally even though it is so hard and I am drowning in my own shame and disgust. 

The voices tell me that I don’t deserve to feel loved because normal people don’t deal with this and because I make mistakes and don’t know how to control myself, I deserve this. That this is what I have to do to compensate. 

But there is grace. God, let me be filled with grace. I am afraid because I know the thoughts and the temptation will still be there. But even though they are there, let me get stronger with the help of the Lord. With each temptation, let me be more courageous. Let me root myself in your love that is so steady and unchanging. 

And see now the voices tell me that this is petty, that I am blowing this way out of proportion, and that all of my struggles are really no big deal. I don’t know what to think. But I want to be strong, but because I am weak, I need to fill myself up with the strength of the Lord. That strength can overcome anything. With this, I can overcome temptation, but It is up to me to keep my gaze on him. Will I give in? Which will I fall into? Do I fall into love? Or do I fall into my earthly satisfaction?

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Letting Go and Letting God

Why do I still give in to the things that bring me down?

Why do I dwell on my past mistakes when I can’t change them?

Why do I beat myself up so hard when I know that it will only make me insecure and leave me feeling so empty inside?

Why do I still feel like I have to prove myself? Like I have to prove that I am good enough?

Why do I still compare myself to others when I know it will only make me jealous?

Why do I believe that being so hard on myself will somehow make things better?

Why am I so quick to get frustrated when things don’t go my way?

Why do I still live in fear?

I have put my faith in worldly standards, hoping that eventually I will find satisfaction and security. I follow my own ways because I want to be in control. I’ve fallen to these empty promises which tell me that I will finally be good enough…I will finally be happy with myself.

But these are empty promises. I am left chasing ideals I will never achieve. I am left feeling inadequate, insecure, and unsure of my purpose. I just want to feel secure, but everything I try to control slips through my hands.

My own selfish desires, standards, fears, and doubts turn my gaze away from the One who loves me unconditionally…yet it’s so hard to let go of them.

“Letting go and letting God” …I’ve heard this phrase many times before, but now I am fully beginning to understand its meaning. I have to let go in order to make room for love…for real love. I need to break down the walls I’ve built up so that I can learn to let love into my life. I need to let go so that I can love and be loved.

Because I’ve held on for so long, it’s so hard to let go. But maybe it’s not supposed to be easy. The struggle will allow me to see what really matters, but I have to choose to let go of what holds me down each and every day.

It means letting go of the standards I hold myself to so that I can accept love from myself, from those around me, and most importantly from God.

It means letting go of jealousy so that I can learn to appreciate the many blessings God has given me.

It means letting go of the desire for attention and approval so that I can turn my gaze fully to God, the one who calls me His child, and be the powerful woman I was made to be.

It means letting go of my past and mistakes so that I can live fully in the present and move forward. 

It means letting go of my pride so that I can forgive and learn to be selfless.

It means letting go of my ways so that I can turn to God and trust in His ways that lead to true peace.

It means letting go of the worldly things I hold close so that I can focus on what is truly constant- love.

Love means letting go of what holds me back. This letting go may be hard, but it will empty my heart and mind of what brings me down and will leave room for love, peace, and acceptance.

Love- it’s unconditional, but I have to break down the walls I’ve built up that make me believe I am unworthy of it.  I have to let go of the idea that once I reach a certain point, I can love myself and accept love from others. Love starts here, now, as I am right in this moment no matter my circumstances.

I once heard in a talk, “Dare to believe that you are loved”—from your friends, family, but most importantly from God. Accepting love into our hearts is what really brings peace and security.

“Why spend money on what is not bread, your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy. Pay attention, come to me; listen, and your soul will live. With you I will make an everlasting covenant because of my sure, steadfast love.” –Isaiah 55:2

It’s Okay not to be Okay

“How are you?” I would be asked multiple times a day. “Good,” I would respond…multiple times a day. While sometimes I would actually be feeling pretty good, sometimes I definitely would not be. If I were to answer honestly in my responses especially when I am struggling internally, it would go a little something like this:

How am I really doing?

I am doubting myself, fearing the future, stressing about the smallest things, tired as hell, worrying about academics, health, my social life, maintaining existing relationships, image, doing my best to take control of things but constantly beating myself up for things I can’t even control, beating myself up for not having everything in control in general, comparing myself to everyone else who seems to have it all together, thinking I am the only one who’s struggling, and even beating myself up for not being strong enough…

In my own little head, with my limited perception, it’s so easy to believe that I am the only one who struggles and doesn’t have it all together. It’s so easy to fall into the doubts and believe that the only way to be okay is to have everything in control. Because I’m struggling, it means I must be doing something wrong; I must be too weak, not strong enough…

But there are three big lies to point out from that belief:

  1. “I am the only one who struggles.”

