Hungry Haley

it's more than food


Imperfect and Perfectly Loved

Life, Faith, HealthHaley Hansen1 Comment

If there's one thing I might always get wrong about my faith...

... it's the fact that I'm imperfect. While such a statement may sound quite big-headed of me, it's completely true and it deserves a post here because it's also complicated. 

didn't even bring my Bible. just wrote. cried. wrote some more. then cried and smiled. 

didn't even bring my Bible. just wrote. cried. wrote some more. then cried and smiled. 

What I am NOT saying here is that I think I am perfect. I wouldn't have committed this thing called "life" to Jesus if I thought myself perfect and equipped and strong enough to handle it on my own, you know? What I AM saying is that I expect myself to be perfect. And since my baptism last year, I've battled thoughts that tell me I should be "all clean" and "free of sin" now that I've given it to God. 

Like, these types of things...

  • those eating-disorder-thoughts - you know the ones. How much fat is in that? Did you look at the menu before you made dinner plans? No workout today? You better not eat that ice cream. 
  • those self-comparison joy-suckers - maybe you know these, too. Cool - her legs in those shorts make mine look like poorly stuffed Italian sausages. She got an A in that class, and I barely squeezed by with a C? There go my chances of landing an internship. 
  • (my personal "favorite", which really just means the one I most frequently find myself dancing with) those idolatrous traps - okay, these are undeniable. I can't stop thinking about him. Ugh, I need like three glasses of wine tonight. 

You feel me? And by the way, by no means am I proclaiming myself sin-free and perfect here. I'm doing the opposite, but you have to keep reading to find out more. 

So, this tidal wave of feelings hit me tonight. The wave had been building and building for I-don't-even-know-how-long and tonight it crashed on me. Was it coincidental that I found myself next to the beach? Ehh, debatable. 

a random little bench in a breath-taking neighborhood nestled along the Pismo Beach coast.

a random little bench in a breath-taking neighborhood nestled along the Pismo Beach coast.

It was one of those weeks during which this event kicked it off on the wrong foot, then I tripped over that, and then this other thing bit me in the butt, and so on and so forth. Needless to say, by mid-afternoon today - heck, even midnight last night - I was pretty much a tearful mess (who had gotten dressed up and made it out with her girls for a night of fun) running out off the dance floor because I just couldn't. Thankfully, my best friend was on my comfy bed at home, waiting for me to come stain her shirt with my tears. What a keeper. 

My point: I broke. Throughout the entire week and weeks prior, I'd been wondering with frustration and flecks of guilt as to why I can't get my mind off this, that, and the other thing, and back onto Jesus. Haley, where is the faith you used to hold so close to your heart? To where have your eyes diverted? What's inhibiting you from refocusing? Get your sh!t together. 

Haha, my sh!t's all over the place, dude. And I realized that tonight, hopped in my car, drove myself to the beach to escape any and all responsibilities for at least a half-hour, and immerse my every last bit of energy and emotion into God. Best decision I've made in... a l o n g time. 

I sat and stared at the waves as I let my own waves crash upon themselves in my eyes. Lord, I desire you. I've committed my life to you. But WHY can't I focus on you, worship no one but you, and always find my peace/joy/trust in you? Why do I mess up so much? 

Well, it's because I'm imperfect. And I'm here, on this public park bench (as passersby politely assume I'm all good), wiping my own tears yet smiling at the same time as I realize that, as utterly imperfect as I am, I am even more so perfectly loved. And that's why I'm here. 

I may never - no, I will never - reach a point of smooth sailing, during which fears don't creep in and lies don't sound truthful and people don't become my idols. I am human and I am imperfect. I may also never - no, I will never - fall out of the arms of the perfectly loving Savior, for whom not even Shakespeare's words would come close to doing justice.

I am human and I am imperfect and yet I am perfectly loved. 

You might be wondering if any of this applies to you, eh? IT DOES :) I never want to end a blog post, especially a more personal one like this, without providing you some proof and resources where you can see for yourself that this is true. I explored some blogs and whatnot, and found this from Bible Study Tools. One of my biggest takeaways from reading it: "Unconditional love does not mean that God loves everything we do, but rather His love is so intense that He loves every sinner, no matter how vile and despicable he or she may be in they eyes of humanity, so much that He provides a way for them to find love, life, and holiness (John 3:16)". 

