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!

 

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Unveiling

Dearest Friends,

Halfway through the year, I have finally discovered exactly what God was getting at when He placed the One Word: Naked, on my heart, as my theme for 2013. Father was preparing me for His next nudge, to write my book.

If you’re a regular around here, you know that I started this process officially at the beginning of this year, though it has been fomenting in my subconscious for years. The thing about a personal book, is that it requires nakedness. Even in the first draft, I’ve already written some things that I’ve never shared previously. I’ve become more vulnerable with my self than I’ve ever been, discovering keys to my recovery from anorexia that were once mysteries.

In fact, peeling away the layers “typical anorexia”, and “treatment options”, and looking at my story under the spotlight of hindsight, I believe I’ve actually come to understand the purpose anorexia served in my life and I can honestly say, I would not wish to have done life differently. That doesn’t mean it was a pleasant experience, or that I would wish it on anyone, or even that it was God’s best for me.

What I have learned is that if I had walked through those years without an eating disorder, my faith would be softer. If I hadn’t made so many poor choices, or hovered so close to death, I never would have come to realize that my natural inclination is sin, the wages of sin is death and that I desperately need a Savior, and that Jesus is more than capable to save me.

This is a long introduction to a new segment of, Predatory Lies, that I begins this month. Starting next week, each Monday, I will publish a portion of a chapter in progress. This will allow me to be as naked with you, my current readers, as those who I hope will read my book once it’s published. Also, I hope that it will incite you to get the book and read it in full later.

Lastly, a naked confession, though I am more than convinced that God has called me to write this story now, I don’t know exactly what His publishing plans are. So, at least in this way, I can begin praying now, that God will use my words, my history, to turn the cultural tide of eating disorders and to point those already in its vice toward the One True Healer.

Disciplined or Driven?

I’ve always been a black and white thinker. I remember my therapists saying, “You’ve got to chill out, let there be some gray areas!”

And I remember thinking that was compromising, only wimps compromise. Is that true?

I’m wondering what you do halfway?
And are there some things that deserve to be done halfway?
And is halfway related to balance?

Imagine the teeter-totter from your childhood. That hinged pyramid was situated exactly halfway between the ends of the beam where you balanced your butt. Ideally, two similarly sized individuals capitalize on that middle ground and lazily bound up and down. That’s a positive perspective on halfway.

But normally, when I hear halfway, I hear lazy, uncommitted, indecisive, watery, wimpy, undisciplined. Right or wrong, that’s my default interpretation.

So the concept of moderate exercise? It doesn’t exist for me, or didn’t until the uncompromising Jesus began to cultivate in me the mind of Christ.

The idea of a balanced budget? Not my cup of tea. Just ask my hubby. I’d rather watch the savings account bulge than enjoy the fruits of our labors.

Recently, the cogs in my brain have been on overdrive. I can literally feel my mind overheating. You see, I told you that I am writing a book. It’s a good idea, a God idea. I know that it is what He has been calling me to do for years and only now have I unearthed the courage to obey Him.

But here’s where the rubber meets the road.
Can I fully obey God and still fully rest in Him?
Can I be disciplined to sit down and write this book and still be able to set it aside and engage in relationships and enjoy all the other things God has put in my life and enabled me to do?

This is me naked.
This is me rambling slightly, trying to let you inside my head. It’s a little embarrassing that I can’t find the halfway point between doing something well and doing something obsessively; between doing something for God’s glory and feeling like I am responsible for God’s glory; the difference between writing a book because I have something to say and feeling like a failure if I don’t say it all today; the space between BIC (butt in chair) writing and waiting quietly while God puts the words in my heart – in His time. That’s the key: Obeying God, in His timing. 

I think, perhaps that’s why God is so insistent that we wait on Him. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, that we are to come to Him and share His yoke, His burden. That implies that He does have good things for us to do. The problem is that I often bend down, shoulder the burden and then try to run off and plow the whole field on my own. “Look Jesus, see how strong I am?”

For you, naked truth now,
Do you struggle with commitment in anyway?
How about self-discipline?
How about resting?

Do you see a fine line? And if you can see it and if you can balance on it, will tell me how?

Redemption Birthdays

Monday was my birthday.

I was raised right –  you always write snail mail thank you letters. My morning quiet time didn’t start out to be such, but as I sat cross-legged in my monstrous, blue prayer chair, it just kind of bubbled out of my heart.

I promised this year that I would be naked with you. That includes unveiling private prayers and praise. That includes confession met with kindness which leads to repentance. And it includes the birthdays of redemption stories. So, here is my journal entry on Monday.

Jesus,images

Seventeen years ago, I woke in an angular, gray-blue bedroom, in a treatment center because I was starving myself. I wished away the emotional power of the day and the exacerbated loneliness, the sense of abandonment by my parents and sister asleep in a nearby hotel room. Monday.

