Prayer in the Night

savingpng

 

I’m done searching for a miracle.

Done asking for fixed things.

I won’t plead with You any longer to release these bruises from my bones.

Or to lift the ink from my heartskin.

I don’t need restoration like I need to know You.

So, don’t take away this achiness.

Don’t let Lonely leave.

I hate her.

More than I’ve ever hated anyone.

But, You said she can stay-

So, she can’t be that bad.

Keep me here.

Trapped in a world I can’t see clearly…

Fuck my eyesight.

Because, there’s nothing worth seeing if I cannot see it with You.

You see in darkness as you see in light…

Will you see enough for me?

Let all I have lost remain lost.

Cast away into the infinity of finiteness.

What is any of it worth, if I am lost from You?

It hurts.

Oh it hurts.

To love with this mess of a chest.

The imperfect trying to love the imperfect will always be imperfect.

The imperfect trying to love the Perfect? It too will always be imperfect.

But You the Perfect, loving the imperfect, will always be Perfect.

So, Leave me in the pit.

In this groaning flesh.

In this sickness.

In the inexhaustible pain of existing here…

Just please don’t leave my side.

Miracles won’t help me now.

One thrilling, blood-tingling, impossible happening,

Would leave me cold just the same as the mundane.

It could never be enough.

I need a lasting happening.

Happening and moving constantly from one ache to the next.

I need a True Love.

A Transformational, Supernatural, All-consuming fire.

You.

Will You be enough for me?

 

Midnights

img_0361

I reside at 11:59,

Sincerely, ms. imperfect

This is the mantra that played in the head of a lost and wandering teenager.

Me.

If we’re being specific.

I wrote these words in a poem when I was 17. Heck, I put them on my lock screen!

I was so convinced that there were some things I could not have simply because I was me.

It felt like I was stuck at the last minute of the last day.

Getting so close to the edge of something new and wonderful and brave… but never being able to pass over into it.

Into tomorrow.

It’s like there has never been a 12 on my clock.

It seems as though everyone else has been living in another realm. On a different time table.

Leaving me behind in the place and time I cannot escape.

Where others live in perfect circles, I live in a sliver –

The space between 11:59 and 12:00 midnight.

You see, I hate endings.

Always have, always will.

Whether it’s a TV series, a song, a dessert, a book, an experience, a season, a year, a friendship… I fucking hate endings.

When it’s all over and memories that are much more taste-less rush into the spaces instead…

And you wouldn’t know it just by looking at me, but I’ve always been a cynic.

Keeping a dark garden in my world of summer colors.

I’ve never dressed in all black or worn heavy eyeliner, but death is one of my favorite subjects.

The ultimate fascination.

The ultimate ending.

My favorite thing to joke about even.

And that’s why there is not a 12 on my clock…

I can only ever see the end.

But, I’m getting older now.

I’m saying goodbye to more and more.

Seeing the ending of everything I knew come to pass again and again. And my epiphany is this–

I’ve been living like things should never end. Like things should just always be how they always were.

But, maybe they SHOULD end. Not just that they DO end but that they SHOULD end.

I don’t have to like it.

But, I do have to accept that the end is a part of the beginning and the middle.

To experience the joy of beginnings and the contentment of middles, you must have the glorious, tricky, fantastically atrocious heartache of the end.

We like to say things like “forever”.

We like to say “never”.

Less popular however are “When it’s over” or “After”.

I’ve been living like there is no “After”.

But there’s always an after.

“After this job”, “After this car”, “After this friend”, maybe even “After this life”.

You should never go into anything assuming that it will simply always be, because it won’t be, and more importantly, it shouldn’t be.

Endings are tragic.

They hurt.

Yes they hurt.

But fighting them only makes it worse. Avoiding them pauses the ache, but the end will play itself out.

Try though you might to stop it, endings are a necessary evil.

I don’t like it, but I must make peace with it to thrive in this life.

I recently got a tiny tattoo on my wrist. (pictured in my previous post) It’s just three tiny arrowheads pointing forward. Reminding me that there is more than this.

