3 Things that Made My Recovery from Anorexia FINAL (1 of 3)

…I need some encouragement, maybe insight on how you made it fully through recovery…to the other side and were able, and now are able to say you are recovered.–She asked me

Funny, I just wrote a book about this, and when presented with the direct question, I had no idea what to say. So, I took the dog for a walk.

What would I do if God didn’t drop things into my head? For sure, I wouldn’t be blogging and I wouldn’t have a book.  Believe me, you wouldn’t care what I had to say.

I sat down to write this sweet friend back and nearly tripped over #3thingstomakerecoveryfinal 

She gave me permission to share them with you:

1 of 3

1. I had to pitch all the women’s magazines. You’re right, it’s still all around you. You’ll still hear in the chiropractor’s office. Many of your friends will still talk about their weight management. But for me, eliminating the pictures made a HUGE difference. I can’t express how much. I deleted the workout sites I followed on YouTube. You and I know how to exercise. Watching those things only causes us to obsess over the “perfect” workout. Yep, trashed the Oxygen and Clean Eating Magazines too. Even the “healthy” ones. I even tossed some cookbooks. Everything that fed into the constant consideration and reconsideration of being the perfect eater or exerciser.

I fully understand the longing to still be one of the radicals. I still wanted people to look at me and think “She’s one of the fittest people I know”. Isn’t that okay?

Admittedly, I still struggle with this a bit. God has been so very, very good and even as I’ve cut my exercise to 1/10 of what it used to be–God and only God–the creator and sustainer of this body, has enabled me to stay at a healthy weight (he didn’t curse me for my rebellion by making me fat). So, the temptation is still there to want others to say, “Wow!”

You know what? I don’t remember the last time someone did. And good grief, you know what?? I don’t care 🙂

I came to better understand those emotions and the drive for perfection as I wrote my book. I had never before realized how much I WANTED everyone to think I was better–even better than they were. It’s an awful admission and kind of ironic since much of our eating disordered behaviors stem from feeling bad about ourselves and denying the things we want. But truthfully, I wanted people to envy and admire me. And when I was successful at running farther or eating less–I felt powerful and superior.

I have learned to overcome that desire. It didn’t come by abasing myself or convincing myself that I was an awful person for feeling that way. Really, it only came about as I have looked more at Jesus and less at me. Let me try to explain that one:

Instead of focusing on fighting my eating disorder. Instead of focusing on changing my thoughts or behaviors, in many ways, I quit looking at myself. You and I know that we can’t change ourselves, the Bible tells us that and we know by experience. But Christ can. So, instead of trying to fix me, I just began to stare more at Him. Read about HIS loveliness, play sermons and Christian music even when I wasn’t listening. And that leads me to another VERY important point.

Much of our church experience and even good pastors focus so much on changing ourselves and how we become more Christ-like and what we need to do to please God. A friend of mine introduced me to @PaulWMinistries. Oh Friend, the refreshing LIFE giving power of his teaching!!

You know what?? I can’t become more Christ-like. I can’t please God. Only Jesus can and Jesus DID. When He said “It is finished” He meant FINISHED!! All the God pleasing, doing good, etc was completed for me in Christ. That took even the guilt out of failing to recover so many times.

I BEG you to listen to some of his sermons. At first, it seemed so hard to swallow, too good to be true.

But isn’t that what Jesus is? Simply too good for our human minds to comprehend?

Here are a couple sermons that rocked my world. I began listening to him in 2010. And God’s word through his sermons timed perfectly to walk me through the last step of recovery.

http://pwmmedia.podbean.com/2012/11/11/who-told-you-that-you-were-naked/
http://pwmmedia.podbean.com/2012/07/19/righteousness-101/

Another killer teacher is @stevenfurtick. He’s doing a series right now on #CrashtheChatterbox. It is EVERYTHING we need to know as we combat, shut down and shut up the lies running rampant in our heads.

http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/crash-the-chatterbox

Point 2 is coming next week…I figure after 791 words, you might need a deep breath and a drink of water. 🙂
See you soon!

 

A Reason for Lost

This morning, I sat wordless before the Father. Don’t you hate it sunset-harbour-2-1016736-mwhen that happens? You’re supposed to be praying and all of sudden (or maybe not so suddenly, maybe it feels chronic) there’s just nothing to say? That was today.

But recently, I read @BlumLee on her fabulous site http://www.leewolfeblum.com and one little phrase lodged in my memory. She said something about writing from her subconscious. So, even though I was praying, I tried to let my mind go to what I was not thinking. I mean, after all, God knows all that anyway…right?

