I think sometimes we can come to question our purpose. We have seasons where we’re filled with doubt, where we’re filled with uncertainty, where we’re filled with just this unsettled spirit when it comes to what we’re doing with our life, our plan for the future, our place in this world.
And yeah, I’m speaking from personal present experience right now.
I don’t know if it’s because inflation is out of control, and it now costs $49 dollars for a pound of fish, or seeing all my friends making huge advancements in their incredible, flashy, NYC careers, but I’ve recently found myself lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling in an all out fret that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.
I met with the daughter of one of my parents’ friends for coffee the other day. She’s considering moving to NYC for a career in the arts, and she wanted to meet with me — “a seasoned New Yorker” LOL!!! — to get advice and insight into what it was like to move here for a career in the arts.
And I literally sat there and told her that if I could do it all again, I would go into marketing, and have a 9-5 job, where I got a stable pay check, I could leave work at work after 5pm, was able to go out for happy hour with friends after work, and just have a stable, predictable existence.
And as I said those things, I literally saw this girl’s hopes and dreams crash and burn right before my very eyes, so I softened it a bit, by saying that of course, NYC is the place where dreams come true…if you have a passion for it you’ll make it work…yada yada yada.
But I meant what I said.
And after some contemplation, I realized that due to a lot of factors, I had lost my way. Due to self-imposed discouragement, due to disillusionment, due to fear…my heart was off.
Because I had forgotten “My Why.”
I called my special gentleman at 1:30am last week, during one of these ceiling-staring moments, and he said to me, “Caralyn, remember your ‘why.’ Remember why you do what you do.”
And he’s exactly right.
Why do I have this blog, and share irresponsibly vulnerable things about anorexia, about faith, about recovery on the internet for anybody to read?
Because I have been on the other side, desperate to feel not so alone. Desperate for hope. Desperate for anyone who knew the hell I was going through during my anorexia.
Eating disorders are a devastating and isolating thing that rip families apart, destroy futures, crush relationships, and demolish a person’s health.
It alienates you from everyone you know, while infiltrating your mind with lies that you’re worthless and deserve to be alone.
It is a life ruiner – for she or he who goes through it, and the loved ones watching helplessly.
And the recovery process is just as isolating. Just because you “look normal” and have put the weight back on, doesn’t mean your recovery journey is finished. It, in fact, has only just begun, for now the real work begins: healing your mind.
And having walked through all seasons, sizes, and situations of recovery and come out the other side, I knew I needed to help those walking the same road, and their loved ones — who are suffering right alongside them.
There was nothing like this available for me or my family during that season of hell. Nothing. Anorexia was a hushed, hidden away disease, even though I was wearing it on my body as a walking billboard.
It was a disease of shame. I was an embarrassment. A disappointment. Or so I believed.
How I wish there had been a resource out there for me to turn to. Or my parents.
And that’s why I do what I do. That’s why I write this blog. For them. For those girls and boys struggling as I was. For the parents who are desperate for help, watching their son or daughter waste away. For the friends who suspect an eating disorder has taken hold of their friend who has now become distant and detatched.
I received several messages last week from readers, sharing how my blog has helped a loved one, or that they’ve passed it along to someone who is struggling, and even with that generous affirmation, (that is so meaningful and humbling), the doubt of insignificance still was creeping in.
It amazes me how the enemy can always find a way to feed us doubt and fear, no matter what the situation.
But I lost my way, because I had forgotten why I was doing it in the first place.
It was never for a flashy title, or a paycheck that’ll buy me an all-expenses paid trip to the Maldives. It was to be a source of hope to anyone suffering through the terrors of an eating disorder, and their loved ones enduring it.
But I think there’s something really to that. When we forget why we are doing something, we can lose our way. We can start focusing on everything else going on around us. We can start to compare what we’re doing with what someone else is doing. We can harbor feelings of inadequacy, or jealousy, or dissatisfaction. When the fact is, we need to put our blinders on to our purpose.
Remember the Why. I need to remember the deliverance that Jesus generously poured out to me, and the second chance He’s given me. One that I need to use for His purpose. To shed His light, His love, His forgiveness, mercy and grace to those who need to hear it, just like I did, and do.
So, I guess, all this to say, is that in those seasons where you find yourself staring at the ceiling at night, remember that the enemy love to accuse, and sew doubt and confusion and fear. But in those moments we need to remember our Why. And having reclaimed that purpose, to use that gusto to propel you forward, to chase after it with even greater intensity and fervor.
Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.”
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37 responses to “The Way and The Why”
I like your post thank you so much
“I’m laying out my winter clothes, wishing I was home, I’m going home, where the New York City winters aren’t bleeding me . . .
In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade, and he carries the reminder of every glove that laid him out or cut him till he cried out in his anger and his shame ‘I am leaving, I am leaving,’
but the fighter still remains.”
Simon & Garfunkel
We are cyclical beings and from a trough, you will ascend into a crest. Remembering those whys are just the buoy we all need sometimes. Ps. Is there a way to set your blog to where it shows a like button on the email?