There is more than just the end.

And it’s mine.

It’s all of ours if we can just be brave enough to let go of that tiny sliver of space we are living in.

My clock has never had a 12, so I’m drawing one in.

Because it’s all for me.

The midnights, the newness, the love, the cyclical beauty of dying just to be reborn again, and again, and again.

It is all there for the living.

A YEAR WITHOUT FAITH

img_2025

God.

If you’d asked me a little over a year ago about God, I could have told you.

For 8 years, God, Jesus, and Christianity were the main focus of my life.

I believed.

I did all the things.

Studying, praying, attending church services 3 times a week unwaveringly, and even taking a very public platform to propagate the message of Jesus Christ to others.

I was the perfect “good girl”. Especially to those who didn’t know me but knew the image of me that was portrayed.

I never liked it that way. I knew very well that I was not worthy of the pedestal I was thrust upon.

I wanted to be seen.

Understood.

Not as the “good girl”, but for the person I really was.

I envisioned a life where I loved God and served people on a deeper level while also being loved through my own wildly outrageous failings as a human being. (Rather than having those failings wished away or ignored)

It was my deepest desire to show that love to others as well.

So, I made the intensely difficult decision to step out of the spotlight and into the quieter pursuit of community and behind the scenes work.

I had every intention of building this new life I had envisioned.

I would get involved in a local church, volunteer, travel, write, and discover more of God and more of myself in Christ.

…And then the unspeakable happened to my heart.

It was a massacre like nothing I had ever experienced before in my life, and it left me questioning EVERYTHING I believed.

Is there a God?

If there is, how could He not save me from this?

Why are my prayers not enough?

If this is my fault, where is His mercy?

Where does faith come from?

Does He even care?

How can I do all of these things He expects me to do?

Is He really who He says He is, and if so how can I get to Him?

Do I even want to get to Him?

Why did He make me?

Why did He make anything? Because it seems so pointless and so selfish…

I was so angry at God and so conflicted with these questions and so very, very alone as I tried to hang onto my beliefs.

My year of more meaning became a year without faith.

No faith in God, no faith in people, no faith in hope for me.

I studied worldviews and gave audience to atheism, naturalism, postmodernism, and transcendentalism.

Truly, some days all that kept me reaching for God was fear of losing my soul, not out of reason or trust.

I became twisted. Hateful. Self-loving.

It was F*** me and F*** the world like the angst-y teenager I thought I’d left far behind.

Yet, in all of my writhing, I saw people.

I mean, I saw people.

I saw Atheists, Muslims, Gay people, Transcendentalists, Politicians, Criminals, and especially Christians.

And I realized so clearly that we are all simply doing the best we can with the information we have been given, but we have all been given different information.

Whether through DNA or circumstance not a one of us in unbiased in our beliefs.

All of the questions about God and all that He entails therefore, cannot be answered by any one of us.

No religion, including Christianity, has all of the answers either.

Christians will say that Jesus IS the answer. And that may be true, but even if you follow Him to the point of martyrdom as some do, He would still keep some mysteries of the universe to Himself, as they are perhaps not ours to know.

It scared me to question God at first.

Who am I to point my finger at the Creator and say things like “Why have you made me? I’d rather not have been made”. But now that I have wrestled, I truly believe that Jesus is it for me.

Life seems unbearable without the hope of something better. There is much pain here.

Our bodies will fail us, our friends will fail us, our families will fail us, our religions will fail us, our possessions will fail us, our fame will fail us, our works will fail us, our talents will fail us, our goodness will fail us. And we indeed will fail ourselves sometimes without even realizing it.

People are complicated and confused and broken.

I need to believe in something that will not fail me even if it turns out not to be true. And that I believe is true for everyone. It seems to me, that Jesus is the safest place to land and that there is in fact evidence that He IS true.

For those that do not draw the same conclusion as I do, I do not judge you nor do I blame you nor do I think you are an evil person for doing so.

