Results of Lent

As anyone who has been following me for any length of time knows, I started Lent with two specific goals that I made public, as well as several others that I kept private. I had planned on blogging every day of Lent but as I started posting I figured it would all be boring to most people anyway and so I didn’t. However, the main thing for me was to spend extra time focusing on God and my relationship with him, which is important because right now I’m so busy I can hardly see straight. I’m taking four college courses, I graduate from my first degree in July, I work 30 hours a week at an awesome job that for the most part I love. I’m going to therapy for my eating disorders, I’m doing some yard work and planting, and I’m working out. Something has to give, and a lot of times it’s my time with God that ends up being cut out. 

So spending extra, focused time was good for me. My two major goals were 1) to give up cussing, which I haven’t been perfect at but after almost 40 days, I cuss much less than I used to, and I go some days or even a few days in a row without cursing at all! For me that’s huge. My other goal was to not consume any caffeine, which I managed to do and hopefully I will remain caffeine free because caffeine is an issue for me. What I wasn’t planning on was for God to totally shake me up the way he did, although I’m glad that he did. There was a song that the band sang at church several weeks ago that I had never heard before but that really spoke to me and I have played it over and over since then. It’s a song called “Lay Me Down” and it’s a really rockin’ song. But singing the words “I lay me down I’m not my own, I belong to you alone…” was amazing. I find that when I sing things, or recite things, that it’s a declaration, and when I make such declarations, God takes them seriously. 
So between my extra focus on God for Lent, and taking the time to actually listen to him, and the song “Lay Me Down” really speaking to me, God told me I needed to get help for my eating disorders. Starting to deal with them has been very scary for me but I know that God is the great physician and that he heals. So on resurrection Sunday, I certainly will be different from what I was at the beginning of Lent. It is because of Jesus and his resurrection that I can be healed from my eating disorders and I am trusting him for that healing (well, today, anyway, today has been a pretty good day).

First Day

So today was my first day of treatment/therapy/whatever for my eating disorders. It ended up being ok but getting to know a new doctor is always rough for me, even though she seemed really nice. I feel really vulnerable talking about my life with someone I haven’t built a relationship with yet. But there wasn’t any alarm bells going off in my head about the doctor, and I think we will get along fine. Talking about the doctor, she wants me to do one thing that I was very afraid of. She wants me to keep a food journal. I was afraid she’d want me to do that, and actually I have no clue why it scares me so much but it does.

I have to say thank-you to all the people who have been supporting me, I really appreciate it and I need your support in getting well. Although I don’t know some of you very well yet, you’re all the support I have. It’s interesting really, I feel more aware of the presence of God by trying to get better. I feel like he is happy that I want to get well, he wants to make me whole, as someone who doesn’t struggle with food. Thank-you to all of you who have told me truth about myself that I have been unable to believe. I need you to keep telling me, I need lots of truth right now.

I’ve faced some pretty tough things in the past few years. First I gave everything away and packed my whole 21 first years of my life into two suitcases and moved to the other side of the world to marry a man I had known for 7 months. Then I left fundamentalism and at the time it felt like I had lost everything but in the end I gained so much. This feels tougher than any of that, this deals with something that I’ve been struggling with for seventeen years. But then again, Jesus healed the woman who had the issue of blood all those years. He wants to heal me, I know he does, and that is exciting but I’m scared about the process.

I am going to try to ,make the effort every day to wear nice clothes and makeup because those are things that make me feel good about myself. I’m going to keep persevering in my quest to eat healthy and work out.  Today was an important day, it was a step towards healing.

Ugh…More About Food…

Every single day, food is a struggle for me. I managed to keep what I was doing a secret for so long. But just last week, I reached out for help to end a sixteen year struggle. I confessed to my doctor some of the struggles I was having. I love my doctor, she’s a blessing, and she has worked with me, prayed with me, told me that she’s sorry I can’t see how beautiful I am. I’ve never believed myself to be beautiful, and I pick at all the faults that I see on my body. People try to remind me that the Bible says I was fearfully and wonderfully made, but it’s just so hard to believe. I keep thinking that if I can fix one certain thing, such as my belly weight, that I’ll be happy with my body. But I know it’s not true because it never has been true. There are so many things that make me feel ugly, and then I think that I will always be ugly. I’m embarrassed that I’m 28 years old and yet I struggle so badly with food. Then when I am embarrassed I tell myself that I am stupid because of my lack of self-control.

I joined a gym again, I’m not sure if it’s healthy at this point in time but I do want to do something about eradicating belly weight, and just keeping fit. I really like how I feel when I’ve been working out. These past two weeks I’d been wearing scrubs pants and tops to work because I felt like they hide how fat I am, but today I decided I wasn’t going to do that anymore. Not sure if that will be a lasting decision or if I will change my mind tomorrow, that’s how fickle I am. Sometimes I feel a little stronger than other times, and the stronger times I will wear things because I like them, and in the weaker times I’ll wear whatever baggy clothes I own in order to hide my body.

I really feel that God wants me to get through this, and I know in theory that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, but this seems like such a hard thing. But then I remember that he has brought me through so many other hard things, and then I hope that maybe he can bring me through this, too. I feel like God is exposing my secrets to the light, and that is uncomfortable but being a Christian is about getting out of what is comfortable and actually doing something that’s meaningful.  

My Journey: The Food Edition

Sometimes I know something, but I don’t really know it. I’m a sociology student, which means I know all about how society constructs gender and how we embody certain philosophies and ideas. I have the scientific knowledge I need to research and explore topics such as why women feel the need to have slim bodies and conform to particular ideals. I know what the Bible says, too, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I know that God loves me the way that I am. I have studied basic psychology and know about eating disorders, what the symptoms are, how they affect people.

And yet, I’ve struggled with eating disorders for most of my life. I have gone from anorexia, to bulimia and sometimes have gone between the two. It makes me feel really stupid, to know all the things that I do and yet to struggle the way I do. Food and I have had a controversial relationship for sixteen years. I’m sure food and I will continue to have a controversial relationship.

I thought that I could get through this if I could simply learn some self-control. I have some great friends who share truth with me about how God sees me, and yet I loathe myself and pick on every imperfection, over and over, not being able to realize that God doesn’t see them as imperfections, because it’s how he chose to make me. I forget that I’m an authentic, handcrafted creation. Over and over I try to force myself to believe the truth of who I am, and I have made some progress with that.

But it’s not that simple. It’s been a sixteen year battle and finally I have gone to get help. I’m going to be getting specialized counselling and getting the help that I need. I want to get through this. I know that some people document journeys through cancer and other diseases, I’m hoping to document my way through this, and I’m trusting God for healing (well, sometimes).

I’ve been pretty good at hiding my issues until now. I have started altering my wardrobe choices in order to hide as much fat as possible. I’ve been trying different things with my hair and style, never fully liking anything, going from one thing to the next. I want freedom, the freedom to be who he made me to be. I feel kind of stupid because I feel like I should have “gotten over it” when I was a teenager. I’m embarrassed that I’m 28 years old, and yet I still have these issues.

Interestingly enough, this issue has come to a head during Lent, while I have been focusing more closely on my relationship with God. I know God wants me to find freedom, and I think that’s one of the lessons he’s teaching me through the ritual of Lent. I’m really scared and I’m afraid of accountability because quite frankly, analyzing my eating choices that much just isn’t appealing to me, and yet I realize that that I analyse my food choices all the time, it’s why I do what I do. I just don’t want to be accountable for them.

The Bible says that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I’m trying to believe, and I’m trying to get well.