Vulnerability

What feelings or thoughts does the word vulnerability stir up in you? For some maybe it doesn’t do anything because it’s something they wouldn’t even consider doing or ever necessary. For some the idea of vulnerability causes such a negative response. For others it’s something they’ve done before and been stung by. Perhaps more wish they could be more vulnerable but can’t bring themselves to do it.

For me vulnerability has become a necessity. Vulnerability has often been the start of friendships and relationships. It’s been the start of growth or changing of a path. It’s opened discussions, freed me from thoughts and actually often helped me to realise I am not alone.

When I started my weight loss journey properly back in March 2016 I was looking for inspirtational quotes to fuel my way. I found one that has always been in the back of my mind since but has become very real recently.

The quote read: aim to inspire, not to impress.

The defintions of those two words are very interesting to me

Inspire: fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something
Impress: make (someone) feel admiration and respect

I love that to inspire is to help someone feel a hope for themselves instead of impress which causes someone to feel something for you. Who doesn’t want to be a person who helps someone to be something they desire to be by inspiring them?!

Recently I’ve had a number of people tell me that they have been inspired me or spurred on by me to make changes or decisions. What an honour. What an honour for God to use something that I am doing anyway to inspire people.

As i spent time with God this week I felt God say to me ‘you can’t effectively inspire without vulnerability and getting onto someones level’.

Vulnerability makes change seem possible not unattainable. It shows that it can be hard to make the changes but that it’s doable. Without the vulnerability you can inspire a desire to change; “I wish i could do that” but you probably won’t inspire a belief that it is doable.

Vulnerability and relationships are so important to grow and change and to be real. They are beneficial to the individual and the people around them. It creates the opportunity for community and support systems. It can remove loneliness and fear of being ‘different’.

Vulnerability is to take a risk that the person or people that you are sharing with will respect you. It’s not something to be done without consideration but in the right circumstances it can create and inspire beautiful friendships and wonderful communities.

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What am I doing?

Someone asked me what I’m doing to lose weight. I thought I’d share my response!

I’m almost at 2.5 stone off in 6 months. There’s a few things I’ve done.

1) The biggest thing was learning that I’m worth the effort and therefore not to just give up. I’ve spent all my adult life trying to lose weight and getting nowhere because when others needed something that got in the way I’d give up.

2) I read a book called Made To Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. It changed my mindset about diet towards it being a journey of discipline with God but that he’s the one who defines my worth and not the scales. SO worth reading.

3) I’m using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone to track my calories and write down everything that I eat. I’ve done slimming world and weight watchers over the years and they just don’t work for me. I find I give up and all I want is the banned food. With my fitness pal I can eat whatever I want as long as I am within my calories for the day (though I have found that I have naturally fallen into making healthier choices because it normally means fuller for longer!) and if it gets to the end of the day and I want to eat something I don’t have enough calories for I go for a walk or I pave around the house to earn the calories. If I don’t want to earn them I don’t get to eat it.

4) I got myself a Fitbit. I started by aiming to walk 5000 steps a day and I really struggled. I now manage between 10000 and 15000 a day. I pace while I read my bible or a book to gain more steps!!

5) I have friends on my fitness pal and Fitbit who keep me accountable. I also make it very open that I’m trying to lose weight including posting my weekly weight losses on my Instagram feed. It means that if I went off plan people would notice because my habits would change and so someone would ask me and bring me back in check!!

It’s a really hard journey and there are so many things that get in the way. I’ve always been a comfort eater and I’ve always been an all or nothing person so I’m either fully on plan or not at all. I’m trying to change both of those things and have seen real breakthroughs partially because of the book.

I’ve been to a BBQ and a baby shower recently where I knew if I started eating the food I wouldn’t stop. Before the BBQ I ate dinner. I wanted to go to the BBQ for the company not for the food. Before the baby shower I told both the mum to be and the friend I was going with that I wouldn’t be eating anything. The sense of achievement I had at walking away from both those events having stuck to my plan was incredible.

 Sorry to have rambled on for so long!! Any questions or anything else please do feel free to message back. It’s something I’m incredibly passionate about and empowering other people to make process in their journey is so important to me too!! So anything I can do to help just shout!

