One of my favorite things in life is a good thunderstorm. A flash of lightning or boom of thunder and I’m glued to the nearest window watching the storm unfold. My dog, Max, on the other hand, finds the safest hiding spot until the horribly loud madness passes. When it comes to storms of life, I am much like Max and prefer to hide away. I don’t like to face my emotions and I don’t like to deal with everyday upsets. I have my passionate moments, but I usually try to evade the thoughts and hurdles most pressing in my mind and on my heart.
I wish I could say when I hide in my safety-den it solves all my problems and I come out of my pity-party-esque hibernation a fully restored person ready to conquer the world. But a monster is waiting for me there and it torments me with thoughts of starvation and purging.
“It’s the best way to deal with this storm, just starve yourself, that will teach them to treat you like that!”
I am an expert at eating poison and waiting for other people to die. They never do. I am left with a damaged heart, broken friendships and possibly a relapse.
Recently, God placed it on my heart the need to be still and weather the storms before me. No more hiding, no more eating disorder. It terrifies me, but I know it’s an essential part of recovery. Honestly, sometimes running back to behaviors seems less scary than facing intimidating people or difficult situations. There are people in my life who all but force me to be honest, in the most loving way, of course, but it is still scary. God has given me places to safely share the parts of me I am most ashamed of and receive love instead of condemnation.
When the world around me feels out of control, when I get in a fight with a friend, or when I feel embarrassed or ashamed, my den awaits me, along with the behaviors that have nearly taken my life. In a moment of weakness I can convince myself an eating disorder is the rainbow after the storm, not recovery. I think, “I need this, why is God taking this away from me? Recovery won’t be a better life, it will be an out of control one.”
Of course, the life God has mapped out for me won’t be free of storms or hurdles, but I know if I replace my eating disorder with God, the outcome of the storm will be substantially different. He calmed the craziest storms at sea with only His voice. He can take my tornado and make it a gentle breeze.
I believe Jesus is placing it on my heart to stay put and weather the storms of life so He can clean out my old safety-den and He will become my refuge and strength. He is placing people around me who emulate His love and point me towards understanding His unconditional love for me so I don’t have to hide away anymore, but face the storm before me confidently because I am equipped with Jesus beside me and within me.
Everything is More Beautiful, Well – by Abby Kelly
Did God Give Me an ED to Draw Me Closer to Him – video resource
Lasting Freedom – online support group