A letter to the girl who listened…

To the girl who listened. From the God who always listens.

You did the hard thing. You said no, when all you wanted was to say yes. You took the hard way, instead of the easy way. You took the road much less traveled, when the easy road was right there with your name written all over it. Chances are friends were telling you to pick the easy road. It was a good road. I would’ve been there. You would’ve seen me.

But instead you picked the hard road. There are only a few people on this road. It’s not quite a party. A few friends advised you to take it and a few friends might be travelling it with you. Your name wasn’t written anywhere on this road, but My name was. That’s why you picked it. It seemed like the wrong choice, but you saw My footprints and you knew.

You heard My Spirit’s promptings at the gate and you listened. You listened when it was much easier to tune Me out. You said “yes” to me when you could have easily said “no” without major consequences.

Do you know how happy you made Me? Yes, I’m the God of every living being and am forever being praised in Heaven and on earth, but do you know that YOU brought me joy when you said yes to Me? Hearing you choose Me over him made me smile. I chose you over My Son because I love you that much and I love that you chose Me over man, because you love Me that much.

I know you think you caused hurt beyond repair, but I’m a God who redeems and heals all brokenness. This is no exception.

I know you think you broke a heart, but actually you’re part of the building. Sometimes things, people, have to be broken down before they can be built back up. It hurts, but it’s worth it.

So the decision you made was a hard one, but you made it because you listened to my Spirit. I want you to know I see this. I see your obedience and I will honor it (Jeremiah 7:23).

So you chose not what was necessarily “right” but what was right for you. That is one of the hardest decisions to make. However, I promise I’m enough for you. In fact, I’m more than enough. I could never reveal to you all that I am, because it is simply too much (Exodus 33).

So you said no to something good in order to wait for something better. You may not see it now, but your hard decision will be worth it as you see the work that I am doing and will do in your heart. I will not leave you undone. I will finish the refining work in you (Genesis 28:15).

So you kind of regret your decision. You think maybe you heard the wrong voice and made the wrong choice. Maybe people are saying you were wrong, but if they are it’s because they don’t understand My thoughts and plans for you. They can’t. They don’t know that this is part of the making of My people. This is part of Me refining you into the most beautiful gold (Micah 4:11-12).

So you’re on the hard road now. Maybe you’re wondering why you  chose to listen. Maybe you’re looking over at the easy road and wishing you were there. The grass is always greener, right? But let me tell you something. That road over there was a good road. I would’ve been there. You would’ve seen me. But this road is a better road for you because on this road you won’t just see me, you’ll feel me.  You’ll know me more. You’ll depend on me. You’ll have no choice but to cling to me and let me carry you.

To the girl who listened…let me continue to speak to you. Let me satisfy your every need. Let me heal your heart. Let me love you. 

 

 

Craving Connection

Hey you. We might know each other. We might not. But, regardless, there are 5 things that I know for sure about you. You want to be seen. You want to be heard. You want to be known & understood. You want to be loved.

And you and I are very similar, we want the same things. We both want to be seen, heard, known, understood and loved. Everyone wants the same thing. Everyone is searching, seeking out and craving the same thing. We are all craving connection.

This craving unites us. You can look at anyone and know that at your cores you both desire the same things. You know why? Because you were made to crave these things. You were made to crave connection. But you were made to crave The Connection. It’s only under this ultimate connection that our craving is satisfied.

You want to be seen. You want people to notice when you walk in the room. You want people to smile at you when they pass by. You want people to give hugs and high fives. You want people to notice when you fix your hair or get new glasses. You just want to be seen. We all just want to be seen.

You want to be heard. You want friends to listen to your rambling stories and stupid jokes. You want family to listen while you relay the events of your day in great detail. You want your opinions and ideas to be heard and considered by those around you. You want to have a say in things concerning you. You really want to be heard. We all really want to be heard.

You want to be known & understood. You want to be known by those around you. You want close relationships that mean you can talk without words and laugh without retelling the inside joke. You want loved ones to know you so well that they can tell how you’re doing before you speak. You want your story to be known, so that you can be understood better. You want people to “get” you. That’s what we all want, to be known & understood.

You want to be loved. You do. You want to be loved for your flaws, your mistakes, your insecurities and weird quirks. You want to be loved even though you’re no good at sports and you laugh too loud (maybe even snort!) at the worst possible times. You want to be loved because you’re a good listener and a great story-teller. You want to be loved for your adventurous side and your book reading side. You want to be loved for everything you are and everything you are not. We all want to be loved for these reasons plus a million more.

