This little book.
I’m writing a book.
… which probably sounds way cooler than it is.
I’m not trying to climb any best-sellers lists, and – realistically – the finished product will likely never be formally published. In fact, publication is not at all my goal.
Of goals I have two:
This “book” (I’d prefer to call it a ‘thesis’ or a ‘story’) is about me. I know that sounds vain, but I don’t mean for it to be. What I do mean for it to be is an honest account of my nearly decade long struggle with an eating disorder, all the lies and fears that birthed it, and the inscrutable Mercy of the Living God who saved me from myself. He is the One who has compelled me to write it all down; and because I feel the breath of His Passion as I write, I want to obey Him by putting my fingers to the keys and typing – as honestly as I can – the narrative of His redemption in my life.
And tonight I have a feeling that I need to share an excerpt. Here. On my blog.
I didn’t think I would do this. I envisioned writing this book and keeping it very much to myself throughout the process; but I have the sense that someone reading this post – perhaps you – will find in these few paragraphs a renewed depth of trust in God, a rekindled certainty that in every hour and in every way He is Good to His children.
I do hope that person is you.
Here it is, friend, an excerpt from my little-writing-project-book-thing:
(This excerpt is written about my life when I was 15 years old – two years into both my eating disorder and high school.)
I wrote in my journal often that year. I wrote out detailed descriptions of my daily exercise regimen. I wrote lists of “acceptable” foods which I was “allowed” to eat. But mostly I wrote to God. I told him often that I knew there was something I was keeping back from Him. Something I was keeping in shadow, something I was clinging to and wouldn’t dare let go of. And all the while – in the deepest deeps within me – I knew that He would ultimately require it of me. He would take from me that thing I was gripping with white knuckles. The shouting majority of me did not want to see that day come, but the whispering sliver of me – the part that was both willing and courageous – insisted that it would be my great deliverance. I mistakenly thought at the time that the “thing” I was holding onto – the thing God was wanting to take from me – was the entirety of my dreams for significance and attention. Filtered down farther, I came to feel on some level that God was primarily wanting to “humble me” by making me lose control of my weight, stop exercising so much, and give up on being different or extraordinary.
I wrestled painfully in my heart with this conclusion. I knew that He would at some point have His way, and that I could not ultimately have mine. But, oh how I wanted it. I was so enormously thirsty for the satisfaction of that gaping need within me – that empty cavern of worth and value and specialness – that I kept plowing along my own path, all the while quite aware that it wasn’t His path, and all the while trying unsuccessfully to forget that fact by plunging into the minutia of my self-made world. What I see now – after years and pain and liberation and unveiling – is that the “thing” I was clinging to and the thing which God wanted to take from me was not all my thirsty desires for worth and significance and value. It was always and only my fear.
There in the heart of my high school years I was confined in a cage of fear. I was ruled by it, compelled by it, chased by it, and coerced by it. Fear was the pair of glasses through which I viewed the world and my own place in it. I was so much like a naked man and woman in a garden long ago who doubted the goodness of their loving Father, supposing that He was withholding the best from them and intending to barricade them from having it. In their fear and pride, they seized their own destinies, and in so doing found a darkness and a torn reality that shredded the paradise of their existence. They became afraid. They hid. They took matters into their own hands. And at fifteen years old, I was reliving the very same plot. I too had experienced the joy of His nearness and expansive hope in my childhood – just as they had in the youth of their days – and I too had traded in that simple trust and outward gaze for the tendrils of fear and its resultant self-absorbed ambitions. Just as they did, I hid from Him, the One who wooed me at the horizon, and I determined that I had to do it all on my own.
My fear told me to resist His plans and interventions in my life – fear told me to avoid a complete surrender to Him because He might just take from me the things I thought I needed most. But it was a ruse and a deception – just like that first deception in Eden. In reality, He came to me not like a cosmic police officer stripping me of my license and issuing me a ticket in an effort to slap me into humility; but rather as a love-sick Father sprinting down the road after me, calling my name, scanning left and right, searching tirelessly to find me in the pit I’d wandered into, all so that He could speak tenderly to me and wipe away the memory of my fears with the river of His love. He only ever wanted to remove my fear and replace it with a Love made perfect; but I wrestled and cried and squirmed under the deception that He was intending to “teach me a lesson” by taking from me the things I wanted most dearly.
I thought I was nursing and cradling and protecting all of my dearest hopes. But I was actually nursing and cradling the poison of fear, unwilling to let it go because I couldn’t yet fathom what might replace it. Here, perhaps, the battle within me raged most evidently: I wanted so desperately to be vulnerable before the Love of God, but I was so very afraid of letting Him love me because of what it might mean, how it might change everything, how it might make me lose control. What I didn’t yet understand is that “losing control” would, in fact, become the most beautiful and delightful liberation of my lifetime.
Dear reader, He comes like a warrior in full strength not to “discipline us into our proper place” nor to punish us in a “Fatherly” way for our shortcomings. No. He comes blazing with furious love, arms outstretched, eyes locked on ours, aching to unleash His torrent of fear-dispelling tenderness over top of us.
That is our God. And that is why I shared from my little book.
Courageous friend, will you believe Him?
May He ever draw you further up and further in.