When people first found out I was in recovery from an eating disorder, the most common question I got was “how did you do it? How did you get better?” People are desperate for a one line answer, an easy fix. Because all the therapy mumbo jumbo feels too detailed to in depth, too hard for someone in the throws of an eating disorder. And families just want to be able to tell their loved one “do this and you’ll be better.” But unfortunately, I never had an easy answer, and I couldn’t really think of what specifically finally changed in me. It was learning to be honest, it was doing my counseling homework, following a meal plan, praying, practicing mindfulness – it was a thousand different things. But today I had somewhat of an epiphany.
I’m reading this book “Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely” by Lysa TerKeurst. (all the quotes in this post are from that book). I’m really excited about reading it because I’ve been wrestling with some insecurity that I can boil down to my fear of being unloveable. In one of the first chapters, Lysa talks about how rejection can start to whisper lies to us about who we are and eventually we base our identity on those lies. That’s exactly what happened to me with Anorexia & Bulimia. Anorexia told me I was a waste of a person, that there was nothing good about me. Bulimia told me that I was too much, too fat, too boring, too ugly. And I started letting those lies shape my identity. I was trapped in a cycle of self loathing for nearly a decade, and it took several treatment facilities, trips to the ER, recovery programs, broken relationships, countless sermons and prayers until I finally realized what I had to do to break free. I had to radically redefine my identity.
“It wasn’t just a better feeling that I needed; I needed a completely new way of defining my identity. I needed truth to inform what I believed about myself.”
I had tried for years to hold onto my identity of “never good enough” while trying to glue on top of that things that I had learned in therapy. The way I lived was “never good enough” but I’m learning to set boundaries. “Never good enough” but appreciate what your body can do. “Never good enough” but serve others and be selfless. “Never good enough” but work hard anyway. And that way of living would legit never be good enough to recover from an eating disorder.
“Old patterns of thought must be torn out, and a new way of looking at the core of who I am using God’s truth has to be put into place. My identity must be anchored to the truth of who God is & who He is to me. Only then can I find stability beyond what my feelings will ever allow.”
Trying to glue therapy lessons on top of a false identity wasn’t going to cut it. I had to completely tear down my identity of “not good enough” and start basing my identity in who God is & who He says I am. A book that was extremely helpful in my recovery was “Lies That Kill” by Rob Randall. He wrote about common lies people believe about God and about themselves and then he argued those lies with truth about who God really is and who I really am as a child of God – and he used Scripture to back it up which gave me more of a firm foundation to what I was wanting my best to believe and live out of. By taking time to really uncover what lies I was believing and talking and praying through the truth, piece by piece I was able to rebuild my identity on a solid foundation – the foundation of who I am in Christ and who He really is.
“I’m not who that guy says I am…I’m not what social media likes & comments say I am…I’m not who the scale says I am or the sum total of what my flaws say I am. I’m going to stop flirting with the unstable things of this world so I can fall completely in love with You. I am loved. I am held. I am Yours. I am forever Yours.”
I pray you live knowing that you are loved today.