old shoes, new shoes

I’ve gone through the routine about a million times. You get your new pair of pointe shoes in the mail. You quickly sew them in study hall or between rehearsals. You don that new pair of perfectly satin pointe shoes and assess how they look on your feet. You then begin the journey to making them ‘just right.’ You might darn the platform or cut the shank and remove the nail or flatten the box or sew down the sides or adjust the drawstring or rough them up with scissors to add friction or hit them on the concrete to reduce noise or a multitude of other techniques to break them in.  Finally, after all of that work, you put them on and jump into class or rehearsal. You wear those new shoes proudly. It’s all fun and dance at first in new shoes. But inevitably the honeymoon phase will end and you’ll realize that those new shoes hurt a lot. They cause blisters and rub that bunion and make your weird fungus hole feel like someone hammered a nail through it. And you realize that you can’t run quietly in these shoes or roll through your box effortlessly or land gently and they aren’t molded perfectly to your feet. You realize all of these things and suddenly NEED to put back on your old, dead pointe shoes. You just really need to. So you pull the dead pointe shoes out of your bag and put back them on, loving how comfortable they are. They mold perfectly to your arch and make you feel much safer, more confidant and comfortable.

I realize that most people don’t have my particular pointe shoe experience, but the same can be said for street shoes. New shoes are clean and shiny, but the reality is they pinch and rub blisters and need to be broken in.

The same goes for eating disorder recovery.

Before you laugh and say “eating disorder recovery is nothing like breaking in a new pair of shoes” hear me out.

About a year and a half or so ago I was sitting in my therapists office relaying some story of how I failed at recovery. I was admitting to some kind of behaviors and bemoaning the fact that I just couldn’t get over this eating disorder completely and crying about how I felt like a failure at recovery. I’d never eat like a normal person. I would always have these little relapses. I was convinced I’d never be better.

That’s when my therapist interjected with her usual wisdom. She’s really good with analogies and in that moment she told me that recovering from an eating disorder is a lot like breaking in a new pair of shoes.

When you commit to recovering and regaining your health, you receive a new pair of shoes. These new pair of shoes are incredibly uncomfortable. You do NOT like the way they look or feel, but you put them on because you need to.  In recovery there are good days and bad days. On the good days, you kind of like the new shoes. After all, food does make one feel physically better even if it’s hard to make yourself eat it. They’re easier to walk confidently in. On the bad days, you really hate the new shoes. They’re rubbing in all the wrong places; you can hardly stand it. Some days you can deal with the rubbing. You reach out for support and admit you’re having a hard time. You remind yourself of truths and keep doing the next right thing. But some days are especially hard. You choose to restrict or use other behaviors. You just can’t deal with the new shoes, so you head to your closet where the old shoes (your eating disorder) are stashed and you make the switch. It feels good at first. It feels right and safe to have those shoes back on. You know exactly how you’ll feel in them, exactly what you can do in them. But the truth is after awhile of wearing the old shoes, you realize that while they’re known and comfortable and the new shoes are unknown and uncomfortable, they aren’t going to be able to get you where you want to go. Those old shoes are so worn out and now that you’ve had the new shoes on they feel less comfortable, more constricting and distressing. You can’t walk long distances in them or, if they’re pointe shoes, dance for hours in them. You can’t run after kids or go for a hike in the old shoes. You can’t go to a dinner party or the movies in them. Once you realize this (it may be hours, weeks or months), you make the switch back to the new shoes and see that although they’re difficult and uncomfortable at times it’s worth it to be able to live life. It’s worth the effort it takes to be able to truly live.

The wisdom I gained from my therapist through this analogy was this and it’s wisdom that applies to everyone, eating disorder or not. I will have hard days. I will have days where the last thing I want to do is choose recovery, choose life and freedom and truth. I will want to put on my old shoes that are cloaked in the lie that they will satisfy and make me feel good enough. I will want to choose temporary control instead of a life time in joyful communion with Christ. And some days, maybe a lot of days, I do choose the old shoes. I choose lies because I let the devil’s voice be louder than my God’s voice. But Jesus Christ saved me and when He did He gave me that brand new pair of shoes. I can never return those shoes. They were a gift without a gift receipt. So even if I choose to put on the old shoes (my old sinful flesh) for a time, my new shoes (my redeemed by the cross self) will still be there when I realize that the old shoes are not as comfortable as I thought.

The encouragement here for you is that whatever your two pair of shoes are, whether it be an eating disorder, body image issues, addiction, promiscuity, racism, anger, anxiety, etc., you can not lose your new shoes. You might choose to walk in the old shoes, your old fleshly habits, but Christ is always waiting with grace, forgiveness and those new shoes when you realize that the old shoes aren’t as great as you remember. 

That’s the truth. Our old sinful habits always seem fun and fulfilling, but they aren’t. They never were and never will be. We just can’t see this truth until we’ve experienced the grace and comfort of Christ our Lord. 

So if you’re wearing your old shoes, remember that those shoes will not be as comfortable because now, through your salvation, you’ve experienced new shoes and you can never go back. If you don’t have new shoes yet, ask. Jesus is the best shoemaker in all the universe and He really wants to give you a pair, but you have to ask for them. And lastly, if you’re wearing your new shoes, be brave and keep walking in them. I promise they’re the best shoes you’ll ever own and they have a lifetime warranty, free of charge! 

to the girl who looks in the mirror

For my harvest-story friend and anyone else who looks in the mirror

To the girl who looks in the mirror and tears up at the reflection.

