A little humility is good for people every now and then.
And by “people,” I am absolutely referring to myself. More often than not, I have to remind myself that.
I don’t know about you, but in today’s self-focused, self-empowering, self expressive, “selfie” way-of-life, humility is a virtue that is increasingly hard to find. It’s a sad reality, really. And I am certainly included in this travesty.
I was chatting with a friend over the weekend, and I just nonchalantly mentioned an exercise I had to do as part of my recovery from anorexia, and it absolutely shocked her. She was so taken aback with this “step” in the recovery process.
This “step” being: making amends with people I had wronged during my eating disorder.
While I was at inpatient, part of my healing and starting new, was that I had to write letters to every single person in my life that I had wronged during those two years I was actively participating in my anorexia.
Every. Single. Person. From my family members, to my friends, to my teachers, mentors, drama directors, doctors, church community. Every. Single. Person. A handwritten letter, admitting that I had been lying to them, deceiving them, and manipulating their love and care for me, and asking for forgiveness.
It was the most humbling thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life.
But after reflecting on my conversation with my friend, and seeing her shock at having to send such revealing and intimate letters, I realized just how radical and rare that exercise actually was.
Writing letters to every person in my life, admitting the deepest sin and brokenness in my life, and how they were implemented in it?! — I had to sit down, and just kind of chuckle to myself at how bold that actually was. Like, wow.
To be honest, I have a huge mental block on much of those three months I was at inpatient treatment. Seeing all the emaciated women with feeding tubes coming out of their noses; hearing personal accounts of abuse, rape, and sexual assault during group therapy sessions; witnessing women go through drug detox and having to be handcuffed to their hospital bed — it is a season of my life that I have mentally tucked away in a box, and stored in a locked area of my mind, respected but put to rest.
But every so often, I’m reminded of something that unlocks those memories, and that conversation yesterday was one of them. And all of a sudden, I was taken back to those hours, and hours I spent on my inpatient bed, pouring out my soul in these hand written letters to every person in my life at that time.
It took close to three weeks. Three weeks.
I sat with those letters, addressed and stamped in the envelopes, terrified to send them out, knowing that in doing so, I would be showing my most vulnerable, disgraceful self. Showing my biggest flaw. Putting those letters in the mailbox was equally the most humbling, and yet, simultaneously freeing action I’ve ever taken.
But in doing so, it was like I was finally free. The secret was out. The shame was no longer hidden. No longer in darkness. And I took the first step in making amends with the people I had hurt in my eating disorder.
James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
Looking back, I am so grateful that such a powerful task was assigned to me by my therapist. Believe me, I was not in a place to come up with that on my own accord. But rather, my salt of the earth therapist — who was also a Christian — urged me to make things right with the people I cared most about.
And that’s the thing: the people you care about matter. If recovery, if quarantine, has taught me anything, it is how grateful I am for the meaningful relationships in my life.
And it is so important to honor those relationships with respect, honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness. And admitting wrongs and making amends when we fall short and hurt those people in ways big or small, no matter how humbling that may be.
Writing those letters – it was another step in breaking the pride I was enslaved to in my anorexia. It was honoring those in my life by being brutally — self-incriminatingly — honest, and asking for forgiveness.
And the response to those letters? Every single person received it so graciously, and offered their wholehearted forgiveness, and overwhelming support in my recovery efforts, from a disease they so clearly saw overtaking my mind, body and spirit — even when I couldn’t.
What a beautiful gift that was, to receive their forgiveness. It is something I am grateful for today and every day.
I don’t know why this was put on my heart to write about today. Perhaps, in this season of Covid, we’re being blessed with an opportunity to reflect on any amends we need to make. Or, conversely, grant forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
Because if one thing has been made crystal clear, it is that life is way too short, and tremendously precious to spend another minute in a state of turmoil in relationships.
There is beauty in humility. Need proof? Just look at the cross.
“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 huge shoutout to Reason Nutrition Beverage! Their all-natural, high calorie drink is not only delicious, but it has no “garbage” in it! Utilizing the wholesome goodness of coconut oil, it’s a phenomenal option for those needing to gain weight in recovery, or for those simply looking to supplement their diet with convenient and fast nutrition. Check them out!
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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