In my head, it may seem that way. But with seven billion people in this world, that’s bound to be untrue. Actually since we are all human, that automatically makes it untrue. Just because people don’t voice their struggles doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling. We are meant to relate to one another, uplift one another, be equals…

I am not alone. In fact, no one is. We were made to live in communion with one another and build each other up. No one has to struggle alone. Along with that, we all are struggling in our own ways. We all have our challenges to overcome, and the beauty of community is that we can be there for each other throughout each of our struggles.

  1. “I will be okay only when I have everything in control.”

Does anyone actually have their whole life together? Probably not. Actually, it’s not even possible to have it all together because we don’t know what’s up ahead, and there are many elements that we can’t control. Struggles are a part of life. In fact, it would be weird if we didn’t struggle.

It is okay not to be okay. Every single one of us is on a journey, making mistakes and learning new lessons along the way. It doesn’t make us weak, or not normal, or isolated. Life is filled with ups and downs, and sometimes when we hit rock bottom, it forces us to look upwards and make the climb. It’s a constant journey, and that’s a good thing because when we look at it in hindsight, we will see that we have grown.

  1. “There’s something wrong with me because I am struggling.”

It’s so easy to look around and see people who seem to be happy and have it all together and think, “What is wrong with me? Why is everyone else happy except me?” In my case, after comparing myself to others, I automatically would beat myself up for not being strong enough.

We are not defined by our struggles. They do not decrease or take away our worth or value. We are not weaker because of them. We still maintain our dignity throughout our struggles.

It is okay to struggle. It is okay not to be okay. It’s a part of life. There is always hope for a better future, for better days, and for more victories over our challenges. Through our struggles, we learn more about our strengths and who we are as people. And through that, we overcome our struggles.

Although we will encounter struggles all throughout our lives, good always comes in the end.

What I am Leaving Behind

Deep down, we all want to make the most of our lives and the time that we have.  We want to live large, take chances, make memories, achieve our goals, chase our dreams, give as much as we can, make an impact on others’ lives, and embrace every moment.

In my case, I aspire to do all of these things, but I have a few bad habits that prevent me from living life to the fullest. As I start a new chapter of my life, I will strive to leave some negative habits behind and replace them with positive ones. I am human, and I am imperfect, held down by many of the things I am about to mention. But I know that with determination, I will gradually be able to leave these behind, leading to a fuller, happier life.

What I am leaving behind:

  1. Caring about what other people think-

I tend to care so much about others’ opinions of me, and that prevents me from expressing myself due to a fear of judgment.

Rather, I will focus on pleasing myself and doing what is best for me. This is my life- no one else’s. I am happiest when I am being unapologetically myself, not worrying about whether or not I will be accepted. What matters most is that I am comfortable in my own skin, and I need to learn not to depend on others’ approval of me in order to be happy with who I am.

  1. Worrying about things I cannot control-

When I am not in control, I feel anxious. I blame myself or get frustrated, thus causing me to dwell in negative emotions when in reality, there’s nothing I can do to control the outcome.

Rather, I will be at peace with myself if I have given it my all. If I do not know the what the outcome will be, I will put my faith in God and trust that my future is in good hands. In situations where I am not in control, I have two choices: I can spend my time worrying and tensed up, or I can be at peace knowing that everything will turn out okay in the end.

  1. Laziness/distraction-

I want to make the most of my time and pursue my goals, but when I become lazy and easily distracted, I lose focus and settle for something subpar.

Rather, I will ask myself whether or not what I am doing at the moment is what I really want to invest my time in and refocus if I catch myself being lazy or getting distracted. It’s never too late. I will attack laziness with determination.

  1. Stubbornness/holding a grudge/holding something against someone-

These keep me from being as loving as possible. When I hold grudges or let small things get to me, I focus and hold onto the negatives, and in the end, it hurts others and my own self. It’s ineffective, but extremely hard to overcome. I become occupied with negative emotions, thus hindering my desire to spread positive energy.

Rather, I will learn to forgive and forget. Life is way too short, and I don’t want to spend my life pitted against other people who may have harmed me. I deserve to be happy, and I will not let anyone rob me of that. Also, forgiveness is so freeing and lifts an incredible weight off my shoulders.

  1. Insecurity-

The belief that I am not good enough, that I make too many mistakes, and that I can’t accomplish much prevents me from seeing the positives in my life. Insecurity makes me focus on what I lack, making me feel empty on the inside.