I especially hope that the drawing of differing conclusions does not divide us. It makes more sense to me that it would UNITE us. Having respect for the fact that we all had to do some serious work, wrestling, and thinking to arrive at our individual conclusions.

We all must question and never stop until we’re satisfied with legitimate reasons. No matter the path you follow, there will be consequences, pain, more questions… and hopefully ultimate peace.

From all of my questioning I am a better human being who very much just wants to explore truth with my fellow human beings.

I want to listen intently and compassionately to every doubter of the Christian faith. Not dismissing their questions but validating them and answering them as completely and comprehensively as possible as a fellow confused human who has plenty of questions herself.

No one needs a superficial conversion. No one needs fake faith or “good enough” strength.

Whatever conclusion you draw about this life, question it. Wrestle with it. Be certain it stands. It will take time, tears, more time, work, uncomfortable conversations, and unanswered prayers, but it is worth it.

Breaking Faith

savingpng

I never thought it would happen to me…

Ever since I was a young teenager, the stories have been carved into my impressionable mind.

The stories of the backsliders, the ones who dropped out of church, the ones the world got a hold of…

They were not good stories. Some of them died young. Some of them became unrecognizable. Most of them were never heard from again.

And with every shocking and horrific tale from the pulpit I promised myself that I would never be one of them.

I wanted to be the one who stayed.

But, as it turns out, none of us are very good at keeping promises.

I am the backslider.

The dropout.

Unrecognizable.

How I got here is complicated.

It started with a leap of faith, but it ended with a betrayal I never saw coming.

The whole story is not one for paper, but I can sum it up for you:

I cared about someone, they abandoned me, it destroyed me, and when I sought healing from the God of my youth, it was nowhere to be found.

It didn’t happen overnight. I held on for a long time. But slowly my faith started cracking.

I prayed and nothing happened. So I prayed less.

I sang at the top of my lungs, hands raised, but nothing happened. So I praised less.

The Word seemed to me powerless to stop the pain. So I read less.

First it was one missed service. Then another. Then another.

And there was no one there to stop it.

I am not proud that I have become this. I am desperately confused, lonely, and ashamed.

But once faith is broken, how can it ever be put back together? If I must have faith to even approach the Healer, how can I be healed?

I’m thinking tonight of the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda.

How his faith must have been broken too.

How he watched everyone else receive their healing while he lay helpless to help himself.

He thought that the pool was the only way to healing. But Jesus didn’t put him in the pool…

And I think maybe, Jesus isn’t just the Heal-ER but the Heal- ING.

And maybe if I keep waiting, He will find me.

But oh how cold I’ve grown. How angry. How prideful. How distrusting.

Breaking faith.

That’s why backsliders slide.

It’s not because we are horrible people, it’s because we are broken ones. Our realities turned inside out from the beatings of a cruel world.

Hoping desperately that God really will rescue us, but never quite being able to believe that it will happen.

I don’t know the answers here.

I don’t know why cruelty exists in the name of love.

I don’t know why God heals some and not others.

I don’t know why separation is a better solution than compromise.

I don’t know why the innocent suffer.

All I know is that I must write my story.

However ugly it gets.

And today, this is it.

God, Social Media, and Taylor Swift

girl-2953562_1920

Whether you like her, dislike her, used to like her, or used to NOT like her, you definitely know who I’m talking about when I say: Taylor Swift. You also know that just over a week ago she released her new album “Reputation”. She is arguably the most famous pop star of this generation. Even if you actively try to avoid hearing about her, you can’t. I’ve often told people that during every significant event in my life since her debut, there has been a Taylor Swift song playing. Sounds dramatic, but it’s actually not! I could write a whole post on just that alone!

Being the “Swiftie” that I am, I couldn’t wait for her new album to come in the mail. Her choice in the release of her first single “Look What You Made Me Do” combined with the title “Reputation” for the album gave me and the rest of the world the impression that this album was going to be about revenge. But, when I played it for the first time I found something entirely different. The title “Reputation” is accurate, but the theme of the album isn’t just Taylor’s reputation in the media, it’s so much broader than that. It’s about all of us in this culture obsessed with portraying ourselves a certain way online.

