We trip. We fall.

We trip. We stub our toes and stubbornly pretend nothing ever happened. We look around to make sure no one saw our fumble and press on. Too proud to suggest that perhaps we slow down the pace. Take a rest. Unload our burdens.

Sometimes we fall flat on our face. And in that moment, when we’ve face-planted into the dirt, it’s too late to pretend that nothing ever happened. Pride goes down to the ground along with us, and humility reaches out its hand to help us back on our feet.


We fall. It happens. Expect it. At some point in your life, the very mountain you thought you conquered will appear in front of you once again and you will be forced to climb. It will be rough, the climb will be steep, and you will fall. But each time you fall, your pride goes down with you. Each time you choose to grasp humility’s hand, a bit of that pride stays buried in the dirt.

But please, remember this: When you trip, you are not weak. When you fall, you are not helpless. 

In fact, you are empowered.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. -1 Peter 1:3

In the moments when you feel weighed down and overcome, you have a choice. You have the choice to stay on your face, and you have the choice to stand to your feet. You have the choice to remain where you are at the foot of the mountain, and you have the choice to keep pressing onward.

But I am afraid to fall again. It is better to keep moving forward and fall many times over than to stay where you are.

But the climb isn’t worth the effort. Is freedom not worth it? Trust me, just a taste of freedom’s air and you will know that every moment of the climb was worth it.

But the mountain is too great. No mountain is too great, because there is Someone greater who came before you. And He goes with you. And His name is Jesus.


But before we trip, will we admit that the pace is too quick, the burden too heavy, the exhaustion too great for us to continue?

Before we fall, will we take a step back and examine who we are and what’s in front of us? Will we stop long enough to prepare for the journey ahead? Or will we forge onward with blind eyes and stumbling feet?

Far too often I do just the thing I know I ought not to do. I ignore the problem. I refuse to admit that I am not okay. I don’t make time to examine what’s going on inside of my mind and heart. And then in my ignorance I fall to the ground and wonder how I got here. 

Regardless of my failures, I am at peace because I know the Truth.

The fact is that we will trip and sometimes we will fall. But the truth is that tripping and falling will never define us unless we allow it to.

So go ahead, fall. Fall hard. Let your face hit the mud. But don’t stay there. Leave your pride on the ground and allow humility to help you to your feet once again.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9

Be Still

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7:40am. I’m driving away from my beautiful home on Berry College’s mountain-campus and towards the start of a brand new day. As I round the corner and the road opens up and the trees part ways I gasp just a bit. Fields of trees with their vibrant fall colors peek through a thick blanket of fog. So many deer stare at me with wide eyes as I drive by.

I slow down and take a moment to let the peace of the morning soak in. I think about how incredibly thankful I am to be where I’m at. I think about how beautifully creative my God is that he designed the morning and all its glory.

10390010_10152829927678665_35272097042110110_nJesus, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to  experience just a glimpse of how magnificent you are in the beauty of this morning. Thank you for the constant reminders of your presence even in the most simple of things.

And so the day begins. Not bad for eight in the morning with just one cup of coffee in my system. Sometimes my mornings consist of me waking up late, throwing on a wrinkled shirt, burning my fingers on the curling iron, and choking on a bowl of oatmeal while I drive a bit too fast to get to class on time. But I’m thankful for mornings like these where everything seems to go just right and I can make a peaceful entrance into my day.


But as the minutes turn to hours and the day passes by I forget about the trees and the fog and the deer and the serenity of this morning. I get lost in a muddle of tests and books and to-do lists. I have things to do and places to be and people to see. Some tell me I like to stretch myself too thin, and maybe I do, but I enjoy being busy.

I finished this to-do list…but there’s always room for one more thing.

I have an hour break between classes…just one more coffee date. 

And not only do I need to do everything and be everything and be everywhere, but I have to do it all well. Even perfectly. 

Then my mind gets clouded by my anxious thoughts and fears of inadequacy.

Such-and-such person is in a bad mood this morning…I must have done something to make them upset. 

I had to turn down that invitation…I’m a disappointment. 

Today’s plans were changed last minute and now I’m not going to check off everything on my to-do list…I’m such a failure. 

But in the midst of marching from here to there to the beat of my anxious thoughts I hear Him whisper rest. breathe. be still. I hear Him say you don’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. I DO. He reminds me that I am nothing and I have nothing if I am not walking with Him. It doesn’t matter how many people I make happy today or how I prove myself at work if I forget that He is the one who gave me the gift of today.

