Sunday, February 17, 2013

Swing Dancing with Jesus.

Last night, I experienced swing dancing for the first time in my life.  It was so amazing.  The feeling of not having to be in control and letting another person lead me was so refreshing.  It was so good.

For someone like me, who always feels the need to be in control of everything, it was very difficult to relax and let another lead.  But I did.  I learned how to trust my brothers and sisters.

And it taught me a lot about Jesus, too.

See, being in a relationship with Jesus is a lot like swing dancing.  You have to let your partner lead.  You have to trust him to do so.  But you also have to dance along with him.  You can't just stand there and let him do all of the work.  You need to follow his movements, but let him control yours.

At one part of the night, I was dancing with a very experienced brother in Christ.  Me, being very inexperienced, had to relax and trust him to be in control.  I let him control the spins and guide my movements.  He would spin me three times one direction and then with a simple touch on my back, he would spin me the other way.

With Jesus, we can be spinning one direction and then all of a sudden, he can touch us and spin us the other way.  He's the master.  Focus must remain on him.  On letting him lead.  On trusting him.

And if we trust him and let him lead, then we will have a beautiful dance and a beautiful life that glorifies our Father.


"Some people are very sensitive to sexual harassment, and some are a little more used to it. But when you feel that prickling feeling across the back of your neck, you know that some boundary has been crossed." (Jan Johnson) 

It started the first time that I saw him last night (we aren’t friends, which is what made this so weird).  Somehow we both did that awkward thing where you make eye contact with the other person at the same time and his facial expression just made me really, really uncomfortable.  But I just kind of ignored it because it wasn’t a big deal and I tend to be hyper-sensitive about these things.  

Then later, after the swing dancing portion of the night was over, he was just sort of wandering about, getting awkwardly close to some of my friends, and dancing with them, when I knew that they had never met him before in their lives.  They all looked uncomfortable, but the guys we were with cut in and got them away from him.  And he did that to one of my roommate’s friends and I saw her mouth something to them and they pulled her away from them.  I had to do the same thing to one of the girls in my section in marching band twice that night.  

After the first time, I said something to two of my friends, who were dating, because they were near me, and he never really came close to us again and I kind of lost track of him for a while.  But then at the end, I walked out to get my coat with some of my friends and I was walking back towards them when he was walking out.  He was on my left, reached across me, touching my chest, and grabbed onto my right arm and squeezed it.  It made me so uncomfortable.

One of my friends was there and saw what happened, so she pushed me over toward her brother, and he didn’t come near me again.  But we all knew that he was drunk and no one really seemed to act like this was out of the ordinary, so I just kind of shook it off until I was talking to a friend from band last night, and she said that I should have gone and talked to DPS about it.  But again, I’m hyper-sensitive about these things, he was drunk, and no one else seemed that concerned about it.

But I feel a little uncomfortable living next to him.  Okay, a lot uncomfortable.  But there’s not really anything I can do about it. 

I mean, according to policy, he did nothing wrong.  Because he was drunk.  Because no one else will come forward and speak up.  Because I'm overreacting.  

This upsets me.  Because it's not fair.  And it only perpetuates rape culture on campus. 

Even if I report it, he was drunk.  He wasn't responsible for his actions. 
That's if anyone actually believes me.

This isn't okay with me. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Right to Remain Silent

Two days ago, I woke up without a voice.

And for a person like me, who loves to talk with others, feels awkward in silence, and hates not being able to share her opinions, this was an awful thing.  But into my second day, it's turning out not to be so bad after all.

See, I have learned how to use my own made up sign language to express what I need to say.  I have learned that words, although they may provide meaning and description and things, are unnecessary.  And I have learned that the most important part of life is simply to listen.

Not simply to listen to the people around me, but to listen to God.

In the UCC, we like to say that God is still speaking and that you should never place a period where God has placed a comma.  But so often, we forget.

