Looking to God and Prayer to Battle the Eating Disorder

By January 29, 2013

Right now I’m stuck in a rut and hope you can help! I’ve had some really successful theophostic prayer and believe God has dealt with the roots of my addictive/destructive behavior but I am left not being able to shake off the “habit/addiction” from years of hiding in it. I’m not sure how to move on and feel like I’ve let my Christian friends down even though so much else in me has changed. From age 17 till now (almost 42) I’ve yo-yo’d between anorexia and bulimia and periods of extreme compulsive eating. Lately alcohol has also become a problem. I no longer own scales and apparently now look “healthy” (to me spells “fat”) instead of ill, but can’t see it and haven’t learned to love myself despite all the scriptures and truths I know in my head from the Bible. How do you make that leap? Part of me also thinks that to give up ED is failure. Why is that? God has been so good to me, I’m far healthier than I deserve to be and have three children. If you can shed any insight into this I’d be very grateful! Many thanks. – Jenny

Dear Jenny,

Even though e-mail does not really allow one to “hear,” my read is that you are frustrated and scared.  Apparently, you have experienced some real insight into the “roots” of behaviors in your life. And being a Christian perhaps held the expectation that the process of seeing the root would cause the root to disappear! (Consider reading James 1:2-4 Amp. version when this feeling arises).

You may have entertained the following questions: “Are there more roots? Am I so broken that I cannot be fixed? What is wrong with me? How would others judge me for having had healing prayer and insight, yet if I am transparent and authentic, I would still share that I am struggling with the same old eating disorder!”

Realize that many times we can fall back into coping behaviors that have served us in the past even after a major “Ah Ha” moment. I really do not know a lot of things that do not need to be maintained or cared for: breast augmentation may last only 10 years before a redo; tires are rotated at 35-60,000 miles; house foundations in Texas must be kept moist and prevent dryness and shifting for a house to last.  Yet, as Christians we may expect that God is to be a surgeon and remove the mass and leave us clean, cured, and never in need again. But what would draw us back? What would edge you to the feet of your Holy Father if your E.D. was just erased?

You were created with all you need to make it. You have access to a Savior, you have His thoughts on your roots, and now you work out in relationship the living with that information. And from roots of old you make new ones.  Becoming healed or a new creation in Christ is not just about removing our old stuff and putting in a new computer chip.  We must accept what God shows us and, each day, decide to live for something else. You have more emotional intimacy with the E.D. than God in the area of Trust, Food, Image. You will need time.

The E.D. removed your natural sense of free will and choices some time ago. It has trained you to be obedient to its call and demands. And it distorts the truth and wants you to believe that your security, your safety, your identity is based on what it provides for you. I imagine to free-fall into a Faith that purports Love and Grace and Forgiveness and Eternal Life is challenging.

My hope is that you are part of a community support or one-on-one support where you are able to still build strategies for walking away from the restrictions the E.D. places on your living. I applaud your path of looking to God, to prayer, to deep healing to battle the E.D.  And I encourage you to think that perhaps Holiness and Healing are not defined by the removal of something from us but rather brining to light what is true about us (our roots) and choosing what we do, how we act, what we give ourselves too, despite that root tendency. We may not be able to change what our roots are, but we can (especially as adults) decide what fruit we bare.

Peace and perseverance to you for the journey!

Leanne Spencer, LPC, MAMFC, CGE