I do not consider myself to be someone with strong opinions. I am not one to voice my beliefs loudly. I don’t get into debates because usually I don’t know enough about hot topics to have a strong opinion that I can defend. I also take awhile to process my thoughts. So until that takes place in my brain, it’s best for me to sit and listen. That’s where I feel comfortable – in the background listening.
But I don’t think that is a valid position to hold in the times we find ourselves living. I have never had such strong beliefs as I do on masks, the presidential election, Covid-19, social distancing, quarantining . . .
In fact, it’s hard for me to sit in the background and listen because I feel extremely powerful emotions tied to these topics. And I feel very justified in what I believe and why I believe it. I have strong opinions.
Is my blog the place to voice those opinions? Trust me, I’d love to state loud and clear what I believe and why. But I’m pretty sure Joy Today is not my platform for political commentary. What Joy Today is, is my platform for processing the lies Satan puts in our heads so that I can pull out the logic in light of God’s truths.
So no, I won’t tell you straight up how I feel about masks or who I want to be president or what I think about quarantining my students.
Instead, I will tell you the logic I pull from God’s truths that I’ve learned in my life thru hard fought lessons. And so much of those hard fought lessons have come from my experience with my eating disorder. My process of recovery has shifted my worldview monumentally. And that shift has become the color thru which I process my daily life.
Here is what I know:
ED ruled my life thru fear. Fear of failing at his rules. Fear of gaining half a pound, fear of rejection, fear of unworthiness, fear of worthlessness, fear of losing control. Fear dictated my actions for 17 years. That is not an exaggeration.
Fear held my heart and tainted my choices.
So Worldview Facet #1: I won’t live with fear calling the shots anymore.
ED isolated me from people. He held my loved ones at arm’s length so that they couldn’t see his control over me. He kept me from creating meaningful relationships so that I didn’t have to answer for my ED-tainted lifestyle. I withered into myself because that is where I felt safe, alone with ED.
I lived isolated with ED, wearing a figurative mask for years, hiding my personality from people and being scared to let them “see” me.
So Worldview Facet #2: I will live connected to people thru the reality of who I am. I won’t live behind a mask anymore.
ED confused my life with lies. He’d tell me I was worthless one day and then pat me on the back for being so much skinnier than everyone else the next. He made me believe stupid lies that contradicted everything rational about healthy living.
Keeping me confused in illogical beliefs gave ED a stronghold in my head for too long.
So Worldview Facet #3: I won’t allow my decisions to be based off of someone else’s or some thing’s illogical reasoning anymore.
ED became my priority over everything else that should have come first in my life. My husband, my boys, my job, my colleagues, my students. But most importantly, ED became priority over God. And when anything becomes priority over God, joy disappears.
I had glimpses, moments, echoes of joy in my years with ED – simply because God refused to let me go. But the joy of letting go and trusting God fully – I lost sight of that surrender. Instead of letting God be in control, I gave that power to my eating disorder.
Giving ED power over everything else in my life stole my joy in the life God created me to live.
So Worldview Facet #4: I won’t allow unhealthy priorities to steal my joy in being held in God’s mighty hands anymore.
Lack of Self-Worth
I lived timid under ED’s tyrannical rule. I melted into the crowd, kept my mouth shut, never called attention to myself, never believed I had anything worth giving to others. ED made sure I never felt truly confident in myself.
But, I am a child of God. He loves me, he adopted me, he saved me, and he gifted me for doing good works in his name. I am confident in this body and in my character because I am confident in my Creator.
So #5 Worldview: I won’t allow another person, or the voices in my head, to take away my worth anymore.
My worldview is founded in the grace God poured over my head so that he and I could take my life back from ED. He proved to me over and over that he is in control, that I don’t need to know the details of my future, because all I need to know is that he works all things for my good.
Fighting ED sucked. But I am stronger now because of it. I gained life experiences, and I gained more of God. I gained courage, joy, and self-worth. I gained the logical truth that God stands faithful. I gained the ability to trust God for each new step forward, even when I couldn’t see in the dark.
I have strong opinions because I gained the ability to think for myself. God reminded me that I can.
So those strong feelings I have about the unrest we live in right now are based in these deeply embedded facets of my worldview. I cannot help but form my opinions around my life-changing experiences. And those opinions call to my heart and dictate how I will live.
God took my life back from fear, from isolation, from illogic, from misplaced joy, and from doubt in my self-worth.
So where do I stand amidst the unrest that is our Covid-19-lives? I stand in God’s faithfulness.
Because of God’s Faithfulness
Fear is easy. Trust is hard. Guarding against people is easy. Love is hard. Believing the lies is easy. Finding the truth is hard. Falling prey to low self-worth is easy. Fighting for self-confidence against all that tells us we’re less than is hard.
Live the hard. Because in the hard, God proves himself faithful. Over and over again.
Just like giving in to ED would have been the easier choice, so is sitting in the back corner letting the world form your opinions for you.
Instead, I form my opinions based on the faithful patience of my God who never let me go, even when I tried to run.
My opinions in these times stem from my worldview founded on God’s faithfulness. I will not fear, but I will be a wise decision maker as I think logically and carefully about all of the information being thrown at us. I will love people in the way God showed his love to me – in celebration of the life he blessed me to live. And I will choose joy when circumstances try to bend my hope backwards. I will live confident in how I choose to love and move in these unprecedented times. Because that’s how God created me to live.
Choose to Live
Live in balance. Live smart. Live responsibly. Live with eyes wide open. But make sure you live.
Not in fear. Not in isolation. Not in lies and illogical half truths. Not in joylessness. Not in low self-worth.
Live in trust in a God who works. God gave us this one life and he wants us to use it. That is how we bring glory to his name. We are his workmanship, his creation, and his design.
God didn’t create us to be afraid of tomorrow. He created each of us to thrive in today.
Differing Worldview Demand Love at the Heart
Wear a mask, or don’t. Vote for one candidate, or the other. Get tested for Covid, or don’t. Social distance for safety, or give hugs with reckless abandon. Whatever you do, know why you do it, and know how your actions reflect God’s work in you.
Don’t judge another for the facets of their worldview that have grown because of their own life experiences. It’s not our place to judge. It’s our place to love and respect while living true to ourselves as God shaped us to be. That’s hard when so many of us have strong opinions on hot button issues.
But if we choose Joy Today based on our faithful God, we’ve already taken the first step against fear, isolation, illogic, joylessness, and low self-worth.
And that is my strongest opinion of all. Joy Today.