I forget to slow down and listen.
I forget that God is giving me direction, that God is still speaking.
I forget that I am not in control, that God has placed a comma and not a period.

We go about our lives, saying nonsensical things, stammering hurried prayers before exams, speaking words that are without meaning.  We spend so much time talking--to ourselves, to others, to God--that we don't listen.

"Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God." (Diana Robinson)

Often, we focus so much on prayer, that we forget to meditate.  We forget to listen.

So in this time of voiceless-ness, I am going to listen.  
I don't know what God has to say to me, but I can be certain of one thing.
God is still speaking, even if I cannot. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Will Trust.

1a : to place confidence : depend
  b : to be confident : hope
2a : to commit or place in one's care or keeping : entrust
  b : to permit to stay or go or to do something without fear or misgiving
3a : to rely on the truthfulness or accuracy of : believe 
  b : to place confidence in : rely on 
  c : to hope or expect confidently 

certainty, belief, faith, assurance, confidence, imply a feeling of security, instinctive unquestioning belief in and reliance upon something, conscious trust because of good reasons, definite evidence, or past experience, to have confidence in the outcome of events, absolute confidence and certainty: to feel an assurance of victory

Trust is hard, especially when something is completely out of your hands.  Especially when it's important to you.  And especially when you doubt.

Yesterday, I submitted my application to work on summer staff.  And I was feeling pretty good about it until today.  I'm not really sure what happened, but I suddenly had an anxiety attack. 'What if I don't get hired back?  What if my emotional-ness last summer is going to stop me from returning?  What if I can't go back to my "home?"'

What if, what if, what if...

What ifs are irrelevant.  It isn't in my control anymore.  It's in God's hands, and I'm pretty sure that He knows what He's doing better than I do.  Look at His promises:

Jeremiah 29: 11
' "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.  "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future." '

Romans 8: 28

'We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.'

He's totally got this.  He has plans for me!  Does this include summer staff this summer?  I don't know.  But He does. Therefore, I can put my trust solely in the Lord and in His love.  Because He will work all things for good and He will put me where I am supposed to be this summer.  It could be camp, but it could not be camp.  Whatever it is, it is for the glory of God.

Nothing I have is my own.
My talents, my strength, my love... it's all His.
And it's all for His glory.

So I WILL trust in Jesus.  
I refuse to worry.  
I refuse to ask 'What if?' 
I will trust

Proverbs 3: 5-6
'Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.' 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Jesus Satisfies.

“We’re all searching for something to fill up what I like to call that big, God-shaped hole in our souls. Some people use alcohol, or sex, or their children, or food, or money, or music, or heroin. A lot of people even use the concept of God itself."
--Tiffanie DeBartolo

Last night at Primetime, Andy spoke on Matthew 14, when Jesus feeds the 5,000 men, plus their women and children.  One thing that he said continues to resonate with me.  He spoke about how we have these things that we continue to hold onto with closed hands--things that we trust in, rely upon, believe in--because at a heart level, we don't believe that Jesus is to be trusted.  

In verses 15-18, Andy spoke about how the disciples didn't want to share the food that they had.  He covered this logically, saying: 

        1. God is sovereign.  Nothing is our own--it is all on loan from God. 
        2. God will take much better care of it than us--if you give it up to the Father, He will return it in perfection, just like our earthly fathers do with our toys. 
        3. The things we trust in will consume our lives.  If they already consume us and we are holding onto them for life, they will destroy us and take our lives.  

In Matthew 14: 20, the Bible says:

'They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.'

So not only did Jesus satisfy, but he left his disciples with more than they had in the first place!  Jesus saw a need--a hunger--in his crowd.  He saw that need and he filled it.  But he didn't just barely quench their hunger, he satisfied them.  Like the kind of satisfied we get after Thanksgiving dinner and he still had leftovers!  

See here's the thing, striving for perfection, for thinness, for grades--none of that brings the satisfaction that Jesus does.  All of these things will dull the hunger, but none will fill it.  

