Opening Up Your Heart, Being Authentic

Can I just say God is so good? Tonight I had such a break through moment. One of those where their isn’t a doubt in my mind that God loves me and only wants the best for me. Here is my feeble attempt to be honest and vulnerable and open my heart to you.

Let me start by saying, being honest is scary, but so is living a life that is sheltered and hidden. I now from experience, it seems easier to fight off demons alone while smiling and putting on a mask in front of others. Eventually though, that mask has to come down and tonight, for me that is exactly what happened.

Where to start? Well, I might as well just jump into the very root of the issue: an eating disorder and body image/self esteem issues. Something I know a lot of people struggle with. Even writing that down is in a sense painful. Perhaps because for so long I have denied it, or because only those closest to me are aware of its power and control over my life. Perhaps its because writing it down is a reminder of the pain, hurt and confusion it has tormented me with for so many years. Let me backtrack a little bit.

From about the age of 13, when I stopped growing, I have struggled immensely with my body image and an eating disorder. I have chosen to let food consume me, and it has become an idol in my life. Even when this addiction led me to gain weight and come close to the point of having diabetes. I still refused to let go of control.

Even after giving my life to Christ and surrendering so many areas of my life, I have refused to let go of this one area. I mean I am sure there are other areas God is going to deal with, but let’s start with baby steps. As I held on tighter, its poison was slowly killing me, suffocating me and I could see no way out. I would do well for a little while, but then would find myself right back in the trap of running to food for comfort, and being ashamed while my guilt tormented me. I felt like, every day I was drowning in a sea of regret, being pulled deeper and deeper by the enemies lies. His lies always made life about me, until I was consumed with self-pity. As a result life started becoming less focused on the one who died for me and instead my thoughts and life choices were all about me. The enemy would fill my head with lies, and I chose to listen to them.

You aren’t good enough.

It isn’t fair, and you don’t deserve to not be able to eat what everybody else does.

You might as well give up now.

If God truly cared, He would change the circumstances.

I would wake up in the morning, and already feel defeated, I didn’t believe I could change and the enemy’s lies became my identity. Instead of getting to the root of the issue and trying to find healing, I ran away from it. I was so terrified of facing the heart of the issue, admitting to myself that I wasn’t strong enough to beat the addiction and couldn’t come to tell my family and friends that I struggled so much with it because I thought surely they wouldn’t understand and would think me silly for letting food become such an idol.

Yet here I am, sharing with all of you guys. That alone is a testimony to the greatness of Jesus.

Believe me, it is terrifying and intimidating, but God told me tonight that I needed to share it because I am not alone and somebody out there needs to hear my story and the power of His love and grace. So if that’s you, I simply want to let you know that Jesus will be victorious and His love for you is so great that nothing will stop Him from winning your whole heart.

Its hard to put into words exactly what happened tonight, but here is me letting God pick up the pen and paper and speak through me and hopefully it encourages you as well as challenges you, all the while reminding you of how passionately Jesus pursues us. You can try and run away, just like Hoseas wife did, but in the end Jesus will never stop pursuing you and will faithfully take you back. I have been there, and I know it will happen again and again. I am human, I make mistakes and I am so stubborn. That though, magnifies Gods beauty and love, because despite me running away and pushing Him away, He never loves me any less.

As much as I detest running, I grab my shoes and tie them. It is perfect weather for a run, and I need to clear my head. Working six days in a row, and not having much “me” time has definitely gotten to me. I could certainly use a few hours at a coffee shop to journal and be quiet. Even though I love people, and thrive off of being around them, every now and then I have to have some alone time, time to process everything and time to of course, bring my thoughts to life by journaling and maybe blogging. Little do I know though, it is gonna be a run that I wont forget for a long time to come.

I stop to catch my breath, sprints always remind me that I am not in good shape, and that I need to get out and exercise more often. I crouch down for a minute, to let my heart rate come down a little. That’s when I hear God so clearly speak to me. It is so real and personal, and catches me off guard,“ are you choosing me?”

I look up at the sky, my heart is beating faster not from running this time, no because God is telling me something and speaking so clearly to me that there is no ignoring it and I can’t run from Him. I let the rain hit me and simply listen, because I know without a doubt God has something important to say to me.

“Are you choosing me?”

That simple question shatters my composure and brings me to such a place of brokenness and humility. My heart is slowly beginning to break, because I know the answer to that question, and it is most definitely not yes.

“Are you choosing me only when it’s convenient? Only when you want to? Are you choosing me after you choose to sin and are plagued with guilt? Are you choosing me only when you can see me come through and when it is easy for you to believe in me? Are you choosing to run to me, or your food addiction? Are you choosing me, or the lies Satan is putting in your head? Are you truly choosing me over anything else?”

Each question Jesus is asking me almost brings me physical pain because I know haven’t been choosing Jesus. No, in all my stubbornness I have chosen my food addiction, to believe the enemies lies. I have chosen to run away from my beloved savior, instead of to Him. At this point, it’s raining even harder, which is good because my tears are probably less noticeable to all the people walking or driving by. The next thing God whispers though is what truly breaks me down, humbling me and convicting me to the very core.

“ I still choose you, and I always will. I choose you even when you run away. I choose you even when you choose your addictions over me. I choose you even when you hide and barricade yourself from me. I choose you every single day, every hour and this will never change. I will always choose you. I am wild about you when you sin and when you don’t. I am wild about your past, and your future. Even when you run away, I am still crazy about you. ”

I lift my hands in surrender, I am done fighting. And as I speak these words, Jesus I choose you, it is as if a burden is lifted and freedom has found its home in my heart. I smile up at God, spinning in circles, overwhelmed by his love for me. The rain-washes over me, Jesus I choose you.

The rest of my run I can’t stop smiling, and I want to jump for joy. That is when God tells me, you need to share your story. I want to laugh at God, because sharing my story and being open is the last thing I want to do. Yet he so sweetly whispers to me these words, ” I want you to be vulnerable and honest. I want you to be authentic, opening up to people.  Trust me, it will be worth it, and you can do it through my strength. Don’t be afraid to be seen, remember dear one, you are my beloved rose.”

So here I am, and here is a tiny piece of my heart and the way God has intervened in my life. I know from here it is still going to be a struggle and I am sure at times I will run away, back to the very things that tried to rule my life and control my emotions. Yet, God has broken through and He is victorious over my addiction. I am once again brought to my knees in awe of Jesus. The only way I can react is to lift my arms up and fully surrendered this addiction and struggle to Him. Knowing He will replace it with something so much better.

So today, wherever you are at in life, I have a simple question for you, are you choosing Jesus? And if the answer is no, what is hindering you? Because dear friends, all Jesus wants is simply your heart. He wants all of you, and He is never going to stop pursuing you.

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