When your body is so starved of nutrients, your brain simply cannot function as it was created to. The depth of darkness that is anorexia sucks you in and makes you believe that you absolutely have no choice. It literally changes your brain chemistry. It’s like an addiction.
I remember at the beginning of it all, I looked in the mirror and said, “I don’t want to be fat anymore.” So I lost a little weight. Then I looked in the mirror and said, “I want to be skinny.” So I lost some more weight. Then I looked in the mirror and said, “I need to be bony.” So I lost even more weight. Then I looked in the mirror and said, “I don’t want to be fat anymore.”
And that is the pit in which I found myself. It’s a way of living. Only you’re barely alive.
Warning: This post contains triggering material. If you are dealing with an eating disorder or have struggled with one in the past, know this is going to be a sensitive subject for you. You know yourself so please use your best judgment in whether or not to read at this time. My goal is to encourage you in whatever struggles you are facing, eating disorder or otherwise, and my message is ultimately one of hope and victory.
I remember being at my grandparents’ one time at a big family get-together. Everybody was eating and having a good time, celebrating some holiday or other. I couldn’t of course. I snuck off to my grandparents’ bathroom at the back of the house and sat on the floor and cried.
I told the Lord I didn’t want this anymore. That I couldn’t eat, and I didn’t know how to make it all stop. I wanted to feel good and not be sick all the time. I didn’t want to hurt and be so freezing cold in the middle of the summer, and be so exhausted that I couldn’t do anything. I wanted to be well. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, and I told Him that. I told Him I still wanted to be skinny, that I didn’t want to give it up even if I could, but that I knew that wasn’t right.
In that moment, crying on the floor, I finally turned to my Daddy God. I knew that what I had been doing wasn’t quite right. And I finally realized that none of that had been anything to do with Him. If I was honest with myself, it was all deception and from the devil. I knew I needed help. I knew I couldn’t help myself and that only my heavenly Father could help me. I surrendered the burden to Him and just trusted Him with it.
I wasn’t healed in an instant. It took time. I had done so much damage to myself in so many ways. But on that day, I realized I had been living without considering the Lord, and I finally invited Him into the picture. And He took it all. Even before I told Him about it, He had borne my anorexia at the cross. He knew every thought and feeling I had about myself, he saw how I had treated myself, and He still loved me. He had been waiting for me.
I know that my sweet mama had been doing the best she could throughout my whole ordeal, and that was continuing in prayer for me. I’m so thankful for her steadfastness and the power of God through prayer.
God is love. This is a truth I learned from my struggle with anorexia. God loves me just as I am. Whether I believe myself to be fat or skinny, pretty or ugly, smart or dumb, worthy or worthless, lovable or unlikeable… God says I am loved. He says I am whole. He says I am forgiven. He says I can rest. He says I have His peace. He says I have His righteousness!
Changing my mind
I had to repent. I’m not the fondest of using that word because of the general misunderstanding of its definition. As if it’s some unworthy plea to be forgiven. Because you know what? If you’ve trusted Jesus as your Lord, you ARE forgiven, and Jesus has made you worthy. And to repent simply means to agree with God that something is sin, and to change your mind about it and turn toward Him.
The subtitle given in the Amplified Bible over chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians says, “Avoid Israel’s Mistakes.” And I hope my story of overcoming anorexia through the grace of God will help you avoid my mistake. Verse 31 says, “Whatever you do–whether you eat or drink or not–do it all to the glory of God!” The majority of chapter 10 refers to eating things without question of conscience. But this verse sure stood out to me, as you can imagine.
Verse 14 tells us to run from anything that even looks like idolatry, and if I’m honest with myself, I was putting my fear of being fat, my not knowing what to do with my life, my extreme focus on myself–all of it–I was putting it first. I didn’t realize that Jesus had already given me His victory.
I changed my mind about anorexia and about striving to be skinny. I realized I was hung up too much on myself and that I needed to focus on my Abba Father who loves me so. He gave His very own Son for me, how will He not also freely give me all things? And I’m so grateful He has freed me from the bondage of anorexia.
Learning to live
God will provide a way for us, but we have to go to Him. It took me a long time to get to that point. And because of the choices I made before I surrendered to Him, there are some consequences I’ve had to deal with. Anorexia can have long-term side effects, and this has been the case for me. Brain fog, stomach problems, vitamin deficiency, a lot of blood sugar issues, shakiness and even illness if I go without food for even a minute too long. (How’s that for irony?) I battled chronic dehydration for years afterward and regularly went to the ER for IVs. I’ve experienced bone pain and pre-arthritis from the damage I did to myself over the years.
And there are the mental attacks that come; thankfully they are very few and far between. But even now the devil will try to feed me his lies at times, and it’s been over 10 years since I dealt with all of it. He will try to tell me something about the number on the scale or the size of my hips, or even my choice of food.
But now I know where to go. And it is not to the scale, and it is not to the mirror. It is to my Daddy God. I make the choice to say, “Lord, you know how I’m feeling about this right now. Thank you that I have the righteousness of Christ, and that by His stripes, I am healed.” And He is continuing to heal me mentally and physically. I haven’t needed an IV in years. And some of the memories I had lost are slowly returning after being shrouded in fog for so long.
There is hope, I’m the proof! And it is through God’s grace alone that I’m here today.
Whatever you’re going through right now, know that God is for you, and He has already given you victory through His Son Jesus. He loves you and wants to bless you and offers you His grace to meet your need. Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to be condemned. Jesus was condemned in your place! Conviction comes out of God’s love for us, but do not allow yourself to feel guilty and worthless, because that is the lie of the enemy. Praise God, Jesus has done away with all of that at the cross! Accept God’s grace for your need and trust Him enough to place it all in His hands. “Come to me, all you who are worn down, and I will give you rest.” This is His promise to you. And what a promise!
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9
What struggle are you facing, and how can I help? Let me know here!
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