I’ll tell you what, there is nothing more equally terrifying, freeing, and beautiful than vulnerability.
I had a really special moment with my friends when we were out in Lake Tahoe the other weekend.
As you may know, my three best girlfriends and I spent a few days in North Lake Tahoe (Truckee), and while we were there, the Caldor Fire was ravaging South Lake Tahoe. And though we weren’t in direct danger, the air quality where we were was dangerously poor: around 208!
So as a result, all our activities were cancelled, we couldn’t open the windows to the cabin, and we only went outside for about 15 minutes a day, in KN95 masks.
So in addition to puzzles, cooking and drinking wine, the best part of the weekend were the heart-to-heart conversations we had.
One afternoon, we made a big pitcher of SCD-friendly frozen watermelon margaritas, and I proceeded to talk about my past. Not just the big picture overview, but the nitty-gritty, in-the-mud, ugly truth of anorexia with my comrades.
These gals have been my friends since birth, and walked through it with me. But even living it with me, they had no idea of the details – we’re talking the intimate details.
I shared the most shameful things: the lying and deception — how I would throw away my weight gaining drinks at the park on the way to school, how I grossly made my ulcerative colitis the scapegoat for the weight loss and played on my parents’ care and concern. I shared the ugly details of my intervention and how my mom saw through my lies and knew from the jump it was an eating disorder, and got me on the waiting list for inpatient. How my high school principal was “in on the intervention,” and my mother asked her to say I was a liability coming to the school campus anymore. I shared moments at inpatient that I had blocked from my mind – like how the nurses had to take all the mirrors out of our makeup compacts because they could be used as instruments for self harm.
It was like I had unlocked a part of my brain that I hadn’t accessed in years. Y e a r s.
And they were the ones driving the conversation. It wasn’t like I was just spewing all this uncomfortable information to a captive audience that was thinking “Please for the love, stop talking!”
No – it was this cathartic moment, shared between lifelong friends, who had walked through this terrible season with me, and finally getting “let in” to the “real real.”
And in turn, they were able to open up about their experience, watching their friend go through such a publicly visible eating disorder, and how it impacted them.
It was just this beautiful, healing and bonding moment. There were tears, there were a few laughs. But it was mainly just listening – hearing – sharing – healing.
And in that moment, I just felt so incredibly loved. Whole. Seen. I felt the most at peace and full of gratitude ever.
And truthfully, it wasn’t even scary sharing it, because I was in such a safe space with girls who love me, and who I love in return. Sisters.
And afterwards, after teary hugs and silence, they all proceeded to share secret parts of their hearts that they had kept inside too. Vulnerability begets vulnerability.
But I share this tonight, because the more and more I share my past, and open up about the part of my life that I had always believed made me broken, made me unworthy of love, made me a burden and liability as a friend or partner – it turns out, that in fact, just the opposite. Sharing those wounds just affirms the life-giving love and forgiveness I’ve received by the Father, and affirms that I am loved, and strengthens the bond between us.
It is a really powerful — and yet terrifying thing.
Because, I’m going to be really honest: I like to appear to have my life together. I have for so long toiled and strived to keep hidden the ugliness that I felt was a unforgivable blemish. I never wanted to admit that “failure” in my eyes — and to be honest, that’s pride, rearing its ugly head, and preventing me from continuing my healing journey, and keeping me stuck with a foothold for Satan, to be honest.
But the truth is, I am not my past. Nor are you. Nor is our worth or value defined by anything we’ve done — either good or bad. We have clean slates in Jesus. And frankly, holding onto the belief that I am devalued or disqualified because of something I’ve done, is personally discrediting Jesus’ gift of forgiveness, justification and salvation on the Cross.
It is saying, “My sin is too big for Jesus.”
Which, is a lie whispered from the mouth of the enemy if I’ve ever heard one.
So – I’m rambling now. But, I just want to say: thank you to my incredible friends for loving me as I am: warts and all. And just proclaim God’s mercy and unimaginable love, for freeing me from all the shame and darkness of my past.
That little cathartic release allowed me to remember all that He has rescued me from, and now I can put it back to rest in its rightful place: back to an unthought-of place in my mind, where I no longer dwell on it, or let it bring me down.
We are never too broken for Jesus.
Happy Labor Day, and I’ll see you on Wednesday!
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“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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