“I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away.” Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life
I felt so guilty as I drug my family, friends and my God through the dregs of my eating disorder. I remember thinking so many times, “I’ll get this right tomorrow, then they will love me again.”
“I won’t be such a disappointment when I weigh enough, finish the program, eat cake with everyone, go out for pizza, etc.”
“God, I know you must be so fed up with me, so tired of my relapses and recurrent fears. When I finally get well, then you can use me. Then you can be glorified in me.”
A well-rehearsed Bible verse echoed in my mind, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8
How on earth can God be glorified in you? My heart accused me. You have so little faith, you can’t even eat! What godly fruit are you evidencing? Why would anyone believe in your God? You’re a terrible example.
No one else ever said those words, but I believed them deep in my heart. The feelings of failure served only to push me deeper into depression and deeper into anorexic habits fueled by fear and hopelessness. What if God gave up on me?
Just this morning, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to another Bible verse that I’ve known almost all my life. I can hardly believe I didn’t see the full truth, the full counsel of God’s Word before!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a
The fruit that glorifies God and that identifies me as His disciple is not my performance! It isn’t how well I demonstrate Christian behavior. The fruit that I marks me as belonging to Jesus is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the very same Spirit that He sent to teach me all things and remind me of everything Jesus said and did for me. (John 14:26)
But the best news was yet to come. Jesus also said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:9
I began to trace the references of God’s love for Jesus through the New Testament. In John 11:42, Jesus was confident in God’s love and that God heard everything He prayed. In Matthew 3:17, the Father shouted from the heavens that Jesus is His beloved son and that He is pleased with Him. In John 15:24, Jesus said that the Father loved Him before the foundation of the world.
Hallelujah! Even in the midst of my darkest days, God still loves me. He sees a forgiven me through Jesus’ blood even when I despair and get discouraged. Because of Jesus, every moment of my life, I am loved, pleasing to my Father, heard by my Father – from the foundation of the world.