Today I want to have a very blunt conversation with you… I am not going to mince my words, because I feel like this topic is too rampant and too important. But I endeavor to speak the truth in love, hoping to give some of you girls a vision and a desire to overcoming this issue. And although the topic is about a specific issue, many of the points will be relevant to a number of different sins. So even if you don’t struggle with this particular problem, maybe you should read this article anyway. So what’s the topic?
When some of you read that word, it is like an arrow strikes your heart. A reminder of all the pain you deal with on a daily basis. Maybe you desire to be free, but aren’t sure where to turn…
Before I dive into this article, I want to make a few clarifications. I realize this is a painful, touchy subject, so please bear with me. Realize that I have your best in mind, and desire to see every girl delivered from this. I only want to share some of my experience and thoughts in hope that it will bless someone. I also want to say that you may be anorexic without being extremely skinny. Some anorexics and bulimics are actually within a healthy weight range. But the problem is not weight; it is the mind that is sick. Also, just because you are on a strict diet, trying to loose weight, or eating healthy doesn’t mean you are anorexic per se. If you need to loose some weight, do so in a healthy way, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I encourage it. You will feel healthier, happier and have a better self image. But what I would suggest is getting an opinion from an older adult who will tell you the honest truth about whether or not you need to loose weight, and how to do so in a healthy way. Also, destroying our bodies with eating disorders is a sin. It does not please God, or give Him any glory when we treat ourselves this way. And while I say it is a sin, I also realize it is almost an addiction type problem, which is why I highly suggest you going to someone experienced for help. Keeping these few things in mind, lets get started.
We have all heard that our person is made of three parts; mind, body, and soul. And I have found that it is most often within this order that we suffer from eating disorders and are also healed from them by working on them in this order. To make it a little clearer, I will illustrate.
Mind: I believe all sin begins in the mind. This is where eating disorders begin. We begin to think ‘I am not as beautiful as so and so.’ ‘If only I was as thin as her.’ ‘Maybe someone would love me if I was skinny.’ ‘What would it be like to have so much control?’ We start thinking of ways to skip meals or times to over use laxatives or vomit in order to loose weight. The more you think about it, the stronger the temptation becomes and then it becomes reality to you.
What triggers eating disorders? I’m sure it varies from girl to girl, but I think the most common causes are bullying, abuse, self hatred (usually because our view of beauty is so influenced by society), and desperation to get/keep a boyfriend or find ‘love’.
Body: These are the outward, physical changes that take place because of what we have thought. If you are bulimic, your teeth begin to show signs of erosion from the stomach acid that you vomit up so often. Anorexics and bulimics alike begin having digestive issues, often miss periods, and start loosing weight. Some people get dizzy and have fainting spells. People probably begin commenting on your weight loss which, no matter if the comments are negative or positive usually fuel the desire to loose ‘just one more pound’. Fatigued and tired from lack of calories, it starts to consume you. Weighing yourself obsessively, afraid to eat even a little bit, perhaps even scared to drink water…
Soul: What a toll eating disorders take on our spiritual life. Our soul is no longer taken with God; it is taken with ourselves. We don’t find joy in serving God or others since we are so busy serving ourselves in this way. It is imperative to see the spiritual implications of this. Often we think the only people we are affecting when we have an eating disorder is our self. But this is not true. Think of the loved ones we hurt when they see us struggling, and refusing to take care of ourselves. Also, think of the people you are *not* affecting… Maybe God has someone that He wanted you to witness to or touch in some way, but you cant hear His voice because you have tuned Him out while you listen to the lies of the enemy. And as the days drag on into months, our mind begins to influence our soul, and we think that we are hopeless. ‘this is just who I am,’ we tell ourselves. ‘I cannot change.’ And often with eating disorders comes a deep melancholy and depression.
And so I believe that in a way , our mind affects our body which as it goes on, affects our soul (the very depths of the person we are.)
So for healing, we have to go right back to the source of the problem.
Mind: Until we find rest in our mind, we cannot truly heal. Sure, people can make you eat enough calories, admit you to a girls home, or get you bmi back up to healthy. But as soon as you are out from under supervision, you go right back to your destructive ways. So the healing is not only for the body. It is for the mind. And in order to heal the mind, we have to recognize the faulty thinking patterns and correct them. A true renewing require us to focus on God rather than our self. We have to switch our thoughts from obsessing over food and weight to praying and seeking God.