Since then, there was my 30th year, crying alone over a rumble of boiling noodles while my husband spent his energy on a computer game.

And so many other March 11th’s. Year 23, at Fort Bragg, at work. Loneliness always tempered by your presence.

How is it that you have never failed me? Never even left me to myself and my upturned, shaky hands crying, “I’m done, completely, all done.”

I do truly love you more every single day. Maybe really, it’s a sharper knowing of how much I need you, that I couldn’t live or breathe without you. The priceless beauty and value you have put into my life, Savior.

My heart would drain out on this page. How you contain and spill your love for me through vessels of a tender husband, his daily deeper understanding the needs of my heart. You warm the morning air and tinge the skies, ochre, amber, slate to clear. As if you hold my shoulders and spin me round to drink that pressed of patience; feast on the produce of your passion.

I am overwhelmed by your love, Savior.
Overcome by your awareness of me.
In you, I have seen my own created beauty, the blossom
and flourish of your skilled heart, touch, breath,
That I live!
That lungs still spread in my chest,
And suck in gifts and glories,
I would have turned away.
It is your mercy.
It is your…nay,
It is you.
Only you.
All of you,
That I live in and for.

First comes love, then comes marriage?

Last weekend Patrick and I participated in a marriage retreat called Strong Bonds. True confession, as this blog is entirely about, it was emotionally difficult for me. Sometimes, I feel as if I’m mulit-lingual in the languages of love and that my hubby hasn’t even learned to sound out words. [That’s my pride talking, a subject I’m am constantly re-submitting to the Lord.]

We are learning, or I should say, I am learning, how to communicate. Wouldn’t you think that the girl who can’t shut-up would have this communication thing figured out?

As you all know from reading here, Patrick and I have been through some major mud, over towering hurdles and through the lowest of valleys. And actually, our sustenance has been, the trick to all of this is, learning to believe in God’s LOVE for us, both corporately and individually. Because when God’s love become progressively more real, we cannot help but see His reflection in each other and personally glow with His radiance.

Wrapping up this month of LOVE, I’ve still hardly scratched the surface of C.S. Lewis’ wisdom in The Screwtape Letters. So, we will carry on in March, looking for modern application of this book and alternately peering into the depths of the One Word: Naked.

After this past weekend, it really comes as no surprise that God brought us to Lewis’ chapter on love, sex and marriage. Consider this nugget:

The humans are to be encouraged to regard as the basis for marriage a highly-colored and distorted version of something the Enemy really promises as its result.

Do you see that? Kinda makes you think for a second, doesn’t it? In a generation that wants legal marriage for all and at the same time argues for no-fault divorce, it’s pretty obvious that humans believe love is the foundation for marriage. But what if that’s not as God intended?

Perhaps, and it seems evident in the Garden of Eden, marriage, oneness – is the foundation, the fertile ground for love.

Thoughts?

No More Strip Search

At Remuda, weigh-in day involved a strip search. Every fold of clothing, baggy sweatshirt or rubber soled shoe held potential. Girls at The Ranch were receiving treatment for eating disorders. And a girl with an eating disorder is nothing if not sneaky. I learned the tricks of the trade from more experienced friends.

Wear a water bra.
Drink tons of water within an hour of weigh-in.
Some had managed to hide books in the pockets of their hoodies.
Stuff your pockets.
Put sand in your shoes.

But the staff caught on, and hence forth, weigh-in day began with a strip search. Susan, the kindest nurse I remember, always turned her back while I undressed. When I was ready, she stepped close and slid the indicator down the bar. Did I mentioned that everyone weighed backwards? Some of us tried to count the clicks as the indicator slid.

Susan was sharp. She noticed the clench of a thigh, and if I tried to sneak a toe off the front edge of the platform. “Stand still.” After the traumatic, twice-weekly event, a small clump of nervous girls trudged back to our rooms to get dressed and then head to breakfast.

Before I got sick, I only vaguely knew my weight. Who cared? Occasionally, after swim team practice, I stepped on the scale and just as quickly forget the number.

When I left Remuda and progressed through aftercare, I terminated my relationship with the scale. I don’t own one. I refuse to look at them, staring straight ahead when I pass one in the gym locker room. Until yesterday, I couldn’t tell you within five pounds what I weighed. I only knew that my clothes still fit (and I think I look sexy). I can honestly tell you that I like my thighs, my stomach, my arms. I am proud of my strength. I can even knockout more than the minimum number of pull-ups for a female marine!

So what’s the big deal?

Yesterday, the nurse at the doctor’s office weighed me. There was no fanfare, no strip search, no one aware of my discomfort with the scale. Quite casually, she pointed in the direction of that frightful piece of equipment and turned her back to make notes. Hesitantly, I lined my toes up on the outline of a foot. I tried to stare straight ahead, but my eyes fell on the digital number when it beeped. Oh.

