Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: June 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

No Longer Stuck in Motion

God has broken a big barrier in my life.  Thanks to a pesky injury and ten days of severe pain, I have been able to challenge the eating disorder behavior, compulsive movement.

It started with a weird pain in my leg during a run, which I promptly stretched and iced.  But the pain turned out to be terrible inflammation in my SI joint and running, let alone walking, became impossible.  So the anxiety set in, because if I can't walk, then...then...what?  I didn't know and I didn't want to face the possibility that I might have to sit still, which was not even plausible because of the lifestyle I'd developed during my eating disorder, making exercise a huge part of my life.

And it's the part of my recovery journey that I've kept secret....that is, until now.

I've been very vocal about my eating disorder on this blog.  For one, it's my active defiance against shame- of where I am and where I've been.  I also believe in the power of testimony, in showing what God has done in my life- that's how we overcome (Romans 12:11)  I've had little trouble opening up about my challenges with food: Restricting it, skipping it and limiting it.  But I've never formally talked about my struggle with exercise. (RELATED: Why Strong is Not The New Skinny)

Why is that?

Why is it that the idea of being vulnerable leaves me shaky and full of fear.  I know am not given a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), but it is so hard when the world is right here and Jesus can seem so far away.  I fear it will discredit my love of running and hiking, that it will make the world laugh in my face.  But then I remember all the good that has come from shedding light on the struggles in my life, and I know that staying silent is not an option.

What's the truth?

The truth is, I've hinted at this struggle to many friends and family, but they don't seem to get it.  The truth is, this week has been miraculous for reasons many of you will never understand.  It has brought me to my knees before the Lord, in the realization that I cannot continue to push my body to the brink of exhaustion.  Even more important: I don't have to.  All my life I've felt like I have to be the tough one, the strong one: But true strength is letting go and surrendering to the hold of the Savior. (RELATED: Surf the Urge)

God has been with me through it all, though.  He was there last fall, when I spent my Friday nights walking the stairwells on campus, with tears in my eyes and terror in my heart.  He was there when I took off across town, sentencing myself to 15 mile bike rides in secret.  He was there when I formed all the rules: No sitting until 9 p.m., I must walk at least two hours in addition to my run, no sitting at meals.  I missed Bible studies; movie outings and nights with friends, all because I was terrified to sit.
Yet, there was one night, in the stairwell, when I hit rock bottom.  It had been a day of lonely failure, and I had retreated to the place I new best: A concrete prison that had become my solace when the sun set.  But my frustration came pouring out, and I eventually collapsed on a step.  All alone, I cried out to God in hopelessness.  It was December and it felt like my world was falling down.

And I sat there and pleaded with the Lord, begging Him to change me and make it all okay.  But then I realized I was sitting, and that "wasn't allowed."  So I wiped the tears and resumed my routine.

A lot has changed since that night, but there is still a measure of fear in me, fear of being "found out."  But when I look back at the old Hannah, I realize just how much God has done in five short months.  And then I look back and am amazed at all He has done in this past week.

The truth is, we are His masterpieces, works in progress.  I've been so hesitant to share this because of the shame, but after the wholeness I have found this week, I can't help but share.  The truth is bursting out of me like a secret I cannot contain.  I was bound up, but now I'm free.  I was once held to rules and laws about when I can rest; now I am beginning to leave those behind for good.

This is my "thing".  We all have one, and we all hide it away so no one can see.  We cloak it in darkness until the Lord brings it to light in a glorious display of our surrender in the hands of His redemption.  I have been so ashamed of this part of my life, but the Lord has worked wonders in me this week, through something I only saw as a terribly unfortunate event.  But amidst all my whining and complaining, I began to see Him orchestrating something marvelous.  I began to see the hands of God in one of the largest struggles I have ever had.  This is my thing.  It's now out for the world to see, published on a little blog in the blogosphere of writing where the world bears its heart.  But in sharing "my thing," I hope to open the door for others, so we can crack this wall of shame and let the light come streaming in. (RELATED: Tear Down the Walls)

I'm no longer stuck in motion, thanks to this glorious grace.  God is good, all the time.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Reaching Out, Remembering Who I Am

It's been a while since I've ventured into the blogosphere.  I've been pretty busy with running, work and nannying (RELATED: Adventures in Babysitting).  Yet, it's been more of an emotional hiatus, in all honesty.  I have been lacking.  Lacking in words to say and thoughts to pour out.  It's not that they aren't there, but rather: The swirling mass in my head has been too daunting to crack into.

