“You’re gorgeous! Just stop.”
It never mattered how many times I heard these words or similar while battling a disordered relationship with food and my body; they didn’t help. Regardless of how desperately I wanted to have the words penetrate my heart or how hard I tried to just stop restricting or binging and purging or over training, other’s advice to just quit doing it because I was somehow worthy because of my looks or health never worked.
I believe this is because we are trying to apply physical solutions to mental problems.
Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. While I am far from an expert on mental health or even eating disorders, I do have personal experiences with them and recovery therefore I believe I have a voice on this subject. More so, God has gifted me with some understanding on certain aspects and He continues to reveal more to me with each passing day.
I believe we are each given our own mental battles. For myself, and many others, its disordered eating and body dysmorphia. These problems manifest themselves in physical ways so its easy to not recognize them as mental issues. I believe the first step in healing is for everyone, those suffering from ED and those who know someone who is (hint: we all know someone), to recognize this as a mental health problem. We need to reevaluate our words and our thought processes.
To the anorexic we say, “just eat a cheeseburger.” To the binger we say, “step away from the cheeseburger.” To the purger we say, “geez, it was just a cheeseburger.” To the orthorexic we say, “one cheeseburger won’t kill you.”
The thing is, it has nothing to do with the cheeseburger.
It’s the fear of the cheeseburger. It’s the void being filled by the cheeseburger. Its the “control” we need over the cheeseburger. It’s the morality we place on a cheeseburger.
It’s a broken thought process that give us a broken relationship with food and ourselves. For me, it stemmed from a place of unworthiness and need for control. I thought if I looked just right or ate just right I might have more value. If I could control food and the variables around it, it would fill a gaping hole in my heart that made me feel inadequate and less.
But it never did.
Only once I began to embrace the fact that maybe my worth wasn’t in my physique or in variables I could control did I begin to find peace in my mind. In fact, it was recognizing that my identity has less to do with me and more to do with Christ in me, my hope and glory, that brought true healing in my life. God filled the hole in my life better than any food or form of exercise ever could.
Let’s stop trying to fight mental battles with physical weapons.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
When reading this verse, we often conjure up images of angels and devils at war. While I do not want to downplay the war in heavenly realms, I also don’t think it is wise of us to limit our thought process of the enemy. The devil isn’t just some red guy with a pitch fork and horns. These evil rulers of the unseen world engage in wars with us that can manifest themselves as mental discord. This looks like depression, anxiety, addictions, and many others things including eating disorders.
We serve as good God who helps us not only be aware of the war we are in but also how to arm ourselves against it.
.And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
We don’t have to be defeated in our mind. We can arm ourselves with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the bible, and prayer. We can seek help and guidance from wise counselors and godly therapists. We can be victorious. We just have to know what we are fighting and how to fight.