I’m a college student, so I don’t get the chance to write very often… What I mean to say is, if I have a free moment, I’m vegging. When I get the urge to be empowered by Gungor’s “This is Not the End” and write at almost midnight on a week night, I’m gonna take it.
My name is Katie, and I’m learning about healing.
I never thought I’d be one of those girls with the stories about struggling with insecurity and pain, and I never thought I’d understand what it was to truly need healing. But… Here I am.
Several years ago, I wrote a stanza that defined me so well I’m almost surprised it came from my own pen.
My insecurities, my self-doubt
Lie not on the outside,
But on the person within
I only want a lovely heart
You guys can hate me now, but I’ve never dealt with body image issues. I was asked to do a talk on body image for a class last semester and I didn’t feel qualified to talk about that at all, but I could do a thousand talks about what it feels like to never feel like your heart and brain are good enough… I became very good at mastering those things, though. I did meaningful things: I went to different countries, I took care of everyone’s babies, I filled communion trays and made coffee at church every Sunday before the service. Every single day of my life was devoted to something. (Sometimes I had grumpy days, but I still did stuff.) That was my lifestyle: I masked the insecurity in things I did, and shoved them deep deep down… But sometimes monsters come back up when you are just broken enough.
I had adult responsibility long before I was actually an adult, and now I’m at college… where there are people who are kids (which is super weird for me. I was home-schooled, so I’ve never really dealt with actual teenagers before), and about 15 times the amount of stress anyone needs to experience at any given time. My journey to college was a tough one; I’ll be completely honest about that. Three weeks after I came home from India after living and breathing India and babies and grownup jobs for 4 months, I was enrolled at a Christian university in the middle of nowhere Tennessee (If you don’t believe me, look up Henderson, TN). A lot happened to me while I was in India, and some of it was stuff that hurt… really bad… I’ve continued to deal with that over the past 1/2 year, and since I’ve always been the type of person who can jump in and learn to swim after drowning for a few weeks, I thought I could handle re-entry, a wounded heart, being a college freshman, being in a long distance relationship that was also my first serious relationship, and simply figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. And because of the lifestyle I doggedly kept to, I thought that was completely normal. I’m wondering now if it’s just because I’m totally off my rocker.
I’m realizing that in all of that, I never stopped and took time to heal… partially because healing feels selfish.
Taking any amount of time to recognize that I hurt feels like too much looking at myself, and taking any amount of time whatsoever to explore my brokenness and discontent feels selfish and burdensome to others and therefore, myself. I’m a very impatient person and I want all my problems fixed right now, so when they aren’t magically better because I’ve decided they will be, I get angry at myself. I just want to jump back into life, and I want to be okay, and I don’t want the painful things to still affect me. I don’t want to spend that much time devoted to myself.
Since I’ve only ever experienced coping, I’m not sure exactly how to go about healing, and I’m not even entirely sure how God fits into that picture.
I do know this, though… When I just stop and let God’s beauty be bigger than the crap I’m dealing with, I’m rendered completely speechless. On Saturday night, I sat on a dock by a pond with some ducks and a dog named Daisy and looked at this:
I was running my mouth, telling God about how I was struggling, and how I wanted to be done struggling, and for a moment I stopped just to look at the sunset and I had no more words other than, “Can I take a picture of how pretty You are?”
I don’t know how long healing will take, and I don’t know that life will pan out the way I want it to, and I may not have all my crap together, but I know that Jesus will still be bigger and more beautiful, and that alone begins my healing.