It's been weeks of self-pity and anger, followed my success and elation.  It's been good runs and bad runs, great body image and days I've wanted to hide in my closet.  It's been filled with feelings of great loneliness and feelings of camaraderie and connection.  A lot of that is due to the fact that I'm a screwy twenty-year-old who is pretty unsure of her way in this world.  No, I'm not unsure of who I am in Christ and what that means in my life.  But I am pretty diffident when it comes to "being Hannah."

As many of you know, I've spent five years in an eating disorder.  In the midst of all the restriction and isolation, I missed high school.  Schoolwork, relationships and socializing all took a backseat to anorexia.  And I let the monster hide in the closet, covering it up with a bubbly personality and militaristic drive.  I ignored the invitations until they stopped coming, and then it was just me and the eating disorder.  And God.

Image result for road to emmausI've since realized that as much as I tried to distant myself, the Lord has always been right by my side.  Just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, He was right there when I felt like all my friends had disappeared.  He was right there when I went from a state ranked runner to a washout my senior year.  (RELATED: It is well with my soul) All along, He knew why and He knew me.  And just like He was with me then, He is with me now.  Now, as I try to reestablish friendships; as I, like a fish flopping on the deck, get a glimpse of my world and try to make sense of it.  Unlike the metaphorical fish though, this is where I belong. As much as I feel like an outsider and foreigner in the young-adult world of friends and professionalism and dating, I am created to have connection.  It's easy to forget that, to return to my hiding place and not to the scary world that I'm suddenly apart of again.  But then I remember.

Image result for rememberI remember that Christ has created me to be with others, and I- just like you- am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I remember that I am a work in progress, and greatly improved than I was last year.

I remember that anorexia used to be my only friend, but now that door has opened wide and I'm still new to this "social" thing.

I remember that it's ok to be awkward- to trip on my feet, talk too much and to say things I think are funny but are met with a silent stare.

Yep.  That's me.  I have a passion for running (but it's no longer my idol), I love to travel, I have a knack for crossword puzzles and a constant thirst for tea.  I've never seen Harry Potter and I love HGTV.  I'd rather hike a mountain than go shopping and I don't think I'm particularly coordinated- which doesn't go well with the whole "mountain hiking" thing.  And above all: I'm crazy about God.

But it's scary to let the world see me, especially when it seems like everyone else has their life-routine pretty solidified. I mean, how I can't just take a course:  "How to be likable and make friends."  Such is my dilemma.

So as I flop along,  coming to terms with how Hannah fits into society, I also remember that I can be confident in who I am.  I don't have to be afraid of rejection, and I really don't have to "fit in" to society in the first place.  Frankly, I'd rather  flip society on it's head than try and hide away in the masses; a social light rather than a socialite (I like puns too).  (RELATED: Tear Down the Walls)

That being said: Can you all just like me? Yep.  That's what my mind immediately goes to, because I want to be liked and I sure don't want to put myself out there just to be rejected.  Here's the thing though: I'm tired of rejecting myself before I give the world a chance to let me in.  I'm finally taking the leap and it's worth it.  Hanging out with friends reminds me how cool it is to let the world in, and so does getting letters and texts and even requests to pray for others.  It's a reminder, a reminder that I'm a human amongst humans and I belong- as awkward as I am.

I pray that this purging of thoughts and emotions is of some encouragement to you.  I hope it reminds you that you too, have something incredible to offer and that your worries aren't worth the wasted time.  I pray that each of us can recognize God in this moment, before we get to our Emmaus- a fleeting and trivial goal or destination.  Remember, my friend, that you are dearly loved.  And for goodness sakes, the next time the "new kid" makes an attempt to say hello, remember that we're all flawed- and fragile- humans.  Let's not waste anymore of our already-precious time.  (RELATED: My Recovery Bucket List)