In  a noise polluted world, it is even difficult to hear ourselves think let alone try to be still and know God. Yet it seems essential for our spiritual life to seek some silence, no matter how busy we may be. Silence is not to be shunned as empty space, but to be befriended as fertile ground for intimacy with God.

-Susan Muto

It’s so easy to forget how to be still, to be silent, to read for pleasure, to pray in solitude, to do something simply because I want to in a world so intent on filling up every second of my day with “productivity.” Humans were designed to rest. We were commanded to rest. I don’t know what makes me think that I’m above the need to take a breather when God Himself did exactly that, but I do know that my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is at stake here.

It isn’t just about doing less, it’s about a shift in thinking. It’s about stopping to thank the Creator for the beauty that I see every morning when I wake up. It’s about taking a moment to really listen to that friend and have a meaningful conversation. It’s about not allowing myself to feel like a failure because I’m sick and couldn’t go into work. So I’m gonna sleep a little longer, drink my coffee a little slower, and maybe watch an episode of Gilmore Girls. Or two. Or three.

Rest. Breathe. Be still. The weight of the world doesn’t rest on your shoulders.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” -St. Augustine of Hippo

Learning to Trust

Recovery taught me a lot of things, but one of the most important things I learned is to trust. I learned the hard way, which is why it took me almost four years to recover, but looking back I see how much easier things would have been if I had been willing to trust. I should have trusted that my nutritionist knew better than I did what my sickly body needed. I should have trusted my parents to feed me instead of trying to make decisions in the midst of overwhelming anxiety. I should have trusted my body’s hunger and fullness signals and believed that I would reach a natural, healthy weight without counting every calorie that entered my mouth.

But to trust meant to give over control, which was something I wasn’t at all willing to do.

I was terrified of what would happen if I listened to my nutritionist, ate what my parents gave me, and let my body get to a healthy weight. I would be fat. I would be a failure. I would be ugly, unloved, worthless. They didn’t know what it felt like, so how could they promise that if I trusted them I would feel better? To give other people control of my eating disorder would be to hand over the one thing I was actually good at. I was so comfortable in the routine that anorexia had laid out for me that to think of living any other way was unbearable.

I fought so hard to continue down a path of self-destruction that somehow felt so satisfying. I chose to ignore the loving voices that told me there was a better way…if only I would trust them.

Eventually, Jesus had His way. He allowed me to see the big picture instead of the tiny sliver that only portrayed the miserable situation I was in. He showed me that there was infinitely more to life than what I could see from my current vantage point, and if I would simply trust Him, I could walk in the fullness of His goodness and grace that is so much sweeter than anything my eating disorder had to offer.

So often our need for control deceives us into believing that we know better than anyone else. But the truth is that we’re too blind and broken to trust ourselves. Instead, we need to hand over control to the One who always sees the big picture and loves us extravagantly, beyond all comprehension. We need to have a bit more confidence in the people that God has placed in positions of influence in our lives, who love us and want the very best for us.

Trust…when your doctor says that you are at a dangerously low weight.

Trust…when your nutritionist says that you aren’t fueling your body properly.

Trust…when your friend confronts you about your drinking habits.

Trust…when your parents say that boy isn’t right for you.

Trust…when the truth of God’s word says that you are worth more than the things people say about you.

Trust is uncomfortable. It requires that you make yourself vulnerable and relinquish control. But trust is the bridge between the mess you are in now and the freedom that awaits you on the other side. Don’t be afraid. Put your life in the hands of the Maker of heaven and earth. He won’t ever break your trust.

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An Error in Punctuation

I’ve shared my story with a lot of people.

I’ve told my church, my friends, audiences of strangers, and the internet how I had an eating disorder for three years and was set free by Jesus. I’ve told people how I had an encounter one night with God that changed me from the inside out. An encounter that empowered me to give up counting calories, weighing myself, and hating what I saw in the mirror. An encounter that ended my depression and anxiety, filled me with joy, gave me confidence, and was the beginning of a new life for me.

And every part of the story that I’ve shared with people is true. I am different person than I was a year ago. I’ve been healed and made new. I’ve been redeemed and restored.

But I’ve left out something very important.

I’ve left out the fact that my story isn’t over.

I’ve insisted on putting a period where there should be a comma.

My testimony didn’t end when I left the altar that night knowing that my chains had been broken. Yeah, those chains of bondage fell off, but there were scabs and scars and even open wounds that they left behind, and I haven’t allowed those wounds to heal. I’ve ignored the fact that healing is a process, not a destination.

And that is something that I haven’t wanted to admit even to myself, much less to other people.

