I have been in an extremely low place these past few months. This low place has been dark, lonely and miserable. I have fallen into old habits such as my relationship with food. I have isolated myself from my family and friends. I have put my relationship with God on the back burner. Overall, I have been waking up every morning already frowning and feeling hopeless and miserable. It has been hard. Brutal is actually a better way to describe it.
Reaching out and asking for help has never come easy for me. After a few binge relapses, I turned to my Addictions professors for a reference to a counselor that specializes in eating disorders. I reached out to her and was put on the waiting list. My mindset then shifted to think that I was going to be unhappy until I could get an appointment with her. Realistically, it would take months before I got in but I continued to walk around with a dark cloud above my head.
This sadness hurt me. It hurt me to know that when I would give someone fitness/health advice, I would turn around and binge eat alone in my dorm. It broke me that I was slowly running away from anyone who has ever cared about me because I was too stubborn to be vulnerable and open up. It tore me up recognizing that I haven’t felt these emotions or participated in such disordered eating since I was in my early teen years. The shame and sadness was far too much. I would pray to God to help me find happiness in whatever it was. I prayed that he would deliver me from this dark place that was keeping me from living a happy and healthy life. A short time of peace would follow some of those prayers but slowly would be replace with an unhappiness that continued to plague my life.
I have nothing to be unhappy about. I live an extremely blessed life. One filled with health, loving friends and family, opportunity to get an education and all of the little things many go without. Being the control freak that I am, it hurt knowing that I did not know how to control these feelings and did not know how to get rid of them.
I considered transferring schools because maybe the reason for my unhappiness was my school. I considered dropping my sorority because maybe the responsibility and accountability was the reason for my unhappiness. I considered a lot of things but none seemed to validate why I was unhappy.
It was not until after a late night run that I had an epiphany. Actually, God was just really tugging at my heart to open up my Bedside Blessings book that I would read only when I remembered or felt like I needed some inspiration. I never read according the day but I just jump around and read a couple days worth and thats it. This time was different. This time God was present and in control. Everything I read was on point to EVERYTHING that I had been feeling. Take note, that I have read these pages before and they have never registered like they did at this moment.
I want to share some of the things he shared with me.
First page I read the featured verse was James 1:2-4, ” When the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow.” For many of you that know me and the previous adversities I have encountered, you could see how this would relate to my life. Sure, this would have given me hope and assurance that everything would work out. This time, God had a different meaning he wanted me to understand. Life is rough and seems unfair at times. It is SO much easier to sulk and throw a pity party than it is to toughen up, take the storm for what it is and wait for the rainbow at the end. I have been throwing a raging pity party for myself. It has gotten me nowhere but a few binge episodes and darker cloud above my head. I of all people should understand that when hard times strike, persevere. Seems like I forgot that lovely lesson I learned early in my life. Even though I have felt low, God wants me to persevere and be patient. This patience will follow with self love and kindness, two things I have forgotten about lately. Lastly, he reiterated that trials and tests come that will undoubtedly impact our patience and give it a chance to grow. As patience develops, strong character is cultivated, moving us onward towards maturity. There is no shortcut. Trying to run away or hide from our problems keeps us from becoming the person we have always wanted to become.
As I continue reading, God slapped me on the forehead (picture “should have had a V8) and tugged at my heart. This whole time that I was questioning why I was unhappy and WHY I couldn’t come out of the funk, I wasn’t actually turning to God. I would say a prayer here and there, before I went to bed. I only turned to Him when it was convenient for me. HA. Proverbs 3:5-6 says it all. “Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” I was putting all trust in myself and thats like trying to used broken crutches when you hurt your ankle. Obviously, broken crutches don’t have the same result that unbroken crutches do. In the end, you lean on crutches and use them as your strength. Similarly, I turned to worldly things such as food, materialistic items for comfort and strength.
Last two things He made sure to touch on were diligence and integrity. Pretty deep stuff. Though I have never felt like it, I am a natural born leader. It was apparent in sports, school, work and social life. These past few months have felt like i’ve been trying to run a marathon while being knee deep in molasses. Yeah, that has never really happened but I am sure you won’t run very fast or get very far. Proverbs 21:5 brings up diligence. “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage.” Diligence goes hand in hand with patience and turning to God for strength but it also highlights the leadership quality within myself. Leadership calls for the stretching of creativity. As a leader, I have found myself against a blank wall. It big, intimidating, tall and slick. I can’t push through it, climb over it, or see my way around it. But, I can get my innovative juices flowing and think about possible ways to get beyond the wall. This is when it gets exciting. My innovation and creativity pair up, determined to get around. I obviously know that I do not want to be trapped by this funk but I need to start getting creative to move past it!
Finally, I was reminded that every journey is accomplished one step at a time. Whether it be school, fitness or relationships; integrity is important. Integrity is what keeps our personal life pure and straight, regardless of the benefits and perks that come through compromise. Make no mistake, integrity is some tough stuff. Integrity doesn’t take the easy way, make the easy choices, or choose the smooth path. Integrity is what you are when there isn’t anyone around to check up on you. After all, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth” Proverbs 22:1. I have been compromising my integrity to please others. It has made me unhappy, clearly. God reassured me that it is OKAY to not be scared to go after what makes me happy (health/fitness, career, etc). I plan to work on keeping an eye on my integrity while leaning on God for strength and support.
It took a lot of guts for me to post this. I have prayed for courage and just like God promises, he delivered. I hope my message has touched a few aching hearts out there.