If you post something negative about your life on facebook without the words “please pray for me” tacked onto the end, people will probably get mad at you for it or find it extremely annoying. Obviously, no one wants to see on their news feed that which should be reserved for people you are actually close with. Makes everyone uncomfortable. So, instead of doing THAT most of us just post our proudest moments, our best hair days, our prettiest meals, and of course our most flattering gym selfies. Posting on social media platforms is like putting our families’ scrapbooks on display for literally the entire world to see, except with more details.

And we like our “likes”. The attention and false sense of connection to others drives us into addiction. I’m guilty. It’s nerve wracking to be away from your smart phone these days. We want to be involved, we want to know what’s going on, we want to parade our lives about and show people how great and fine we’re doing even when we are falling apart. It’s comforting to us somehow, knowing that in the worlds of facebook, twitter, and instagram our lives look really great. Online, we create the kind of person we want to be and portray ourselves that way. And sometimes, others even twist that ideal we’ve created into something ugly and use it against us. Much in the way the media portrays Taylor as being a serial dater.

We as a society hold the belief that “If I don’t post it on social media, then it probably didn’t happen.” No one consciously believes this, but you know the feeling when something good is happening and you just HAVE to get your camera out so you can post it. I think that posting about things gives us a sense of permanence. It’s like we are writing a history book of our lives with deleted chapters and fake names. And we write it to be remembered…the histories of the glories of our lives forever preserved in pixels and data clouds.

We all have a reputation. Here’s the thing though, God is writing the actual history book. With real names and with every chapter accounted for and written out in black and white. Our preoccupation with our image and social media really points to a deeper underlying desire that we all have. We want to have beautiful lives and to be remembered. But, we forget that we are already remembered. Christ remembers us every day. Whether you’ve accepted Him or not. AND! He wants to make our lives beautiful. His beautiful looks absolutely nothing like our beautiful though. It doesn’t happen on our proudest days but on our humblest ones. Our idea of beauty is something that draws attention to itself, while His is in the little acts of faithfulness that only He sees.

I’m not shaming social media. This isn’t a battle cry to banish it from our lives forever. I’m a millennial to the core and I and think it’s a great tool. This is just a post for a moment of thought on the subject. I don’t think it should be as consuming to us as it is. Like, while you’re busy taking a picture of something with your smart phone, you’re forgetting to take a picture of it with your own eyes and store it in your mind. When we escape into our fantasy lives online, we start losing interest in our real ones. We want our likes from man so much that we forget to want the approval of a God who actually sees and knows everything about us.

Let’s become our real selves. Good, bad, and ugly because it’s all a part of a story to give God the glory! Your moments DO matter and they DID happen whether you post about them or not. So, take it easy with those post and tweet buttons! You don’t have to try so hard. ❤

All-or-Nothing

 

pencil-1891732_1280

“You’re such a perfectionist!” These words have been spoken to me on countless occasions. Whether at work, school, or play I listen to people moan and groan about how I always want things to be exactly right. And while they’re going on about it I stand there with my arms crossed wondering why it’s frustrating them so much.

What IS so wrong with being a perfectionist? Isn’t that a good quality to have? Perfectionism is a highly encouraged trait, especially in American society where we place so much value on hard work and climbing the ladder to success. After all, perfectionists are organized, high achieving, and often extremely successful. Who wouldn’t want to be that? Unfortunately, as I’m learning, that isn’t the entire story.

On the outside, their lives seem so put together. They get the A’s, stick to their schedules, and fix everything that’s out of place. But, what happens when they don’t? What happens when the red ink pen comes out? Or how about when something interrupts their perfectly balanced schedule? I’ll tell you this: It ain’t good. All of those high expectations and the constant pressure to perform can quickly become damaging when their humanity strikes a blow. Perfectionists are at a higher risk for mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Perfectionism has pervaded my life in more subtle ways as well, creeping into decisions, habits, and thoughts until I’ve become consumed with its voice and started to believe I am who it says that I am. For a long time, I didn’t see how trying to be perfect was holding me back from living fully. I didn’t understand that joy doesn’t come from getting everything exactly right. Until one day when I looked at my life and just wondered: why?

