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Well, today is my birthday.
Yep, I’m clocking in another year around the sun.
I feel like once you’re in your late twenties, and you’re in that stage of life where you’re supposed to be gearing up to having your life all figured out — engaged, married, successful career, house, kids, etc. — every birthday is just a brutal reminder that, well…I’m not there yet.
And the devil on my shoulder keeps reminding me that with each passing year, I become less and less desirable marriage material, and more and more likely to become a spinster cat lady.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my birthday fell on top of the journey my mom and I took along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Eighty miles is a long way to walk, and as you read in last week’s reflection, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
But one of the things that I always struggle with, especially on my birthday, is assessing where I am on my journey, and feeling inadequate. And if I’m being suuuuper transparent: like a failure. It’s not a “pretty” truth, but it is what I wrestle with. A remnant of my disordered thoughts during my anorexia.
Growing up, I thought my life would be in a much different place than where it is now. Heck, in fourth grade I would have told you that I’d be on kid #7 of 12 by now!
But if I’m honest, it’s hard not to feel like I’ve either made a horribly wrong turn, thus missing the path God had laid out for my life; or that God simply has abandoned this lost cause of an existence.
And I know, bleak thoughts for a day that is supposed to be full of celebrating.
But it’s my reality, and I just feel really phony writing a chippy-chipperton post about how joyful I am that it’s my birthday.
But you know, I did a lot of praying about that this morning. And God placed something on my heart. So I’m going to share.
While my mom and I were walking the Camino, we woke up one morning to the news of Demi Lovato’s overdose. And I want to just pause to say that she and her loved ones are in my prayers during this difficult time. Addiction is such an insipid, lurking monster, and I’m so glad that she is getting the help she needs. And her courage is truly inspiring.
But it just reminded me that I have a lot to be grateful for.
Anorexia is a very specific type of addiction. And though food is not an “illegal substance” like narcotics, or opioids, the disordered mentality behind addictive actions is very much the same.
And the news of Demi’s relapse not only shattered my heart for her, but also reminded me that recovery is a battle you can’t fall asleep on. Diligence and intentionality is needed each and every day – even in the strongest of recoveries.
But the fact is, I’m here, and I’ve overcome a lot. God has blessed my life with complete healing, and with an incredibly supportive group of family and friends.
I’m healthy. I’m alive. And I’m in a place in my life where I truly am thriving.
Maybe it doesn’t look like my fourth-grade mind had planned, but then you know – God had other plans. Plans and challenges and detours that have shaped me into the young woman I am today. And I embrace that. And am grateful for it.
I have been so blessed in my recovery. I owe absolutely everything to God’s grace, and the fact that I’ve made it another 365 is cause for praise and gratitude to the Author of Life.
Because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow. That’s something that, sadly, as we get older, becomes more and more apparent, as we become aware of the tragedies all around us, that seem to pop up with more and more frequency.
I think today I should be taking an inventory of all the things in my life I do have – that I have been blessed with, rather than negatively comparing where I am with where people on my Facebook timeline are in their lives, or with the unrealistic standard of perfection I had set for myself, even as an Old Navy Tech Vest-wearing, Gel Pen-toting, precocious ten year old.
Birthdays are a time for thanksgiving. Gratitude for life. For relationships. For health. For blessings. For lessons learned the hard way. And yes, for the patience God is fortifying in me as I await the unfolding of the rest of my story.
It will come. I know it will. I trust it will.
God is working, and as with all good things, some take longer than others. But one thing’s for sure: it will be worth the wait.
See ya tomorrow morning on the Podcast!
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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