It’d be a whole lot easier to clear my conscious if I could stick a “one size fits all” label on my life-long eating issues. I could easily blame my chaotic childhood, and for 23 years that is exactly what I did. And in that, I stayed sad and stayed a victim.
After a year of being in active recovery (because let’s be real, there were many times I sat passively hoping to will it away from me), I’ve stopped believing that my eating disorder was a simple, prepackaged destiny.
Instead, I believe it is an intricate system, a complex system that belongs solely to me. Too many things contributed to my eating issues for it to be rooted in just one or two beliefs.
Early last week, I was looking through my pictures from Selah House. I saw myself smiling, laughing, dancing, and dressing up in glittery tights. I saw myself hugging people I love. I saw build-a-bears and painted pottery, and endless colorful affirmations.
Honestly, I look like I am on vacation. That smile I am wearing…that’s my “I am convinced I am LOVED” smile. And trust me when I say that I didn’t usually pack that particular facial expression.
But the camera failed to capture the paralyzing hard work involved in recovery. The camera wasn’t invited to the 30+ hours of group and individual therapy, plus equine therapy and nutritional counseling. Nor did it capture the faces of eight women as they tried to make themselves eat when everything in their being told them they weren’t allowed. It’s probably smart that we never brought the camera to the cherry oak dining table for meal time. Tears were practically a condiment. Okay, not really, but most meals provoked an emotional response of some kind.
My little Nikon definitely doesn’t show me wailing on the shoulder of an old broken down, blind in one eye horse named Clancy and screaming to the equine directors that I wanted to go home, that I didn’t fit in, that I was never going to really truly be free. (I no longer believe this, by the way!)
Those smiles that I did catch on camera are very real, but they’re only half of the story. Half of the healing.
Like my eating disorder, recovery is both something that happened to me and something I chose. I certainly can’t take all the credit, but it was me who had to make the choices.
Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Oh, how I love these words. I love Christ’s beautiful heart that is desperate (and jealous) for us to live life to the full.
One year and a thousand lessons later, my soul refuses to live anything less than what my Savior suggests.