Saturday, November 15, 2014

Spiritual Sunday- Repainting White

"Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body..."

Hey guys! Today I wanted to talk about something a little more personal- my faith! If you don't know, I am a devout Christian, (Greek Orthodox Christian to be specific) And I would love to start incorporating my faith into my blog. Even if you are not a Christian or religious at all, I hope these posts can still be of interest to you. Today I wanted to talk about some pieces of scripture that really stood out to me this past week. I totally believe that God can speak to you through scripture and touch on exactly what you need in your life at the moment. And I believe He brings certain people into your life for a reason. Sometimes, He does it when you least expect Him to...

Recently I re-connected with an old friend, Gabriel. Gabriel and I took a class together a few years ago, but sadly we lost touch. That's just how life goes sometimes. But, Gabriel and I recently found each other's Instagram and you could say that sparked our instant connection. Gabriel has a blog, Repainting White. She started her blog during her recovery from Anorexia. The name "Repainting White" represents painting over a messy picture with white paint and starting over. Not on a new canvas, but on the same one- and repainting a new beautiful picture. Just like with life- not giving up on your life that you've lived thus far- but starting over and building a positive one from negative experieneces or choices. She uses words so beautifully and God speaks through every word she writes. 

I love this that she wrote a while back:

"Compliments make me feel awkward.

Which is ironic because I adore giving compliments.
It's just when it comes to receiving compliments that I turn into this awkward Zooey Deschanel squirrel scrambling to change the subject. I usually wind up singing a song or telling a story about how I got toothpaste in my eye that morning. To conclude, compliments are hard for me.

From time to time I'm told that I have "such a love for God".
This makes me squirm.

Though its something that I can confirm to be true, I do love God, I don't let it be that simple.
I take that compliment and subconsciously use it to measure my characteristics, self worth, performance, and so on. I make it all about me.

It wasn't until recently that I've realized something big:
My "love for God" as it were, is nothing but an excited, reckless, messy response to His perfection. It's not about me.

You see, I have some troubles with narcissism. I try to earn things. In my brain, everything is a star system and life revolves around worth and getting what I deserve. Thus, the first 17 or so years of my life have been a desperate race to make myself worthy. Whether it was academically worthy, physically worthy, worthy of God's love, worthy of people's love, worthy of attention, etc. But the conclusion was always that I'm not good enough. 

When I began this blog, I was beginning a new chapter. I was emerging from the depths of anorexia and was dusting off the cobwebs that had grown over the rational part of my brain from being neglected for so long.
I was moving forward with a new understanding of life, an understanding that was born out of loneliness, total confusion, and in the end, a second chance.
What I learned about worth is that even after years of denying, restricting, and criticizing myself, I never once felt more worthy.
At 86 lbs, when I was at deaths door, I didn't feel one bit worthy of love. Some image I had chased, something I had poured every ounce of myself into (literally) had yielded nothing?
This mirage I had at last attained brought me nothing but empty hands.

I concluded that nothing, no status, no person, no material possessions, no philosophy...there is nothing on this broken planet could I pour myself into that would in turn help me gain a worth that was already mine to keep. Likewise, there is not a thing in this world that could steal from me a worth that was already mine to keep.

You see I had worth already, I just didn't know it. In fact, I would later discover that my worth is so secure that nothing I will ever do can change it.

I have worth because I'm unconditionally adored by God.

I have worth because God's forgiveness and my actions are two completely separate issues. 

I have worth because He will never love me any more or less than He does right now...because He loves me's outside of our realm of thinking. 

Paul says to the Galatians that "Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law."(Galatians 5:1)"

We recently met up for coffee and just talked about everything. Eating disorders, life, God, fashion, food... We have so much in common and we both believe God brought us together for a reason. We discussed the control an eating disorder can have on you and the toll it can take on your life and relationships. It controls your mind. It's like a constant voice in your head telling you to be perfect. You become obsessed with the control. You try justify your behavior. Something so irrational seems rational in your malnourished mind...

We talked about how in these two specific pieces of scripture- God speaks about anxiety over life. He literally says "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food.." 

Wow. If that doesn't hit home I don't know what will. Jesus may not be talking about eating disorders, literally, but I believe God tells you things that apply to you. After I met with Gabriel I came home and opened up my Bible.  I wasn't looking for this specific verse, so I decided to look for the reading of the day- and it was this. I was shocked (in a good way). I felt like God was telling me "stop worrying about what you eat." It was crazy that I had just been talking about this with Gabriel.

Here's the entire reading:

  "At that time, while Jesus was teaching one of the multitude said to him, 
 "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me." But he said to him,
 "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?" 
 And he said to them, "Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." 
 And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. 
For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.   
Of how much more value are you than the birds!
And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life?
If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 
The lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown   into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith! 
And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind.
 For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need  them.
 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well."
         -  Luke 12:13-31

I texted it to Gabriel as soon as I saw it, and she sent me this back: 

"They may be in such pain that they even hate food,

    even the very best meal.
Their body becomes so thin there is almost nothing left of it,
    and their bones that were hidden now stick out.
They are near death,
    and their life is almost over.

“But there may be an angel to speak for him,

    one out of a thousand, who will tell him what to do.
The angel will beg for mercy and say:
    ‘Save him from death.
    I have found a way to pay for his life.’
Then his body is made new like a child’s.
    It will return to the way it was when he was young.
That person will pray to God, and God will listen to him.
    He will see God’s face and will shout with happiness.
    And God will set things right for him again.
Then he will say to others,
    ‘I sinned and twisted what was right,
    but I did not receive the punishment I should have received.
God bought my life back from death,
    and I will continue to enjoy life.’

- Job 33: 20-30 

God may not be literally speaking about those suffering from eating disorders, it could just be referring to the sick in general, but it sure does sound like it. It speaks directly to those suffering. It states "They hate food.... their body becomes so thin there is nothing left." It paints the picture of an eating disorder perfectly.  You forget what your favorite foods taste like because you fear them. Your bones stick out and you don't even see it. But it gives hope at the end "God brought my life back from death and I will continue to enjoy life." 

No matter what you are going through, God can ease your worry. "Do not have anxiety over your life.." Whether you have ever suffered with an eating disorder or not- I hope these two pieces of scripture can help you like they help Gabriel and I. They can apply to any struggle in life. Big or small. I believe through Christ anything is possible.

And please check out Gabriel's blog, and follow her on Instagram @anaenotann! She is so inspiring. Don't worry- she'll be back on the blog soon! ;)

XoXo, Stephanie

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