In From the Vine

By Caralyn 

 

’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. 

It’s Jesus

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.  

But God

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.

Showing 33 comments
  • Pat Naples
    Reply

    I too was a daily reader of Facebook. I gave it up for Lent and never went back and I don’t miss it. If I want to know what is going on a friends life, I pick up the phone and call them. It is so much more intimate and just hearing their voice brings happiness that I can’t get on FaceBook…hearing the happiness in there voice and then the sometimes sadness that isn’t revealed on FaceBook keeps me so much more connected to friends.

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Thanks Pat! Yeah there’s a freedom that comes with social media distance for sure! So glad this resonated with you! Hugs and love xox

  • Rose
    Reply

    I’m so grateful for this site and for each woman who shares their life and faith so openly. Today’s post is one that touched me deeply. Our paths may be different but the struggles are all there….comparison, self worth, doubt…you name it…and I’m much further down this path of life! My life only changed when I got real with God and turned it all over to Jesus. I stopped hiding…There’s true freedom in that. These words from Scripture are true as you have witnessed in your life and me in mine. I’ve just begun to venture into the social media world with Instagram to ‘connect’ with my children, family and friends. I find it challenging. Slippery slope is right. Your post is so timely! God bless you for sharing the weakness in your life…which God transforms to strengths…which encourages me and all those who read your words to keep on this path and be real! May God be praised!

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Thank you so much for this beautiful response Rose. Amen! Handing it over to Jesus results in true joy and freedom! And yes! We’re all on the journey together! Hugs and love xox

  • KATHY
    Reply

    I love your ideas!!
    My daughter was with classmates several days at Disney World and at the end of day 1, her wallet is missing, with all her cash and credit cards and picture ID. After asking about 60 different people to pray, I heard so many stories like “that happened to my son…he had to get a new license and everything.” Guess how many said, “This happened to my son and everything was returned.”–NO ONE!! Very discouraging! Then, end of day 2, Disney lost and found called and someone had found the wallet!!

    This has made me realize once again the power of prayer!! The wallet was returned with all cash and all credit cards and picture ID! I am convinced that all the prayers helped allow God’s plan to include this tiny miracle to happen for her, for us. I wish these real situations where we show real relationships with God would be part of everyone’s Facebook postings! Thank you for such a great article!

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Oh my gosh Praise God that it was returned! Yes! There really is power in prayer! Thanks for sharing Kathy! Hugs and love xox

  • Angie Koenig
    Reply

    I needed to read this today. Thank you for bravely sharing your weakness and being an authentic light of hope.

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Thanks Angie for your kind words. So glad it hit home with you:) Hugs and love xox

  • TINA ANGELO
    Reply

    This was an incredibly inspiring piece. Thank you for sharing this and I am going to check out your blog. Keep on writing young lady because what you had to say got into my heart.

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Aw thank you Tina. I am very touched by your generous words! And thanks for checking out my blog! Hugs and love xox

  • Gwen
    Reply

    You’ve got a beautiful way of saying what we all feel. God bless you and continue your gift of writing and explaining what many of us are thinking and feeling. Facebook is on it’s way out in my life, too. It’s not fun anymore and that was the reason I started with it in the first place. God bless you!!

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Thank you so much Gwen! You’re kind to say that:) and yes! If it’s not fun anymore, onto bigger and better things! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  • Laurie Larson
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing yourself so openly. Well said. When I see my friends, I say, “How are you? Your Facebook life looks FABULOUS!” lol

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Thank you Laurie 🙂 isn’t that so funny! I have found myself saying that to friends too! Especially about vacations. Haha Let’s get back to human to human contact!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  • Scott Silverii
    Reply

    This is a beautiful piece because of your insights and truth telling. Great going.
    Scott

  • Jeff King
    Reply

    Great message, Beauty! You’ve likely heard the saying that you should never meet your idols; you can only be disappointed. So it goes for social media. It’s only frosting on a cardboard cake. Don’t take too big a bite! I suppose that adage must include you, bet then you’re so open on your site and…I have met you and wasn’t at all disappointed! You’re always at your best with your core message!

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Hey Jeff! Oh you’re so awesome, thank you friend. Frosting on a cardboard cake! hah! SO TRUE! and gosh, you’re kind to say that. Yeah that was really special, I’m so glad I got to meet my friend IRL! Hope you’re having a great night! hugs to you and Julie!

  • Gwen Llana-Serrano
    Reply

    “broadcasting our manufactured perfect moments on the web” – You perfectly captured our reality in a single decent phrase. 🙂

    I’m a first-time parent, and I feel so silly every time I see social media photos of glamorous mommas in fabulous outfit, sexy bodies, perfect make-up with a neat and cozy or elegant background. And yes, you’re right — comparison is the enemy. How come they look so glamorous when I don’t even know when to brush my hair with all my working mom with no helper drama?

    Oh the powers of social media — it can either make or break you. But yes, God has his unique way of inspiring each of us. I feel it’s my calling to encourage other parents who feel the same by telling it as it is in my blog or in my social media posts — the joys and the hardships, the successes and the failures. I agree with you that we shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about our struggles, our flaw, our challenges for it is these “not so glamorous” moments in our life that give us beauty with depth.

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Hi Gwen! Thank you so much for sharing the truth on your channels! You’re definitely bringing hope and encouragement to those in your circles. Amen! God has the most unique ways 🙂 Keep rockin’ on friend! Hugs and love xox

  • Suzette
    Reply

    God has also been sharing and showing me things about Facebook, it is really a very good tools to spread the gospel but it can also become
    Addictive. Following people and commenting on site that was not us. I am taking a break from Facebook unless I have to post on my blog page. I need to get back my focus on God and not Facebook. I loved your blog.

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Hi Suzette, thanks for sharing your heart. That’s a powerful thing to do – I may need to follow suit. you’re right – great for sharing the gospel, but we’ve gotta keep it in check thanks for your kind words about my blog! Hugs and love xox

  • Stephanie
    Reply

    Like you, I do social media all wrong! 😉 I don’t even do Instagram either! Great post!

  • Susan
    Reply

    Caralyn, Thanks for sharing! You are a bold light for Jesus. Have you heard this song by Unspoken called “My Recovery”? Your comments reminded me of its message.

    https://youtu.be/tC6UPpInrgc

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Oh my goodness, Susan what a kind thing to say. Thank you. I haven’t but I will definitely check it out! Thanks for passing along the link! Hugs and love xox

  • Merridith Frediani
    Reply

    Hi! You’ve been following my blog for several months and I finally just today got around to returning the favor. You have a beautiful writing style and I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  • Sejana Yoo
    Reply

    Hi, I hate to be a parrot, but just today I decided to check you out as you have liked several of my posts on my newer blog for some time now. I remembered your name and photo. Today, I thought I’d check you out and I found this. I agree we should share more about our struggles because everyone has them. It is sad that those struggles are what we hide yet those are the areas I’ve found in which I’ve needed the most spiritual support. So, I don’t hide anymore. I’m not ashamed. I believe we all have different struggles and God allows that in our lives so that we might draw closer to Him and also that we would be a light for someone else to reach Him too. Hebrews 10:23-25.

    • BeautyBeyondBones
      Reply

      Thank you so much Sejana! I’m so glad that you’ve found that healing and freedom in Christ! God is so good! Hugs and love xox

  • John Johnson
    Reply

    Well said !

  • Carole Wheaton
    Reply

    Carolyn,
    So beautifully worded. What a redemption story you have! Though I do not often comment on your posts, I am always so encouraged by your willingness to intertwine raw honesty with positivity … the outcome of a real life, lived with a real God.
    Carole

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