Currently I’m… #2

Here is my “current” post for the month of July!

Currently I’m…

Loving: working out! I started working out after I quit dancing about a year ago, and it’s become something that I’m really passionate about. People look at me like I’m crazy when I say I lift weights, and I’m usually the only girl in the gym doing bench press and dead lifts, but I absolutely love it. Over the past couple of months I’ve really figured out what works for my body and combined that with lots of healthy food, and my strength and stamina have improved so much!

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Learning: to trust.  I’m learning to be okay with not knowing what tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year will look like. I’m trusting that every day of my life is under the sovereignty of God and that He’s given me all that I need to walk in His perfect will.

Reading: the very last installment of the Harry Potter series. Ugh. So emotional. And you better not spoil the end for me.

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Eating: carbs. All kinds of carbs. I’ve figured out that my body likes carbs and carbs don’t make me fat. So give me pasta. And pancakes. And oatmeal. All the carbs. Nom nom nom. Seriously though, carbs were my biggest fear during my eating disorder for absolutely no reason. If you’re wary of carbs, don’t be. Your body will thank you.

 

Excited about: college! I have approximately 3 weeks until I move into my little dorm room at Berry College, and I couldn’t be more excited. I love my roommate, I love the WinShape program, and I know I’m exactly where God wants me to be. I actually have a countdown on my phone showing how many days are left…

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Needing: a back massage. I desperately need a back massage.

Thinking about: ballet. It’s been a year since I’ve taken a ballet class, and longer than that since I last wore pointe shoes. I really miss dancing and I hope that sooner or later it will become part of my life again.

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Thankful for: how I’m seeing God work in the lives of my friends. One of my very best friends has conquered her eating disorder and come farther than anyone dreamed possible. Another good friend is returning to Jesus after a long period of wandering and her life is being completely transformed. Let me tell you, nothing will bring you to understand the heart of our savior better than seeing Him literally make someone a new creation. It’s a beautiful thing.

That’s it for now! I hope you are all enjoying the last weeks of summer 🙂

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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40 Days

In 40 days I’ll be unpacking my bags and settling in to my new home at Berry College!

40 days until I am an official Berry student and I begin the “DCL life” through the WinShape College Program!

I am beyond excited for August 20th to come, but I’m trying to remember that there is still work and preparation to be done physically, mentally, and spiritually before I start this new chapter in my life. I don’t want to be so caught up in the future that I forget about the here and now. I want to learn as much as I can, grow as much as I can, and soak up the time that I have with my family and friends.

I feel like a lot of growth has taken place in the weeks since my last post. I’ve changed up my routine with eating and with life in general. I’ve had some fun new experiences, tried new things, and made new friends. I’ve identified and broken some “food rules” that I didn’t even know I was abiding by. I’ve gained some necessary weight and I’m getting stronger in the gym.

Over all, I think I’m starting to better understand the mind-body-spirit connection, which is what recovery is all about. I’ve realized that the seemingly small lies that I believe in my head infect my spirit and affect me physically.

It’s amazing how much can happen when you become vulnerable and give God room to work.

So there’s a little glimpse into what I’ve been learning over the past few weeks! But it doesn’t stop there. I definitely don’t expect to have it all figured out before I leave for school, and I don’t expect or desire for recovery and healing automatically end on August 20th. But I want to seize every moment that I have and allow the Lord to heal the things that I refused to acknowledge were broken over the past year. I’m no longer going to insist on a period where there should be a comma!

On another note, WinShape’s week-long orientation was a blast. I had so much fun getting to know the other 32 incoming students in the program, who I will be living with and doing life with for the next 4 years!

The stunning Berry campus!
The stunning Berry campus!

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My beautiful roommate!

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So here’s to the next 40 days! May they be full of excitement for what’s ahead and enthusiasm for what’s at hand.

Currently I’m…

I’m a very intense person. I tend to go full speed ahead with everything that I do, and that includes blogging. If I don’t have the time or energy to publish a well thought out, provoking, somewhat-inspiring post, then I won’t write anything at all. My last two posts were especially….intense….so in an effort to loosen up and just have some fun, I’m going to start doing some more relaxed blogging. So here’s a snippet of my current life!

