It's been a day!
I'm not sure where to start with this. I suppose yesterday will do. I had the privilege of running across Dave Saxton in Coffee Rev in the union at around 8 minutes past 12. This obviously lit up my day. I then, conscious of the vastness of workloads to be faced in the day, purchased a brie panini for lunch. I explained to Dave that I would take it upstairs to the gallery, where there are usually fewer people, and fewer windows visible from outside. I went upstairs. Joyfully I spotted two more wonderful people, waved, passed them, headed to the secluded area, but it was full. Someone on every table. I bottled it. I left the gallery. I re-entered and tried again. I walked round the room, past empty chairs, and back out with a sigh. I returned, gave Andy Acheson my panini and sat down to read. I'd been up working since 5am. I'd consumed a piece of toast at 6.30am. I was weak and shaky from lack of sleep. I then didn't eat until 7pm when I was forced to by someone I trust.
Some reading this may know the reasons for this behaviour. Shock horror, since I was about 13 I've been really frightened of eating in public. Today is a day of change and thus honesty is only appropriate, because I want people to know what's changing and why. Basically, I was slightly chubby as a teenager. Not awfully so, but enough to make me feel self-conscious. I've never been drastically bullied about it. A few names here and there. I always laughed it off, especially when mum would make comments (she calls me 'biscuit face'). She doesn't mean it harshly really. I hope. Anyway, it progressed. I stopped eating at school. I'd throw my lunch away. At college I just didn't buy anything for the first year. I wanted no connection to be made between myself and food, as if I could make people believe that I in fact never ate, and thus could not physically be overweight. Eventually I became comfortable enough with about 3 friends that I could eat a small lunch at college. On my own, I failed miserably. I once tried to overcome it in my own strength, bought a panini on the day when all my friends were away over lunch...but I ended up hiding in the toilets. This is not dignified, this is not proud. Oh, it'll be interesting to see if I publish all of this.
Needless to say, the same continued. At uni I forced myself to eat in the kitchen for the first few weeks, with these new (lovely) housemates I didn't yet know. I would not let them know what issue I had. So I did it. Cooked. Ate. Washed up. Then casually walked back into my bedroom, shut the door and cried.
Some days were better. I could manage a sandwich at lunch if I went to a park away from the busy, people-filled concourse. Some foods, too, were better. Lettuce, sushi, anything obviously healthy. But not anything that draws attention - therefore apples, spaghetti and anything repetitive like crisps were off the cards.
This all sounds quite crazy. It's really not as strange as it sounds. I was just really self-conscious, nervous, frightened of being judged. What is weird is that people are allowed to feel that way- what kind of society gives off threats of judgment based on appearance? I am sorry for my part in it and for crediting it enough to let it affect me too.
So yes. That explains the events that transpired and resulted in Andy getting a panini. I hope he was blessed by it regardless of its origin!
So, I've been pondering recently. This year so far has brought me so much closer God, which is beautiful. I've been challenged to start living out what I know. Not rules and regulations, but relationship and identity. God's love is so vast and multi-dimensional and extravagant. He's king and father and bridegroom and brother and friend and servant and judge and defence...it could go on. It will. But, what does that make me? Loved. Saved. Adopted. Betrothed. Beloved. Daughter. God wants to be close! I can't understand how He feels about me. Perfect love full of endless grace.
Jesus prayed this: "I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." (John 17:23). God says He loves us the same as He loves Jesus. He wants to be that close. Mental. So it seemed to be worth looking into what implications this has. Who am I in God? This is a big subject (even though I am so very small). I guess this'll be covered in a few blogs at various points as I try to wrap my tiny head around the most epic thing in existence. For now, I'll just say that this book, and this verse, has been following me around for a while now, quite blatantly. Song of Songs (yes!) 4:7- "All beautiful you are, my darling. There is no flaw in you".
First, "no flaw"- we're perfect. Sinless through Jesus, unstained, unblemished. And I like the idea that God thinks we're beautiful. He made us, he'd know. People know that I've been ill for a little while now...mysteriously. In the weeks preceding my scan last week, this verse was whispered to me so much. Being aware of the chance of there being something wrong with my body was really disconcerting. It made me feel a little like damaged goods. But God gave me this verse. There are no mistakes. There is no blemish. However I am, it's a beautiful creation because that's what comes when you have beautiful creator that has the ridiculous idea of making you in His own image.
Anyway. To explain why this is connected to my fear of eating. I was thinking about marriage (another time, I'll expand. I don't like to dwell on it but I love thinking about it). And about having kids (my own, fostered, adopted, who knows), and bringing them up. I can't wait. I absolutely adore my family. I love them like crazy. They're not Christians. I pray they will get to know the God I know. Something my heart burns for since finding Jesus, is having a family of myself, my husband, our kids, and Jesus being at the heart of us, our house, our lives and relationships. I can't describe how much I desire this. I was thinking how some of my friends have such similar giftings and spiritual characteristics to their parents, joyfully. Then I thought, if I'm given the honour of bringing up men and women for God, would I be happy if they were similar to me? Obviously not in every way, they'll be their own people, unique and amazing. But something that I felt really strongly was that they must know that they're perfect and all beautiful. And I will live that truth in my life so that they'll have a better chance of knowing it in theirs. My daughters will grow up knowing that they are flawless. My sons will know that they are accepted.
Outside the family too, I should point out. As someone who knows the flipping amazing good news that Jesus has saved us, I want to proclaim his love and acceptance and freedom to everyone I meet, in my words and in my actions. Let's live this love. Let people see the changes.
Therefore, I'm so done with this fear. Perfect love drives it out, after all. So, with the help of God, if anyone wants to go out for a meal, do it. I guess I should selfishly ask too- forgive me. Don't judge me for the mistakes I've made or the way I've been- celebrate with me that I'm not that girl any more.
This is not my usual kind of post. There's more to say, but this is mammoth long already, and I still need to read for a seminar in 7 hours.
So yes. Thanks Jesus. You change lives. They change others. Yes please.