Don’t think these desires make you weak or needy. You were designed this way. You were designed to want and need other people. “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). But we weren’t just made to be physically present with other people, we were made to connect deeply and honestly with other people. We were made to laugh and cry with others. “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26). “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). We were made to share our lives with others, to encourage & speak Truth to those around us. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We are supposed to live in connected community as the body of Christ. That’s what we were made for. That’s why we crave it.

If we were made for deep connection with others, then why do relationships with man, even the very best ones, not satisfy us?

Because while we were made for connection with man, we were first made for intimate connection with God (hello, Garden of Eden!). He is who our hearts ultimately crave. Connection to other people is good, beautiful, even necessary, but connection to God is irreplaceable.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1)

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, my God” (Psalm 42:1)

“For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” (Psalm 107:9)

Only Jesus parches our thirst and satisfies our craving for connection, because He is the Living Water and the deep relationship that we were made for. In John chapter 4 Jesus responds to the Samaritan woman at the well and says, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again (will not be satisfied); but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst (because the Living Water satisfies our craving); but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). Jesus is what who we crave. He is the connection we desire. He is the one who will always listen, always see us. He is the only one who will ever fully know and understand us. He is the one who loves us unconditionally. And it is out of this deeply connected, satisfying relationship with Him, that all else should flow.

So you over there on the other side of the screen. Three things to take away from this:

  1. You were made to crave connection. You are not weak or needy or less than. You are human, made in the image of God who is the epitome of connection.
  2. Other people will never satisfy your craving for connection. You will never be heard enough, seen enough, loved enough, or understood enough by people. Similarly, you will never listen enough, love enough, understand enough or know enough. 
  3. God will always satisfy your craving for connection. Always. I promise.

You are seen, known, heard, and desperately loved forever and always by the One who really matters. Rest in that.

 

The Cross & The Tomb

If I’m being honest this semester has been hard. So good, but hard. It’s led me to be amazed by Jesus, but also appalled by own sin. But God remains faithful. He sent just what I needed through a simple text that held two questions that have wrecked my narrow, self-centered mind and brought me back to my knees.

What has the Cross set you free from? And what has the empty tomb set you free to do?

That’s it. Two short, self-explanatory questions. But they hold so much meaning. So much freedom when taken to heart.

These questions were asked for the specific purpose of video to be shown at a Good Friday service on campus, but they have meant so much more to me. I’ve thought about them all week long and I hope I never stop asking myself these questions, because they point straight to the Gospel and to the heart of Jesus.

The answer to these questions is the point of Jesus death and resurrection. He didn’t die to make a big scene or rise again to freak people out. He didn’t go through Hell (literally) and experience the crushing weight of every single human beings sin just so we would throw parties every spring. No, he died and rose again to set you and me free. That’s all. That was His purpose. That was the will of the Father, to set his children free of sin by the death and resurrection of his most beloved Son.

God looked at you in your brokenness and said, “You are worth my most beloved Son.” Jesus accepted the will of His Father because He thinks, “You are worth Him dying the most shameful, excruciating death imaginable.” Your freedom is worth that much. Do you understand? You are worth that much! If you had been the only person on earth, Christ still would have died for you, because you’re worth it. I’m worth it. We are worth it.

And now by the power of His blood we walk in freedom. But let us not be a people that take the Cross and the freedom it gave us for granted. Let us not be complacent with our freedom. Let us not remain in our jail cell, in our sin and shame, when Jesus has unlocked the door and invited us to walk out of the darkness into the Light with Him.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Here are my declarations of Freedom and I encourage you to write your own!

The Cross has set me free from fear. From the fear of failure and the fear of not being enough for anyone or anything. The empty tomb has set me free to share peace with others and let them know just how ENOUGH they are because of Whose they are.

The Cross has set me free from the shame of my sin, my past. And the tomb has set me free to walk confidently in the forgiveness and redemption that is graciously given to me everyday.

The Cross has set me free from the bondage of expectations. I no longer have to strive to live up to my own and others expectations in order to be loved. And the tomb has set me free to give myself and others grace when we fail.

The Cross has set me free from the need to be perfect. Because the Son of Man chose to become flesh and blood in order to die for my imperfections, I can live an imperfect life while being loved by a perfect God. And the tomb has set me free to do just that.

The Cross has set me free from the bondage to lies about who I am and whose I am. The tomb has set me free to walk in complete freedom trusting that I was made for such a time as this, by a God whose plans know no bounds.

