On All the Wins Nobody Sees
by Stephanie Gates of A Wide Mercy
My name is Stephanie, and I didn’t eat any brownies last Thursday.Those brownies sat on my counter all day long, and I didn’t eat a single one when nobody was looking. Not eating them was the most productive thing I did all day. I fought those brownies – and I won.
And nobody ever even knew about it.
Food is not a daily struggle for me. I mean, I’m not exactly lean. Four babies later, I’m twenty pounds – and a whole lot of muscle – from my ideal weight. But I’m not usually an emotional eater. When I look in the mirror, twenty extra pounds do not measure my worth. In my day-to-day life, food is not the cross I carry.
But this summer, one of my kids had a run-in with death. Thanks be to God, my child is fine, yet the experience threw my subconscious mind into a sort of primal survival mode. Eat sugar! All of it! Prepare yourself to survive the impending doom!
Since then, I’ve been fighting food. Every single day, all day long.
But I’m fighting food. I’m not losing to food, I’m fighting it. Every day I walk past breads, cakes or ice cream – any sugar, really – and tell myself, you aren’t in danger. You don’t need sugar. Your brain is confused. Keep moving. Most of the time, I don’t pick them up.
To tell you the truth, I’m pretty proud of myself. I’m not losing weight right now, but I’m not gaining either. There is a very real battle in my head right now, and I’m in the lead.
But nobody around me knows I’m engaged in a fight. Nobody knows what I don’t eat in a day.
Nobody knows right now I have to make a conscious decision to be healthy, emotionally and physically, about every ten minutes. I fight – and win! – all the time, but I never share my victories with my husband or friends. I just collect them. I collect them all. Each tiny win reminds me I can do this. I can stare at death and move back into life. My unnoticed achievements are me putting one foot in front of the other. They each lead me a half inch closer to peace.
Then I wonder, what battles are you winning right now?
What are you fighting no one ever sees? I wonder who among us is slowly, deliberately healing. Who is engaging unhealthy thoughts right now, making tiny but important decisions toward peace. Who is waking up the next morning, and deciding to fight all over again. Is that your story?
If so, come sit by me. Tell me what threw your life into primal survival mode. Tell me how you’re climbing back into the sunlight. I want to hear it all. Tell me your story, and I’ll tell you mine.
Because our victories may be silent, but we are not alone. We’re both fighting, you and I, and we are both going to win. I may have seen death this summer, but I’m not giving in to it. I’m going to keep inching closer to peace.
We’ll begin right here. My name is Stephanie, and last Thursday I didn’t eat a single brownie.
I am Stephanie – mom to four beautifully rambunctious little kids and wife to a guy who still makes me smile. Last spring I moved to Colorado, where I fell in love with the mountain air and the Anglican church. If you have ever abandoned religion in search of faith, ever had to leave your hometown to find your home, or ever climbed to the very tip-top of a jungle gym to rescue an overzealous toddler, come sit by me. We’ll talk.