Sunday, April 11, 2010
If you could become a Women of Faith speaker, what would you talk about?
My struggle with anxiety has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember...and so has my relationship with God. It was only a few years ago I learned how close they were actually related.
Before I really understood what anxiety was and how it was affecting my daily life, I just thought there was something wrong with me. I thought I was alone in my fears and worrying, that no one else had the same problem. I knew my friends didn't understand, because they were always so outgoing and open. I was shy and timid, even though I loved high school. I was involved in many activities but when it came time for parties or other social gatherings, I was terrified. Often, I would cancel my plans at the last minute, giving some lame excuse about being sick or grounded. If I didn't cancel, I would eat. Eating brought me comfort, it calmed my nerves. If I was at a party and full of anxiety, I would just focus on that chocolate milkshake I'd stop and get on the way home. Since none of my friends ever expressed a concern about my life, (and at the time, my friends opinion was the only one that mattered), I just kept up the routine. I also lied, to avoid confrontation or to please other people. If there is anything I hate it's having people upset at me, so I would go to the extreme to avoid it. I kept up this ugly game throughout high school and college. College was even tougher, because not only did I hate parties, I hated going to class. I forced myself to go, but it was a daily struggle I faced. Not because I hated school or doing the work, I hated going and forcing myself to talk to others. I joined a sorority, which was both the best and worst decision of my life. I found a group of friends and something to become passionate about, but it became my main priority. I wanted so despretly to fit in somewhere that I became someone I didn't recognize. The two years I was a part of that sorority were two of the hardest years of my life, but I know that I grew a stronger person because of it.
One day, I was sitting in class, exhausted and not paying attention at all. However, I heard my teacher say "sometimes all it takes is one person to come into your life and change it". I will never forget that, because it was the moment my life started to change. I remember walking across campus and talking to God, something I hadn't done in years- I was mad at Him for "leaving" me in the pit I was in. I told him I needed that person to come into my life, and I was ready to change. Well, God didn't just bring me one person- he brought me a whole army! Suddenly people were coming into my life, bringing me joy and hope. Some of those people became my best friends, some of those people were from American Idol. By the time my junior year of college began, I was starting to change. I felt better about myself and surrounded myself with positive influences. My parents, who had been supporting me all along, helped me to get the help I needed.
Although I was getting better, it wasn't until I read the book IdolEyes by Mandisa that I realized I was not alone. It was also while reading that book that I realized what food addiction was, and that those years when I would eat before parties were me filling a hole in my life with food. I made a decision to live my life for God and to fill my heart with GOD and positivity instead of food, depression, alcohol, negative friends, everything that was blocking me from God. He was there with open arms, and He's never left my side.
Every day is a struggle, and I have to constantly think about my actions. However, the army that God sent me has pulled me through some of the hardest times.
Speaking at WOF is a dream of mine. I want to share my story and help others to know that they are not alone, and that through trust in God, they can make it through any challenge they face. I found it ironic that this was the topic for the week considering I have been so dazzled by the idea of one day speaking at WOF.
To "my army"- my parents, siblings, sam, alex, alicia, christine, meg mal, lauren, the backups, melinda, mandisa, backups, dr robbins, amanda jones and laurence carolin: I love you. Thank you.