The Cross has set me free from a life of timidity and fear of man. And the tomb has set me free to live a BOLD and BRAVE life for Him, sharing the Gospel without fear of man.

Verses to read: Romans 8:16, Isaiah 61:1-3, 1 Corinthians 15:9-10, John 16:33

To the Girl Who Steps on the Scale…

To the girl who steps on the scale before hitting the gym. Before beating herself up for not being as fit as the girl next to her.

To the girl who steps on the scale before running until her vision goes blurry. Trying to outrun breakfast, lunch, dinner. Outrun anxiety, depression, shame.

To the girl who steps on the scale, hiding her eyes from the result. Hiding from the result because it determines whether she will have a good or bad day.

To the girl who steps on the scale, pleased with the number. Yet unpleased with the image before her.

To the girl who steps on the scale, only to burst into tears. The tears rain down because she’s never enough.

To the girl who steps on the scale, knowing she’s already failed. She’s already failed because she’s fighting an impossible battle.

To the girl who steps on the scale, before leaning over the toilet. She leans over the toilet to empty herself of all of her wrongdoing, her shame, her lack of control.

To the girl who steps on the scale to see if her comfort, her refuge, her pastime is showing on her physique. Is it showing on her hips, her thighs, her stomach? Can the world see?

To the girl who steps on the scale, knowing what she will do afterwards to cover the emotions. She covers them with sweet & salty snacks, with ooey & gooey items. Her shame dipped in chocolate. Her hopelessness and despair the icing on the cake.

To the girl who steps on the scale only to realize she is still falling short of her goal. Her goal of perfection and beauty.

To the girl who steps on the scale to see if the dress, the jeans will fit. Translated: to see if she is a failure or not, in control or not.

To the girl who steps on the scale to give her hope that one day he will give her more than a glance. To see if she is desirable, wanted, noticed.

To the girl who steps on the scale anxiously awaiting her death sentence. Will it be 6 miles, 10 miles, 300 of this or that? What will the punishment be?

To the girl who steps on the scale hoping beyond hope that it will tell her she is loved, chosen, known. Hoping that the screen will tell her she’s more loveable.

To the girl who steps on the scale, praying all the while. Praying that the earth’s gravitational pull on her mass will be less and she will therefore be more. More beautiful. More loved. More worthy.

To the girl who steps on the scale because the voice in her head says she must. She must know the numbers so she can compensate, punish, pay.

To the girl who steps on the scale futilely seeking approval. Approval from her dad, her mom, her boyfriend, her husband. Maybe if she weighed less, they would care more, stick around more, be present and invested in her. Just maybe.

To the girl who steps on the scale waiting to see the numbers. Waiting to know her worth.

To the girl who steps on the scale, I’m crying inside as I watch you. I’m hurting as I see you hurt. The disappointment on your face, the despair in your eyes and the hopelessness in the sagging of your shoulders. It all screams of your brokenness and I know your broken place all too well.

As I listen to the talk of weight gain and loss, I want to shake them, to make them see. See that the scale has no power, beyond what we give it. The scale is not a measure of anything except the gravity between you and earth. It cannot tell how funny or friendly you are. It cannot share how passionate, gifted or determined you are. Those numbers you see they are lies. They are lies from the father of lies himself. They are planted to lead you astray. They are there to make you believe you are not enough for anyone or anything. To make you believe you are too much for everyone and everything. But those lies hold no power in the Light of His Truth. So hold them up. Let His Light shine in the dark corner where you keep those lies. For His Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not, cannot, will not overcome His marvelous Light (John 1:5).

To you, you who place your worth in numbers, listen to me. You are valuable. You are more valuable than gold and jewels. You are more valuable than the comfort of the Son of both God and Man. You are more valuable than the life of the King of Kings. You were bought at a terribly, wonderfully, grace-filled cost. And you were bought, ransomed, paid for in full because you are wanted, loved, needed and desired.

To the girl who steps on the scale, please, dear girl, just step off.

 

Let’s Lead A Rebellion

Ladies, enough is enough. It’s time to call it quits. It’s time to put your foot down. It’s time to say, “NO.” It’s time for a rebellion.

Rebellion: refusal to obey or accept normal standards; resisting convention

Now, if you know me, you know that I am one of the least rebellious beings on this earth. I am a people-pleaser. I will do everything in my power to not rock the boat or cause confrontation. I was the person that would cry if I thought someone was disappointed in me, the kid that was afraid to order food or go shopping in case what I picked wasn’t “right.” I was the person that would lay down and invite you to walk all over me for fear of causing a problem.