To the girl who looks in the mirror and wants to hide from what she sees, embarrassed and self-conscious.

To the girl who looks in the mirror and hates what looks back at her, hates all of what she sees. Wishes she was made differently.

To the girl who stares at that reflection day after day hoping that one day it’ll look different. Hoping that one day she will feel something different.

To the girl who stands before the mirror and picks apart everything that’s wrong, everything that makes you unworthy.

To the girl who stands in a leotard and tights day after day comparing what she sees on her frame to the bodies around her. It’s all too big. You want to turn away, but there’s no way to avoid the mirror.

To the girl who looks in the mirror, what do you see?

You see mistakes. You see failure. You see defeat and disappointment. You see what’s too big and what’s too flabby. You see what jiggles and what’s not defined. You see imperfections and flaws. You see all that’s not good enough.

Here’s what I see.

When I see you, I see redemption. I see beauty. I see grace. I see love mixed with pain. I see hurt in those eyes, but also fight. I see joy and sorrow intertwined. I see you choosing bravery. I see you choosing Truth. I see you using your mind to speak kindly to others. I see you using your body to hug friends and read books and laugh late and be a dancing light. I see you being the hands and feet of Jesus. When I see you, I see worthiness and value. I see Jesus loving through you.

And here is what HE sees.

When God looks at you, He sees your beauty, the beauty you have because you were made in the perfect image of Christ. He sees the glory of the Father reflecting back. He sees His daughter, His bride, His beloved, the one He experienced Hell for and the one He still pursues with a fury. When He looks at your body, He sees all of the lives you have and will touch with your hands, your heart and your words. He sees the one He chose from the darkness and brought into the Light. He sees you as precious and powerful, pleasing to His sight. He looks at you and remembers the great price He paid as your ransom and He declares that He would do it all again just to have you as His very own. When He looks upon your body, He sees it as a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit, His temple.  What He sees when He looks at you is incomparable, entirely unexplainable, impossible to replicate. He sees you as brave and beloved.

Next time you stand before a mirror think about what God would say if He were there with you, because He is. Next time you look at your reflection, give thanks for the body you were blessed with and all of the things it allows you to do. And next time you’re tempted to believe the lie that your body is not good enough, remind yourself that your body is balanced and beautiful in Jesus name.

searching for a savior

Some days the world just really hits us in the gut. Every picture, every news title, every thing media related. It all screams of anger, greed, judgement and injustice. It’s all coated in depravity and sin. And it’s everywhere. You cannot escape it. You cannot hide from it. It’s everywhere. We live in a fallen world. We live in a world that is depraved, because it’s desperate. It’s desperate for a savior.

The world and everyone in it is on a perpetual search for something to save them. I see it everyday. I see it in myself, my friends and family and every human on this planet. We search and search for something to fulfill us. We turn to fame and power to make us feel loved, alive, in control. We turn to money as the answer to all of our problems. We look to drugs as the magic pill and alcohol as the only means to having fun. We sleep around in search of someone who will fulfill us intimately, someone who will save us. We look to food and exercise to numb, to cope, to fit in. We search for a savior in friends and partying, in more clothes, newer technology, a bigger house, nicer stuff, a better job, thinner legs, more likes. And when this search inevitably leads us nowhere we, the world, get more desperate.

The world is both desperate enough and lost enough in it’s search for a savior that it has turned to heartbreaking crimes against each other, against all things good and beautiful, against God Himself. The world is desperate enough to sell young girls for sex. Desperate enough to sell tiny babies as nothing more than “parts.” It’s desperate enough to kill people simply because they’re a different color. Desperate enough to bomb buildings and murder thousands. It’s desperate enough to defile sex into a perverted, demeaning, relationship-killing industry. Desperate enough in it’s search for a savior to worship all that is evil and the evil one himself. The world is desperate indeed. Desperate enough to participate in these kinds of things, yet not quite desperate enough, and far too stubborn, to turn to the Savior that already came.

It’s easy to be depressed by the state of the world, the state of man, the state of ourselves, but as Christians we cannot afford to live paralyzed by sin. We cannot afford to cease hoping, cease living like Jesus. We cannot afford to stop praying for His Kingdom to come. We cannot afford to forget that He has already won, He has already crushed the head of the serpent with His heel. He has already overcome the world and all of the desperate actions it has taken and will take.

So we don’t lose hope. Instead we choose to pray that man would continue to search. That he would search to the ends of the earth if he has to until he discovers that the Savior has been here all along. We pray that he would search the world until he realizes that there is nothing of this world that can save him, for Christ is not of this world. We do not pray that the world’s desperation would cease, but instead that it would become more desperate. We need to pray that the world would become desperate enough to stop the violence and choose to love. Desperate enough to quit pornography and pre-marital sex and commit to God honoring marriage. Desperate enough to choose love over hate and mercy over judgement. Desperate enough to make the hard choices that go against the grain. Desperate enough to turn from evil and cling to the One who is good.

I pray that our desperation would lead us to Christ, instead of away. I pray that our search for a savior would reveal the truth that only Jesus Christ, the Savior of all the world, can save us. He is the Savior that the world is searching for.


I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  John 16:33