Why does my life look like this? Why did I ever go on that extreme diet? Why did I quit taking piano lessons? Why isn’t singing fun anymore? Why can’t I play board games with my friends? Why am I procrastinating on this class? And the worst why of all: Why is it so hard for me to see God in any of this?

And here’s the “why”- Perfectionists suffer from All-or-Nothing thinking. Here are a few examples to illustrate.

Oh, I only have 30 minutes to do this today, and I really need an hour and a half, so I’m just not gonna do any of it because I won’t be able to get it all done.

Ugh, I had so much sugar for lunch today; forget eating a nutritious dinner because my progress is already ruined.

I messed up on that part, and that part, and that part on this song, so clearly I sang the whole song horribly and should never sing it again because what’s the point if I can’t get the whole thing right?

All-or-nothing means either the whole task gets completed or none of it does. It means that if you eat a cookie, then the salad won’t help. The whole song is right or none of it is. There is no middle ground, there is no moderate view. And we hate incompleteness. We avoid it at all costs even if it means procrastinating because we can’t get it all done. Living that way makes it extremely hard to see any good anywhere. It makes it hard to accomplish anything. It makes you miserable. And the most horrible thing is that it is a complete and total lie.

When we are pursuing perfection. Perfection becomes our god. If perfection becomes our god, then guess where we are going to place our worth? All the while the One True God is calling. Perfection Himself, Jesus Christ, invites us into His presence on this earth and one day in Heaven to partake of a perfect Kingdom in a perfect body. THAT is what’s worth pursuing. Jesus is the One who will make us perfect. We could never do it ourselves, but we try to believe the lie that we can for the sake of pride.

I’m exhausted from chasing an unobtainable perfection when I should’ve been chasing the available Perfection.

But, here’s the good news: all I have to do is turn around and run the other way. With the wind instead of against it. And that’s exactly what you can do too.

1st Corinthians 15: 51-58

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Do a Brave Thing

anything 3

My secret is out.

I have a blog.

Or I should say, I’ve HAD a blog for seven months now and you’re just now finding out about it! The truth is, I hadn’t planned on ever sharing it with anyone. It was gonna be my hidden treasure amongst the trillions of pixels and web domains parading about the internet. But today, I invite you to it both excitedly and humbly for one reason: I accepted the challenge.

This story actually began a year ago, on my 21st birthday. My first day of Twenty-One was like filling your lungs with too much air and not wanting to let it out because you’ll never have that exact same breath again. It felt big. Important. And so, I made it my goal to challenge my fears that year. I got on elevators. Ate fear foods. Shot a gun. Sang a solo. Spoke from the stage. And I stopped sleeping in the basement during thunderstorms. I thought that I had done it all. That I had held nothing back….

Until a few weeks ago.

It was then that one of my dearest friends, who is also a blogger, sent out this challenge to all of her social media friends after a day of facing one of her longest-held fears:

“Do something brave today! Because being afraid isn’t a way to live; it’s only a way to wish that you had.”

anything 1

Several people reacted with brave stories of their own, while I just stared at her words; struck by the realization that I HAD been holding something back after all:

This Blog.

This blog where I’ve written my story. This blog where I’ve discovered my voice. This blog that I’ve kept hidden out of fear. This blog which is, ironically, all about being fearless.

So today, on my last day of being twenty-one, I’m not hiding it anymore. I’m going into twenty-two knowing that I left no fear unturned and no insecurity unchallenged.

This is it. This is my brave thing.

Now, I want to know yours! Help me continue this challenge by commenting your brave story either directly on this blog post or on Facebook and Instagram! It could be anything! Did you talk to someone new? Go for that interview? Stand up for what’s right? Play a piano solo? Or did you simply try an exotic food and experiment with a different style? Whatever it is, I want to know because I’m proud of you!

