Friday, March 25, 2011

things we can learn by comparing ourselves to dogs.

i try to avoid writing explicitly Christian posts. not because i'm not an explicitly Christian person, because i am, but because i would hate for anyone struggling with an eating disorder to skip over my blog simply because our beliefs are not the same.

with that being said, i hope that everyone can find something of significance to them in the following explicitly Christian post.

this afternoon, as i was walking my babysitting family's dog, i found myself feeling impatient. the dog's name is max. and max was stopping to smell each individual leaf, acting like he was on some kind of important mission other than to use the bathroom. I kept reminding myself that he probably wasn't going to get another walk and that i needed to make the most of it for him, and so i let him have a few sniffs each time he stopped and then pulled him along.

towards the end of our wooded walk we came to a pile of branches that looked like somewhat of a beaver dam. after a short pause, max decided he was going to walk through it.

"no max," i said, "no. you're gonna hurt yourself, sweet boy."

max didn't care. he was headed straight for a tangled mess of branches and sticks into which he was really going to wish he hadn't gotten himself.

before he made himself miserable, i yanked his leash, pulling him in an easy path that framed the outer edge of the stick pile. he will never know how thankful he should be.

as we hit the asphalt and headed towards the driveway, max kept craning his head to see what he'd missed. i haven't the slightest idea how dogs minds work, but for the sake of the point i'm trying to make, i'm going to say that max was a little peeved at me for steering him around the sticks.

as i was pulling the dog's leash i started to think what life would be like if God pulled us around every stick pile we ever approached. i don't suppose i'll speak for everyone, but i think that i would eventually bite God in the ankle in hopes that he would drop the leash and let me go out on my own for once.

but God doesn't keep us on leashes.

i think it's safe to say that my eating disorder was a pretty tangled bunch of thorny sticks. I think all our struggles are. we've all got plenty of stick piles from which we've been protected, but we've got just as many into which God has graciously allowed us to wander. It is the sole means of learning that He's the only one who can get us out.

amidst of the thorny mess of my disorder, sharp edges scratched me in a hundred places each time i moved. sticks were poking my eyes and my mouth. i couldn't see or hear but i kept trying to convince myself the pile was what i had wanted.

but one day i got sick of just staying in one place. there were a million directions in which i might have been walking, and even more things i might have been experiencing, but instead i'd walked into a trap and i'd stayed within its five foot radius ever since.

i stopped moving. i looked up at Jesus with surrendering eyes and said, "please. pull me out."

lovingly, he reached down and begin to pull the thorns from my skin, to loosen the branches that held me one by one. each thorn he removed left its own surge of pain in my skin. it was almost more painful to sit through Him breaking me free than to writhe around in the sticks myself. a couple of times i began to twist and turn and flail, forcing him to let go, i thought i could surely get myself out faster and easier than he was.

each time he would stand there patiently, allowing me to re-realize that i wasn't going to get out without Him. As soon as peace returned and i grew still and gave Him the knowing eyes, he was once again at my side, painstakingly setting me free.

when at last i was out of the sticks, He cradled me gently in His arms, tending my wounds and whispering softly that i could trust Him, that I could look forward to the beautiful places we would walk in my newfound freedom.

He'd been there beside me, always. much before the stick pile. i'd loved Him all along, but when He allowed me to walk into deeper pain than i'd ever felt before, He allowed me to walk into a need for depths Himself that i would not have found comprehensible outside of my injuries.

the stick pile is far behind us now, and i'm trying to do more following than running ahead, because He's got a lot for me to do and to see. although i am no longer in constant pain, the tenderness of His healing continues to flow through the depths of my soul that were pioneered by fear, anger, and desperation during my time amidst the sticks.

many of my wounds are healed, some are getting close, a few are still bleeding. even when a drop of blood hits the ground, or a remaining scratch is momentarily sore, i thank him for allowing me to walk into the tangled branches. His healing, His love and His peace are worth the pain that is required to experience them in their fullness.



1 comment:

  1. you're amazing. God is amazing. and this is so true.