Thank you for sharing this vulnerable post. Much appreciated. I ended up switching degrees and switched to health care as a result of feeling this way.
Remember, your past does not define you. Anorexia does not define you nor does your choice to persue the arts. We are always changing as human beings. Personally, I think that you are very successful at what you do. It sounds like you gave her good, honest advice. The arts is not an easy career choice, but nothing fulfilling in life is ever easy.
Such a good reminder! I’ve had several conversations this week with people regarding the same subject matter. Remembering your “why” is critical. And what you focus on determines your direction, Philippians 4:8. Stay focussed. Press on!
Your special man is very wise. Hang on to him 🙂
I think what you’ve done, even the questioning of yourself, is healthy. We all need to check ourselves now and then and ask God, “Am I doing OK? Is this where you want me?” Great to have the support of special people, but ultimately God gives us the answer we need, even if it isn’t what we might expect. He’s a loving God, after all, so whatever He needs from us will turn out good! Hugs and love from tornado-weary Mayfield, KY. — Mike
We have a story to tell. Jesus gave us a miracle and we must share it. I love hearing yours. $49 a pound. It must be goldfish. I live in a Gulf Coast fishing village, and I stopped buying fresh caught at our local market when it hit $25 a pound. Fish shipped from Indonesia is cheaper…but I don’t trust the source. Keep on telling the story
Caralyn. Please say a prayer for Jeffrey King. He’s in the ICU of a Memphis hospital with pneumonia. I texted him when he stopped posting and his wife answered me back. As you know, Jeff is one of your biggest fans. Me too!☺️
I will also pray for Jeff (and his family)!
Oh my gosh David, thank you SO much for letting me know! I have been concerned, after not seeing his posts, and not hearing back from an email I sent to check in! Oh my gosh, praying so hard!!! thank you!! Hugs and love xox
It can seem as though we are lost, and in reality God is preparing us for where we were always meant to be. I learned not to fear the detours in life, but to trust that what I didn’t know, God knew fully. It worked well for me, and I pray that you will, too. One thing I know is that a lot of people trust you and believe in you. You must join in and believe in yourself as well. Hang in there.
I have never been anorexic, but I sympathize wholeheartedly with you, and applaud your willingness to share with such vulnerability. I read your blog because it is brave, courageous, insightful and uplifting regardless of the topic. Clearly, you are doing what you love, and that, in and of itself, is worth a whole lot more than a flashy NYC career. I see your work as a ministry, and your why as answering a call from deep within to be of service to others. Don’t lose sight of the beautiful soul that you are, and keep your light shining for those who need to see it.
Beautiful post Carolyn. Remember the why, it’s the best question of all.
This is you. It feels as though you were on a journey of some kind. And here you are with your affectionate heart, very real, moving writing. I am so proud of you. Love you as always, my beautiful friend. Hugs! XO😃❤
Just so true…
Ecclesiates.9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” This is not an inferior profession in life. No matter what you do in life, do it excellently. Nothing sells like excellence.
I love those wise words “Remember the Why”. Definitely a word in season. Blessings x
Hi I love reading your blog even though I have never had anorexia. But my blog this week was on release to the calling. I think God is trying to get our attention. Bless you heaps
Beautiful post that I needed to read today. 🙂 Thank you for always writing from your heart. I don’t always comment, but do always read. I have been feeling…”unsettled” as of late and this is definitely a push I needed in the right direction. God Bless!
Great post! You hit on something very common to us all. Most people are not where they originally thought they would be, so we question where we are and how we got here. As a kid, we wanted the career of people on TV (Dr. lawyer, cop, firefighter, actor…). In school and maybe college, we pick something to do, not really sure if it’s our passion or just what we were good at. We get into careers and sometimes hate it, seeing what it’s like from the other side. Sometimes God/life takes us off our track to do something else (lemons and lemonade stands) and we take on things we never thought we would. There is no magic sorting hat that tells us exactly where to go and what to do. Part of trusting God is that no matter what we have found to do, or where we are, He is with us, and we can act righteously no matter where we find ourselves. Sure, we can work to change our circumstances, but we should always stop and ask the “why” you are talking about. Hopefully our “why” is something motivating and not held captive to it. But know that should your “why” change, God will be there too. May our main purpose in all things be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. God Bless!
Good morning, Caralyn. Thanks for your heart-felt post. I always enjoy checking on, even when I don’t comment. I think what you’re feeling is perfectly natural and something we all feel from time to time. Maybe a little time off, skiing in the beauty of nature, will help. You’ve been given a second chance, not everyone gets a second chance, so God obviously has plans for you here on earth. Listen for His directions. Xo Hugs to all!