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There’s a weakening in me.

Like a rope washed and weathered by sun and salt.

Its life work about to pitch mercilessly on high seas, the familiar dock and droppings, fragrant with fish and stagnant air–

All safety far behind.

I wonder, how long it will hold together at all?

I wonder at those boats I’ve seen loose from tether in the distance.
What do they do–Wild and loose?
Is it frightening everyday?
What currents and rough winds await?
Will I ever return?

I feel about and nearly.
I float on almost and possibly.

There can be no assurance, wild upon those waves!

What of all I’ve so long feared?
Lost, a drifter, no purpose or destination,
No identifying flag.
Or pirates and mercenaries to scavenge me for waste?

Primitive, small, sunk low.
But here I find at once I’m loose, and at loss, and quite lost.
But I’ve been drifting slowly now,
‘Neath rise and sunset for a time.
A bit more weathered, not worse for wear.

But maybe stronger.
Certainly braver.
No storm has torn assunder.
I’ve no sail to rip.

And out here, the droppings miss me, a scent of salt and singular freedom.
The air awash with wind and wild blue.
I’ve even begun to see the others,
I’m not alone out here.

So many must have lost their lines.
Wayward a few, crosswise against the tide.
Fighting for float.

I would have kept away,
Far safe from their troubled wakes,
Dodging waves in a cove.
But the cries became so loud!

Fear a wretched sound,
A boat near sinking, a life near death,
Facing the one thing that would make it all it’s not–
Not a boat, not afloat, not alive.

I found a coil.
Neglected since I left the dock.
Warily, I wafted toward the distressed, and threw the line.

Not much, this little rope.
And I feared it would break.

Who am I? And what are my good intentions?
Lost, fueled by an invisible tide.

When my line reached her,
The wind began to blow.
And ushered with solemnity and solidarity
Our two hearts toward harbor.

When I read this poem later, I saw my purpose in those lines, my passion. God is using my once-lostness, my once-fearful, my once-dying to rescue others.

I pray especially, that anyone who reads my book finds hope and  healing. #ThePredatoryLiesofAnorexia

Buy the book here…

One Race to Run

horse

Maybe I’m conjuring up the spirit of National Velvet or some other famous race horse. A filmy image of one such beauty floats through my imagination when I try to describe this place of anxiety, excitement, freedom, healing and fear that courses through my body. Others might simply call it adrenaline, but I know it’s so much more. I’ve never felt this way before.

Several years ago, I took the first permanent steps away from anorexia. As I did, I turned and quickly tossed a proverbial match onto the proverbial bridge of old behaviors. There’s no going back. No matter the fear, no matter the temptation, no matter the uncertainty, I will never again entertain the seductive, demonic voice of an eating disorder.

Now, in most recent days, God has opened up the field in front of me. I am that race horse, leaning into the wind, shot from the starting gate, fueled by memories of the terrible confinement of anorexia. There is no going back.

The track is wide, muddy, the congestion of competition fades beside and then behind me. The faster I go, the farther from the gate, there is more and more potential, more and more possibility, more and more surety that I will win this race. And now, the others are on my heels, they follow, picking up speed. It seems as if they are energized by my passion, pulling ahead.

God penned a book with my fingers. He has brought me an agent and a publisher and an audience. He has done all these good things. But they scare me. The field is so wide, the race is so long and those close behind are drafting, following me, trusting me in some way. I’ve never run this course before. What if I fall, what if I fail?

But the truth is,

The faster run, the farther I stretch.

With each lengthening stride,

I’m farther from that prison.

I kick up more dust over that confining starting gate.

I bury it in the rush of my enthusiasm for freedom.

The wind is cool.

I am scared.

But the more I lean into the wind,

The more I stretch,

The farther I leave fear,

The more beautiful, compelling, the future.

Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps

Hello Ladies and Gents, (that makes me sound much more fancy than I am)

I have another treat for you today. I just finished reading Brenna Kate Simond’s book, Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps. 

Yes, you’ve heard her name before. We interviewed Brenna last month and gave you an opportunity to get her book for free. However, I’ve saved the best for last–a review of Brenna’s book, Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps.

It’s a remarkable book that speaks to the same audience as my own book, The Predatory Lies of Anorexia: A Survivor’s Story.  (Kindle version here)

I’m dying to share it with you, so I’ll just tease you a bit with the review. Then you can head on over to Brenna’s site and get the book for yourself!