The post introduced me to this verse, which I hadn't read until now...

... he saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sings, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
— Titus 3:5, NLT

Oh, and if you didn't know this, the book of Isaiah is probably one of my favorites of the entire Bible. So, I will always provide you with verses from there. Just sayin'. I read through it last year and still find myself breathless at many of God's words...

... Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands...
— Isaiah 49:15-16, NLT

One more, and beware - this one will get you. 

But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed...
— Isaiah 53:5-6, NLT

And I leave you with this - a quote from one of my favorite books, Idols of the Heart: 

The struggle against the sin in our heart is precious because by it we learn what a great price the Lord Jesus has paid. It is in this struggle that we learn to trust Him and to distrust ourselves, to hate sin and love holiness, to cultivate humility and to long for heaven. And in the midst of it all, we’ll learn the joy of obedience and the happiness that is found only in loving God.
— Elyse Fitzpatrick

Kissing Perfection a Permanent Goodbye

Thoughts, Life, HealthHaley Hansen2 Comments

When people describe me, my heart does a little dance when I hear them say "mature, confident, disciplined, outgoing, humorous" and things like that. Those are all positive qualities, ones I admire in others, too. 

But sometimes, I hear someone chuckle and say, "Perfectionist." The fact that it's a not the best quality to have is noticeable in their eyes and their voice. It's true, though. I've been a perfectionist my whole life, and that's what helped fuel my ED. If you've gone through an ED, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, I guess the best way to describe how I felt was that everything needed to be, well, perfect - no giving in to cravings, no eating more than minimal, no body fat allowed, etc. Perfectionism was even powerful enough to convince me that I can rely on my own desires sometimes, and to distract me from the comfort of trusting in God's will. 

Yes, I've recovered from my ED, but a lingering struggle prevented me from understanding that I. can't. Be. Perfect. And it was in my life even before my ED began - it was the constant self-reminder that I must be flawless when it comes to eating, when it comes to body shape, when it comes to grades and homework and tests and blah blah blah. It's frustrating and it took control of my life for about three years. 

And I'm letting it go. 

Perfectionism has a loud knock, but I choose whether or not to answer the door. When I let it inside, it tells me when and what to eat, how I should look, what size I should be, etc. And who is this so-called "Perfection" to determine all of that for me? 

Just like I found freedom in recovering from my ED, I find peace in letting go of perfection. I am me. I am Haley Elizabeth Hansen. I am 19 years old. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a Cal Poly SLO Mustang. I am single as a pringle. I am constantly curious and forever hungry for delicious food.

And I am the daughter of a gracious, merciful Father who loves me just as I am. Why did I look for comfort and strength showing "perfection" when God's perfect, unchanging, everlasting love is, well, all of those things and more? I don't know the answer to that, and I don't need to, because I've already let go of the need to be sparkly clean. 

This doesn't mean I'll be out drinking and swearing and not giving a fudge about life anymore; it just means that I won't let mistakes, upsets, fear, calories/fat/sugar, and unnecessary distractions get in the of my happiness and, most importantly, this Divine Romance between God and me. 

  • I choose an un-planned day full of adventure over a set schedule that makes my happiness as fragile as glass. 
  • I choose starting constant communication with my savior over constant self-checks for perfection. 
  • I choose homemade scones, juicy veggie burgers, indulgent desserts, and a forever-long food-adventure with one or two extra pounds over restricted "healthy" eating plans and a toned six-pack. 

There are no words to explain how absolutely, breathtakingly amazing this feels. And I'm okay with that, because I always struggle to find sufficient words to describe God's love, too. If you've ever felt or currently are feeling something similar, talk to someone. Don't bottle it up and try to handle it on your own, because it's that mindset of "I can do it on my own" that starts the mess, anyway. It's okay - let your guard down, show a little weakness, and accept and embrace the innumerable beauty marks God has gracefully given you. 

You're flawless in His eyes - striving for perfection on earth is exhausting, emotionally and physically damaging, and, let's face it, impossible. Just be exactly what you are, eat what makes you healthy, energetic and happy, and do what builds your excitement and stretches your smile!