In John 4, Jesus talks about never thirsting again if we drink of the living water that he provides for us.  Jesus satisfies!  

We all have an aching for Jesus, a longing for him.  But we try to fill it with everything but Jesus.  But when we fill it with Jesus, he will satisfy.  When we fill it with Jesus, the cycle will start to break.  We will no longer continue to return to the same place.  

Because Jesus satisfies. 


“Why am I so anxious? And then it hits me. I'm not anxious, I'm lonely. And I'm lonely in some horribly deep way and for a flash of an instant, I can see just how lonely, and how deep this feeling runs. And it scares the shit out of me to be so lonely because it seems catastrophic - seeing the car just as it hits you.” 
(Augusten Burroughs)

Today, my new roommate moved in.  It's a big change.  I had just gotten used to spending the days by myself without Megan or anyone else in my room.  I had gotten used to being lonely.  

I was used to the late nights and late mornings. 
To an empty bed and an empty desk. 
To being able to walk around my room naked.

And now I have to share it again. 
With a stranger. 
This is scary.  

Honestly, what if she doesn't like me? 
What if I'm not a good roommate? 
What if I don't like her? 
What if she's not a good roommate? 
What if we fight? 

I don't even know her and I agreed to let her move in with me.

But I agreed.  I based my decision on my gut.  On how I felt after that first meeting.  And my gut is usually right.  This is just a change. 
A change of lifestyle. 
A change of living. 
A change of pace. 

Change is good. 
It makes us strong.

Breathe.  Pray.  Trust. 
God knows what He's doing. 

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 
(Lao Tzu)

Friday, February 8, 2013


I am so exhausted. 
Not tired, not stressed, not overwhelmed. 

Like the kind of tired where I can't possibly function because the urge to sleep is so overwhelming. 
Or the tired that I get when out boogie boarding in the ocean when the waves are really strong. 
Or the tired like I was just at a funeral tired. 

I forgot how exhausting this illness was. 
I forgot that it consumes me. Defines me. Destroys me. 

But what's more exhausting is the constant battle.  
I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this up. 
Not that it matters because it seems like I'm failing anyway--I cancelled on my therapist, am restricting, am increasing exercise, etc.  But mostly, I'm not fighting the thoughts.  I'm not denying them. 

Because right now, they seem more true than ever. 

I am so exhausted.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Just a little something that I wrote while I was awake at 4am this morning.
Everything was fuzzy.  Like the radio station is slightly out of range fuzzy or the tv antenna isn’t quite receiving the signal fuzzy.  And everything was moving.  I don’t mean the people.  I mean the ground, the bleachers, me.  I was moving.  I was moving and I wasn’t aware that I was moving.  I had stopped as soon as I got to my seat.  Or at least, I thought I did.

Someone was calling my name.  It sounded familiar, but distant.  Kind of like a dream.  I didn’t think that it was real at first; I thought that it was all in my head.  Until…

Until that voice was in my ear, screaming my name, begging me to answer it.  Asking me repeatedly if I was okay.  I think I mutter a weak ‘yes,’ or at least attempted to do so.

Everything was spinning, blurry.  Music was playing.  People were staring.  I was confused.  The notes, they sounded so familiar to me and I tried to figure out what they were, and then I was falling.

The closest stable object to me was China.  I grabbed onto her arm and lowered myself to sit on the bleacher.  She sat next to me, looking at me with her big, concerned eyes that I was so familiar with.  And then the voice was back.  Questioning.

Yes, I was okay.  Yes, I had eaten more than the meal before the game.  Yes, I didn’t need to go talk to a band director and go home.  No, I wasn’t dizzy; I only stood up too fast this one time.  I was fine, promise.

But what she didn’t know was that I had only eaten once in the past two days and that was the ‘meal’ right before we headed to rehearsal.  Or that I’d spent the ten minutes right before rehearsal in the bathroom throwing up.  She didn’t know that my mother had been asking questions, bringing up accusations, telling me I wasn’t eating enough.  And she definitely didn’t know that I was extremely tired and dizzy and in pain.

