If this blog is anything, it’s about a journey.
In third grade, I became a Christian by accepting Christ as my savior at summer camp, primarily because everyone else in the room had their hands raised and it seemed like a good idea. It was not until years later that I realized that faith was about more than lief after death. And even now I’m still learning what my life is supposed to mean amid increasing pressures to believe this, that or the other; or maybe its to believe this, that and the other. Despite the degrees on my way, I still have many of the same wandering prayers of my childhood as I ask God why, when, and how.
In high school I knew I was going to college; that was never really a question in my family or in my own mind. The requirement was that the school be in Washington, due to cost and travel, but beyond that the field seemed wide open. At Whitworth College I decided on a major based on a lunch conversation about career goals, and finally hearing an idea that didn’t immediately bore me. After trying out children’s ministry (too much volunteer hounding) and youth ministry (too ADHD for my personality), I walked across the graduation stage with a lovely degree, and no idea what to do with it. Three years later, I would complete a similar wondering and wandering walk after Geneva College, and five years later it would be from Western Seminary. I keep going to school because my personality needs the purpose, and my faith believes there is some reason I’m good at school. Not sure what that reason is, but I’ll continue trying to figure it out through a doctoral program starting this summer.
Outside of faith and education, my latest journey (and one that has been just as life transforming) has been through the streets of Portland via tennis shoes. I’ve lost 70 pounds over the past three years, and gained a whole new worldview, including new priorities for my time and finances, new vocabulary, new friends, and a lot of new race shirts filling my closet. I have 30 pounds and a few minutes off my running pace to go, and hopefully a story brewing within the experience that I can share to encourage others.
Despite all of the changes and growth, there are days when I look in the mirror, and if I’m honest, I regret what I see. Somehow in losing weight, I also lost the denial I had been in for so many years about my size and poor health. When there are a few people on a couch, I don’t sit beside them because I fear I won’t fit. When I look through clothing racks, I still pull a few different sizes because that Large couldn’t possibly fit me. When I eat with others, I often feel guilty afterwards for not choosing the smaller, healthier portion. And when I have a really good work out at the gym, I think maybe now I’ll be good enough for some guy to look my way.
I’m not saying the thoughts in the thoughts in the paragraph above are right, or that they dominate my life. There are times I look in the mirror and do like the fact that there is an inward curve between my chest and hips now, rather than just a circle of flesh. And I have done some happy dances in the dressing room as a size 12 skirt fits or medium workout pants hangs just right.
I’m just feeling a bit extra honest and transparent today, perhaps because of raw emotions since the Boston Marathon bombing and not quite enough sleep any night for the past week. I want my story to be an encouragement to others, and to be real to what my journey truly is rather than a cheer-leading facade. And those negative thoughts, thoughts that no one can talk me out of right now, are real and are part of what my journey includes. They are the lasting wounds of past sugary, salty, lazy mistakes and they can be healed through time and hard work.
Here’s to the journey…