Defeated, my head in my hands, I sit on my bed and cry. For the first time in over fifteen years I contemplate walking into the bathroom to purge.
I am the thin girl with food issues. In my twenties I realize the horrible cycle of restriction leading to binging and purging separates me not only from people but from God. I cry out to Him to help me and He gives me the strength to stop. No more laxatives, no more late night workouts because I slipped and ate half a pizza, no more crazy diet pills I ordered off of late night TV.
With my change in behavior, I expect miraculous victory. My body is spared but my mind remains victim. Every day for as long as I can remember my mind accuses me.
You’re so fat.
You’re so ugly.
You’re lazy and you can’t do anything right.
What a loser!
You have to work twice as hard as everyone else to succeed.
Here is the problem. The only difference in my life over the last fifteen years is how I’ve dealt with the internal stress my body image causes. Practicing self-discipline, small portion sizes, eliminating chocolate and caffeine and routine exercise help me keep the stress at bay.
Trouble is some things are out of my control. Suddenly last year a cancer diagnosis steals my health. Even if I want to go for a run, I can’t with doctors’ appointments, insurance battles and insomnia. As long as my appetite is diminished, I can deal with it. Then I begin treatment. I drive the hour plus drive to the hospital both ways, lots of days with my four-year-old. When I come home, I am exhausted. He is not. My older children need me. Laundry needs me. Homework needs me. Boxes still packed from our recent move need me. Emails, phone calls, well-wishers and my blog need me. My skin is raw. I’m too tired to go to the grocery store or cook. My husband brings home fast food. Every night for six weeks, we eat junk and the fact that I have cancer isn’t enough to make me stop, do more, exercise, change things immediately.
Feeling lethargic, lazy, sick and overwhelmed, I just want to throw up. That would make me feel better, I reason.
In that dark moment, God speaks. This is not a food issue, Lisa. This is a control issue. You don’t trust me.
All these years I have battled the wrong monster. My food issues are only the manifestation of a heart issue. I don’t believe who God says I am and what He says about me. The desire to purge is an external attempt to solve an internal problem.
And all the healthy habits I’ve worked so hard to master only mask the real problem.
Even a healthy lifestyle fails to nourish the soul.
As I am wrestling with these heart issues, Lysa TerKeurst invites me to be a part of her newest Bible study Made to Crave. I feel an intense pull to say yes even though I don’t need to lose weight. And saying yes turns into a life changing decision.
Do you need hope for change too? Come back Monday for more encouragement and a special giveaway.