So go ahead! Comment! Tell me your story. Be fearless. ❤

anything 2

 

(I dedicate this, my first blog post to the world, to my dear friend Courtney. You’ve supported this space from the start and inspire me constantly by simply being you. <3)

Tips for Coping with a Bad Body Image Day

never give up

So, since I’ve been struggling this week and my last post was on the heavier side, I’ve decided to follow up the struggle with some positivity. Just because it isn’t always easy to love your body, doesn’t mean you have to listen to and be defeated by the lies your mind is telling you. You can choose to move past it one self-loving step at a time. Below are some tips and strategies that help me personally when I have days and weeks where I have trouble accepting my body. Hopefully, some of them will help you too!

1. Pray.

If you don’t believe in God, you can swap this one out for meditating, but for me personally I need to hear God when I’m being self-critical. Being in God’s presence and remembering how passionately He loves me is the single most healing thing that I can do for myself. Praying and worshiping puts my mind on the spiritual so that I don’t have time to worry about the physical. God knows how to speak peace to my mind so that I remember that my physical body is actually the most insignificant part of me and has nothing to do with who I actually am.

2. Stay off of Social Media (Especially Instagram).

Do it. Just delete the app for the day or however long you need to feel ok again about YOU. Social Media is wonderful and it has even been a part of my healing process because I follow some really incredible body-positive women on there. Whenever I have a hard day, I can go to their pages or stories and read about how they are fighting that day and it is SO empowering to feel like you aren’t alone in the fight. HOWEVER, there comes a time when even my body-positive heroes start to make me feel guilty about my own self. For example, when they worked out that day and I didn’t or they chose fruit when I choose Oreo’s, it can get in my head and make me feel bad. THAT’S when you need to get out, take a break, and remember that you have your own story and that it’s just as valid as theirs.

3. Talk to a friend or someone you trust.

If I’m going through it with negative body and food thoughts, I always try to tell at least one person that it’s happening. I don’t tell them because I think they can make it stop, but because it’s good to have someone on my side when it’s happening. You don’t have to feel your feelings in a bubble. Let someone in to support you, and it will remind you that people don’t love you for your body, or because you have the perfect diet and exercise regimen. They love you because you are you.

4. Reframe your mind before you even think about exercise.

Working out makes me feel amazing. Most of the time, a good sweat sesh gives me confidence about my body and about what I can do. But, on days when I’m feeling gross, going to the gym can lead to obsessive thoughts. Thoughts like “she’s fitter than me” and “I need to burn off that junk I ate” and “I have to burn off this fat so I have abs” can quickly become overwhelming and make me feel inadequate. So, before you sweat it out, remember your reasons for actually doing it. If you are in there for a look, comparing yourself to people, letting burning off food be your motivation, or are forcing yourself to do it out of anxiety, it’s time to adjust your thinking. Replace those thoughts with something like “I’m here to focus on me and my goals” or “I’m in here to get stronger” or “This lifestyle is important to me because it allows me to take care of my body, not abuse it”. If you cannot mentally handle that, it may even be better to skip the exercise for the time being and remember that even a spontaneous rest day is not the end of the world. It’s whatever works for you.

5. Wear a positive affirmation, and/or your favorite outfit.

I wear my positive affirmation almost every day. It’s my necklace that says “Strong is Beautiful”. Some people don’t’ like this quote because it implies physical strength, but to me it means more than that. I’m strong for choosing to love myself every day. I’m strong for doing this whole life thing. I’m strong for simply having the courage to be myself and that is beautiful. Some people have bracelets, some have necklaces, but it’s nice to have a daily reminder on you at all times to embrace yourself and the good you bring to the world. So find one that empowers you! Lastly, put on your absolute favorite outfit. The one you KNOW you rock and feel great in, and go rock it!

I hope one or more of those were helpful for you guys. Feel free to comment and let me know your favorites or any that you would add to the list that I didn’t touch on!

