“’My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12: 9-10
When was the last time you checked social media? If you’re anything like me, then Instagram and Facebook have been literally built into your routine. Maybe it’s before bed, or first thing in the morning, but we are faithfully lapping up anything that Zuckerberg is throwing out. Frankly – and sadly – it’s the closest thing some people have to religion nowadays, but that’s a topic for a different day.
Here’s the thing: social media is a dangerously sharp double-edged sword. Serrated, actually. Because for as amazing as it is to be able to connect with your long lost friends from high school, or keep up with your extended family through photos and updates, there is also the dark side of “the socials”: comparison.
Sitting here as a single, late twenty-something, I will be the first to admit that, yes, it can be hard on my mental wellbeing to scroll through Facebook. Log in and you’re bombarded with perfectly staged engagement photos, Pinterest-worthy baby announcements, or fabulously exotic vacation snaps. Meanwhile, I’m just excited to get a 30%-off coupon for CVS in my email.
But it’s everyone’s highlight reel. No one is broadcasting their trials or challenges. Just the award-winning photo-ops. And even knowing this, it is hard not to critique your own life against the filtered and featured moments we wake up or fall asleep to on our feeds.
That being said, my life is befuddling to many of my close friends and loved ones. For in this world of broadcasting our manufactured perfect moments on the web, my job is literally airing my “dirty laundry” over on my blog, BeautyBeyondBones. Heck, I even wrote a book detailing my most intimately raw and vulnerable parts of my life: healing from a severe case of anorexia that almost took my life.
“Wow, you’re pretty brave for putting that out on the Internet!”
Well, actually, I’m not. And if we’re getting technical – I’m actually pretty weak.
It all comes down to the second reading we heard in Mass today. From second Corinthians, chapter 12:
“’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12: 9-10
There is a lot in my life that I’m not proud of. And that’s putting it lightly. Eating disorders, though mental illnesses, are incredibly damaging not only to the mind and body, but also to one’s relationships. Lies. Deception. Manipulation. The things I said in outburst to my loved ones would make a sailor blush.
But that’s beside the point.
I’ve been in recovery for ten years now. Some seasons have been better than others. But what they don’t tell you, is that whether it’s for an eating disorder, or alcoholism, or drugs or any other type of addiction: recovery is a day in, day out decision. Every day you have to wake up and decide that you are choosing recovery.
But please don’t applaud me. Because the truth of the matter is that my recovery is not my doing. It’s His.
Jesus is my recovery.
I am fully aware that if I were to try to do this on my own, I would fail. Over. And over. And over.
My sustained recovery came when I fully surrendered to Christ. Gave Him my broken heart. Gave Him my fears about my body. Gave Him my meal plan, my plans for the future, my moment-to-moment anxieties. Everything.
And you know what He gave me in return? Grace.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
My weakness is astounding. It is ugly. It is sneaky. And it is definitely not something that is broadcast on social media.
On those days where my mind is haranguing me about my worth, or I feel myself starting to go down a slippery path with this or that, God showers me with the grace to get through. Moment by moment. Strengthening me, through my weakness.
Because that’s the victory. That’s where the glory points: it’s to Him.
Some days, I look at the young woman staring back at me in the mirror, and it’s hard to believe the depths I’ve seen. Whether it was the anorexia in my past, or my battle with ulcerative colitis that had me on bed rest for ten months in college. The fact that, here I am as a healthy, whole, and thriving young woman is a living testimony to God’s incomprehensible grace.
My weaknesses that have shaped much of the course of my life, were His access points to my heart. They were His moments to flex His “grace muscle” and be strong for me.
And that is why I share all these cringe worthy, what-the-heck-was-I-thinking moments on my blog. That’s why I’m sharing the non-Instagram-worthy parts of who I am – it’s because that’s where God shines brightest: in my weakness.
So yeah. I’ll “boast” about it, like Paul encouraged.
Because the truth is, when we’re real about our own struggles, and let the workings of God’s grace radiate, other people can start to see His grace working in their own lives, too.
And if you ask me, those are the moments that deserve to be on social media.
About the author:
Caralyn is the writer and speaker behind the blog, BeautyBeyondBones. It has recently been named one of the Top Three Eating Disorder Recovery Sites on the WorldwideWeb. She’s a twenty-something actress and writer in New York City. Having battled a severe case of anorexia and Ulcerative Colitis, she now uses her story of total restoration to positively impact others, and offer Christ’s hope and encouragement for those with eating disorders, and other forms of adversity. Her book, Bloom is now available!
Photo courtesy of Caralyn. Used with permission. All rights reserved.