Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Define or Refine

I was caught off guard this morning by an overwhelming sense of denial.  It was a moment of clarity that I found in reading a book by Mark Batterson entitled Soul Print.  My community group and I at church are studying and working through Soul Print right now and it couldn't have come at a better time in my life.  The premise of the book is basically finding your freedom in who God created you to be and who you are not... finding that your uniqueness is not just God's gift to you, but your gift to Him as well.  As I was reading the chapter we are to study this week I realized that it's been several times in my life and most recently over the last year that I've spent in denial of what God has refined in me He wants to use to redefine me.  This post might be a rambler, but I hope you'll stick with me and follow my train of thought to the end.

I'm very vocal about my past and the disease that held me captive for 8 years, that of Anorexia Nervosa.  From the age of 12 to the age of 19 I was abusive towards my body.  Denying it food, pushing it past normal limits of exercise, all to be a "perfect" size and shape.  The whole time not willing to admit that it was so much more than about food and body image.  There was a bigger, more deep rooted issue going on.  But that's not what I write about today, today I suddenly remember how many times I've allowed others to squash my voice about it.  I've lived through the shame I felt in having an eating disorder, I am well aware the guilt and shame that comes with walking out this disease... I won't forget that.  But now, nearly 11 years into recovery that shame is no longer an issue, or at least it shouldn't be.  God used an unfortunate circumstance, a bad choice on my part to REDEFINE me.  This is what I had framed several years ago soon after it was published....

This is an article published in my hometown newspaper back in April 2005 when I held a community event to raise awareness about eating disorders.  Soon after publication I had it framed with my hospital bracelet and wherever I lived it hung somewhere on a wall in my home or apartment.  That was the case up until about a year ago... a year ago it was removed from the frame and placed in a filing cabinet for safe keeping.  Why?  I was asked when hanging stuff in my apartment if I really wanted to publicize this, after all it seemed like such a private issue.  In my desire to please someone else I reluctantly placed it hidden away.  To be honest I had forgotten all about that day until today.  The part of the book I'm reading discusses Life Symbols and how the author keeps momentos that represent significant life changes for him and his family.  This article is a life symbol for me.  It reminds me of where I've been and how far I've come and how God is using my life experience to help others.  Is this a private issue? Absolutely.  But at the same time I've seen how this disease is slowly taking over our culture.  It seems very subtle, but I believe it is more prevalent and dangerous than most realize.  So no, I won't be silent about my experience and if you come to my home and ask to see the article, I will gladly show it to you.  In fact, I'll probably go buy a new frame for it today.  It took me years to overcome the shame and guilt I held from this disease and I won't forget the day I finally found freedom from those feelings.  It was while praying that God spoke softly and reminded me that it was all for a greater purpose, that He would use what I intended to harm myself to minister to others.

My beauty lies in the creator, the day He created me out of His image I believe it was flawless.  Somewhere along the way I second guessed what He created, walked away from what He called beautiful.  Focused more on what was outside rather than continuing to sharpen what was inside to bleed out.  Now I live my life to get back to that point where I am purely beautiful in His eyes... 

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