Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: May 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tear the Walls Down and Start Planting

I am extremely good at letter writing and I'm skilled at crossword puzzles.  I also a pro at hula hooping.  True facts.

What I don't admit with as much pride, is the fact that I'm pretty awful at is being secure in who I am.  It's something I've blogged on before and it's one the key reasons I kept the world at bay for so long.  I reasoned that if people didn't know me, they couldn't reject me.  The past few months have been a grand effort to reconnect and rediscover the world around me.  I've been transparent as I can be on this blog, but as God has revealed to me lately: It's not just transparency that matters. (RELATED: My Next Step)

While it's important to let the world in, I believe it is equally important to be a part of it.  What good is is to simply write about my life and what God is showing me, if I do nothing with it in actuality (RELATED: Motivated by Hope)? But the hard part about that is: confidence.  It's something I'm still learning to have, after years of putting up a front as the perfectionist student and athlete.  It is hard to have confidence in the real Hannah, the one who can't think of good Instagram captions and who cries at just about everything.  But confidence- courage-  is what we need in order to make an impact, otherwise we just fade to the background and let history repeat itself.

See, it reminds me of the story in John 5, where we (along with Jesus) meet a paralytic man at the pool of Bethzatha (For the sake of time, click HERE to read the full story).  This man had already taken the first step: He had become transparent in His brokenness.  For thirty odd years, he had most likely camped out at that pool and let the world see how broken, poor and miserable his life was.

Such raw transparency produces one of two things: Peace that leads to confidence OR shame.

As I've seen in my life, breaking down walls is only beneficial if you proceed to toil the ground, to break up the soil (RELATED: Perfect Peace).  I had to break the soil of perfectionism (RELATED: Spiritually Face Washing). I had to rip out the roots of control and fear and patterns that had gripped my existence.  And I had to plant new life, new hope with a firm foundation.  A foundation in Christ.  If we are stripped bare for the world to see and there is nothing planted, that's when shame takes root.  We begin to feel ashamed of our failures; like a naked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we seek to hide.  (RELATED: The Other Walls I've Been Dealing With)

 But Jesus- the foundation, the cornerstone- tugs at our hearts.  Just like He does for us, He came  to the paralytic man and whispered hope.  Jesus told that man to pick up his mat and walk, and sure enough, after decades of inactive legs: The man popped to his feet.


Can you imagine how fast he must have run from that place?  I can just picture him sprinting through the streets, eyes shining with elation.  He had met the healer.  He had encountered Jesus.

So have we.  We have the Spirit with us every moment.  We have the foundation of Jesus that will hold us up when we tear down these walls that hold us in.  As we tear down walls and toil the ground, shame gives way to peace.  For, I may be laid bare, but I am not barren.  I'm not just being transparent anymore; I'm being a participant in life, one who is not ashamed of brokenness.  

I've experienced Jesus, so you'd better believe I'm going to run for joy.  I've seen Him in my running, something I've been able to do again after so long.  I've seen Him healing relationships, exposing lies and providing comfort when I just need to cry in His arms.  And when we know Him, we know confidence, we know courage.  We know peace.

I'm tearing down the walls.  I'm letting the world in.  Now, watch me as I begin to step out.  Full sail ahead like a boat without an anchor.  I cannot and will not let shame tie me down anymore.  I am going to be transparent and at peace, because I was once paralyzed in fear and now I'm set free.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ten Random Things I've Done This Week

Sometimes I like to discuss the trials of life....and sometimes my brain gets tired and I like to hang upside down on my bed for no reason except it makes my feet feel tingly.  So in the spirit of random blog posting- it is my blog after all- here's a list of ten random things I've done this past week:

1. Watched far too many episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  It's my newest guilty pleasure.

2. Taped pictures on my wall with poster tape I found in the house
3. Found a great new blend at Teavana: Cococaramel SeaSalt, Opus Rouge and Honeybush Vanilla!
4. Increased my mileage by 20% after a successful week of recovery and running, had some crappy runs and didn't get discouraged.

5. Took way too many pictures with my dog, Lily

6. Went square dancing
7. Read through my old diaries and old letters I'd written

8. Started a new book: "Beautiful Outlaw" by John Eldridge 

9. Tried a new protein bar (GoMacro) and it was fabulous!

10. Found three new names to add to my list of "Favorite Names" that I've been keeping since I was only twelve.  I have an odd fascination with names, what can I say.

That's all for this week folks!  I've either driven you away or captivated you with my oddity.  Let's hope it's the latter of the two.  


Motivated by Hope

Last week, I had a fantastic dream in which I plopped down on the floor and "nearly" did the splits. All my friends were doing it, so I just decided to try as well.  In dream logic, it just seemed like the cool thing to do.  Naturally, when I woke up, I had one question on my mind: Could I really get super close to doing the splits?  I even went as far as to act like "dream me" and then, of course, attempt the splits.

Nope.  Nada.  Just a painful ascension from an awkward lunge.  I should've guess as much, right?  I mean, the last time I'd tried was in dance class as a seven year old, and even then I couldn't fully do the splits.  But somehow, I was hopeful that my dream had magically gifted me with the capability.  I mean, just think of all the good I could do the world if I have the talent of doing the splits.....(and then let me know if you can think of anything solid, because I'm drawing a blank)

The point is: I was motivated by hope.