I am not rebellious. I am not someone to call for a rebellion, which is the very reason that a rebellion is desperately needed.

I know that I am not the only girl that has felt like she’s too much and not enough. I know I’m not the only one who has felt unworthy. Unworthy life, of being seen, known & loved. I know that my sins are not unique to me. I know that the lies I believe(d) do not stop with me. I know that feeling ugly or (dare I say) fat is not something that only I have faced. I know that I’m not the only one who said nothing when they wanted to scream or followed along when they wanted to lead. I know I’m not alone in this. You’ve probably experienced the same.

Friends, let’s lead a rebellion. Let’s start a revolution.

Revolution: a sudden, complete and radical change

It’s been a long time coming. But the time is now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next month or year. NOW.

Let’s lead a rebellion against lies. Against shame. Against fear, anxiety and depression. Against evil. Ultimately, against Satan himself.

Let’s be defiant. Let’s resist and rebel against the standard of perfection that sucks the life out of us. Let’s revolt against the idea that we have to show everything to be worth anything. Let’s stop the comparing game and start saying, “good for her, not for me.” Let’s be people that stand strong underneath the pressure to gossip, be exclusive, and form cliques. Let’s fight the arrows (lies) that fly with our shield of faith and breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:10-18). Let’s declare over our lives, and the lives of those around us, “I am enough.” Let’s declare worthiness over every soul and every story.

Because you see, the battle is not with each other. We are allies, not enemies. The battle is against Satan, the thief who came to steal, kill and destroy all joy, hope and godly relationships (John 10:10). So, let’s join together and fight for Truth.

Let’s be the people who stop the cycle, put an end to it all. Let’s not settle for bondage, but fight for freedom (Galatians 5:1). Let’s be a generation of women too overtaken by our Jesus to care about anything else. Let’s rise up and be bold enough to ask hard questions and have real conversations. Let’s look at each other and the world in light of God’s grace and glory.

It’s time for a rebellion and it starts with you and me.

*This posts theme courtesy of the ever lovely and insightful, Caroline Morris. Thank you for spurring this rebellion on*

 

 

Reflecting & Preparing

2015 is quickly drawing to a close, yet the clock still ticks reminding me of the coming year. The new year, full of promise and possibilities. Full of hope and determination. The new year points to Jesus and the newness He gives though the cross, through forgiveness and radical grace. It’s a reminder to reflect and prepare.

New year. New beginning. New experiences. New trials. New goals. Everything new. Wrapped in shiny paper just waiting for hopeful fingers to unfold. But what about the goodbyes?

The goodbye to the old year. The adios to that bad habit or stressful job. The see you later to the fears, the victories, the secrets. What about those?

The new year calls for both hellos and goodbyes, both reflecting & preparing. You can’t do one well without the other. You can’t prepare for a new year without looking at the past to see what worked and what didn’t. But you also cannot reflect on the past to the point that you forget you have a glorious future set before you. So, friends, let’s join in reflecting on the past year and preparing for the new.

Reflections of 2015

  • Isaiah 61, Psalm 46:5 & 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • I have a choice between my “two rooms” & what goes in them (post to come)
  • Jesus understands (post to come)
  • Change is bittersweet
  • Performed final show with Concert Ballet
  • Started a blog on a whim, but Jesus had cool plans for it
  • Loved giving my senior thesis & won the award
  • Graduated high school
  • Was a bridesmaid & watched 3 sweet cousins get married!
  • Dance parties are good medicine
  • Ask me how God showed up over & over again this year
  • Can now say & believe “God is GOOD.”
  • Close relationships are hard, but oh so good
  • Finished first semester of college, loved it!

Preparations for 2016

  • Theme: BOLD & Brave
    • These are the words God placed on my heart for this year and they are so fitting given all that I’ve learned and been challenged with in 2015. Living bold & brave through the Holy Spirit. 
  • Study: Galatians, Esther, 2 Timothy, and all things Holy Spirit
  • Daily
    • get the Word in (quality over quantity)
    • be still & silent (silence over screens)
    • laugh until it hurts (best stress reliever ever)
  • Habit to Break: checking phone first thing in the morning
    • As Ann Voskamp says, “first 10 minutes always with my first Love.” Instead of getting social media and my to do list in my head first thing, I want Jesus to be the first thing on my mind.
  • Habit to make: Praying before eating
    • I’ve been challenged with this one through reading A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester and realizing just how deeply connected food and God are.
  • Blog: post twice a month as led (but all things with loads of grace)

*If you need a good place to start for your new year preparations, check this out.*

If you have a friend…

“I have a friend that’s struggling with an eating disorder and I don’t know what to do, what to say or how to help. Do you have any advice on how to approach this?”