I thought that my story would be so much better if I could say that I had been fully healed in an instant and was now 100% recovered. I was trying to take God’s place as the author of my story, and that caused me to miss out on the healing and growth that could have been happening over the past year as I stepped out of anorexia. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come so far and my life is completely and wonderfully different than it was when I was anorexic. No, I don’t starve myself, exercise compulsively, binge, purge, or think about food all the time. I eat when I’m hungry, I never skip a meal, I don’t hate my body, and I’m not afraid to treat myself (ice-cream for the win!).

However, my physical recovery has been a roller-coaster over the past year. After I encountered Jesus that night and experienced freedom like I’d never felt before, eating wasn’t a struggle at all and I quickly reached a healthy weight for my height and body type. But a couple of months later, I lost about 5 pounds…which doesn’t seem like much, but in recovery, even 2 pounds can make or break both your mental and physical well-being. Luckily, my mom realized that I had lost weight and I quickly got back on my feet. A small relapse like that is perfectly normal, and to be expected! But it happened last summer…and in October…and over Thanksgiving…and over Christmas break…and in the spring…and it happened again this month. Whenever someone would express their concern I would ignore it because (truthfully) I feel great mentally! I’m happy and I’m enjoying life, so who cares if I’m a few pounds underweight? Besides, the Lord delivered me from my eating disorder so I don’t have to worry about recovery anymore! Right?

Wrong.

The truth is that even though I don’t feel controlled by anorexia anymore and I’m not actively engaging in old habits, the fact that my weight keeps dipping down is a symptom of bigger issues. And to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what those issues are. All I know is that I was so anxious to leave the past behind me that I didn’t allow the Lord to bring me through a process of healing. Sometimes God does heal people completely, in just an instant. He is perfectly capable of not only freeing you, but wiping away every remnant and every memory of what once held you back. But oftentimes He takes us through a process of healing, and in that process we learn who He is and who He made us to be. Sometimes we have to walk through the desert before we can enter the Promise Land, and it isn’t always fun.

What I’m learning is that the freedom I was given that night was indeed the end of bondage, but it was only the beginning of healing.

It’s not easy to accept the fact that I’ve been running around claiming that everything is okay while I’m covered in scabs that keep opening back up and cuts that keep getting infected. It hurts a bit to admit that I’m not as “recovered” as I would like to be. But I want to be vulnerable, because vulnerability demolishes pride.

So where do I go from here? I don’t really know. I know I need to start by gaining at least 5 pounds to be in a weight range that is healthy for me, where my body will function as it’s supposed to. And I know that as I go, I need to be ready and willing to recognize and confront the things in my heart and mind that have kept me from maintaining my health.

I’m erasing the period, and replacing it with a comma. No matter how difficult and how humbling it may be, I’m asking the Lord to search my heart and take me through a journey of complete healing and restoration. I’m ready for Him to take the pen out of my hand and write my story. I’m just along for the ride.

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To Whom it May Concern

Hello beautiful.

I know what you’re going through. I know how hard it was to get out of bed this morning and face the day. I know how loud the voices are and how unbearable the anxiety is when you don’t obey them. I know you want to fight, but it’s so much easier to lie in surrender. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless, worthless, defeated. But I have to tell you something. 

You don’t have to live like this. 

You don’t have to let the number on the scale control you. You don’t have to feel guilty about nourishing your body. You don’t have to isolate yourself because you’re afraid to let the world see you. You don’t have to hide your body behind those baggy clothes. You don’t have to throw up everything you eat. You don’t have to look in the mirror every day and hate what you see.

Recovery is possible. Freedom from your eating disorder is possible. 

I know the face of anorexia all too well, but I also know what it’s like to live a free life. And you can too.

Recovery is not easy, but it’s worth it. Every meal you eat is a victory. Every pound you gain is another battle won. Every day you ignore the voices in your head is another step towards total freedom.

This is a fight for your life, so put on your boxing gloves and get ready. You’re going to fall, but you can stand back up. You’re going to take some blows, but you will be okay. You’re going to feel weak, but you’re stronger than you believe. You’re going to be afraid, but you’re braver than you think.

You are worth more than anything this eating disorder has to offer. You are a living, breathing, feeling, human being, and you were created for so much more than this. You are a child of God. He calls you beautiful, righteous, blessed, pure, worthy, lovely, wonderful. Start making decisions based on who you truly are, not who the eating disorder tells you that you are.

Chin up, my dear. You can do this. I promise you won’t regret it.

Love,

Sarah Elaine