But there's a different kind of motivation- one that's been persistently hounding me lately- and that is: Fear.  While I'm a big proponent of diligence and discipline, I've also spent the past few months in treatment for anorexia, learning that life without reprieve is basically hell on earth.  "Just Do It" just doesn't get it done when the motivation is fear and the body is worn to exhaustion.
Fear says we have to perform in order to measure up to the standards of others.  Fear has driven me to shut the world out, run more than my body could handle, miss out on a lot of fun memories- and that's just the start.  My point is, fear is a pretty awful motivator because it takes precedent over our dreams and hopes.

This past week, I had the chance to go out for a fun shopping and relaxation day.  The enemy brought fear that said no. It said I couldn't eat out for lunch.  It said I couldn't sit in the car that long or try on clothes or do something new.  But there was an inkling of hope in me, hope that gave me a vision of what I want my life to be like.  I want to be free of the fear that binds me.  I want to be able to go on a hike AND sit and watch a movie, walk around the city AND have a "lazy day."  I'm sick of fear.  It doesn't get me anywhere and it is not going to overpower the love of God in my life.  I'm choosing each day to fight the pressure of fear and be motivated by love, by hope.  Last Friday, I did choose hope.  I relaxed and rejuvenated, I found some cute new clothes for the cute new me, I had a delicious lunch.  I don't regret any of it, only the moments that I let my eating disorder have a voice. (RELATED: Wretched Woman I Am)

Moving forward, I'm going to continue to challenge fear as a motivator in my life. (RELATED: Why Strong is Not the New Skinny) And while it's not easy, training the mind to recognize those moments, is worth it.  It is liberating me from the drudgery of failure.   Fear shuts us down when we fail.  It brings a storm of condemnation.  But hope provides a reason to keep going, no matter how hard life gets or how many times we've been shut down.  Trials typically don't wrap up like a Hallmark movie, but when we stand at the gates of Heaven and account for our time on earth, there will be such joy as we remember the times we chose hope over fear.  In that spirit of the Lord, the spirit of hope, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).  So keep on going because hope is never in vain.  Keep running your race.


~Need more hope tonight?  Read why Christ's resurrection gives us strength to say: "It is well with my soul."  Click HERE.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Wretched Woman That I Am (Romans 7:24)

Sometimes, I get confused at the whir of life.  The speed of it all has a way of drawing me away from God and toward stressful to-do lists.  I hate that.  I hate how somehow I could ever take my eyes off of my Savior and think that recovery or running or work or relaxation are ever as satisfying as the Lord.

I feel like Paul, who realized what a "wretched man" he was, in Romans 7.  He saw how quickly he could fall into the devil's lies, into the trap of sin.  That's kind of how I've felt lately, disappointed in myself and utterly frustrated with lack of progress.  I've been serving the fleshly law of sin, and it's no wonder I've been overcome with condemnation and anxiety.  One minute, I'm contemplating how unlovable I am.  The next minute, I'm freaking out that one bad running day means that I'm spiraling downward again.  And in the frenzy of fear, my eyes turn from God because, if I don't think anyone on earth wants me, why run to a God who is perfect and has a perfect record of all my errors? (RELATED: Building Walls)

Those are some deep thoughts.  And some unsettling ones, at that.  But God showed me last Sunday what was at the root of my sudden flee from God.  It's as if I want to shut myself down before someone else does.  After all, deprecation can seem more manageable because its foreseen and expected.  But I'm realizing it's really just a bunch of crap.  I mean, for lack of a more eloquent synonym: That's what it is.  It's a lie from satan that says I can't let people in, can't let them hurt me.  So, naturally: I wall up and end up wallowing in the truth of  Romans 7:24: "Oh, wretched [woman] that I am.  Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?"

But have you read verse 25?  Paul goes on to praise the Lord, to give thanks that he is saved by the grace of God through Jesus.  Rather than getting caught up in sin and then bogged down by condemnation, he chooses to accept the grace that has already been given.

I want to do that too.

I want to stop listening to satan's lies that I'll never change; I want to stop worrying that a bad run means I've lost my gift; I want to stop despising myself for crying and sinning and growing weary and....well: Being human.

That's where grace comes in.  Radical grace.  Grace that I can't quite understand but that changes the outcome of human history, changes the outlook of my life.  That is the grace that has been gripping me lately.  As I wrestle with recovery and running again and trying to release the fear of man from my heart, this is the grace that I cling to.  I can't say I won't shy away from God again, because I probably will.  I can't say I'll have the great comeback story that is already planned out in my head.  But I do know that I have a Savior who is walking alongside me during this trial, who is paving the way and taking me back with every misstep and tumble along the way.  With that realization, I must- like Paul- proclaim: "Oh thanks be to God!"

Thanks for your continued prayers guys.  I'm making slow and steady progress, and will post an update on my running tomorrow! (RELATED: Why Strong is Not the New Skinny)