I got asked this question recently. I had been asked it before, but this time I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would answer. What would I have wanted? What would have made me feel comfortable? What questions would get me to open up? Most people avoid eating disorders like the plague because they don’t know what to do or say. Not everyone is called or equipped to intervene, but if you feel you are, here is what I think an ideal intervention should look like.

Invite the person over to your home or somewhere comfortable, quiet and safe feeling. Preferably not a restaurant as that can be stressful and triggering. Sit down and just ask “how are you?” Don’t let the person say “I’m fine.” They are not fine though they will try to convince you they are fine with their dying breath. Pay attention to your posture, eye contact, and position. This can make a difference in the person feeling safe enough to share. Try to get the person to open up on their own through intentional questions. Maintain eye contact and show that you really want to hear their answers. Be prepared for potentially long silences while they figure out if you are safe enough to share and if they are brave (or desperate) enough tell you. Don’t be discouraged if the person won’t answer. They are having a mental battle going on between their voice of reason and their eating disorders voice. If they seem to be uncomfortable and struggling inside then don’t be afraid to say something such as, “I know you’re trying to be brave and hold it all together, but I see what’s happening to you. I see the state you’re in and I’m concerned, because I care about your well being.” Something along those lines, said with sincerity, will break down the wall they have built up to protect themselves and their eating disorder. Some of the best things people did/said to me were some of the hardest for both them to do/say and me to hear.

Bottom line, let the person know you’re a safe to confide in. Let them know you care. Let them know that while you may not fully understand, you want to. Show them through your words and actions that you love them regardless of whether they have it all together or not.

Finally, know that conversation is hard for both sides, but so very needed. It might not seem that way when the person you are trying to help pushes you away, avoids your questions, and acts like you are the last person they would ever want to be with in that moment. Rest assured it’s not you; it’s them (or their disorder). There is more to them than meets the eye.  They may clam up, push you away, or insist that they’re fine, but with every part of them (inside & out) they are crying for someone to notice, someone to save them from themselves and their mind. I know I felt so completely invisible, alone and bound up. I got angry at anyone who tried to help me because I was terrified of what they wanted me to do or share, but at the same time I desperately wanted someone to walk with me through my mine-field of a mind. I wanted someone to listen, someone to understand, someone to help me. Sometimes I just wanted someone to sit with me when my eating disorder voice was so loud I couldn’t think about anything else. My mind was a terrifying place. Anorexia is incredibly hard to deal with because you are not dealing with one rational mind. You are dealing with two very different minds in one. One of them is rational and the other is irrational and anxiety driven. Everything is contradictory, a battle between yourself and your mind. I can’t describe it, but it’s not something you want to walk through alone, which is why having someone intervene the way I just described is so desperately needed.

So if you have a friend who’s struggling, continue being a friend. Love them. Sit with them. Listen to them. Pray for and with them. Then pray for and with them again, because Jesus is the only one who can save them from themselves and shine light upon the darkness reigning in their mind.

Six Lessons on the Do’s & Don’ts of Eating Disorder Support

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, yet they are also one of the most misunderstood. I get asked what is and isn’t helpful to someone with an eating disorder a lot, so I wanted to touch on six lessons that everyone should learn, because everyone knows someone who’s struggling with this disorder.

Lesson One: Know what you’re getting yourself into.

Eating disorders are confusing, demanding and life threateningly serious. Warning: handling someone with an eating disorder is not for the faint of heart! It takes a lot of strength and courage, because of what eating disorders bring out in the suffering individual. The most compliant person will become stubborn. The amiable will become angry. The warm and friendly will become cold and distant. The moment you cross their eating disorder, the moment you try to make them eat or stop purging, is the moment that you become unsafe. You must walk in to the relationship prepared to fight fire or you will be seriously burned. The reason for this drastic change is simple. You are ripping (or threatening to rip) away their best friend, their comfort, their protection, their reliability and control. Would you be okay with someone doing that to you? I think not. The point of this lesson is, be prepared to fight to the death, because the eating disorder will stop at nothing less.

Lesson Two: Put on your listening ears.

I recently spoke with a dear friend from treatment who said that what helped her most was people listening without trying to fix anything. She just needed to be heard and validated in her feelings. And so did I and many others I have met. I was an emotional wreck wrapped up in a pretty package. I was afraid, angry, tired, confused and lonely, but I had no idea what to do about these thoughts and feelings racing through my mind. I felt like I was going insane. Thus having a friend that would just sit with me and listen was huge. I didn’t want anyone to try to fix it. I just wanted to be heard and validated.

