My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Afraid to Be Me

It's been awhile since I've posted on my journey to lose weight.  In fact, I think the last time I talked about it here was before I left for the States.

My time in the US was so sweet.  I was loved so well.  And the transition back was challenging, but it has also been very rich.  I feel like I am in a season of hearing from God in ways that I haven't heard from Him in a long time.  It's been good.  It's been beautiful.  But, it has also been painful in many ways.

The other day, I was talking with Kathy about my trip to Kenya in 2004.  I was going to spend 4 weeks in Kenya with a team of people I had never met before.  I was going to be living, literally, out in the bush with the Masaai for two weeks, and in the slum of Kibera for two weeks.  But, honestly, that brought very little fear in my preparation for going.  My BIGGEST hurdle in going to Kenya was the week of team-building that had to be completed before we left on our journey. 

We were required to work as a team to move through obstacle courses, to complete a variety of team-building activities, to see that no one was left behind.  It was like my worst nightmares come true.  Swinging on rope swings.  Climbing over walls.  Lifting every member of the team through nets and tires.  I shed my fair share of tears before going on the trip, nervous about the whole idea of letting my team down because of my weight.  Never in my life had I felt like my weight could bring down the whole team.

In the end, that week brought some of the greatest victories of my life.  I had been experiencing freedom in Christ in new ways the months before I left, even losing around 30 pounds before I journeyed to Atlanta, Georgia to meet my team and go through the training.  Still, my confidence wavered.  But, the team never gave up.  Even in my greatest insecurities, I was encouraged.  They lifted me through that spider web, helped me over the wall, encouraged me across the climbing wall, lifted me through the tire, and God built my confidence.  It taught me that I was capable of more than I believed.  That I wouldn't let a team down because of what I looked like or the weight that I carried, as long as I allowed myself to be surrendered to the encouragement of the team.  If it had been up to me, I would have opted out of every activity.  But, God, in His infinite wisdom, He knew what I would need to learn during that week.  He knew I would have to trust this team with what I feared most if He was going to be most effective in the ministry that was ahead of us in Kenya.

My time in Kenya was beautiful and changed my life.  In fact, I wouldn't be here in Ghana if I hadn't gone to Kenya.  And I wouldn't have experienced such change in Kenya if I hadn't surrendered my greatest fears--to trust someone else to carry my weight.

Last night, as I was praying through this battle of weight loss that I have faced since I was eight years old, I realized that that fear still plagues me today.  And that fear, to completely trust someone else with the weight of me, is part of the reason that I am still struggling with my weight 23 years later.  It is a safeguard for me.  It is a wall.  It is a struggle and a frustration, but in so many ways, it keeps me safe.  I can avoid relationships, as much as I desire them.  As much as I am transparent, I can avoid true vulnerability. 

It comes down to my deepest fears.  I'm afraid of rejection.  I'm afraid that someone won't love all of me.  And so, in so many ways, I have sabotaged myself.  I have made it difficult for people to love me completely.  I am open, but only about what I am willing to be open about.  These lies that have pervaded my thoughts for decades, they still plague me...still affect my day to day choices about food and exercise and self-confidence.

So much has changed in my life.  I understand the truth.  But, somehow, the lie still exists.  And in all honesty, the lies are sometimes so painful, it's easier to forget that it is there, to leave it alone.

But, in this season, God has called me into a time of silence and solitude.  A time of listening for his voice.  A time of understanding his truth.  And this painful place keeps coming up.

So, while I continue to work on battling my weight, to be healthy, the real battle is a battle of the heart and a battle of the mind.  It is a battle for truth to win over the lies.  And a battle to finally trust others with the real weight of me--physically, emotionally, spiritually--in every way that matters.

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