Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Guest Post - Tiffany Dawn

This is my 10th year blogging and I wanted to do something a bit different this year. I want to highlight a few of the ministries of friends of mine. I plan to do this as a series of guest posts in the form of an interview. Today is the first of these guest posts and I would like to introduce Tiffany Dawn to my reading audience.

Hello Tiffany, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi blogger friends! My name is Tiffany Dawn, and I live in the capital of winter: upstate New York. At 27-years-old, I have a not-so-secret love affair with raspberry chai, long walks, and being recruited to the CIA. (Hey, a girl can dream!) Oh yes! And the reason for this blog post: I'm about to embark on my second cross-country tour! (The pit of my stomach is currently feeling a strange combination of terrified and ecstatic.) You see, I wrote a book called "The Insatiable Quest for Beauty" and am working on my second: "Boycrazy: And how I ended up single and mostly sane." A year and a half ago I started traveling full-time, speaking on girls' issues, and was amazed at the response. So now? It's become my job. Best. Job. Ever.

Your name name sounds familiar, do we know each other?

Your name sounds familiar too! Let me think...oh wait! Are you my uncle?? :) Yes, Dave Robison is my dad's brother. And he's pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. I got to stay with him and his family during my last tour, and enjoyed many nights of NCIS, froyo, musicals, and beach expeditions.

You mention in your book that you were "boy crazy" growing up. Can you tell us about this time in your life?

I suppose "boy crazy" is an understatement. The only way I can accurately describe this time in my life is through my most embarrassing moment. (Let me preface this by saying: This happened a LONG time ago. I promise.) Growing up I was both obsessed with boys and also extremely dramatic, a frightening combination. Well one day I read a book in which the heroine fainted and six guys rushed to catch her. Inspiration dawned on me. There it was! The solution to my constant wondering as to whether a guy liked me! All I had to do was faint, and if a guy caught me, he liked me. Simple enough. So one day I put this to the test. (A long time ago. Like I said.) I was in the middle of a soccer game, with my crush standing right behind me, when the other team got the ball. Surely this was the perfect fainting moment! Ever so gracefully I put my hand on my forehead, crying "they got the ball!" just before swooning. Falling, falling, it never crossed my mind that he might not catch me...or that this was just weird!! When I hit the ground, I figured my crush must have walked away. Oh no! He was standing right there, staring down at me and rolling his eyes. My first heart break at 11 years old. Ah well, it was his loss. He could have had the chance of a lifetime with this girl! All he had to do was catch me.

When did you first realize that you had an obsession with wanting to look beautiful and what turned it around for you?

When I got to college, I met the guy of my dreams. We started courting and became way too serious, way too fast. On the surface he seemed perfect -- a Christian, worship leader, youth leader, and quite attractive -- but quickly warning signs surfaced. He compared me with his ex-girlfriends, saying I wasn't as pretty or thin as them. He tried to shape me into the woman he wanted me to be -- quiet and timid. He even had a certain way he wanted me to dress and do my hair. Yet I pushed every warning sign into my subconscious, because I so badly wanted to have a boyfriend and get married. During that relationship, the typical teenage struggles I'd had with body image deepened. Pretty soon I equated being "good enough" with being "pretty enough" and "thin enough" -- yet never felt I was. I began struggling with disordered eating and obsession over my appearance, a battle that consumed several years of my life. There was no single moment that changed everything for me, rather it was a journey over several college and post-college years. Funny, as much as I hate journeys, God seems to love them, because it's along the journey that I come closer to Him and discover an intimacy I wouldn't know as fully through an instant miracle.

What did God teach you through this time in your life?

One of the main lessons God taught me during that time was this: "God doesn't love me because I'm good enough, but because I'm His daughter." One day I was moping around my parents' house when my dad noticed something was wrong. I said, "Dad, I feel like I've let you and mom down so much that I can never please you again." He walked over and took me in his arms, saying, "Tiffany, I don't love you because you're good enough. I love you because you're my daughter. Yeah you've made some stupid mistakes, but that doesn't change a thing. I love you because you're my daughter." In that moment I realized my heavenly Father was saying the same thing to me. It was like He was saying: "Tiffany, all your life you've tried to be good enough, to prove yourself to Me, but you can never be good enough. All your best deeds are still like filthy rags, and yet I died for you anyway. I chose you before you ever loved Me. You can never earn My love, but I've given it to you anyway." Slowly He taught me that life is not about being good enough; it's about staying close enough to Him. I'd always been an overachieving perfectionist, thinking I had to prove myself to everyone, including God. My "quest for beauty" was just another way of proving myself. Learning the delight of my heavenly Father, and that He simply wanted me to be near Him, changed everything.

Last year you release your first book, tell us about it.

Well, I started writing my first book when I was 19 -- right smack dab in the middle of all my struggles with body image and disordered eating! One day I was pulling into my parents' driveway, turned off my car, and felt in my heart like God was telling me, "Now's the time to write that book you always wanted to write about beauty." It was the weirdest time to start writing while still struggling, but it captured all the raw emotions I would have lost otherwise. The book is called "The Insatiable Quest for Beauty" and shares my journey through coffee dates (aka chapters) that contain my journal entries, struggles, and the practical steps God taught me to walk in freedom as a daughter of the King. Six years later, at age 25, I released the book. The boxes arrived just before a conference I was speaking at that night, where I sold nearly all of my order. Shortly after that, my dad suggested I quit my job and try speaking and promoting my book full-time. It was one of the most nerve-racking decisions I've ever made, and yet one of the most amazing adventures I've ever experienced!

You are about to start your second speaking tour. What will you be doing and where will you be going?

Yes, Tour #2 begins in TWO DAYS. Oh man! I'm so nervous, to be honest, but also very excited. I'll be trundling cross-country in my two-door Honda Civic brimming with books, CDs, coffee mugs, suitcases, a guitar, and me and my intern. We'll be traveling to approximately 25 states in three months. I'll be speaking at churches, colleges, and high schools, sharing "The Insatiable Quest for Beauty Seminar," which incorporates storytelling, preaching, and songs I wrote along my journey. On this tour we're hitting up the south and west coasts during the cold months, then heading to the north and midwest during April.

How can people get in touch with you or find out more about your web site, book, tour, or other resources?

Absolutely! I would love to hear from each of you! You can reach me by email at tiffanydawn@tiffanydawn.net, or visit my website (www.tiffanydawn.net) to find my books, CD, and more resources.

Thanks so much Uncle Dave for having me on your blog! And thank you to each of you blogger friends for spending this time with me!

Thanks Tiffany for your time and we will be praying for you as you start your tour. I hope you make it out here to Virginia again soon as we all miss you very much. Blessings, Uncle David

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