The Thorn in My Side

I was pretty stoked: God had given me an out! I had discovered the Bible verse that indicated anorexia was something I could struggle with my whole life.

Now, that sounds discouraging, but then, as someone who had fought the battle with anorexia for over a decade and continued to lose, it seemed like a welcome release. Perhaps I didn’t need to fight so hard, maybe this was something God had given me; my personal struggle. Maybe God wasn’t going to heal me or rescue me, maybe I could quit hoping and waiting and trying because this was just “my thing”.

Second Corinthians 12:6-10 says, “Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

See, I thought, even Paul had something that he struggled with his whole life.

But as I prayed about this and tried to find the peace that proved I had found the solution to my struggle, it wasn’t there.

Paul’s thorn served a specific purpose. In the preceding verses, Paul says that the thorn was given to him to keep him from boasting in himself; it was not a random affliction such that “everyone has one”.

Paul had become an untimely apostle, having seen the risen Jesus after his ascension. After that, with many visions, his extensive schooling in The Law, his dual citizenship and rightful authority and notoriety as an evangelist, Paul had good reason to be proud. God gave him this “thorn” as a reminder that he was not self-sufficient and perhaps even as a physically humiliating attribute that kept others from idolizing him.

My eating disorder can never be compared to Paul’s thorn in the flesh. First, the Bible says that God tempts no one. I believe that my anorexic behaviors were evidence of idolatry—worshipping myself. God frequently commands us to have no god besides Him. He will not “give” me an idol.

Second, Paul closes this passage by saying that he rejoices in his weakness so that the power of Christ might rest on him. To resign myself to an eating disorder as simply “my thorn” does not express the power of Christ and honor Him as the supreme one and only God, as The Redeemer.

Indeed, my eating disorder kept me on my knees before Jesus, more aware daily of how much I need Him. However, His power is made evident in my surrender to Him, not in my resignation to anorexia.

This article was first published at FINDINGbalance.com

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Visit Me at Finding Balance

Hi guys! I recently wrote an article for Finding Balance that I believe is very applicable to (myself) and my readers here. Hope you enjoy it!

The modern portrayal of the perfect female body is a misnomer. Dictionary.com defines perfect as, “excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement.” How then is it possible that today’s image of a perfect woman is so much different than it was a mere 15 years ago?

Finish the article at Finding Balance!

Trial of Trusting

God has used numerous people and resources to teach me. Those have been as diverse as a Christian mentor, an atheist friend, a book about finding my own appetite, a biography of an exercise addict, my little sister, a website, an inpatient hospital, a horse, a dog, a gym, a journal, a cup of coffee.  Go figure. He is the creator of all things and everything (whether it wishes to be or not) is at His disposal. (Ps. 50:10-11)

Tuesday morning was my first morning back in my house, in my prayer chair with an unlimited amount of time to seek God’s face. (Only Brave’s bladder would signal the end of my revelry!)

I have shared some with you this week about how God has used Finding Balance and Constance Rhodes to teach me. Did I mention that many of the experts on the website were professionals working at Remuda Ranch when I was there?

One of the biggest hurdles for me in my recovery was wondering if I could trust those who were instructing me. How did that nutritionist know what would or wouldn’t make me fat? How did that counselor know that I shouldn’t be exercising? How did I believe that any professional had my best interest in mind? And then, when I was absolutely exhausted by the anxiety that was devouring my mind, I wanted someone to teach me the ONE thing I needed to do to be well. I wanted someone to just tell me what to do!

Guess what? As I wondered who actually knew what they were talking about and who I could trust, God revealed something to me. As I sought His deliverance from my eating disorder HE WAS TRUSTWORTHY to give the right words to my advisors. I could trust the people and resources that He was choosing to lead me away from my path of destruction.

Are you anxious about a change in your own life? Are you worried about seeking advice and who you can trust? I can promise you this, if you are humble enough to listen to Godly counselors, you CAN, YOU MUST trust their advice. Finding Balance is one such Godly resource. Listen to God’s promises to teach you:

Behold you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Ps. 51:6

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Ps. 90:12

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit guide me on level ground. Ps. 143:10

Please, don’t flounder in fear. I promise you that whether your hurdle be an eating disorder, an addiction to pornography, self-harm, depression, anxiety, marital stress or a simple need for wisdom – God can be trusted to teach you wisdom in the inward being and you can trust the counsel of those who love Him.

Test Yourself

I apologize from the start that this post is shorter and less personal than most of my articles here at Predatory Lies. I’m preparing to leave my parents’ home after my baby sister’s wedding last Saturday. Angela Kleinsasser was a spectacular photographer – so you can vicariously enjoy the wedding (:

Fortunately for me, I am sharing some wonderful, truthful, Christian resources with you this month. This week we are looking at Finding Balance, their primary purpose is to offer hope and healing to those struggling with eating disorders. The timing is perfect, because this weekend Finding Balance is hosting their annual conference called Hungry For Hope.  But you don’t have to attend the conference to enjoy the nearly boundless resources offered by Finding Balance. You only need a humble heart and a willingness to admit you have a problem and seek help.

Finding Balance offers self-tests to evaluate your relationship with food, your body image and your fears surrounding both.

Eating Issues Self Test Part 1

By the time I discovered Finding Balance, I had already been inpatient twice and was searching desperately for accountability and encouragement for my continued recovery. Finding Balance filled that gap for me. If you are battling food and body image issues, be bold enough to seek help. Start with Finding Balance.

Finding Balance a Whole New Review

Hosted by FINDINGbalance, a nonprofit health and wellness organization, Hungry for Hope is the premiere Christian conference for eating disorders and body image issues. Now in its fifth year, the conference is a key equipping event for professionals, lay leaders and those seeking freedom and healing in areas of eating and body image.

If you’ve read much of Predatory Lies, you know my story. A woman once mired in addiction, fighting for the love of God to dig herself out of the muck, the madness.

For me, truth began to dawn on me at Remuda Ranch, one of the founding organizations of the Hungry for Hope Conference. Remuda brought Jesus to bear on my issues of compulsive exercise and restriction. I didn’t leave “cured” but I began to walk the life-long, narrow road of weakened self and strength in Jesus. Remuda encourages every woman who arrives to set up a solid after-care plan, so that they can continue receiving Godly counsel and accountability when they leave the treatment center. I found that at Finding Balance.

You’ve heard me talk about Finding Balance before.  They have taken the mantel of the Hungry for Hope conference and have added it to their powerful, continuous outreach from their website. I haven’t been able to attend a Hungry for Hope conference, but as I mentioned, the curriculum has my name all over it! But here’s the good part:

Finding Balance has recently revamped their entire site. On the very front page, they offer countless resources – video clips of professionals answering real questions about eating issues asked by others in your same shoes. Topics include: Ask the Doctor, Nutrition, The Road to Wellness, Freedom in Christ and more. Questions are poignant, undisguised and often painful. Answers are biblically-based, credible, concise and gentle.

There is also a paid portion of the website, $5.99/month, that provides many deeper resources, an interactive community, and access to lessons from Constance Rhodes’ curriculum called Finding Balance With Food. This portion of the site, called The Gathering. even includes printable worksheets, making the study more involved and impacting. Participants are encouraged, though not required to build a small group of people who are excited to grow together.

After last year’s Hungry for Hope conference, some of the lectures were recorded and added to the paid portion of the website. Hopefully, they’ll do that again this year, so I don’t miss anything!

I’m  excited to share Finding Balance and Hungry for Hope with you. Recovery from anorexia has been one of God’s sharpest tools in training me in righteousness and drawing me to Himself. He has used Finding Balance over and over to reinforce the truth.