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I first read Brenna Kate Simonds in a brief blog post that she shared with FINDINGBalance. As the editor of that ministry’s blog I approach most submissions with a critical eye. I usually find a sentence or two to prune and sometimes the story just doesn’t address our audience. However, when I read Brenna’s story, I knew it was not only well written and would appeal to any audience, but that it would speak to, and change, anyone who was blessed to read it.

Immediately, I headed over to Brenna’s website, Living Unveiled. I had to read more from this bold and beautiful woman, a woman who unashamedly writes from her pain, and bravely pours life into the secret wounds of strangers. It was there I discovered her book.

Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps, is the culmination, for now, of Brenna’s ministry to any who feel bound by sin, failure, defeat, loneliness and fear. I say culmination, because to produce a book this deep is a monstrous effort of faith and energy, but Brenna is only on the cusp of what God intends to do for and through her.

I picked up, Learning to Walk in Freedom, as one now walking in freedom after 15 years of bondage to anorexia. I felt camaraderie with Brenna from the very start as she tells her story of battling an eating disorder. But almost anyone will find common ground with the author, who also shares of struggling with same sex attraction, emotional dependency, self-injury and chronic low self-esteem.

With empathy, Brenna lays open her own wounds and tells of the healing Jesus Christ gave her—how through Him she learned to walk in freedom. Then, employing an almost simplistic strategy she walks her reader through five steps leading them straight to the throne of grace.

Now lest you fear that this is a preachy book, written only with the holy-there-than-thou, assured-of-their-salvation, from the preface, Brenna invites everyone to join her on this journey. She writes:

“You may not be sure you really know God, or you may be quite confident that you don’t. You may not be sure that you want to know Him anymore. Perhaps you have experienced a measure of freedom, have long since moved past that “gasping for air” feeling, but still dream and hope, as I did, for more than this.

This book is for you all.”

Brenna doesn’t abandon her readers after a careful explanation of the five steps to walking in freedom. Instead, she grips their hand a little tighter, tugs again and says, “Let’s make this personal.”

For each of the five steps, Brenna compiles all of the Scripture references used in the book. Then, she asks pointed, inductive questions to help the reader, “feel the ground beneath their feet”, as they take each step.

Lastly, Brenna shares her testimony in full detail. I love that she saved the gritty intricacies of her story until the end. Such humility. She gives her readers enough to identify with her and feel safe as they follow her through the steps toward freedom. But she doesn’t offer up her story of courageous recovery until the very end. Throughout the book, the focus remains on the reader and on the work that God can do, will do and is doing in their own lives.

The #1 Predatory Lie

The media’s most predatory lie to young girls is not about their intrinsic worth or imperfect bodies, but the relentless message that the world revolves around the individual. That the future depends upon their personal fulfillment, their abstract happiness, their popularity, beauty, fitness or success.

And does the lie change all that much as we age? Do we ever outgrow the tendency to be swayed by media’s appeal to our momentary self? No, the message need only change pitch to reach the frequency preferred by mature fancies. Suddenly it becomes: The value of my life is dependent upon financial success, perky breasts, expensive shiny toys, worthy ministries, slender thighs, flat abs, perfect marriages.

Whether condemning or condoning, challenging or consoling, the crux of media’s message remains a constant concave assault on the God-image of man. Practical propaganda seeks to turn our eyes and attention from our God-reflection to our self perception.

Consider the tagline of nearly ever advertisement: You deserve, You ought, You should, You need, You will, You’ll earn, You’ll save, You want, You’ll be, You’ll have, You are, You’re not, You can be…

Literally, almost every single banner ad, side-bar, full-page spread or 30-second sound bite appeals to numero uno. Even charities have learned it’s most effective to appeal to an individual’s pride concerning their “selflessness”.

To tie this into my central passion, the relief of women of all ages from the bondage of eating disorders, I believe our most effective strategy is not to focus on rebuilding her self-esteem, nor to focus on silencing the media’s lie that she isn’t “perfect” enough. 

Instead, freedom from eating disorders and all other means of bondage is found in understanding that we are not so important. That God is no respecter of persons.

Ps. 103:15 “Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.”

Doing so depressurizes the situation, the inflated fears of failure, the impending sense of doom if we do not achieve some nebulous goal or evasive success.

1 Peter 1:24-25 ““People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.”

It is only here, in a humbled state, in a place where expectations fall away, that the broken find fulfillment in the truth that we were made for His gratification. It is only here, naked and weak, stripped of resources, that God’s word, that which remains forever, sweeps over and deposits truth in cracks and crevices, shores up our hearts and reinforces our understanding of our intrinsic worth. 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jer. 31:3

“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Romans 8:6