Rather, I will focus on everything I do have. Insecurity is focusing on what I don’t have, so I will attack that with gratitude, which is focusing on what I do have. Alongside that, I will do my best to recognize and appreciate my own capabilities rather than thinking of all that I can’t do. Finally, I will recognize that as a human being, I am bound to make mistakes, but I can learn from them. Thus, even though I will never be perfect, I will never stop learning.

  1. The belief that my presence doesn’t matter-

I frequently believe the lie that tells me no one would miss me if I were gone, that I haven’t made a strong impact, and that my voice doesn’t’ matter. This causes me to shy away into a shell, dwelling on how my presence doesn’t matter.

Rather, I will recognize the impact I have, thus allowing me to see that my voice and actions do matter. If I do realize that I have purpose, I will be more willing to put myself out there, share my ideas, and take action on what I’m passionate about, knowing that even if it is miniscule, I will have an impact.

  1. Acting without thinking-

When I act on impulse, I usually am not thinking about the consequences of my actions, and in the end I may feel guilty or have to pay a price.

Rather, I will consider whether or not what I am doing or what I want to do is good for me. This will allow me to make the most out of what I do that will benefit myself and those around me. I will think: Is this good for me or the people involved? Or am I being selfish? I need to learn to recognize whether or not my motives and intentions are good and genuine.

  1. Absentmindedness-

Sometimes, I may be physically present, but my mind is elsewhere. This prevents me from fully embracing the moment and keeps me from making the most out of my time and situation.

Rather, I will be mindful and present. I will take in my surroundings and give my attention to those around me or to what I am doing, causing me to take in all that life has to offer. Life is such a gift, and I want to embrace every aspect of it.

  1. Comparing myself to others-

Similar to insecurity, when I compare myself to others, I focus on what I don’t have. It leaves me feeling lesser than, when in reality, we are all equal.

Rather, I will learn to recognize my own uniqueness and value the uniqueness of others. I will learn to appreciate others and what they have or what they can do instead of comparing myself to others and falling into jealousy. When I have an attitude of appreciation, I can learn to appreciate others and also myself. I will learn to recognize that I may not have what others do have, but that doesn’t take away my value.

In the past, I have let many of these affect me. As I go into the future, I will do my best to let it all go, but I know I am human. As I mentioned earlier, I am bound to make mistakes. My road of improvement will not be perfect, but I will focus on progress. I will take it day by day.

I deserve to live a happy life, and I will lovingly work hard to ensure that I do what is best for me.

The Start of a New Chapter

For many of us, we are closing a chapter of our lives, and we’re about to start the first page of a brand new one. We have been through so much, changed so much, and grown so much, but the start of a new chapter doesn’t mean that the progression and growth has to end. If you look at how you started at the beginning of the previous chapter and compare it to how you were at the end, you will probably notice a big change. Those changes and experiences you went through were necessary to get you to where you are today, at the start of your new chapter.

For many of us, we’re about to experience big changes- a new school year, a new season, new relationships…

And for those on the same boat as me- an entirely new school, an entirely new home, and entirely new people- basically a completely new environment. Who knows what will happen with all of these changes upon us?

Here’s the good thing:

Everything that will happen in this upcoming chapter is going to build you up. Every good and bad moment that comes along is going to shape you into the person you’re meant to be- the great person that God has given you the potential to become. All the strength that you have accumulated throughout all of these past years will come to aid to help you now, and you will acquire new strengths and discover things you may have never known about yourself, thus causing you to mature and develop into a stronger person than ever before.

You make history with every new day that you take a chance- that you love, that you forgive, that you reach out to new people, that you be there for someone in need, that you do something good for yourself, that you learn something new- the list can go on and on. Take each day as an opportunity to allow yourself to grow. You’re being blessed with an entire new chapter of life- a fresh opportunity to make memories and learn from new experiences.

But here’s the scary part:

You will encounter some tough times within the coming year. It’s a given, and unfortunately it’s a part of life. But don’t be afraid. No matter what happens, you can get back up. As long as there is life, there is hope. Keep hope because you have a good future ahead of you!

God will be with you by your side at all times, never leaving you, guiding you through each day, leading you throughout the year. He is carrying out his plan for you; trust Him with whatever comes your way. He will grant you grace at all times, unconditionally.

Along with this, remember what you deserve. You deserve the absolute best at all times. Your value never will fade…ever. Take the time to discover how much you really are worth. Work towards it every single day- like mentioned earlier; take each day to grow more and more.

So with this, I wish you the best in the start of this new chapter of your life. I hope it’s filled with so many good and happy memories. I hope that you take new chances and discover new things. I hope that you learn to love yourself and others more and more as the year goes on. I hope that you grow and become stronger. I have so much faith in you.

