Originally published Monday, 19 March 2012.
I've never been fully satisfied with the size, shape, and mass of my body. More days than not, I stand naked in front of the mirror, readying for the day with mean thoughts of inadequacy shouting at my reflection. Not out loud of course. Someone might hear me. But they're there. All the time, they're there.
It was the Winter of my Freshman year in college, and I found myself ugly crying in my dorm room. Everyone was at lunch and all I could hear was the sound of my own sobs and the my little space heater clicking on and off. I felt so inadequate. For what? I wasn't sure. Maybe for life? For people? For positions? For love? I was so tired from college life and books and studying that I was pretty sure sleep had become a precious commodity around campus.
That night was one of the weakest and most pathetic I've ever felt. As a girl whose faith in God and love for Jesus has rarely wavered, His presence seemed non-existent to me that night. I got up, checked the hallway, walked to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. I said all the right things: You are beautiful. You are worth it. You are loved and valued and precious and wanted and... I was over it. I was over wasting my breath to try and convince myself of what I wasn't going to hear.
I walked straight into the third stall and frantically tried to make myself vomit. Somehow, I had tied Love and Value and Purpose to Skinny. Even writing this now, I see absolutely no immediate correlation. The connection seems ludicrous. But it's what I believed that snowy dark day in 2007.
Nothing happened. I tried for what felt like hours. I used all the tricks. But all I walked out of that bathroom with was a wrenching stomach ache and a bucket of shame. How could I do this? I was the girl telling others girls that being skinny isn't everything. I was the girl telling girls they don't have to conform and they are loved just as they are. Maybe that wasn't true...
I walked back to my room, feeling as though FAILURE was written in bold across my back. I failed to love myself and I failed to hate myself. I sunk into my retro green couch and cried some more. But this time I forced myself to talk to God. And not just God as God, the Creator of the Universe. I forced myself to talk to Him as my Father. I needed my Father to wrap His arms around me and tell me that it was going to be okay. I begged Him that night to hold me. To comfort me. To love me.
And He did. So sweetly, He reminded me by way of stories and Scripture that He loved me so very much. The He has called me by name and I am His (Isaiah 43:1). Only His.
I realized that earlier that night, I wasn't reaching high enough. I reached into my own efforts to define my self worth instead of to what God said about who I was.
I had desperately sought my own version of successful and not what God says about how He made me good enough through His Son Jesus.
I looked only as deep as my appearance and not into the heart of who God has called me to be.
And though I was known for being a dreamer, I dreamed nothing in that moment.
Sweet friends, if you are in that place of doubt and fear and insecurity, reacher higher. Seek farther. Look deeper. And dream bigger. You are valuable, you are beautiful, and you are loved. I promise.
And if you are struggling with an eating disorder, email me. I would love to talk to you.