Lesson Three: Watch your mouth.

If you are trying to be sensitive to the needs of your loved one, then you will feel like you’re walking on eggshells around them. I remember my parents telling me in the midst of my disorder that they felt like they had to walk on eggshells around me, because they didn’t know what they could and couldn’t say. I had no response for them then and I still don’t have a concrete one now. However, there are a few things people said that I know didn’t help. First of all, don’t say “I understand” if you don’t actually understand. (*Hint: if you didn’t have an eating disorder and aren’t a professional in the field then you probably do not understand, so just admit it.) Second, don’t downplay your loved ones feelings. They have a right to each and every one of their fears. They may be irrational to you, but believe me they are all too real for them. So don’t say things such as, “It’ll be fine, you’ll get over it, it’s not that bad, it’s just a phase, just eat something, pray about it and it’ll be fine.” Those responses will make them feel like their disorder isn’t that bad, that they need to be sicker to get help. It will confirm the lies they already believe about themselves. It will make them withdraw from you and others, because the dismissing of their very real problem makes them afraid to share for fear that people will think they are crazy. I know I only shared what was really going on in my mind with my therapist, because I was too afraid to tell anyone else about the voices in my head and the irrational anxiety/crying at the thought or act of eating. Lastly, don’t comment about weight. Just don’t. It will not end well. Basically, be sensitive and think before you speak. Try to put yourself in their shoes and if you don’t know what to say don’t say anything at all.

Lesson Four: Ask questions.

If you are in the position of friend to someone with an eating disorder then one of the best things you can do is ask intentional questions. “How did ____ make you feel? What were you thinking when ____ happened? What can I do to help you? How can I support you?” It might seem like they don’t like the questions on the outside, but I guarantee it’s good for them to process aloud and will make them feel loved, known, cared for and like you see and acknowledge the hurt inside of them.

Lesson Five: Give support and space.

Support is necessary, but it has to be the right support combined with space. Mealtime support was particularly good for me, but I absolutely hated it. I was afraid to eat in front of people, especially when I knew they were specifically watching me. I refused mealtime support whenever possible until I got into treatment and had to have meal support. What I learned was that meal support is extremely helpful in treatment, because there was no judgment, just support from people who understood and were walking alongside me. Give non-judgmental support, but also give space. Don’t ask what they’ve eaten unless they specifically ask you to keep them accountable. Constant questions about food add pressure and anxiety to their already overwhelmed, overloaded mind. Don’t make a big deal about the food, because it’s not about the food at all. Your focus on what they’re eating exacerbates their already hyper-focused on food mind. It’s the dietitians job to handle the food and make sure they have adequate meal time support. Your job as their friend or loved one (unless directed otherwise by a professional) is to give them support and space by focusing on their heart & mind.

Lesson Six: Recognize the reality.

The last thing you can do is acknowledge that this is a disorder and a disease, not just a fad or diet plan. Recognize the reality that they have a mental illness, a mental disease, and cannot get well on their own. Tell them that while you do not understand the disorder itself, you do recognize that it is a serious problem. This will make them feel safe around you and hopefully, give them the courage needed to face their fears.

Everyone is different, so every eating disorder will be different. There are no magic words or cures that will work for everyone, because every single case is different. Thus these lessons are not all encompassing. They are not six easy and foolproof steps to getting someone through recovery, but they are solid guidelines to follow.

 

 

the unexpected document: fears and satisfaction

I’ve never reblogged before, but this is simply too good and too necessary not to share! I need to be reminded to trust God with my food life. “Eat right & trust God” might become my new go to refocusing saying. Enjoy!

the pilot pen

To Ashley…
It was a mystery word file floating in the midst of my documents.
The idea of having to write a poem for my creative writing class (NO THANK YOU!) led me to utter procrastination. I was searching through my documents, remembering when I wrote that short story, or wondering why I had never finished that novel… or that one… or that one.
Then I came across one peculiarly titled. To Ashley… “Well that’s odd,” I thought to myself, and I opened it. I was definitely surprised when it revealed to be a letter from my older sister (pictured above… isn’t she beautiful!!). It was something she wrote to me about a year ago. Neither of us know how it got into my documents, she doesn’t remember sending it and I don’t remember saving it. But there it was! I read it through and found myself greatly touched. The letter…

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