This has been on my heart to write about, and it’s in NO WAY easy for me to write. My hope in writing this blog is that I would be able to be completely vulnerable with you, and that you would see and understand the freedom we have in Christ to love ourselves and see ourselves through Christ’s eyes. Usually it takes me 1 day at most to write about something, but this screen for a rough draft has been in front of my eyes for weeks. To open up something in my past that I felt defined me, that had a grasp on how I ran my life; I was drowning in a secret I couldn’t bear to let anyone see. But I want to write to those who feel the farthest from freedom because of addictions or obsessions.
A few years back, I was in a deep secret of having an eating disorder. I felt like I could never define it as that though…I never got professional help so I didn’t think it had a label.
If you know me pretty well, I am one who can open up and be vulnerable about how I’ve battled with self-esteem and self-worth issues (that is if you REALLY know me). I never felt worthy of being pursued and never felt pursued by anyone. I never felt good enough for anyone. I never felt pretty enough. A few years ago, Jesus and I were pretty “tight.” I entered into a season of growth and understanding of how much God loves us. He seriously loves us so much. It seemed like nothing could go wrong! Well, I would go into these ruts where I felt not “good enough” and not worthy of being pursued. Then I thought, “well maybe I’m not skinny enough,” or “maybe I don’t have the perfect body.”
After months of watching and obsessing over the numbers on the scale going down, after countless, tiring times of making sure I was counting every single calorie that I took in, and if I ate something “unhealthy” ..I had to match those exact calories by burning them off in the gym. I felt my body wanting to be cared for when I laid in bed at night. My body yearned for respect and I felt changes within me that weren’t good. I was weak. I was falling apart. And lo and behold, I still didn’t feel “good enough.” Nothing I did made me feel better and it made me want to work harder on something I thought I could control.
This seemed totally normal for me. Oh, and me and God were “tight” remember. But I was so blinded and consumed by my obsession, I didn’t dare listen to what God had to say about it. I was still eating, right? And exercising is great for you, so there’s nothing wrong with that. But no. I took things to a level where it was unhealthy. I was in total denial. And because I was worshiping something other than God, that was what consumed my thoughts.
After a couple months, and thank the Lord Almighty for friends that can see you in the dark times and can call you out on things, because just that exact thing happened. A couple of my beautiful friends called out on my habits and how unhealthy I was getting. I couldn’t take that feedback in but in my heart….I knew they were right.
To make a long story short, I had to surrender myself from the hold of this obsession. I felt the chains of it holding me down and I had NO idea how to bring it to Jesus. But somehow I felt Him calling me. Despite my shame and despite my guilt, He was calling me beloved, He was calling me beautiful, He was calling me worthy of His pursuit.
It was a hard recovery. It was by no means easy either. It took a very long time…. but knowing that my God has an abundance of grace that lavishes on me…..wow. And He was just waiting for me to surrender. He was there through the tears, through the frustration, through the guilt of going back to old ways trying to control my life, and through the journey back to Him. Going back like the prodigal son.
But I feel FREEDOM.
Easter season has passed, but yet it is still upon us.
Chains are broken. Shame has fallen. And all the things I’ve done, all the things I’m going to do that turn away from God, it is nailed to the cross.
I want everyone to be able to feel that.
For any women (and I suppose any men who are reading) who are struggling with body image…feeling like you’re not good enough, feeling worthless because your body is bigger than you want it to be, feeling like you’ll never attain the perfect body so you spend hours trying to perfect it. Reality is….you’ll never attain it. You’re going to keep chasing and chasing. You will try to fill this void in your heart. But I want to let you know: your body is NOT a construction project. You can’t perfect it. You can spend hours and hours at the gym. You can spend hours obsessing how you’re not pretty enough. You can spend hours obsessing what goes into your body. You can obsess over changing your hairstyle, buying the perfect clothes, tanning your skin, until you believe you are now “good enough.”
” Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
You are beautiful. You have been bought with a price. You need not to worry about anything. The hairs on your head have been counted.
It brings me to tears when I hear someone ridicule their body or the way they look. Our bodies are so precious. They let us do amazing things. They don’t have to be perfect but they need to be treated with respect. So…put good inside of you, get good out.
I really don’t know how to end this post. For those who know me…this isn’t about my past. This isn’t about the broken person I was, but it is about the freedom I have experienced through Christ. And ANYONE can feel that, all it requires is surrender to Him.
So as I end, I pray that everyone who reads this either feels freedom, or is able to help those who are struggling. Just know you are more precious than anything, you are handcrafted so carefully, and so fearfully and wonderfully made. There is freedom and you don’t have to fight addictions/obsessions alone AND (!!!!) there is freedom from hating the way you look, and not loving yourself. Because once I surrendered that all to Christ, I’ve never felt more free.
You can be set free.
And most importantly, you don’t have to struggle anymore.
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making EVERYTHING new!'”
(aka, you are made new. cool beans.)