To fake it is to stand guard over emptiness.
Arthur Herzog may have penned those words, but I have lived them. I guarded the howling emptiness with my best foot forward, determined to convince myself and others of my favorite three words: I. Am. Fine.
Maybe I looked like I was. To others, I was a shy, quiet, studious young woman who was focused on college and a career in nursing.
But the truth is, I wasn’t fine. (If you missed part 1, read about my struggle here.) I was a church going, Bible reading, insecure, rebellious mess.
The eating disorder was only a symptom of the “Jesus-and” syndrome. You know what I mean? Jesus-and-success. Jesus-and-affirmation. Jesus-and-skinny. Jesus-and-you-fill-in-the-blank. Because I didn’t just want Jesus. I wanted Jesus and my control, my ego, my life on my terms and my way, thank you very much.
Jesus, He could have the most of me. But the corners and crannies and dark closets…those empty places I guarded over so vigilantly? They were standing room only for a whole howling load of demonic activity. For a while, it felt good to hold onto the control. Until suddenly, one day…I realized that I was nothing more than a puppet ruler. I’d been ousted.
God had to grab me from that mud, and it wasn’t neat and tidy and wrapped up in a sanitary package. (The way I prefer things.) No, it was a crisis of belief – etching the truth of my identity in Christ – over, and over, and over my heart. In retrospect, I very much wish that I had seen a Christian counselor, but that thought never occurred to me. Counselors were for people with issues, right? And I didn’t have issues, just an eating disorder that was no big deal…Yeah, right.
I’ve said it before, but I just can’t help myself – God is so rich in mercy. He loved me so much that He rescued me from my self-destructive patterns and corrupt way of thinking. I know it’s different for every person, and I thank God that He used Scripture memory, an accountability group, and the prayers of other believers as a means of freedom in my life. But I cannot urge you enough to seek professional help as well if you struggle with an addiction or eating disorder. We all need the right kind of help.
It’s kind of weird to say that 3 x 5 cards scrawled out with Bible verses were the stepping stones out of my homemade quicksand, but it’s the truth. I posted them all over my room, read them and re-read them and kept re-reading, and eventually they became more than words. They became my truth. I started to believe that I was beloved, just as I was, and that God’s heart towards me was not stern and angry, and disapproving. I started to realize that He…liked me. Appreciated me. Wanted good things for me. (I’m planning to put together a list of Scripture references to post later, but if you want it sooner, would you email me? searchingformyeden (at) gmail (dot) com. )
It’s been over a decade of freedom for me.
I love good food.
But I still notice, every once in a while, when I’m especially stressed or insecure that old revulsion sweep over me. The clenching of my stomach, the tightness of my throat. But the difference is…I know where to run when I push back my chair. And when I get off my knees, I have more than an appetite for eating…
I have an appetite for living.
Have you ever struggled with an eating disorder? Or do you know of anyone who has?
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This book was a fantastic read about identity and eating disorders. I read it this last year and loved it!