I weigh as much as I did before the eating disorder.

The shadow of belief that I am still skinny disappeared in the light of the glowing scale display. Normal. Is that OK? Am I ready to be normal? The naked truth is that I hadn’t realized that a sliver of my identity was still lodged in a belief that it’s better to be too thin that too fat, and that I was on the ‘good’ side.

Truthfully, I think I am ready. I didn’t do a crazy, compensatory workout this morning. I still enjoyed a beer with my husband last night. I have to admit, the new knowledge has continued to linger in my consciousness.

But, yes, I can handle the truth. I personally know the Creator of this good body and I trust Him to direct me in how to care for it and to show me what size He wants it to be.

Clothed in Christ

Whatcha wearing?

No, that’s not meant to be an indecent question, or provoke impure thoughts. On the contrary, it is intended to direct your thoughts to righteousness. So, what are you wearing?

I appear to be wearing black yoga pants, a three-quarter-length T-shirt sporting my college mascot, Pistol Pete, pink and black sneakers and the ever present hairband on my wrist. But I wonder, is that really all there?

Only recently have I noticed the similarities between how our physical eyes see things, and how spiritually we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness, come to look like Him and how we are called to display the glory of God.

Shapes, colors, objects only appear to us only by their relationship to light. We cannot know the real substance of something or someone in pitch darkness. So it is with our souls. Outside of the light of Jesus, the light of the world, we can never fully know ourselves or be known.

“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” Ps. 36:9

And consider, when we step into the light of Jesus, that we discover our truest selves. Made in His image, as we reflect His glory, our actual shape, bent, calling and nature are brought to light, made tangible, made real. The Hebrew word for glory, is more specifically translated to mean, “outshining.” Remember the story of Moses’ face glowing after he spent time on Mt. Sinai with God? It was the result of being exposed to God’s glory, or the outshining of God’s presence.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3:18

Isn’t it amazing, that the very Creator of our eyes related our physical bodies to our spirits? To truly see our physical world, we need light. To truly see ourselves, and become all that we are made to be, we must be exposed to the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.

So, what are you wearing? Are you glowing? Can you see yourself in the light of Jesus?

“…and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” Phil. 3:9

Stripped of Chaos

“The devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds…Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.” Jim Elliott

“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private.” C.S. Lewis

Have you ever said: “I was home alone all evening, on a Friday night. What a loser.”

Have you ever done: Flipped on the TV, the radio, a CD or all of them at once – just for “background noise?”

Have you ever thought: The more the merrier?

Have you ever found: Yourself in such a hurry that you don’t remember the last time you read a good book?

I venture to say that most of us have done all of the above at one time or another. There’s an odd dichotomy in our culture right now, an expressed longing for quiet, juxtaposed with fervent applause for the busiest, most productive among us. We see sentimental quotes everywhere, on bookmarks, refrigerators, office walls, that tell us to stop and smell the roses. Mattress commercials remind us that none among us get enough sleep. Doctors decry the effect of stress on our hearts.

Simultaneously, the first question we ask any bloke on the street is, “What do you do?” essentially, equating an individual’s value and their relationship to us primarily on their occupation.

And noise? Even sitting here, I can hear my husband’s television show from the other room. A few hours ago, as I made breakfast, I listened to a sermon on my iPhone. As soon as I headed upstairs to shower, I turned on the Christian radio in my bedroom. God-forbid I entertain silence for a moment!

Have you ever felt: Like God has deserted you? As if you’re all alone and your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Like you’re fighting a losing battle? What if you quit fighting? What if you stopped praying and listened? 

Exodus 14:13 “And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.'”

If God doesn’t build the house,
the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves? Psalm 127

February in poetry

Snowflakes, fingerprints of heaven fall
A cross between drips of creamy milk and pin-sized shards of tinsel
Soft, liquid, hard and brittle
Till touching dirt, the life of manORGANIZERBLANK2012daveramseyfan
Where it melts and dies
Or, the lucky ones to fall on stream
And add their tiny life
To the rush over rocks, gentle bumps against bank
Now brown as blue, water and clay
Till lapped for refreshment
Then carried by wind, or carried by stream
Or born on critter’s paw

Launching into February, full steam ahead. I’m actually kind of sad to have finished a full month of One Word 2013, Naked. There’s so much more to say, so I will intersperse it with themes of coming months. For most of February, I will take a close look at C.S. Lewis’, The Screwtape Letters. 

A virtual monologue, it is a one-sided conversation between the head demon and his budding protege nephew. Lewis skillfully slices open the gray matter of deceit that divides absolute truth and lies. It is a microcosm of everything I wish to share here on Predatory Lies. Uncovering the lies that destroy our lives, so that we can live in the unfiltered light of truth.

Join me!