I swiped my card with my lips pursed together….willing myself to just keep it together until I got to the car. Once I was in the car, the tears rose up to the edges of my eyes, but I wasn’t able to actually cry. It’s been awhile since I’ve truly let feelings seep over the edge and fall into my lap, so I wasn’t totally surprised by my inability to release all the tension I was feeling.
My grocery bill came to $140.00 today. It’s the 1st of the month so I made my monthly trek to Walmart (it’s about 25 minutes away because Ann Arbor is too upscale for Walmart – eye roll). My mind was racing, “How will I make this all work?” “How can I afford this every month?” “What am I doing wrong?” “Is this excessive for one person?”
I eyed the groceries staked in the back seat – wet and dry dog food, ziplock bags, trash bags, some school supplies…and then the things that really jacked the bill up: 2 packs of ensure, clif bars, koshi bars, greek yogurt filled with”EXTRA” protein, cheese, etc. The things that you wouldn’t normally find on a college kids shopping list.
And maybe that’s what was most upsetting to me. I’ve made so much progress, SO.MUCH.PROGRESS…it’s undeniable. But then there are times like these were I feel like I can’t escape the flames – the eating disorder is still so present in so many aspects of my life…such as my grocery bill. When will all this end? And I mean, when will it really truly end? When will “Ensure” be a part of a foreign language?
Maybe a small part of the issue is that I had a doctors appointment today with my PCP (primary care physician) who happens to be one of my favorite doctors I’ve ever had out of all the PCP’s, therapists, psychiatrists, dieticians, etc. The nurse who took my vitals told me my weight. Now, I’d be lying if I said that I was shocked – I wasn’t shocked because for awhile now, I’ve had a general idea of what my weight is – but to SEE it on the scale, to HEAR her say it…it felt like someone had slapped me.
This is my reality. But ya know what? Paying for expensive groceries, although a pain and honestly kind of frightening when you’re living on an extremely tight budget like I am, is a hell of a lot cheaper than paying for treatment. My parents spent tens of thousands of dollars on intensive treatment for me and that was WITH insurance. Without insurance it would have cost over $100,000.00. Yes, you read all those zero’s correctly…it would have been well over one hundred thousand dollars for the time I spent between inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, and outpatient treatment (which, by the way – I am STILL in and they are continuing to pay for).
It’s the start of a new school year which means that I’m beginning to meet tons of new people…which also means that I have to do the obligatory, “Hi, my name is Sarah Catherine and I’m a sophomore violin performance major.” but it doesn’t stop there because for whatever reason I also feel obligated to add,
“But I’m actually 22 because I took some time off from school.” And that’s hard also because it’s a reminder to me and a notification to them that, regardless of whether it’s negative or positive, “hey this girl is different from most other people.”
So, maybe I’m struggling with acceptance. It’s always been an issue, but this time of year is just super tough. I’m struggling to accept that my reality includes different things from the “average” college kids reality – but just because I took the road less traveled doesn’t mean I can’t make it to the same destination. Taking the scenic route sometimes yields more fruit than taking the regular path.
I wish I was unafraid and unashamed of this path I’ve taken. My prayer is that maybe some day I’ll be able to trust my rebel heart and be proud of taking the road less traveled – after all, if I hadn’t taken that route, who knows where I’d be now?!
I’m trying to accept this less traveled path, ride into battle, and be unafraid of the road ahead of me. I am trying to accept that this is an investment in myself – taking care of this body God has blessed me with is an honor and a gift and I want to treat it well and take good care of it. I need to trust that God will provide the means to do so. I need to trust that God’s got this all under control, and I am so glad that I have a Savior to rely on for these tough moments – there is no where I can go and nothing I could ever face that He has not already experienced himself.
The best part is that God already knew I would take this lesser known path – He walked it before me and knows all the ins and outs. He sees my struggles and He sees me in these tough moments where I am sitting alone in my car and wondering why on earth things are still this way?! But He also uses moments like these to bring me back to Him – to trust Him and to remind me that, although the battle still rages, He has brought me out of the fire. Why would He go to all that trouble if He were going to leave me here now?
One of my favorite things about Jesus is that He loves us unconditionally – there is nothing we can do that would turn Him away from us. He loves us just the way we are, but He also loves us far too much to leave us that way. He loves us so much that He wants what’s best for us – and He KNOWS what’s best for us better than we know ourselves.
Isn’t that a relief, friends? That when we feel ashamed, guilty, and alone that He is always there reaching out to us in uncountable ways?
Despite the overwhelming anxiety and fear that this simple grocery store visit instilled in me, I would also like to share that I received word that I got the part time job that I applied for. I found out today – just before going to the grocery store (ironically enough) and it will take a bit of the financial pressure off and offer a little bit of a cushion each month with which I can LIVE life – go out with friends, go to concerts, be social, interact with the world, etc. I am so, so grateful for God’s presence in my life – this afternoon I hadn’t even thought to stop and thank Him for blessing me with this job which is IN the school of music here at U of M and has flexible hours and pays above minimum wage – but now, in reflection – I see how He was speaking out to me, “Trust me. You’re doing just fine. I will provide for you. Trust me.”
“Seek Me in good times; seek Me in hard times. You will find me watching over you ALL the time.”
-Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
“I am not where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be. I am OK and I am on my way!”
We will always be a work in progress – we can allow that to paralyze us in fear, or encourage us towards the growth we’re meant to make.
She’s my happy-go-lucky! She’s my saving grace! ❤
“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
― C. JoyBell C.