First step is awareness -- you've been had. The devil wants to keep us distracted and spinning in circles. Think about it, how much more time and energy you would have (mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically) - if you stopped fighting with yourself? What if instead you were able to take all that energy and focus it on living a healthy positive life? How would you impact your children, your spouse, your friends and family if they saw you taking great care of yourself out of self-love, and not forcing yourself to stick to some diet and training regiment because you hate your body.
Now let's talk about self-love. I don't know about you, but I have spent a large portion of my life hating parts of myself. From my pre-teen years through adulthood I have struggled with depression, anxiety and PTSD in varying degrees. I have always been a positive, optimistic person - which I know is one of my God-given characteristics that has kept me going. However, up until the past couple years, I had been hating parts of myself, those places where it was dark, sad, foggy, unable to focus or cope, numb, hard to get through the day, out of balance or out of control. I felt so guilty because I knew that God created me for a great purpose and gave me all these talents and gifts, and yet there I was sinking in the mud.
The birth of my first son, Bear was the beginnings of God calling me back to Him. God showed me an awesome glimpse of His love for me and you through Bear. As most of you know, Bear as Arthrogryposis and we did not know this until he was born. Bear was born naturally at home with a midwife and when he came out, he did not breathe - not exactly the beautiful natural birth I had pictured. I have never been so calm and completely terrified in my entire life. Thank God the paramedics arrived 3 minutes later, they were able to get him breathing and off to the NICU we went.
I had just experienced a traumatic birth and there was my tiny little baby with crooked limbs - and I experienced for the first time the unconditional love a mother has for her child. It didn't matter that he wasn't "typical", it didn't matter that we had some big challenges and unknowns ahead, it didn't matter that he looked different. My love for him was and is unconditional - and if he has been born "normal" I couldn't possibly love him more.
God showed me that this is how He loves me and you! Life can be traumatic, and sometimes we come out a bit crooked - Even in our darkest days when we feel we have messed up our lives beyond recognition and have become someone we don't want to be - God loves us just as much at our lowest points as he does when we are doing well. He doesn't just love our good parts, he loves ALL our parts! He hates sin, He doesn't hate us - and it's through our imperfections that He is perfected and glorified!
So if God can love all of our parts, we need to learn how to love ourselves completely. Our works will never earn more of His love, so let's stop telling ourselves that we will be happier, more complete or better when we achieve temporary things like a certain physique or status.
An amazing thing happens when you begin to love all of yourself - even the parts you are not proud of --- you begin to feel and accept you are worthy of all the great things God has made you to do. You begin to feel that it is really ok to let go of bad habits and pursue excellence. You no longer need to fight with yourself. You lay it all down at Jesus's feet, walk away and let the Holy Spirit empower you, direct you and grow you into the person you know deep down you were meant to be.
And look at Bear now :)
You can do this!
God is always right there with you
And He will carry you when you can't do it yourself!