But what matters most is that you have faith in yourself. I know that having faith can sometimes be the hardest thing ever since you can’t see what’s coming. But there is hope; there is ALWAYS hope. Have faith that you have a good future ahead of you. Have faith that whatever knocks you down will only make you stronger when you fight back. Have faith that if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

The Gift of a New Day

I once heard this quote:

“As long as there is life, there is hope.”

I remember at the time I heard that quote, I didn’t have the best mindset about the future- I knew that each day would be a challenge with a high likelihood that I would make many mistakes. I would think to myself, “the past hasn’t turned out so well for me, but I just so desperately want to have good, happy days ahead of me.”

But after hearing this quote, “as long as there is life, there is hope,” I realized something.

Every day we live, we have a new opportunity to embrace all that life has to offer. The sun rises each and every morning, thus reminding us that there is a light and hope every single day of our lives. If things aren’t going right, we have the opportunity to work at it, to fight, to forgive, and to move forward. Every single day, we have the opportunity to work at making a change.

Just the fact that we wake up to a new day in the morning is a reason to be grateful. This new day is a new opportunity to embrace all that God has given us; it’s a new day to love, to discover something new, to learn and take new chances, to get back up and try again, to work towards your goals and aspirations, to better your relationships, to forgive, to show gratitude, and to enjoy life.

Even though the day ahead may also hold hardships, we will have opportunities to overcome them. We will be challenged, but with these challenges we can work to become stronger than we were before. As the new day comes along, new ways to grow as individuals and as a community arise as well.

But I understand that it’s hard not to let the past hold us back. I have definitely thought to myself “I am tired of failing over and over again. I so deeply hope that today is not one of those days.”

Let me assure that the past does not define the progress you make today. Because each day is a new day, the past is left behind to be used for lessons we can use for the present.

With each day comes a new hope; and that hope gets renewed every single day. For as long as we live (and even after), there will always be hope for happiness, peace, and a change for the better. Life gives us the opportunity to strive for the good each and every single day at every given moment. Alongside that, God will put blessings in our lives to lead us down the right direction.

In life, although we may stumble across challenges and pain, we are blessed and equipped to conquer our battles. The truth is- we were blessed, are blessed, and will continue to receive blessings with each day that comes. As we live out our lives, we will be shaped into strong people; life will play out, and eventually we will see how each day has shaped us into the person we have become and how each new day will shape us into the person we are meant to be.

Cling onto hope because with each and every day that comes, we will learn, grow, and receive blessings that will push us forward. We will experience new things, have opportunities to embrace the relationships we have, and grow from all that is to come.

Question Perfection

“It’s okay. Even though your body isn’t perf-“

Wait. What??? I had to stop myself mid-sentence as I was saying this.

Perfect. What would make my body perfect? What is wrong with it now? Why have I been telling myself for years and years and years that there is something wrong with my body?  Where did this definition of perfection come from?

Why have I always seen myself as lesser than? as disgusting, ugly, and not good enough?

Let me give some background-

I have always had a very negative body image. For years, I have always believed that there was something wrong with the way my body looked. I blamed myself for not having a “perfect” body, and honestly, I believed that I would not have a body that was “good enough” unless I looked a certain way. Sometimes, it was a struggle just to look in the mirror, for I was too afraid of the criticism I would have on my own reflection.

But there I was, looking at myself in the mirror, questioning perfection. I realized that what I had believed about myself- that I am not good enough- is a lie.

I had conditioned myself to believe that having a perfect body meant looking a certain way. But the real question is this- if God sees me as beautifully and wonderfully made, why have I had such a hard time seeing myself like this?

I am me. This is the way God made me. This is the body that holds my soul. Who am I to criticize God’s creation? God created me- all of us actually- in the image of love. We are literally his prized creations.

In that moment, I was able to accept and love myself for all that I am. I let go of the idea of perfection, and I was able to see clearly.

I will not believe the lie that I am not good enough.

I will believe the truth, and the truth will set me free from all my chains and insecurities.

So from this, I encourage you to question perfection. Question your insecurities. Call out the lies that could be holding you down and telling you that you are not good enough. Let go and focus on the truth, which is that you are a pretty awesome & valuable person, and there is nobody else in the entire universe like you.

You are capable of so much, formed and designed by the creator of the universe. Do not let some petty standards hinder you from sharing your God-given gifts with the world. You are so above that. You go beyond those standards.

When you stop thinking about everything that is wrong with you, you will be able to see all that you are capable of and how valuable you actually are. When you let go of the idea of perfection, you will be able to see and appreciate all that you are.

Unfortunately, this is a lot easier said than done. Trust me; I know. You will find reasons to be insecure. But through your struggles, focus not on the distorted lie that says you aren’t good enough; rather, focus on the truth, which is that you are unique and beautiful and valued and the world would not be the same without you.