The Day I Shot a Gun

fullsizerender

 

All I could hear was breathing in my head. The two giant muffs protruding from my face made sure of that. And I felt so out of place. A girl from the suburbs with muck beneath her Converse, wearing those bulky earmuffs and safety glasses… who did she think she was? Out there clasping that cool metal pistol between her palms and with her finger on the trigger no less! Who did she think she was? Brave? Capable? Powerful? The breaths came out ragged between my teeth. Close your mouth. I thought. Before this thing goes off and you chomp into your lip. So I pushed my tongue down to feel my pulse beating steady in front of it. Wrists shaking, feet apart, one eye closed just like they told me… my shoulders ached from the tensing and my vision blurred with white fear. And I pulled. Slowly, steady, waiting for something to happen. BAM!!!! The open space became a cave surrounding me as the silence shattered into invisible glass. The rush washed over me and my shaking hands fell at last.

“You missed.” Said my uncle bluntly.

But I didn’t care! BECAUSE I SHOT A FLIPPIN’ GUN! It was something I didn’t think I could do. Something that even the thought of was intimidating. But I did it. I took all of that power in my hands and I used it. I got better at it the more rounds I fired, much to the surprise of my uncle, brother, and dad. But even hitting the bulls-eye couldn’t compare to the exhilaration of that first shot!

Despite the name of this blog, I am not a fearless person. I’m the girl who can’t squish a spider, give a nerve-less speech, or take the elevator without saying a prayer first. I don’t like planes, or boats, and anyone who goes swimming in the ocean is, in my opinion, looking to be on one of those inspirational shark attack TV shows. And when I’m honest with myself, I know that the one and only reason for all of this fear is my desire to be in control. Why was I afraid to shoot a gun? Because what if it kicked back too hard and I couldn’t control it? What if I was too weak to handle it and the bullet struck more than a cardboard box?

My desire for control is also exactly what led me to obsession over my body and food intake. When outside circumstances were beyond my control, I unknowingly turned inward. If I couldn’t control what happened to me, then at least I could control my body. But control turned quickly into imprisonment. Cutting out added sugars became cutting out ALL sugars. (Even fruits and more sugary vegetables like carrots) Running a couple of miles a day became running 4 or 5 miles, which would have been fine had I been eating carbs and had I not been literally rearranging my life to fit in my runs. Wanting to be fit became wanting to be skinny, wanting to see my hip bones, and wanting my legs not to touch. When someone would comment on my weight-loss I would get defensive, but then secretly feel proud at the less-ness I had accomplished. And it broke me. Made me feel trapped. I went from not even being aware of my body to over-analyzing every inch until I just didn’t want to live inside of my own skin anymore. I ate less and less, ran more and more, and when the chains of my control would finally break, I ate, and ate, and ate until I couldn’t see straight.

Coming out of that took a lot of prayer. It also took me admitting what I was going through to other people so that I had support. And it took some bravery too. Bravery to cast the control from my hands and trust my body to be what it is going to be. It’s so ironic that our desire for control is sometimes the exact thing that makes us LOSE control. I didn’t feel I had the freedom in my life to say “YES!” to ice cream. When my friends wanted to hang out, I couldn’t do it because I had to run that night. Does that sound like a person who has control or a say in what they do?

Ultimately, I had to lay this struggle in God’s hands. He had to take back the control that I had tried to steal from Him. Instead of running off my troubles on the treadmill, I took them to Him. Instead of hating my body, I learned to love it for the vessel of worship and service that it is to God. And today I celebrate the victories that have been won for me in my mind. I still have rough days sometimes. Days of not liking how I look and wanting my squish to be gone and thinking about eating a little less. But it’s in moments like today, when I shot that gun, that I’m reminded of how far I’ve come. Letting go of the control bit by bit until God can have His way with me. When I’m afraid to pull the trigger, He says “Do It. I’m with you”. And when I finally do, when the force kicks back and the sound echoes out, I’m left invigorated, changed, and even a little fearless.

2nd Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.