Infertility – in the trenches

I thought I’d share an email we sent to family 3 years into trying for a baby. Miraculously just 1 week later we found out we were expecting our little bear. I share this to hopefully encourage others and to share the resources we shared with family.

Hello all

Apologies for the mass email; we wanted to update you with where we’re at in our attempts to start a (or more accurately, to grow our) family, and an email was the easiest way to get everyone up to speed. Obviously, this is not something we wanted to include in the Christmas letter!

We’ve now been trying to conceive without success for over 3 years, and in that time we’ve really valued your prayers and your support. We understand that it’s impossible to know how to support us fully without you having been through the same situation, and we find this with our close friends as well.

Since we started trying, we have been to the doctors twice about the issue: first to have some initial tests, which showed no obvious issues, and the second time they said they wouldn’t be able to treat due to Sarah’s weight. We’ve since spoken to friends who are medical professionals who have assured us that this is a formality (bureaucracy) and not a medical reason. Sarah has obviously been trying to lose weight, and at times has done quite well, but infertility is an emotional roller coaster which doesn’t help the process of weight loss, and so she hasn’t been as successful as she would have liked. She has recently started trying to stick to Slimming World more seriously and with more fervour, and she always appreciates your support in helping her to eat well (Slimming World isn’t always obvious in what ‘eating well’ means as it’s different in different circumstances, so please ask if we’re eating with you and you’re not sure – she/we won’t be offended!)

Since the end of last year we have been thinking about going private for further tests, and have decided to pursue that this year. We still need a referral from the GP for this but the weight loss requirements are less when you go private. Sarah still has a few more pounds to lose before this bar is met, but it is much more achievable, given the circumstances. Obviously there are costs involved in this which start off quite piecemeal, so we will see how it goes and whether it’s something God wants us to pursue all the way. Thankfully, we have been saving for when we have a baby, and after praying, talking with friends, and discussing it between us, we feel this is an appropriate use of the money. (There’s certainly no point in storing up the money without the baby!) Although our savings aren’t much, it’s enough to get started. We have faith that if this is God’s path, he will provide the money when we need it.

We’re grateful that we’re able to talk about this openly with you and that you are all understanding and considerate people. We want to let you know that we do find life hard because of all of the above, and sometimes it can be particularly bad around special occasions where the absence of a child in our family is all-the-more obvious to us, or when we have recently had another negative result. Consequently, sometimes we may withdraw from situations or conversations, or even decline invitations to events that might rub salt in an open wound. We appreciate your sensitivity in these situations. Also, there are some topics of conversation that could provoke an emotional response internally (which may or may not become external!). We don’t expect you to know what these are, as sometimes we don’t even know what they are ourselves, but this is just to give an explanation in advance if we come across as short, withdrawn, or just a bit ‘off’!

All that said, we honestly don’t mind talking about our infertility journey, and if you ever think of questions, we’re more than happy to answer them. It’s rare that you would upset us by bringing it up, as chances are, it’s already on our minds.

We could carry on giving advice on how to support us, but there’s a website that has it pretty well pegged, by the author of a book called ‘Hannah’s Hope’ that we’ve read. (If you’d like to read it to gain a greater insight in to what we’re going through, we can lend it to you, or it’s available on the Kindle at a reasonable price.) 

http://www.hannah.org/?i=5455&mid=7

Look for the section titled ‘HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOUR INFERTILE OR BEREAVED FRIENDS’ roughly two thirds of the way down. There’s a little bit to read; we’d be very grateful if you were able to spare a few minutes to read it all, as it really is very good advice.

There’s also a video linked from that page: (can be watched without audio)

http://www.tearsandhope.com/emptyarms_video.html

It’s a smidgen cheesy but conveys pretty much where we’re at, although the suggestions for support don’t go into as much useful detail as the hannah.org website.

We’ve seen God do a lot in us in the last 3 years, and we still have hope in Him for what the future holds. We’ve had words, pictures, and Bible verses from God through friends and strangers, so despite wobbles in our faith at times, we still know that God has us in his hands, and that he has his best for us in store.

Anyway, sorry this has been so long; thank you for reading this far (if you skipped to the end, shame on you! ;-D), and thank you for your thoughts, prayers and love, both in the past and the future.

Love

R&S x