1. “I have so much control. ”
Self control is not equal to starving. Self control is being able to eat when you are hungry, and eating things that are good for your body, and stopping when you are full.
2. “I will be so beautiful”
Beauty goes much further than skin or weight. True beauty is found in the heart. A truly beautiful person beams with the love and peace of Jesus .
3. “Its my body; it isn’t hurting anyone else. ”
Your choices affect others. The example you set and the people you hurt are a result of your choices.
4. “Someone will notice me and love me.”
If someone loves you just because you are skinny, be very cautious about the type of love they are showing. What will they do when you gain weight? Wouldn’t you rather have someone who loves you based on your godly character and personality? Beauty fades…
5. “I want to look like so and so.”
Comparing ourselves to others will only lead to depression and unrealistic goals. We are not all created the same, so to expect to be able to change ourselves to be like someone else is unrealistic.
6. “I will stop at x-amount of weight lost.”
The truth is that you will never loose enough weight to please yourself. This is why girls die from anorexia.
7. “I am ugly, fat, unwanted, worthless, trash…”
Does God create trash? Is there any soul on the earth that does not have value in His sight? Has he ever turned anyone away?
And these are just a few of the thought patterns that we deal with… There are many more we could discuss, but I believe I will leave it at that. I think you get the idea… I would encourage you to sit down, think about the thoughts you are believing, (I’m fat, I’m ugly or unwanted) and contradict those lies with the truth . Find verses to go along with the truth.
Practically speaking, if you are used to obsessing over calories and gained ounces, it can be a very difficult bondage to break. Dealing with the mental process of addictions is probably the toughest. But God is a miracle worker, a healer, and renewer of minds; it is possible, but it takes a lot of work, and time.
I cannot stress enough how helpful it is to have someone to be accountable to. Have them take the scale away for awhile, or only allow you to use it once a week. If you need someone to monitor your calories, have them do it, so you know you are getting enough. Anything to help you quit thinking about it as much will work wonders. Also, brace yourself for the fact that you will put on weight. But it is not a bad thing. Eating healthy foods may be helpful; you will find that you can eat, get full and stay satisfied while feeling good and keeping your body running smoothly.
Please keep in mind that when I speak about accountability, thinking patterns, etc, I mean switching from wrong thinking to GODLY thinking, getting GODLY accountability. Mainstream, new age thinking will do nothing to draw you closer to God and give you total healing.
Body: Healing in the body will come much easier when we get our thoughts back on track. Realizing the truth about ourselves, and how God thinks about us. Practically, drinking enough water, eating three rounded meals, healthy snacks and if your authorities believe it would be profitable, doing some light exercise, like walking.
Seeing yourself gaining weight is going to be hard, but with every pound you gain, it is a victory. Remind yourself that the healthier your mind and body gets, the more effective you can be for God.
Soul: The soul is deeply involved in all of these steps. When our mind begins warped thinking, it begins to hamper our spiritual life and also shapes our person. And when healing begins, our soul begins to heal. We begin to seek God again, and you find His strength is enough.
The deepest part of our self, our identity, lies here in our soul. And if you have struggled with an eating disorder for any length of time, you feel like it is your identity. To change this, it requires a renewing of our mind, through the Word of God, and slowly, our soul begins to take on a new identity. We realize it is not who we are. This can take awhile; do not be discouraged. If you are working on your mind, having godly thoughts, and doing the best you can, it will change. Self destructive habits leave deep scars, and take awhile to heal. But they do. You just have to keep on, praying, and seeking help for just as long as you need it.
I wish every girl could be given a new set of eyes to see herself the way God sees her; She would change in an instant. But since that is not possible, I hope that this short article can give you a small taste of how precious and priceless you are. And something I want you to remember is that your mistakes do not define you. You can overcome this with God’s help. He does not hold it against you; He is the Master at taking ashes and turning them into something beautiful. The years you wasted, He will redeem.
I realize I have only scratched the surface of a very deep and sensitive subject. If you have any further thoughts, or concerns about this article, feel free to contact me.
All my love,