How to have and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself

Let’s start this post with this statement so that we don’t get it twisted that this is just yet another self-help post:

Any healthy, sustainable relationship with yourself must be deeply rooted in a healthy, sustainable relationship with God. It cannot hang on the balance of what the world has to offer. – Jessica McHugh

There you have it. The secret behind finding and maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself stems from a healthy relationship with your Creator.

Many of us fall into the trap of unhappiness because we chase the things the world tells us we need in order to find happiness: money, status, followers, careers, perfect bodies, etc.

Although most of us have everything we need, Americans have steadily become more and more unhappy since our peak in the 1990s, according to the World Happiness Report:

“Even as the United States economy improved after the end of the Great Recession in 2009,” that report noted, “happiness among adults did not rebound to the higher levels of the 1990s, continuing a slow decline ongoing since at least 2000.”

What also came around in the 1990s?? DIGITAL MEDIA. The article linked to above sheds a light on how digital media has contributed to the steady decline in our happiness.

What does digital media bring to the table? Highlight reels.

You hear it all the time: STOP COMPARING YOUR BEHIND-THE-SCENES LIFE TO SOMEONE ELSE’S HIGHLIGHT REEL. But we can’t. We compare and compare and compare ourselves to others and their things until we absolutely loathe ourselves and where God has us.

Have you ever heard the saying “comparison is the thief of joy?” Do you know why that is?

Isaiah‬ ‭40:18 asks us, “With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken Him?”

It’s because we were never designed to idolize anything other God, and when we do, we settle into unrest. Sometimes so unrelated that it consumes us and becomes a stronghold.

If we were to only judge ourselves the way God does — if we only compared ourselves to His vision of and for us — what would we find? What would life be like if we focused our gaze on Him and trusted His word instead of constantly comparing ourselves to others?

Isaiah 58:11 gives you that answer. “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

That’s right…. when you only compare yourself to the One who created you, the One who gave you His same spirit, you will realize that YOU ARE:

Continuously guided.

Satisfied.

Made Strong.

Bountiful.

Fail-proof.

This is where I land every single time I need reminded of who I am. When I know who I am, I stop comparing myself to the world, helping me have that healthy relationship with myself. A constant inner peace if you will. The way we were to designed to feel.

Tips for achieving this:

  • Forgiveness.
  • Grace.
  • Mercy.
  • Patience.

The kind that God shows you, you need to show yourself. Every single day.

Want to hear more? Listen to the podcast – How to have and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself.

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Looking My Triggers Straight in the Eye…

This week school started back up, and we were prepping to pack for lunches when one child asked for SunButter. No big deal, right?

Well, thanks to God, it’s not anymore.

You see, SunButter was a binge food I relied heavily on at the peak of my disordered eating. I could easily down an entire jar (if not more) without blinking an eye. It got so bad that, on a couple occasions, I found myself dumping dish soap into the jar so that I couldn’t eat any more of it. I haven’t had it in the house since because I wasn’t 100% sure that I could resist bingeing again.

Bingeing, for me, was a symptom of a deeper issue. It was a symptom of my stronghold, and my stronghold of choice was/is self-loathing. I would restrict myself because I loathed myself, which led to bingeing and then more loathing, rinse and repeat. I stayed in this very unhealthy cycle for many, many months before I knew I couldn’t handle it on my own.

Through prayer, petition, and surrender, God rescued me when I was at my lowest. When I felt the most unworthy, He showed me just how worthy I was, and I truly haven’t looked back since. He has used my wounds to glorify Him and has lead me to speak of my journey so that others who are fighting the same battle can see His light at the end of the tunnel.

My days aren’t perfect — I still struggle — but I wrote this blog post to say that they are SO MUCH BETTER!!

I bought the kid the SunButter!! It has set untouched by me in the cabinet for almost a week. That is such a milestone for me! It may seem trivial to you, but this is a praise-Jesus moment in my recovery. I can look that trigger right in the eye and know that it has no power over me. All the glory to God!! Absolutely anything is possible!

If you are interested in my story and would like to hear more, don’t forget about The Whole House Gathering on September 7th!! I will be speaking about having and maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. You can grab your tickets here https://m.bpt.me/event/4240478

Make sure to register by September 5th!!!

Also, mark your calendars for October 19th. I will be speaking at a women’s workshop about God carrying me through my weaknesses to find my worthiness.

Hope to see you at both!!

Jess

My Mission Field Is a Fitness Mat

When God called upon my husband and me to open a fitness studio, I knew there was a greater purpose than just fitness. I knew that God was giving me an opportunity to let others see His works through me. I knew that I could be an example of the perseverance and strength His grace provides and a reminder that after storms, with Him, there’s always a rainbow.

My Journey

Just a few years ago, I was fighting against myself in a spiritual battle over my self worth and self confidence. I was suffering from a major stint of disordered eating, and I didn’t think I’d ever find my happy self again.

But God has perfect timing, and my story is proof. I mustered up enough confidence in the beginning of my recovery to take a fitness certification workshop. I had been putting off this workshop for years because I just didn’t deem myself worthy, but I knew that I owed it to myself to see it to completion. I had been doing the format, POP Pilates, for 6 years and knew that it was the one thing in my adult life (outside of God) that always just made me believe in myself.

The workshop did not disappoint, and it left me feeling more confident than I had felt in a while. At the end of the workshop, we had to say one word to describe how we felt, and mine was WORTHY. It was a full-circle moment for me.

I prayed and prayed and prayed that God would use this new, unleashed passion for His purposes alone and that I would remain grateful no matter what that looked like or how hard it was. I started to focus more on God and less on my appearance, and that was my second major step in my eating disorder recovery. I quickly realized that where He was leading me, a six pack wasn’t required.

Today

Six short months later, my husband and I jumped feet-first into our studio. We knew that God was going to provide a space for me to help women feel loved and worthy — and that’s exactly what He continues to do. It has never once been about anything other than that for me. Does that make me a savvy business owner? Probably not, but it does make me a content one. Week after week, I get to “minister” to women by simply loving them and encouraging them to love themselves. That’s what Jesus Himself does.

“Ministry could simply be about loving the person in front of you.”

This past week, I was humbly presented the POP Pilates Instructor of the Year Award, and I’m again taking this passion to the Lord to allow His work to be done as a result. Let whatever light shines on me reflect straight back to You. Let me never look at this mission field with anything other than faith, hope, and love. Let those three traits be felt by anyone who encounters me. I know that you did not bring me this far, just to bring me this far.

LEAD ME WHERE YOU NEED ME.

All I did is praise. All I did is worship. All I did was bow down. All I did is stay still. (Shout out to that song, Defender.)

Photo credit to Kassia Phoy