Chasing Freedom

Choosing Freedom

By April 27, 2012September 18th, 20123 Comments

Tonight I had the awesome privilege of hearing Jenni Schaefer speak. She’s the author of Life Without Ed and Goodbye Ed, Hello Me. There were quite a few points that struck me and I’d love to pass them along to you. You may already know these things but reminders are always a good thing! :o)

1. Choosing recovery is a moment-by-moment, meal-by-meal thing. In keeping with the theme of this blog, Chasing Freedom, I was reminded tonight that chasing freedom is all about choosing freedom. And sometimes that simply comes down to making a wise decision one moment or meal at a time. Either way it’s about choices.

2. Choose to listen to your treatment team. Jenni talked about her process of recovery that took many years and said that even when it was hard to eat or face her fears, she had to choose to trust her treatment team and follow their lead. She now is grateful that she did!

3. Recovery from perfectionism is a vital part of the eating disorder recovery process. I actually had never thought of the parallel between these two things in the exact way that Jenni shared it. She highlighted that every time Ed dictates the “perfect weight,” for example, once that goal is met he then moves the line down even lower, making it impossible to ever reach. Conversely, perfectionism raises the bar extremely high for what perfect looks like and once a goal is met, perfectionism moves the line up, making it also impossible to ever reach. Making proactive choices to accept imperfection is a key component to the healing process.

Quick story: Jenni sang a song she wrote and in the middle of it she beautifully sang acapella, dropping her strumming on the guitar for a few lines and then came in strong again with the guitar to add drama at the end of the song. It was awesome! When she finished she told us that she sang it that way because she forgot where she was so made up the acapella part! Do you love that?! She modeled that the lack of perfection was totally okay! Wow! Authentic and powerful!

4. Don’t quit before the miracle happens. Jenni didn’t coin this phrase but said it well in encouraging us to never give up even when it’s hard. She talked about the benefits of being strong and healthy (noting that healthy is a word that used to be negative to her because it meant she was fat but now is a word she loves!), with an example from today where she was able to go on a hike in the beautiful Columbia Gorge outside of Portland!

All this to say, recovery from an eating disorder is possible. I’m living proof of that too! Never give up and remember that you can invite Jesus into the healing process because He says that apart from Him you can do nothing.

Even if it’s been a rough day today, you can choose freedom now for this next meal, for this next moment. In the words of God Himself, as stated in Deuteronomy 30:19, He says, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

See more of Jenni Schaefer on our site – you can search by her name.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Melissa Harjehausen says:

    Deut. 30:19!!! That is my favorite verse because it’s what really propelled me to seek help and treatment. There came a day when I felt death staring me in the face. I wanted LIFE so bad, but it seemed like to most people that meant “mangement of symptoms nonsense.” If that’s what life was then I would have preferred death, but deep down I knew I didn’t want to die as a result of my eating disorder. That verse in combination with the treatment center I came into contact with showed me that true LIFE was a possible choice. Thanks for sharing and for the sweet sweet reminder that choosing life is well worth it.

  • Eugene Hung says:

    Perfection seems like its own addiction, in a way. Great stuff, Michelle!