Father Daughter Dance

Sometimes I can’t sleep. Jesus tugs and tugs at my heart to get up and write until I’m so restless I obey. Tonight is one of those nights. My night ended with a sweet conversation with a beautiful woman of faith walking through the same battle as I am. And I finished a book that’s about to change my life. In its final chapter, I found little analogies I’ve been using for years, planted in the text by a God who sends me little lanterns every day to show me He loves me. The image of my infant hand holding on to God’s, while the real strength is in God’s powerful arm grasping mine. The truth that He disciplines me because He loves me. Even the idea of faith as a marathon, a goal that drove my months of training until injury kept me from running the race, but reminded me to listen to those who love me and don’t want me to sabotage my poor legs.
I literally lay in bed, staring at the eerily beautiful image of the UT tower out my window. I am theoretically waking up in five hours to go embarrass myself with two of my dearest friends at CrossFit.
God – will you just let me go to sleep? Fine – if you give me a title for this blog I’ll write it.
Callie – “Father Daughter Dance.” Now get writing.
It’s the end of February and disordered eating has actually gotten worse since I started treatment in August. And it’s slowly been dawning on me that I’ve never really had to work for anything in my life. I studied a bit and grades came easily – or I didn’t study at all and abused the gift of a brain He gave me. I practiced a bit and sight-read my way to piano success. I was either naturally good at a sport or I didn’t play (or I did play and casually warmed the bench – love ya, softball). I wanted God to take away this disorder overnight, begging Him for freedom.
God and I are kind of like me and Snowball – our Ignite annual semi-formal that happened last Sunday. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to put on a dress that would barely fit, or spend time with people when I could mope around my apartment and wallow in self-pity. And let’s be real – probably eat my feelings – thank youuuuuu Nutella (which, by the way, has proved an ineffective source of consolation compared to the comfort of Christ, but Paul gets it SO right in Romans 7 when he wonders why in the world he does what he doesn’t want to do #sinnature). Then one of my precious friends texted me and reminded me that sometimes I need to tell Satan to suck it – I’m the daughter of a King, rescued by His blood. So I put on a dress. And I got to spend hours with friends, dancing the only way I know how – best described as the “abort and flail” method.
I begged Jesus to let me sit out the dance. Daddy, just set me free of this thing so I can go on drping through life with a pitiful level of self-discipline and non-existent dependence on You. And He was, like, no. I think of that story in scripture where Jesus raises a little girl from the dead. I’m that little girl, dead in my transgressions, desperately wanting to wander through life on the outskirts of the school gym with the wallflowers who share my inability to dance.
But Daddy has other plans. He calls me His daughter, His beloved. He pulls me out on the dance floor, to spin and stumble my way through recovery. I’ll fall – as I have SO many times – but He’s holding on. And He’s actually not letting go. EVER. He tells us in Isaiah 41:13 “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’” Hebrews 12 promises that He disciplines us out of love, as a Daddy who doesn’t want us to miss the beautiful dance He has in store.
Although I love my “philosophy corner with Callie” moments, Jesus has been showing me that I can’t just set my mind to running the marathon and then run it. Like, shin splints on shin splints if you know what I mean. I had to spend months working up to the distance. Three miles wore me out when I first started – now ten miles is a casual run. Jesus compares our faith to a race in 1 Corinthians 9 for a reason. I would literally wake up pretty much every day and think that the day would be different. If I just worked harder, exercised more self-control, I could beat this thing. And pretty much every day I would fail. Because I was trying to drp my way along the wall of this dance – I didn’t want to step out of my comfort zone. I didn’t want to risk embarrassment and change and discomfort.
But He’s grabbing my hand and whisking me out there. It’s going to be an adventure of a dance – and it’s going to be hard. I don’t have to do it alone, though – Jesus tells me in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” I’m training for a marathon and Jesus gave me all the tools I need! I just have to use them. My nice new running shoes aren’t going to do a bushel of good in my closet. They only help when they’re on my feet.
So I’ve started letting Jesus work on my heart. I’m excited to spend time writing down the lies I believed about food, body image, people, faith – everything! I’m stoked to use scripture to counter those lies. My emotions are all tied up in the world, but by immersing myself in His word I can literally set my sights on what is above and pull my heart out of this death-trap of fitness and into my Daddy’s open arms. Discipline hurts – like 90% of my training runs. But every so often, I would blow through a six-miler and love it. The only run I ever regretted was the run I never did. And the one where I tried to do 20 miles and hurt my hip and got stuck in West campus.
So discipline will be ugly, hard, and uncomfortable. But my Daddy gave me some dancin’ shoes – probably dancing boots since He knows that’s what I like best! He gave me His word to plug in to, every day. And I’m not alone out there – there are incredible women all around me, falling and spinning their way through disorders like mine and other difficult ramifications about the cyclical and hideous nature of sin.
So dear Satan, sucks to be you right now. You may have the world, but I know who made the world and He made me too. Perfectly. Beautifully. Intentionally. My mind is mired in the depths of bulimia, but my heart beats to a different drum – the steady, rhythmic motion of my Daddy. The gentle, consistent rhythm of time in His word, disciplining my thoughts, holding myself accountable with the community He’s given me. Also, I am going to CrossFit in the morning whether you like it or not. Bring it on, MetCon.

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