It all started with my desperate desire for control. Just like Eve in the garden, I believed that I knew better, than I knew best. I believed I knew more about my body than God did. I believed that I could manipulate his perfect design. I was convinced that God had messed up when he made me, and that it was my job to “fix it”. I doubted the goodness of God, and took matters into my own hands.
I believed the lie that there was something wrong with my body, and that in order to be happy, satisfied, and content with my life, I needed to change it.
“Oh If I could only lose a couple more pounds, then I would really be happy.”
“I want to weigh ______ lbs. When I do, I know that I’m doing alright.”
“If only I could be like _________. She is thin, fit, runs marathons, eats ‘clean’, AND loves Jesus! She has it all together!”
“Maybe I don’t need to lose weight, but I really do need to tone up a bit before swimsuit season.”
When you are born-again, when you entrust your life into the hands of Jesus, when you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is lord, nothing and no one can take that away from you. You are saved and redeemed and reconciled to God once and for all. The cross of Christ covers that.
But satan (the enemy of our soul) understands this….so he settles for doing everything that he can to cripple, distract, discourage, frustrate, and defeat those who belong to Christ.
So he does what historically has worked- he joins forces with the diet industry and media and feeds us lies about what we should look like, how we should eat, and what we need to do to become better.
And we believe him…so many of us believe him rather than God.
Whether or not you have ever struggles with disordered eating, I would find it hard to believe if you never had a negative thought about your body, your diet, or your fitness level. Our culture is too obsessed with it all for you not to have felt that at some point.
Some individuals may have a few negative thoughts about their body here or there, but are ultimately able to live their lives relatively uninfluenced by the environment around them.
Others, such as myself, are wired in a way that makes it a little more difficult to simply let go of lies we are being told and experiences we have with other people. We internalize things negative body image experiences, conversations with other people, and our own personal thoughts and perceptions about our bodies. The enemy knows this about us, and he tries to take advantage of us whenever possible.
I wasn’t (initially) as resilient as others may be. I started to listen to the lies that satan whispered into my ear about how I wouldn’t be worthy of love unless I looked a certain way or lived a certain lifestyle. Instead of running to Jesus with these thoughts and feelings, I tried to redeem and save myself, and I failed miserably.
I started running a little bit more, dieting, and counting calories, all three of which are socially acceptable and normal. Everything seemed to be going great at first. I was able to run longer and faster, I was consistently staying under my calorie goals, and I began to get compliments about the way my body looked.
I began to place my body, my diet, and my activity level on a pedestal, and elevated them above Jesus. I stopped spending time with Jesus so that I could get in multiple workouts per day, I became confident in my own flesh rather than the power of Christ in me, and I slowly but surely was sucked into a cycle of disordered eating that I couldn’t break free from on my own.
Deep in my heart, through the conviction of the holy spirit, I knew that there was an issue. I knew that I was worshiping created things rather than the creator himself, I knew that I was placing too much confidence in myself, and I knew that what I was doing wasn’t healthy. But it felt so good to feel like I was in control, to receive compliments from friends, family members, and strangers, and even to feel like I had figured out the whole “healthy diet and lifestyle” thing. So I ignored convictions that I felt related to these issues until I was physically no longer able to.
God started placing “road blocks” or warning signs to let me know that something was wrong. I didn’t have a period for over a year, and physically, I was always hurting because I was either starving or recovering from a binge. I became very irritable, anxious, and depressed. I stopped enjoying the things I used to, and lost interest in all things pertaining to life. I spent hours on social media and the internet trying to figure out what I needed to eat in order to feel good and be a certain weight.
Remember, this all started with one decision to believe one lie that turned into a full-blown eating disorder. One lie. Don’t believe that lie.
Spiritually, I was in a pretty dark place. I had completely forgotten who I was in Jesus because my identity had become so deeply intertwined with my eating disorder. I had been a christian for quite a while before the onset of my eating disorder, and there was a lot of guilt and shame surrounding my inability to break free on my own. I didn’t think that christians struggled with this type of stuff. I felt broken, deprives, guilty, shameful, hopeless, and disgusting. God felt very distant, and so often I felt like it was me vs. him.
But all along, God knew. He knew what my journey would look like. He knew that I would turn my back on him and make some not-so great decision. He knew that I would be stuck, and that I would need rescuing. He knew that I would need saving.
I began to cling to the promises of the God, that he would deliver me from the mess I was in, that he would put a new song in my heart, that this season wouldn’t last forever, and that he wouldn’t leave me or forsake me. I started praying that Christ would be my ultimate satisfaction, that he would awaken my affections for him, that I would treasure my relationship with him more than the food that I ate or the way my body looked.
When I chose to acknowledge that I had a problem, God was there, waiting for me to run into his arms. He hand-crafted a recovery team for me, and he gave me the strength each day to push through the obstacles in recovery to get to where I am today.
Knowing Christ doesn’t make eating disorder recovery easy, but it does make it possible.
Every single moment of every single day was a battle. But after months of waiting, wrestling, praying, and crying out to God, I finally began to really change and see deliverance, only by the power of Jesus Christ.
And guess what? The enemy didn’t win…he didn’t have a chance compared to the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for me.
God doesn’t like to see his children get ripped off. One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned in recovery is that God has something so much greater planned for my life than counting calories and losing weight. He refused to allow me to settle for that, and I am eternally thankful that he saved me from wasting my life in the pursuit of weight loss and obsessive, restrictive eating. He saved me from a life of isolation and separation from God and other people. He loved me too much to let me stay in that mess. He was there, all along he was just waiting for me to return home to him.
In the moments when I felt like I couldn’t eat another bite, he was there.
In the moments when I wanted run and hide, he was there.
In the moments when I wanted to relapse, he was there.
In the moments when I noticed my body changing (aka weight restoration), he was there.
In the moments where I felt like giving up, he was there.
In the moments I felt like I had no hope, he was there.
He was always there. God is always there in recovery, sometimes we just don’t look up for long enough to see him.