Thought you were in Utah. Well, I guess the angels can keep track of you and know where to deliver my prayers for you and Steven. 😉
When experiencing doubts and questioning my faith (yes, even at 70, after all these years, the enemy still accuses), I always come back to the Cross:
If Jesus was crucified (and He WAS), if He arose from the dead (and He DID!), if He ascended to Father’s right hand to await the fulfillment of the ages (and He DOES), then that makes everything else make sense. It is that simple understanding that He interrupted the time/space of our existence to show us The God Who Is. History is HIS-Story and an thorough investigation of the historicity of Jesus death and resurrection puts everything into place. Continue to walk in faith, not by sight, for a little longer. Soon we WILL see Him. ❤️&🙏, c.a.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” (C.S.Lewis)
There is no shame in struggling; it’s the human condition. But, ultimately, everything is in God’s hands, and we can trust his overwhelming love for each one of us. Jesus is always with us. Even when we can’t see him, or hear his voice, he’s there. He speaks, he saves, he loves.
Such good reminder, I really needed to hear this! I have a dog now so thats exciting. But my eating disorder is getting really bad and no one is noticing, but im too scared to get help. I in therapy for another mental health diagnosis but not for my eating disorder, it also has turned in to a bit of bulimia without the bingeing.
I think you are spot on, Caralyn. It’s always important to remember our why. Otherwise, we risk mission drift and wake up wondering how we got so off track. Great post! 👍🏻
Thanks for reminding me about this: “Remember why you do what you do.”
So easy to lose sight of in these stressful, trying times.
I think that when you do things day in and day out; giving it your best, you loose the sense of purpose or the sight of the goal..
This reminds me of a story.. A missionary used to live up in the mountains and just outside his home, there was a round bolder. One day, while in his meditation, God gave him some instructions.. God told him to go push the bolder. Being obedient, the man didn’t question God, he went out early morning the next day to push the bolder. However no matter how much he tried, he couldn’t do it. It just wouldn’t move. But he persisted… spent the entire day. The bolder didn’t move an inch. Tired he went to bed and tried the next day and the next day after that.. He then got on his knees and asked God, the bolder is not moving.. God said to continue to push the bolder and so he obeyed. He thought maybe he should gets help from the village, but God told him.. no.. only he should do it. He asked God about using tools or machinery.. God said No.. Then he asked God, where should the bolder be moved to.. there was no reply.
Anyways, he still continued day after day, till about a couple of months later, the bolder moved.. It moved an inch forward and then rolled back to where it stood initially. He tried again and again, but that is all that he was able to do with the huge stone.. just push it a couple of inches and unable to stop it rolling back.. Then came the ridicule and mocking of other villagers telling him that this was just a waste of time.
He persisted, until one day, he just broke.. During his morning meditation, he told God.. “God I give up.. It is impossible. I am not able to move the stone like you want me to.. Also people are mocking me and your name is going in vain. I cannot do it anymore.”
God’s reply, “If I wanted to move the stone, I would have done it myself. The objective was not to move the stone.”
The missionary, “Then why did you want me to push it?”
God’s reply, “The task was not for my benefit. It was for you. Go look at yourself in the mirror. You used to be so skinny and unhealthy looking.. Now you look fit and well. This was a way for you to get some exercise and build your body.”
Sometimes, like the stone, you can look at your life and not see the progress. However that does not mean that there isn’t progress. It all depends on one thing.. “why”.
Sometimes you just need to stop, pause for a minute, look at it from a different angle and through the eyes of God in order to see the bigger picture.
Have a good day Caralyn..
Oh dear Caralyn, we all have those moments! You said it well when you wrote, “It amazes me how the enemy can always find a way to feed us doubt and fear, no matter what the situation.” But, we are not chained to the enemy’s table, than God! And we are not wired to let the enemy “open mouth, insert spoon.” We are wired to live at the Lord’s Table. There we find the forgiveness, the love and the Why! God bless you. You touch lives here. You matter. Never doubt that!!
Its so easy to compare ourselves to others and thnk there lives are better. Im sure all your friends with their incredible, flashy, NYC careers arent happy either.
What is happiness? Is it money? No. Is it having a 9-5 and getting drunk at the weekend? No. Happiness can only be found by doing what you love to do, and that usually means helping other people in some way.
Dont use wordpress as often as I used to but when ever I log in I look for your latest post. 🙂
Caralyn, this is very encouraging. I am reminded to remember my Why. Remembering It again is always refreshing and empowering. Thanks for sharing this 🙂
Thank you so much Zao – you’re so right – it empowers us!! Hugs and love xox
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thank you for the link up! Hugs and love xox
All things – all people – change and evolve, so that the world we see this year is not the world of ten, or even five years ago. Coming out of COVID is like an emergence from a chrysalis; it’s made of a short step a great transformation, and we must constantly look at what we do to adjust to that; to get our message out there. Yes, we need the ‘why’, but we need to evolve all the time to keep faith with our purpose.
Great article. My husband had to remind me of my “why” as to I stood for my faith last August. It was really hard to stand up to my grandpa. Sadly, he doesn’t know Jesus. I pray for him daily.
thank you friend. wow, you’re really on a reading roll! thank you for taking the time to read. And gosh, I will join you in prayer for your grandpa. 🙂 There is power in prayer, and it sounds like he’s really lucky to have you as his granddaughter. Hugs and love xox