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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Purging Unhealthy Habits

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.


Denise said...

Wow, this truly speaks to my heart sister. Thanks for sharing, please come by my blog later today, and read my blog post for the day, it will be titled confessions. I love you, and keep you in my prayers always.

Leah @ Point Ministries said...


I battled, and sometimes still do, anorexia for years. I never purged...just did not eat.I blogged about it about a year or so ago. It took many years for me to learn that it is totally about control. After I did Kelly Minter's Bible study, No Other Gods, I really understood that my body was my god for so long. Uugghhh!! How despicable! I only want one God and I am most definitely it.

Bless you, Lisa. You will be in my prayers.


Kathy@ Gone North said...

Great post, Lisa
I love your quote. "I don't believe who God says I am & what He says about me"
That could be/should be said about all of our struggles.
I did Youth Ministry for many yrs. telling something like that to so many teen girls.
"God made you perfect & excepting for our sin... you are exactly what He planned you to be"
Thanks for the reminder to me today.... it was exactly what I needed

Jen said...

What a powerful post, Lisa. I really want to read that book. One of my good friends just texted me today to tell me I need to get it.
You are beautiful, inside and out . Know you are in my thoughts and prayers. xoxo

Sandy Cooper said...

You are so brave. By posting this, you will free countless other women from their heart issues. I've prayed for you about this post. :)

I was just telling a friend today, "I hear voices all the time of people accusing me of being idle, of not doing enough, of not being enough." And when I think who it is that might be accusing--who are these PEOPLE, I realize it's not a person at all...it's THE Accuser. The Father of Lies. My Enemy.

And that is where the word of God is so very powerful. The word of God silences the voices.

I am going to walk this road with you...the one where we study and learn what the WORD says about us, so we can silence The Accuser. Let's start swapping e-mails with our discoveries, Sis.