A few years ago, God starting writing a unique story in my life. Little did I know, the story He was in the midst of creating would someday impact the lives of those who struggle with food, body image, self-identity, etc. For those of you who may not know, I have recently published my first book called “Back to Being Sara: Breaking the Bondage of Eating Disorders.” This book is not a self-help, quick fix, or 10-step program on overcoming an eating disorder. Instead, this book is simply a reminder to those who are struggling that God can use the broken areas of our lives and turn it into something far greater than we could ever imagine. Yes, He can absolutely redeem and restore you from the years you may have lost due to some kind of addiction, heartbreak or painful experience you’ve gone through. It is in our response to those situations, however, that shape us into who we are. We can choose to live by faith, or in fear.
First, let’s talk about fear. What is fear? To me, fear is what keeps us from living out our purpose. Fear keeps us from stepping out of our own comfort zone. It’s what keeps us living at an average pace, just like everyone else. Fear says “it’s impossible” while faith says “all things are possible.” Fear creeps into our lives subtly and begins to take root once we allow it to shape who we are. Fear is a coward. Fear convinces us that whatever God has called us to do, or has promised, is “too good to be true.” Fear, in itself, keeps us from living out our true calling.
Faith, however, is the opposite of fear because it allows us to live out our best selves. Faith brings us hope and encouragement and ultimately leads to true joy. Faith doesn’t require much, it’s simply an act of trust (refer to Mathew 17:20). Unlike fear, faith allows us to bless others, and ourselves. Faith is associated with peace, whereas fear is associated with anxiety.
Knowing that faith and fear are at opposite ends of the spectrum can help us to determine where we are at in our own lives. Are we living out our true purpose through faith, or are we living out a mundane life because of fear? Too many times in my life I have chosen to live in fear, but recently I have been growing in my faith and learning what it means to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Last night, I had the privilege of a bit of sharing my testimony with a church in my small town. Although I was incredibly excited to share of what God’s been doing in my own life, I was also very nervous about speaking in front of a large crowd. A whirlwind of emotions came crashing down on me just hours before it was time to share, and I told my family and friends I was slightly nervous. I told my best friend that I was feeling overwhelmed about speaking, and she reminded of the scripture passage Phillipians 4:6-7.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
After meditating on that verse, I turned over to God in prayer. I praised Him and thanked Him for an incredible opportunity to share my story with others. It is not every day that I get to stand up in front of a larger group and tell them about Jesus and His salvation. I needed to remind myself that this opportunity to speak in front of a large crowd was not about me and what I can do, but instead about pointing others to Jesus Christ and what He can do for all of us.
After I had shared my testimony, several people come up to me afterward and tell me that they were touched after hearing my story. A few of them actually mentioned how they knew someone in their life who is currently going through an eating disorder and would be blessed by reading my book. Some were just amazed at how the Lord could turn such a messy situation into something beautiful.
When God calls us to something, it’s not for nothing. Whatever He calls us to is usually to a) Bring Him glory b) Bless others c) Strengthen our faith. Whether it is through writing or music or public speaking or some kind of gift He has given us, it is up to us as to whether or not we will use our gifts by faith or keep them hidden in fear.