I am a young woman who for years struggled with an eating disorder…keeping it secret, acting like everything was ok, yet still wondering why God gave me this struggle. I most certainly did not "get" God and even more so did not understand or appreciate why I was addicted to food.
But finally, I am getting it. I get that "When I am weak, He is strong." For most of my life, I grew up going to church. But the only real reason I went was because it was what I was supposed to do…and boy did I do what I was supposed to do. I never rebelled, never expressed my true thoughts or feelings, and never did something I wasn't 'supposed' to do. I was the ultimate people pleaser and performance oriented individual. I thought the only reason I was loved was because I was lovable. People liked me and I was so relatable because I was whatever they wanted or needed me to be. I was the ultimate chameleon, losing myself and who I was to make sure everyone loved me and there was no tension in my life. Unfortunately, I took this performance orientation into my relationship with God. I lived as if the only reason He loved me was because of the good things I did….
But here is where that mentality failed. I secretly held this addiction with food. I never was expressing my true feelings or hurts or desires so I turned to food. I would stuff everything down with food. Binge after binge after binge. Eventually I learned I could no longer deal with the guilt of not eating "perfectly" so I began purging by throwing up. It started out sporadically but eventually turned into an addiction. I would live most of my high school, college, and young adult years in and out of the cycles of binging/purging. Months would go by when I thought I was 'cured' then the next stress or change would occur in my life and it was my go to relief. I hid the eating disorder from everyone… my family, closest friends, boyfriends, and even roommate. It was never an issue, it was just the way I lived and I was probably going to be consumed with food thoughts the rest of my life…who wasn't, right? I acted as if nothing was wrong in my life. Everything came natural to me, I was well liked and successful in almost everything I did. What was my need for God? I never asked myself the deep questions or really tried to figure out who I was.
But that all changed last year. I attended a small group at my church entitled True Reflections – an eating disorder recovery group. This was just the first event in a long chain of events that God designed to bring me to the bottom of the eating disorder. I was so broken that I realized my only way out was giving up control and COMPLETELY relying on Him to heal me. I could no longer depend on food as my way to not feel or handle stressful situations. God was gently seeking me and asking me to turn to Him with my life…to find my identity in Him, understand His love and grace for me, and in turn learning to love Him back by loving myself and who He made me to be.
It has been a long journey and by no means easy, but I can finally say I am 100% thankful for this addiction in my life. Without it, I would never have needed God. I would have kept on living my way and controlling my life. But God brought me to the bottom; exhausted, sick, out of control, and broken. When I needed Him the most, He scooped down and reminded me that He holds me, not the other way around. He taught me that it is only in our weaknesses, being open and honest with Him that He can do His work. And not only will He completely heal and change you, but He will allow your addiction to bring Him the glory!