Currently I’m…

Enjoying: the sun! I’ve been able to go to the pool a few times this week and just soak in the sun. It’s so relaxing and makes me feel like it’s actually summer, despite my busy schedule.

Eating: peanut butter, in copious amounts. Peanut butter is probably my favorite food, and since I’m trying to gain some healthy weight right now, I’ve been putting it on everything. It’s amazing.

Drinking: coffee, and lots of it. Since I work in a coffee shop I have pretty much unlimited access to caffeine.

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Listening to: Bethel’s new album, You Make Me Brave. There are SO many good songs on there, and I’ve had it on repeat for the past couple of weeks. My favorites are “We Dance” and “You Make Me Brave.”

Reading: the Harry Potter series, and I’m loving it. I know I’m a few years behind everyone else, but that’s okay, because I’m now a thoroughly converted Harry Potter fan. I just finished The Order of the Phoenix, which is the fifth book, and watched the movie with some friends. Hopefully I can find some time today to start book 6!

Working on: handstands! I’ve always wanted to be able to hold a solid handstand, so I’ve been tuning into my inner yogi and practicing handstands every day! It’s a lot harder than it looks…

Looking forward to: tomorrow! Tomorrow morning I’m leaving for a week-long orientation with the college program that I’m going to be in this fall. Berry College is probably the most beautiful place on earth, and WInshape is an incredible program. I’m so excited to make new friends, have a few adventures, meet my roommate, and spend some time in the place I’m going to be calling home! It’s going to be a great week!

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Thinking about: my to-do list. I have quite a bit to get done before I leave tomorrow morning. I have a few last-minute items to pick up and I need to pack. I’ll only be gone for a week, but as a chronic over-packer, packing is a difficult and lengthy process.

Thankful for: a God who is patient enough to teach me, even when I’m so slow to learn. My family, who are also incredibly patient with me. My friends, who are a source of support and encouragement. Oh, and coffee. I’m also very thankful for coffee.

So that’s it for now! What are you currently up to?

Lessons from the Israelites

I’ve been learning a lot from the Old Testament lately. I’ve been reading the first half of the Bible more than I ever have before, and I’ve been surprised at how the Lord is using things that happened thousands and thousands of years ago to teach me. If you haven’t read the Old Testament, you should. It’s good stuff.

I’ve been especially focused in on the history of the Israelite nation. Early in the book of Genesis, God tells this dude named Abraham that He is going to give him descendants that are as many as the stars in the sky; these descendants will be God’s chosen people to whom He will give the land of Canaan. Not to mention the fact that the Messiah (Jesus) would be born out of this people and redeem all of creation.

“I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you…I will make you the father of a multitude of nations…I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.” 

That’s a pretty big promise, eh? Especially to a guy like Abraham who’s almost 100 years old and doesn’t have any kids. But God gives Abraham children who have children who have children, and pretty soon the Israelite nation is booming. Unfortunately, they end up being enslaved in Egypt. Exodus chapter 1 says that “the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor…so the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy. They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands.”

They had it pretty bad. They were literally being worked to death. God had said that He would pour out His blessing on the Israelites, that He would raise up kings from among them, and that He would give them land to possess. But it sure didn’t look like that was going to happen any time soon. After 400 years of brutal oppression, God frees them and brings them out of Egypt. At last God’s chosen people are free and on their way to the Promised Land. In order to get there, however, they have to go through the desert, and it’s not an easy journey. Let me tell you, the Israelites are very frustrating people. God parts the sea for them to cross, sends bread from heaven, miraculously provides fresh water, and appears in a pillar of cloud and fire for them to follow. Yet they complain incessantly. They tell God that He should have just let them die rather than bring them out into the desert. Some of them deny God completely and start worshipping idols. They forget not only what God has done for them in the past, but they forget the goodness of the promise that lies ahead of them.

When they finally reach the edge of Promised Land, after all that God has done to bring them through the wilderness, they get scared because of some giants that are currently living in Canaan. God has clearly told them that Canaan rightfully belongs to them and that He will fight all of their battles, but they decide that they “are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”

And because of their unfaithfulness, they end up wandering around in the wilderness for forty years. Yep. Like I said, the Israelites are very frustrating people.

