Every day God begged me to give Him my heart, and every day I told Him, “I want to give up my disordered eating behaviors, but it is so hard! It isn’t like some addictions where I can just turn away and never look back- I have to eat! There is nothing I can do.” He would ask me to let Him loosen the chains of anorexia, and I would angrily reply, “Don’t you think I would if I could?”
I had been having the same argument with God for several years when I first heard Jimmy Needham sing “Clear the Stage”. He closes that song with the words, “Anything I want with all my heart is an idol. Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.”
Sitting there listening to the words repeating over and over, it finally hit me that I had been so caught up in my crusade against the faulty notion that mental illnesses are sins, that I found myself correcting God when He pointed out the parts of me I wasn’t willing to surrender. “No, God,” I’d say, “you forgot that I am doing x, y, and z because I can’t help it because I have anorexia, remember?” When I finally let God hold a mirror up to my heart, what I saw left me speechless as God began to speak:
“Elizabeth, your struggle isn’t your fault. It isn’t the result of your sin, and I understand that it will take time for you to heal. I am not commanding you to instantly be healed from the compulsive and disordered thoughts. What I am asking you to do, however, is to shift your focus to me, and I have one big thing in mind: change what you fill your mind with.”
I knew what was coming next, and I strongly considered shutting God’s voice out before He could take away the thing I was holding dearest when He continued:
“Elizabeth, you know what I want you to lay down at the cross, and I know that it will take everything in you. But I promise that you aren’t doing it alone. When you give me permission, I will open up your hands, take the idol, and crush it to pieces with the cross. And then I will take your empty hands in mine. So beloved, are you willing to give up the things you’ve been putting in your mind? The numbers from the scale you use every day? The countless hours you spend researching ‘healthy eating’ and ‘fitness’?”
I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but I started opening up my hands.
I still find myself reaching to the cross to try to put together the broken pieces of my idols. I have to let Him take them away again time after time. But the most beautiful part is that He faithfully places His hands in mine every time–helping me replace the hours I spent strengthening and feeding ED with hours strengthening and feeding my soul with His love and His Word.
With my hands in His, I have found that He alone satisfies my soul.
The Depth of a Testimony, by Abby Kelly
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