“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”¹
Recovery is a season of pain, hardship, frustration, confusion, sorrow, sadness, weariness, and waiting. I didn’t ask to be in recovery from an eating disorder, and I know that you didn’t either. Each day, we have to make the choice to wake up and fight to be able to live again. It’s hard, it’s exhausting, and it’s not fair. Recovery is filled with unexpected twists and turns, bumps and bruises, tears and sleepless nights, and an overall sense of remorse. In the midst of such suffocating pain, it can seem like there is no end in sight, that it will never end, and that there is no hope. I have had many days where I felt like there is no way that I will ever be able to be fully recovered, and that this journey was too long and too overwhelming to keep continuing. I often struggle to be content with the progress that I have made, and only focus on all of the things that I still need to work on. Recovery has been one of the most difficult seasons of my life… and yet, it has also been one of the most joy-filled, healing, and hopeful seasons I have ever experienced. Let me explain.
This past summer, I have truly experienced the joy of coming back to life. Areas in my heart that were dead and numb are now joyful and filled with hope. Enslaving thought processes are growing weaker and weaker. I have laughed and loved more in 7 months of recovery than I have in the past 2 years. Recovery has developed in me a heart of greater compassion, empathy, and understanding. It has matured me, grown me, and shaped me into the person that God has called me to be. As painful as it is, recovery has taught me things that I never would have learned without it. There are many precious gifts in recovery.
One of my sweet friends has made the comment before that everything in this life is beautifully temporary. The good, the bad, and everything in between…everything is temporary; nothing lasts forever. On the days or weeks of recovery that I feel like giving up, I remind myself that there will be a time when I no longer have an eating disorder. I remind myself of all of the hard work that I have done, and how I have been given the beautiful opportunity to rebuild my life. I think about my future, my goals, my hopes, and my dreams. I think about starting a family and having a beautiful daughter, who has a mom who is at peace with who God has made her to be. I think about becoming a Registered Dietician, and helping other people find peace and healing through a healthy relationship with food. I think about being a light in this dark world. I think about living for Jesus, and glorifying him in all that I do. I think about taking care of myself so that I am free to take care of other people. I think about developing relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.
Having an eating disorder doesn’t allow you and I to truly live. The pain of recovery pushes me to want to get better, and the desire to truly live pulls me when the pain gets tough. Even if I though I have had many set backs and made many mistakes, each day I am getting stronger and stronger. I know that a lot of times it doesn’t feel that way…but I am learning that any progress is progress to celebrate. I am learning to trust in the timing of the Lord, and truly cling to the promise that God will make everything beautiful in its time.¹ I am confident that God can turn some of the hardest, most unbearable trials in my life into something beautiful. He has done it numerous times in my life, and I am confident that he can do it in yours too.
If you are in recovery from an eating disorder, you are not alone. There are thousands of people across the world who are standing with you and making the choice to rebuild their lives. It’s a very difficult journey, but it is not a journey that has to be without hope. I want to encourage you to think about the blessings that have come out of your recovery and the lessons that you have learned. Brainstorm the things that would define your “full recovery”. Remember all of the victories that you have obtained (no matter how small). Look back, and think about all of the progress you have made. Think about your future goals, hopes, and dreams. Be gentle with yourself, embrace the messiness of the process, and don’t give up.
- Biblica Inc. (2011). Bible Gateway passage: Ecclesiastes 3 – New International Version. Retrieved September 17, 2016.