Fast forward forty years, and the new generation is ready to enter the Promised Land. He only gives them a few instructions: “When you cross the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, you must drive out all the people living there. You must destroy all their carved and molten images and demolish all their pagan shrines. Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy…But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live. And I will do to you what I had planned to do to them.”

But, as you now know, the Israelites seem to have a really hard time obeying God. They decide that it would be a much better idea not to destroy the Canaanites and their possessions, but to take some of them as slaves and enjoy the plunder.

God continues to love the Israelites and offers them so much more grace than they deserve; but their deliberately sinful ways have consequences, and the years lived out in the Promised Land aren’t exactly pleasant.

I know that was a long summary, and I applaud you if you made it all the way through. If it all seems like a pointless history lesson, hang in there. I have a point.

In my last post I got brutally honest with the fact that even though I do believe I’ve been set free from anorexia, I still struggle. I’ve had a really hard time maintaining a healthy weight and I’m beginning to recognize some eating-disorder behaviors that I’ve hung on to. I talked about being humble enough to allow the Lord to take me through a time of healing. So here’s what I’m learning from the Israelites in regards to recovery:

  1. I’m out of Egypt, but not yet to the Promised Land. Anorexia was my Egypt. And praise God that He brought me out of Egypt! I’m no longer enslaved and in bondage. However, I’m going to have to walk through some desert before I get to the Promised Land. For me, the Promised Land is when all eating disorder thoughts have been completely extinguished. When I don’t have to check to make sure that I’m maintaining my weight. When I’m no longer in a time of healing from this specific bondage. And the fact that I’m not there yet doesn’t negate what God has done in any way!
  2. The desert really isn’t that bad. Think about it. Some of the most profound miracles recorded in scripture took place in the desert! God made himself so obvious to the Israelites that His spirit was among them in a pillar of fire. If the people had followed God faithfully, things would have gone so much more smoothly. The journey through the desert was a time of preparation, learning, and growth for the great things that were in store for them. For me, the journey through the wilderness is a time of healing and restoration. It’s a time of intimacy with the Lord as He searches my heart and reveals the areas of my life that He wants to make new. It’s a time for me to be completely and totally reliant on His provision and protection. And if you ask me, that’s not a bad place to be.
  3. Egypt sucks. One of the biggest problems that the Israelites had is that when things got tough in the desert, they wanted to go back to Egypt. They forgot how merciful God had been to them by delivering them from slavery and at the slightest discomfort they wished they could return. Seems crazy, right? But how often do we look back on the things that once held us in bondage and reminisce about the good old days? I pray that I never even turn around to look at my Egypt. So if I ever start missing the “simplicity” of being anorexic, if I ever miss being “special” because of my weight, if I ever am tempted to engage in an old habit, please remind me that Egypt sucks.
  4. I don’t have to be afraid of giants. God had already promised to give the land of Canaan to the descendants of Abraham. He took them all the way through the desert and never once went back on His word. Yet the Israelites are completely shaken up by the prospect of having to go against some giants that are living in Canaan. God has promised me full healing and full recovery, so any “giants” that are preventing that have to die! To think that I could fail when I tackle a lie or a habit is ridiculous; if God is for me, who can be against me?
  5. None of the Canaanites, and nothing belonging to the Canaanites can remain. God warned the people that if they didn’t completely drive out the Canaanites, they would have to deal with the consequences. These people were pagan idol worshippers, and the Lord knew that if any part of them or their practices remained, the temptation would be too great for the Israelites. Unlike the Israelites, however, I’m not going to let any leftovers from the eating disorder remain. Things like skipping meals or snacks, weighing myself, counting calories, keeping food logs, following food rules, and any dishonesty about what I’m doing or thinking can have absolutely no place in my life. Anything that is a reminder of the bondage I was in must be driven out.

So…

If you’re still in Egypt, hang in there. Your Deliverer is near.

If you’re in the desert, keep looking towards the Promised Land.

If you’re facing giants, don’t be afraid. He will fight your battles.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. -James 1:12