“Man I’m tired, I’m just tired and bored with myself.” (Bruce Springsteen).
Usually I find my writing coming from the words God sends to me through scripture or sometimes just to me through prayer and writing. Today I find the words of the “Boss” reflecting how I have been feeling the last few days, and wonder, “if I am tired and bored with myself, I can only imagine what those living with me or around me must feel?” I am sure they are thinking “get on with it already! We are tired of waiting for you to let go and get over the eating disorder. Frankly Liz you are boring us to tears.” I am in a slump, and find it easier to succumb to purging over the weekend, then fight the good fight. Last weekend I had the strength to fight the desire to get the food out. I also had a little heart to heart with God as I was trying to decide what I was going to do with the food. He had my back, and as promised, gave me the strength and courage to keep the food in.
Last week I was with my son viewing his award winning artwork. We took him out to dinner and I was filled to the brim with pride. This was his day, and I believe that God knew I would so regret the stain purging would leave on it, so he short of sent me an audible saying “DON”T DO IT, DON’T DO IT!” I listened and in the end knew that by taking the eating disorder and laying it as his feet, he gave me strength and peace. As I drove home that night my pride in my self for heeding God’s warning was eclipsed only by the pride I felt in my son. It was in his pleasure and genuine surprise at this award that I not only saw what joy looks like, but felt it pricking at my heart. I love that God is using the everyday things that I once missed to reveal the joy he intends for me, for all of us. I find that trying to stay “in the moment for me” takes practice and training just like running a race.
I feel like I am in crisis of faith season. One when I ask why, where is God, is He who he says he is, and if he is there, then why am I here? Why am I still entangled in this mess? Why do I even have to sit and debate with him as I stare into a toilet basin to vomit or not to vomit? The next time the media throws a waif like model in your face, remember how many of us throw up to measure up. Yet do not be deceived, it really isn’t about the weight at all. Although I say it is my body image that seems to be my final strong hold, it is really my self-image. It is what, in my opinion, all of us who battle this illness becomes the real battle. We find ourselves not fully knowing who we are on the inside so we keep trying to perfect the outside. When reach the ideal image of body and beauty, but still don’t find our true identity, we find ourselves identified by the eating disorder itself. Somehow this becomes better than no identity at all. Maybe that is why recovery is so long and arduous. Finding yourself means losing the one thing in which you have finally found your identity and replacing it with your true identity takes faith and courage to believe you really are unique, special, and more than okay.
I know that God wants me to find my identity in him and the person that he created me to be, to see me through the eyes of an adoring father that created me to love and be loved by him. This week I allow the eating disorder to speak louder than God’s voice again. Two weeks have passed, and I step carefully on the scale at the gym hoping that no one is around to witness this sacred moment. I hold my breath as I move the scale to 117lbs and slowly bump it down one pound at a time. My weight is down from 116lbs, almost 117lbs, to 114lbs. I would love to say that I am disappointed, but I am not. I am not entirely honest with my husband or therapist as to how relived I am to have lost and not gained. I imagine this would probably not surprise my therapist; after all she is the professional. My husband, I am not sure? I don’t mean to be deceitful. Both seem to think I am doing much better, and I am, but maybe I am not as far down the road as they think. Maybe I am not as far down the road as I think.
This weekend I am out for dinner and instead of laying down the eating disorder at God’s feet, my mind keeps going back to setting my feet on the sacred altar of the scale. I have plenty of wiggle room. So what if I move back towards 117lbs. I was okay there, but not quite comfortable. A friend, a comment from someone at the gym, feeds the eating disorder this week and I lose the battle once again, as I sit and enjoy my meal, I become aware of how much food I have taken in. Did I really need the bread? Will this one real meal with the bread send my weight right back up? Who the hell cares? I sill do. Before I can think about it, I panic and purge. “Dang this stupid illness!” That is what happens time and time again when I forget Psalm 46:1 “God is my refuge and my strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (NLT) I get sucked back into worshiping the sacred scale instead of my sacred father. I am tired and bored with myself. The eating disorder finds an opening and I let it right back in instead of taking it back and handing it over to God.
I must have said fifty times in the last few days that I didn’t think that I’d be dealing with this at the age of fifty. “I am too damned old for this! How can this middle aged woman keep fighting?” Somehow I find the answer to this in his word. Joshua 14:10-11 “Now as you can see the Lord has kept me alive and well as he has promised for all these forty five years since Moses made this promise – even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong as I was when Moses sent me on that journey and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then.” I try to remember this after I purge this weekend. Even though I feel old, weak and helpless, maybe there is some more fight in this old dog. If only this old dog would remember the strength of her master Jesus Christ.
Twice in three weeks I have purged, and it cuts me to the core. I beat my self up with a vengeance. At least this time I leave my hands off my own body. I am overwhelmed with; you name it, guilt, shame, embarrassment, and humiliation, anger, disappointment, and regret. I am sorry and sad I have let myself down as well as God. He has kept me alive for a reason. He cannot fulfill that in me if I keep chipping away at myself. So I just come straight with him that I am helpless right now. “I don’t know how to do this!!” “That’s okay” I hear him through scripture. I will not only be your refuge and strength, I will teach you. Psalm 143:10 “Teach me to do your will for you are my God, may your gracious spirit lead me forward to firm footing.” ( NLT ) I don’t need to know how to do this; He will teach me if I yield to his will.