This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, but looking back at my life, I did use food as a source of comfort. I misused food in a way that is probably a slippery slope to abusing food.
In middle school, I ordered some "diet pills" out of the back of a popular youth magazine. I was in the midst of 7th grade awkwardness experiencing puberty and a bad hair cut when I began looking to food for comfort. I think I took one of the pills, I'm certain it was nothing more than a multi-vitamin, but I was for sure hoping for a magic solution. I really was not even overweight, but compared myself often to the other girls around me and in that comparison, would make myself feel like I was the largest person in the room. Over the years, several factors contributed to an ongoing lack of self confidence and my tendency to comfort myself with food became an engrained behavior.
As an adult, married with kids, I went on a mission trip. It was there that The Lord started speaking to my heart about this issue. He started showing me that I was adored, worthy, intensely loved by Him and created in His image. The the lack of self confidence and sense of unworthiness I had been holding on to was a complete lie. Over time, He showed me how much He loves me and my heart really began to change.
He showed me how food had become an idol in my life. I was valuing it more than I valued God. The way He revealed that to me, while humbling, was so completely transforming. It was a real "Ah ha" moment and because I did not want to live a life where I was putting anything before Him, especially food, I surrendered it to Him. I received what He was telling me about how He feels about me and I gave Him first place in my life.
As I think on some of the reasons why girls and boys may entertain eating disorders, I have to believe that there is a similar spirit holding them down. One that is telling them they will never be good enough and never be loved. Why do we believe these lies?
Why do we idolize people based on how skinny they are? Don't we want the kind of respect, love and acceptance that is unconditional and not based on what we look like on the outside, but rather what is in our heart? We say that a lot about what we look for in others. Do we believe it for ourselves too?
When we first give ourselves to God, trusting Him for the truth He gives and the way He says He loves us, there is something that changes in our spirit and makes us want to care for our bodies differently. Makes us want to treat our body like a temple. This kind of God influenced heart and mind transformation is the only lasting, real solution to these horrible lies we allow ourselves to live in. Everything else is fading and subject to the world. Since God is not of the world, His solutions are greater. His promises are forever. His word is final.
Friends, you are Adored by your creator. When the world tells you otherwise, tell it to shut up. Look up to heaven and ask God to show you how much He loves you. If He doesn't answer right away, keep asking. He will.