I learned something big this last week. Something that, well…has led me to feel a little reckless. A little wild. A little uninhibited.
It’s put a fearless twinkle in my eye, that, I’ve gotta be honest: I’m not mad at.
I’m not sure what exactly was in the water this week in NYC — probably a lot of things that I would rather not know — but twice in the last three days, I have shared my story openly with people.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m revisiting my speech, as I’m working on the talk I’m giving in Pennsylvania at a conference in March. Maybe I was inspired by the Taylor Swift documentary. Or maybe I’m just flat out accepting myself, but two different times, when someone asked about my blog – I told them the whole truth: that it is about overcoming anorexia, and the role my faith has played in my recovery.
And here’s what I’ve learned — people appreciate vulnerability.
I don’t need to tell you how surface level the world is. How everyone exists publicly in this facade-projected existence, presenting a “reality” that everything is perfect – Everything is fine – Everything is flawless.
No one shares the real. The raw. The messy and blemished reality below that curated surface.
And when you do share that unfiltered realness with people — they take note.
To my surprise, when I shared my past with these two people, I was not met with judgement, nor was I scoffed at in disapproval at my ugly history.
But rather, just the opposite: they were a) not only validated that I chose to share my heart with them, but b) moved by my story.
I think so often, we can become so close to our story — so entrenched in it — that we miss the forest for the trees.
For me, when I share about the anorexia in my past, all I think about is how messed up I was. How destructive, manipulative, and horrible a person I was. I view my past through a lens of shame.
But that’s on me.
When others hear my story, they are listening from an entirely different place.
I was reminded of this when I was talking to my parents this weekend.
I was telling them how I shared my history with these people, and how I was having second thoughts about being so open. I think at one point I even said, “They’re never going to want to associate with this basket case ever again.”
And my dad simply said, “It is your past and you have overcome it. It speaks to your strength.”
Every single one of us has a story. And I think we can let our own mental filters color how we see it — through shame, through hurt, through disappointment or guilt or anger or betrayal — you name it.
Our judgment of our own history can be skewed by unresolved emotion, which can prevent us from sharing it.
And we never know the positive impact that sharing it can have to those who hear it.
Sitting here in the aftermath, several days after sharing with those people – I feel empowered. I want to do it again.
It’s almost like an adrenaline rush.
It’s funny how God works and is always affirming us, isn’t it?
What we’ve been through -what we’ve overcome, the lessons we’ve learned and the strength we’ve gained along the way – it matters.
This world doesn’t need anymore “I’m fine,” here’s-my-Pinterest-worthy-life baloney. It needs authenticity. It needs honesty.
There is a scarcity of vulnerability. What a powerful thing to share the “weakest” parts of you.
Because at the end of the day, those “weak spots” are actually where God’s strength shines brightest. Because He is glorified through our redemption and deliverance. His mercy and His power are exhibited through our journeys.
What an honor it is to be able to share that with another person.
That is evangelization at its most fundamental.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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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