My heart was beating loudly in my ears.  Crazy loud.  So loud that I was absolutely positive that everyone in our 218 member band could hear it.  I candidly took my pulse.  Fast.  Entirely too fast.  And extremely erratic.  This wasn’t good, I thought.

That’s the last thing I remember.

I was suddenly sitting on a chair in the band room.  I wasn’t entirely sure how I had gotten there.  But since only China was around, I figured that it must not have been because I passed out.  Thank goodness.  People couldn’t know my secret.

He sat down across from me, the teacher.  He looked at me.  I looked at him.  It was sufficiently awkward.  Words came out of his mouth, but I couldn’t hear them over the heartbeat in my ears.  He looked concerned.  China looked worried.  I tried harder to focus.  But everything was spinning and blurry and I didn’t know how I got there.

I mumbled something about needing a drink of water.  They both nodded.  They watched as I stood up, attempted to take a step forward and almost fainted.

I had an eating disorder.
It was obvious.
To them.

It would never be obvious to me.

Reflection of the Day.

Today I had one of those days where I just wanted to scream and cry and then go to sleep.  Or where I really just wanted to get hit by a bus... not die, but get hit by one and wake up in the hospital.

Yeah.  It was a long day.

I dealt with friend drama, with my eating disorder, with being angry at my mother, with life, with everything.  And after this kind of crappy day, I really just wanted to sleep.

But of course, I can't do that.  I go to college, remember?  I have homework.

So I decided to go work out.
And I did, after my night lecture.

Now let's pause here for one quick moment and think about the implications of me working out.  It's not something I do on a regular basis.  In fact, the only times that I have ever worked out in my life are when my eating disorder was the worst or I was super stressed.

So the fact that I worked out tonight implies lots of things.  First, that I'm currently in eating disordered mindset and not trying to be healthy.  Which means that I haven't really eaten today.  Or lately, really.  Which means that my vitals are crap right now.  Which means that I've been told that I'm not allowed to work out.

Second, this implies that my stress level was un-chartable.  That I was just feeling things and needed to get them out via some form of physical activity.

Luckily for me, I have a friend who was more than willing to go with me.  Not luckily for me, she also struggles with body image and had a sub-clinical eating disorder in high school.

I didn't run until I passed out.
I limited myself to half an hour of running because I had a friend with me.

But here's the thing: anorexia makes me not want to listen to the voice of reason inside of my head.  It makes me upset that it's even there and it makes me feel crazy because I can't think/function/act normally.  Anorexia takes the good and turns it into the bad.  It takes the counsel of wise women, like my nutritionist, and ignores it.  It takes the friends and turns them into enemies.

And I'm sick of it.
Literally just sick of it.

I wake up every day wanting to fight.
And I fall asleep wanting to give up.
This is not okay.

It's not okay because it's not who I am.  It's not who I was meant to be and it's not good for me.  That voice of reason, the good, the counsel of those wiser than me, the friends--those are all things that I need.  That anorexia has taken from me.

It's taken my life.
How much more of it will it consume before I cease to exist at all?

Giving up is not an option.
I can't change the world if I'm dead.

Monday, February 4, 2013

I Am Nobody's Hero.

Tonight, I had an experience that I've never had before in my life.  My old pastor's daughter, who is married, with a kid, and who I've always looked up to called me her hero tonight.  She also called me a "champion for girls and women."  And she said that I helped her to become a better parent to her kid.


I don't think that I've ever been more affected by words in my life.

Truth is, I am no hero.
I am just a girl, using her struggles to change the world.  I am a girl who fights for what is right, who yearns for the day when eating disorders do not exist, for the time when all women and girls will see themselves as beautiful.

I am not a hero.
I struggle.

It is only through God's grace that I have strength, that I can share my story.
He's the hero.
Not me.