I had underlying commitments that kept me in a safe place I never actually wanted to stay in.

Once we set a commitment to ourselves and tell the world about it, it becomes something sort of ingrained in us. And once it burrows long enough, no matter what, that “thing” becomes the story we **think** we must tell.

But what happens when the story we’ve been given becomes the story we tell, yet is not the story we want to live?

My Quote

In September of 2015, I did a podcast interview with Nia Shanks. During the interview she asked me, 

You have on your website a quote that says, “When gravel roads are all you’ve ever known, you learn to find beauty in the dust.” Can you elaborate why you have that up there, and what that really means to you?

She told me how much she loved the line, and I remember thinking how validating that felt. 

For a few years now, I’ve loved it, too.

But today I know for sure that I do not love it anymore, as much as I fought the desire to keep it for the sake of keeping it.

The season for loving it has drastically changed and the realization as to why I no longer love it has felt like a I grew up about 10 years overnight.

Underlying Commitments www.sarahkayhoffman.com Italy Burano #lifestyleblogger #healthyliving #guthealth #inspire

You Might Not Want to Heal

It all started mid-July when I stumbled upon this Instagram post (from another Sarah). The post, she prefaced, might be an unpopular opinion because she flat out said, “You might not want to heal.” She then went on,

We have what I call “underlying commitments”… these are beliefs or actions that are in direct conflict with what we desire, in this case, that is healing.

Let me explain: Say you had 3 younger siblings that struggled with mental health issues, so they required more attention from your parents… you might be committed to staying ill because it also demands some of your parent’s attention and at your core you just want to feel equally loved and acknowledged.

Or maybe you have never understood what you were put on this planet to do, you feel lost and confused by your purpose… but by struggling with chronic illness you are completely occupied, it has become your purpose. Your hidden commitment is to staying ill so that you don’t have to feel vulnerable and discover a different purpose.

What might your underlying commitments be? How are they in direct conflict with you wanting to heal?

When you completely dissect EVERYTHING standing in the way of your best, healthiest life- doorways open, you experience massive ah-ha moments, and light bulbs go off.

Underlying Commitments

I had an underlying commitment. Mine was called the autoimmune condition Colitis that started in 2008 then spiraled to a whole host of other things with the culmination of “infertility” and SIBO.

Without these underlying commitments, who/what would A Gusty Girl and Sarah Kay Hoffman be?

So I stayed ultra-committed to it and in 2015, locked down,

If I Died Tomorrow via sarahkayhoffman.com Beauty in the Dust Gravel Roads

The path was all there, and my story was deeply-rooted in dust.

Except that Today I’m Not the Same

I loved where the tagline came from because gravel roads are really part of my past; my roots. But those were physical gravel roads; not a metaphor for struggles. Literally. I grew up on those roads not living a lavish life by any means, but living the best life I could have asked for. 

“When gravel roads are all you’ve ever known” became synonymous with a “sad story….” Colitis, other illness, and infertility.

The problem was (I came to realize) that, for me, none of it is sad.

Honestly, there is nothing about any part of my story (even if my 2008 Proctitis diagnosis was right) that is sad. And there is certainly nothing about any of that I should stay committed to for sake of writing (especially if fully ridding SIBO is my goal).

In fact, I started to realize that maybe part of the reason the SIBO keeps coming back is because that’s the story I tell myself in order to fulfill these underlying commitments. (Take it.)

underlying commitments agutsygirl.com story quote #quote #guthealth #quotes #inspiringhealing

Beautiful In Its Time

I’ve had a certain mind set for 10 years now, but that mind set has shifted. Little-by-little it’s been happening for a few months; this was the culmination where the straw broke that camel’s back.

Things I’ve been doing these past few months that have contributed to the shift:

  1. Read: Declutter Your Way to Success (the book that sort of kicked this whole thing off!)
  2. Reading currently: Pep Talk: Learn the Language of Success Through Positive Declarations
  3. Went to Italy
  4. Told Ryan about it (in the airport before leaving for Italy)
  5. Made the connections between food and everlasting gut healing (or maybe I should say not-so-much food and instead lifestyle and everlasting gut healing)
  6. And last night I bought, ‘Girl, Wash Your Face‘ (for good measures)

The list might not be that grand to have stumbled upon something pretty massive for my life, but these have been the main pieces to it.

Here’s the deal, I’m not saying that some of the things in my life have not been hard. They have been. My hard and your hard don’t have to be the same “hard” in order for them to be validated.

What I am saying is that I am breaking the chain that my story, my life, is contingent upon something much darker than it really is. 

And I need to do this by turning every last thing into a positive…..no matter what.

My gut, deep down in my gut, says that instead of gravel roads it is, 

Beautiful in its time.

I’ve quoted it and lived by it whole-heartedly since the first day I heard (when I was in my late 20’s),

Everything is beautiful in its time.

It’s straight from Ecclesiastes 3:11 and whether or not you love the Lord as I do, you’ll find a sense of calm and renewed spirit and energy if you just sit with those 6 words for some time.

Change the Story

I will always be A Gutsy Girl. That’s not changing, ever (will that be weird when I’m blogging as A Gusty Girl at 92?!)

But today (and forever) I want to live according to the faith in “beautiful in its time.” 

I no longer want to be in that safe place for keeping underlying commitments, and you shouldn’t either.

Updated in 2020 to add: Everything is beautiful in its time is aligned with A Thyme for Milk and Honey. I am no longer committing to staying “sick” for a story to tell. Instead, A Gutsy Girl now lives and thrives on…..

Heal your gut. Heal your life.


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  1. You will love “Girl Wash Your Face”. It’s amazing and freeing of “underlying commitments”. Thank you always for your wise words.

  2. I teared up as I read this post. It has resonated so deeply with me. I feel like the Lord has put you in my path.
    I will start my 2nd round of Xifaxan today, but have deep underlying issues with control, because so much of my life has been out of my control. Being thin enough and pretty enough and having the “perfect” body are things I’ve strived for , because they make me in control and safe. I know in my head this isn’t right, but to let go has been so scary to me!!! I’ve dealt with so many hard things over the past decade, that I believe these digestive issues, that I’ve developed, are from extreme, prolonged periods of stress. I need to let go of a number on the scale, and trying to obtain a “perfect” body. I need to trust in body’s ability to heal, and nourish it and love myself. To let go. To reach out more. To give more and love you.
    You have blessed my life with your wealth of information on my digestive issues, but more importantly , you insight on life, and your beautiful spirit and encouragement.

  3. Thank you for posting this – how uplifting and full of optimism!
    I made a similar pronouncement to my husband (boyfriend at the time) many years ago. I was going through a very hard time in my life and was recovering from depression. He is a mental skills coach with a psychology degree and was always trying to help “fix me.” I told him that if he kept trying to fix me I would stay broken, since I would come to believe that his love for me was dependent on him having something to fix.
    Realizing that has helped me through my own struggles with my gut issues (celiac/gluten intolerance, chronic constipation, etc.). It’s so easy to become dependent on your illness to describe who you are and tell your story, but we are so much more than that! It’s hard to move forward from what has been defining your life.

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