Hey friends. So I originally wrote this post as an end-of-term paper for my Bible class. I changed some of it to make it fit more as a blog post, but I wanted to share it with y’all! Excuse the parts that talk specifically about my Bible class… I deleted most of those parts, but I had to leave some in order for it to make sense. Anyways, Jesus is so crazy cool. I can’t believe that my first semester of college is over, but I have learned so so much. I’m so excited to see what else Jesus has in store for me here!
When I came to Lipscomb, I already had a solid foundation of my Christian faith and who Jesus was in my life. I grew up in the church, went to Christian school since I was six-years-old, and actively pursued a relationship with God through reading the Word and continually being in communion with him. Having a Bible class was nothing new to me—I have grown up with daily Bible classes since I started kindergarten. I had always known who Jesus was, but it was not until the summer before my junior year of high school that I really, truly met him. He collided with my life every so gently, yet so crazily while I was at a youth conference, and since that week my life has never been the same.
Five weeks before I moved into my dorm here at Lipscomb University, I was discharged from an eating disorder treatment center after a two-month long stay. To say that coming to college was a whirlwind for me would be an understatement. My entire life flipped when I entered treatment, and then it flipped again when I discharged back to my outpatient team at home. I learned a lot about Jesus throughout the entire process, but I still felt shame about my eating disorder. Jesus had changed my life so drastically just two years prior—why was I struggling with this? Did I not have enough faith? I thought my eating disorder was a messy part of my life that I needed to hide from the world. I was the good Christian girl. I was a leader in my youth group. Could I really admit to the world that I was human? That I was imperfect? That my beautiful story of redemption was marred by the stains of my eating disorder?
The first day of my Bible class my teacher told us, “[God] is really good at breaking out of boxes.” I wrote the quote down because I liked it, but I forgot it only moments later. I liked the idea of God being able to break down any barriers I put around him, but I honestly did not realize the constraints I had him in. I was telling him that there was no more redemption to be done in my life. I thought I had peaked. I thought the shame of my eating disorder was just something that was apart of my life. Yet little did I know that I was building boxes around God, and that soon He would be completely shattering them.
In my Bible class we discussed the Sermon on the Mount. It has always been one of my favorite passages in the Gospels, but it never truly occurred to me that in his teaching, Jesus was trying to show his followers the difference between a good person and a Kingdom person, which I think can be further narrowed down to a good Christ follower and a Kingdom warrior. I think for a while I had gotten caught up in being a good Christ follower. Nothing I was doing was superficial. My relationship with Jesus was real and strong. I was raw and authentic with him. He held my heart in his nail-scarred hands. Yet even though I was worshipping him and running after his desires, I was still focused on me. I was focused on my mess. On my hurt. I was worried about how I looked to the Christian community. Was I a fake? Did I need to prove to them that I was devoted? Did my eating disorder make my faith invalid because I could not just “pray” my disorder away?
I was completely forgetting the Kingdom part of Christianity. Sure, I was serving others, but was I serving them with my story? Volunteering at a food pantry and putting together service projects for my youth group was awesome, but that was not all Christ was calling me to do. The very Kingdom act that I was created for was to lay down myself and my shame and share my story.
I was scared. I was supposed to accept my story and acknowledge it in front of the world? My eating disorder equaled shame for me. Jesus had saved me from so much when I was seventeen, and yet I still had to enter treatment for an eating disorder less than two years later. I knew the Christian world would think differently of me after that. Yet little did I know, I was not the only broken Christian. I was nowhere close to being the odd one out in a sea of perfect people. In reality, I fit right in. There is not a single perfect person in the Kingdom besides Jesus. We are all his servants—broken, yet beautiful. Shattered, yet made whole. Cracked, but made for a purpose.
In class we learned that we become what we already are, meaning that our identity comes first, and then we move to fulfill that identity. I fully believe this to be true. As the salt and light of the world, we are different than everything around us, but we must be embedded into the world to have an effect. From the beginning Christ has called me to be a storyteller. When he created me, he knew that my Kingdom mission would be to proclaim my story to the world. My mission is not to just tell the story of where I have been, but tell the story of how Jesus has rescued me from my darkness, picked me up from the dirt, and redeemed my life song. Telling my story is for his glory only. I am simply a vessel being used to further the Kingdom.
It is still crazy to me that my Kingdom work is to simply share how Jesus has worked in my life. I have always thought of Kingdom work as moving to Africa as a lifelong missionary or starting a non-profit organization. I did not realize that my Kingdom work, my purpose, could be to advocate for eating disorder awareness and let others know that they are not alone in the fight. My words of hope to the broken world around me can advance the Kingdom? It is absolutely mind-blowing, but that is just who Jesus is. He works in us and uses our seemingly ordinary lives to do something extraordinary.
I have begun to fully lean into this vulnerable life that Christ is calling me to. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely. My shame is gone. I now know that my eating disorder was a work of Satan, but that it is still redeemable by Jesus. I am open with my recovery story. I want to tell anyone who will listen the story of who my Jesus is and what he has done in my life. I no longer struggle in secret. I do not put on a perfect mask. I am fully broken, yet fully whole in front of the entire world. I am admitting to the Church that I am broken, but that that is okay. God has taken ahold of this brokenness and is using completely for his glory.
No part of this story is mine. It is all Christ’s. I am simply stepping into the identity that God created for me: a girl with a sensitive and broken, yet brave and hopeful heart. I am dropping the good Christian girl act and fully embracing who I am as a Kingdom person. My Kingdom mission is different than I ever thought that it would be, but I am chasing after it with full abandon because I know that it is what Jesus has called me to.