People of Faith: Ruth McGinnis
- Thursday, January 09, 2003
After graduating from Juilliard and deciding to explore other styles of fiddle playing such as country and bluegrass, McGinnis moved to Nashville in 1986 - and stumbled on a new career path. "I signed up for classes at a Nashville fitness studio, concerned as always about my exercise regimen. But, fortunately, this studio was years ahead of its time, touting a philosophy of wellness more than the pursuit of body parts of steel."
Thriving in this environment, McGinnis became interested in being certified as health and wellness instructor, and realized she needed to resolve her own unhealthy habits and body image issues. "So I embarked on a humbling and sometimes painful process of emotional and spiritual healing."
During the recovery process, she began to reconnect with God. Although McGinnis had grown up in a Christian home, she became estranged from her faith at age 14, when one of her best friends was killed in a tragic bicycle accident. "I simply couldn't reconcile the God I understood to be great and good with this tragic turn of events."
For many years, McGinnis didn't go to church on Sundays, didn't read the Bible. "I didn't have any of that built into the fabric of my life, which had been a constant when I was a child."
She adds, "I was struggling so hard with my demons and perfectionism and compulsive behaviors, I know that God was involved in that process, but at the time, I didn't feel like He was."
McGinnis describes that part of her life as "broken."
"I was trying to fix it by controlling my weight, with career achievements and through relationships with men," she explains. "I was trying to fix things in my heart and my spirit that human beings can't fix, but I was sure giving it a good college try."
According to McGinnis, it was during the recovery process that she gradually began to think of God. "In recovery, they refer to a principle called 'Let go and let God.' And for me, even though I was surrounded by a lot of different people with differing views of who God was, and how God speaks, because I had grown up with a Christian background, I thought about Jesus."
Another milestone on her journey back to faith was the death of her friend Dunkin Nelson. "I began to think about his memorial service, held at a church he'd never attended, officiated by a pastor who had never met him. Things like that pricked my conscience. It sparked an awareness that maybe investing in my spiritual life wasn't such a bad idea."
Also during that period of time, as she was starting to open up to the possibility of faith, McGinnis started playing with Christian artist Amy Grant. "One of the things that impressed me so much about her," says McGinnis, "is that she never asked what church I went to. She never put me under the Christian industry magnifying glass or asked, 'Are you really a Christian?'
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