Last night my daughter and I watched Dr. Phil ( on T.V.) address the problems of Anorexia and Bulimia. It was agonizing to watch. The stories of these young women were enough to make you wonder if anyone, in this world, feels safe, loved, and hopeful.
Anorexia and Bulimia are two kinds of battles people have with not just the desire to be thin, but really, more the desire to be in control, to be safe, to be loved, to distract yourself with a ritual of purging or exercising or counting every calorie so that the real enemy inside you is temporarily quieted. I know. This is what I battled a long time ago.
Sometimes I even think that it really wasn't me, couldn't have been me, who frantically ran miles every day, ate a bit of cauliflower and some water for her main meal, and did exercises on her bed, at night, for hours. Sometimes it seems like this confused young woman was someone else- because I don't feel the terror or the frantic searching for control that I once felt. But I know it was me. I have photos to prove it was me.
The most memorable photo is the one where I am standing in front of our home and my sister has put up a sign that says "Welcome Home" and I am there, a smile on the face but not in the heart, and standing there-stick thin. I had just returned from my year of study abroad in Spain, but I had also returned having battled something that sprang up, supposedly, out of nowhere. Anorexia was its name but I could have called it so many other things as well: terror, a sudden realization that I was alone, culture shock, isolation, the need to control one tiny thing in my life even if everything else seemed out of control.
That's all I want to say for now about this problem I had so many years ago. I only bring it up now because last night was the first time I talked about it with my thirteen year old daughter. I wanted her to know that I had battled Anorexia, yes; but that I had also battled Fear, Anxiety, Depression, and Self Hatred. I wanted her to know that my strong confidence, now (which sometimes breaks down) is something that comes out of weakness. That "when I am weak, then He is strong" and God is strong enough to get you through the times when you don't even want to be strong, when you don't even want to succeed. God is adept at dealing with our self-sabotage.
Because I feel strong (for the most part), because I feel safe (very much so) and because I am certain of God's love for me, His desire for good for my life, I now look back and wonder how I could not have known these liberating truths. But I remember that its easy to get lost, its common to know hurt and pain and by not dealing with it, let it fester within and then manifest outwardly, someday, on a day you least expect, in a way you never thought.
I remember. God tells us to remember. How many times, just in Deuteronomy 8 alone, does He tell us to remember what we've gone through, remember what He has brought us out of, remember WHERE we are going. We are going to a promised land. And in this land, fear does not reign, sickness does not reign, and hearts are at peace, minds are at rest, because in this land, faith shall be sight. For me, I have decided that it is possible to used to the fact that this land is to be my homeland. That I am to be at peace, even now- and nothing shall rob me of my birthright.
"He who the Son sets free is free indeed." In getting free, I must remember that staying free is also the goal. It's the reality I should know. And I fix my sights on that. He tells me to do so. I want to agree with God, agree with what He has for me.
He'll always make a way for me to get there.