Thursday, September 3, 2009


Today held a lot of significance in the healing process for me. As all of the new students have arrived on campus, I have found myself experimenting on self-disclosure. People here are incredibly kind, friendly, and sincere. It is a great environment. I also fear some judgment and condemnation (based on my own judgment and condemnation but also based on experiences at church and at college).
I see some similarities between my orientation at Asbury College eight years ago and my orientation at Asbury Seminary today. It two days, non-stop. It is exhausting, with tons of stimulation, overwhelming numbers of people, loads of information, and excessive emotion. We are divided into TAG (transition and guidance) groups, which include 8-14 people with two students as the leaders. Fortunately, both in college and in seminary, I have had the opportunity to arrive on campus early, and I have not been as overwhelmed by the "newness" of the campus while trying to get to know tons of new people. I feel almost seasoned enough to give a tour myself.
As I entered college, I had made significant strides out of the eating disorder. I considered it to be on its way out of my life. As I enter graduate school, once again, I see the eating disorder as part of my history, however recent. My goal with college was the leave the eating disorder behind, but as I shared life with fellow students, I disclosed parts of my "history" that turned out to be much more present than I wanted to acknowledge. I began to enter into the role that I set up for myself. I believe with tentative reservation that I am at a greater place of understanding now, but I face the same dilemma. I am no longer defined by anorexia. I never want to be identified with it or defined by it again. The problem, however, is that when asked, "what brought you here to Asbury?" or "will you tell me about your journey?" I have to figure out a balance between over-transparency and hiding. I am not ashamed of who I am, and I know that I am not condemned. Though our group setting was intimate tonight, it seemed that it was not appropriate to disclose anything more specific than a "prolonged illness" that detoured my path. I do not want to step into a relationship and open up too much too soon. You cannot suck words back into your mouth. But I don't want to veil all of my words with this vague cloak of generalization when presenting my testimony (which was very much what I felt like I was doing tonight). I felt like I was wading through this marsh of "code language." I don't want to walk around with a scarlet "A" on my chest. But I don't want to hide in the shadows, trying to not be found out. I was so nervous about not exposing myself that I was jumbling up my message tremendously.
It is hard not wanting to be defined by something while remembering that it has truly been deeply involved in the process of becoming who I am.
So, tonight, I was vague. But when it was over, I think that I conveyed the message well enough. There was great support, encouragement, and several people thanked me for what I shared. I know that doors were opened, and those who want to know me more deeply will invite me into a place of deeper levels of disclosure at the right time. With that disclosure, I will not enter into the "role" that I jumped back into in college. As I look back over the ever-increasing distance between the present freedom and the past bondage, I will be reminded that I never want to go back and that I am so thankful that what the enemy intended for harm God has used for good. And eight years later, praise the Lord that graduate school is NOT a repeat of college.

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