Part 1- Rewind to Past
Today I was walking the streets of Hamilton, realizing that perhaps it was my last “official” walk home from school as this semester has quickly become to an end. I enjoyed these walks a lot, because I tend to do a lot of thinking and praying during my walks, and truly during any physical activity.
Physical activity gives me a sense of clarity, and peace, and I have realized this over the past few months.
Most of my friends and family are aware of my struggles with food and exercise. Yes, there was a time in my life where I wasn’t eating enough, and I was excessively excising. But, I have realized that during this time in my life, I was lacking something that I needed most. A true, intimate relationship with the Lord.
What most of you don’t know, or are not aware of, are some of the shameful encounters I have had in the past with food. You see, there was a time in my life where I was classified as “anorexic”. This was hard pill for me to swallow, because I felt that for one, I didn’t look “sick” enough to be considered someone who has anorexia. So when it came time to gain weight and to remove physical activity from my life, it was catastrophic.
But there was also a larger portion of my life spent in “recovery”, where I was eating uncontrollably, while I was at home alone. Although I was never clinically diagnosed with binge eating disorder, I have identified it after doing research and matching up the symptoms with my own behaviours.
This took place in my last year of high school, and after grade 12, I decided it would be best to take a year off, to truly figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had no clear direction because honestly, my focus during high school was not on my grades, or the classes I was taking, my focus was solely based on body image and trying to attain a certain weight.
There were days I would spend, eating bowls on bowls on bowls of cereal until the box and milk were half gone or completely gone. There was one incident I had eaten 5-6 bagels within 10 minutes, finding myself over the toilet trying to self-induce vomit. A box full of granola bars. Jars of peanut butter and jam. Full boxes of crackers. A tub of ice-cream. It was completely out of a significant lack of self-control.
I would be at work, at school, or out with friends, and spend my time “planning” my next binge. I would have voices taking over telling me that I needed to “just eat” when I got home, not even take a minute to talk to my parents and see how there day was, to just “eat” away my feelings.
Months and months of pure frustration, and feelings of depression began to sink in. All I could ask myself is Why? Why am I dealing with this? I was such a happy, care-free little girl who never thought she would have such an abusive, love/hate relationship with food.
If I could paint you a picture of what the majority of my days have looked like in the past year, it would look like this.
- Sara wakes up.
- Sara thinks she needs to work-out right away.
- Sara has an inner debate with herself, telling herself ‘no, you don’t need to work-out, you don’t need to do that. Do something else, like read your bible or sit and watch t.v with the famjam’.
- Sara begins to put work-out clothes on.
- Sara isn’t enjoying the work-out because she feels she’s being forced to work-out by her own self.
- Sara is upset.
- Sara stops working out, goes downstairs to the kitchen, and eats whatever she see’s.
- Sara thinks about what she ate. She fixates on what she ate and then begins to have feelings of anxiety, and continuously thinks about what she’ll be eating next and when she’ll be eating next, how to avoid what to eat next, sometimes she’ll eat even more until she feels physically sick, etc. She then begins thinking that she needs to do something physically active.”
And while all of this is going on in her head, depending on where she is or who she is with at the time, she remains to keep silent and smile, sometimes she’ll cry, sometimes she’ll lash out in anger at others. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, that she continues to ride each day, knowing that she should just get off and stay off.
Part 2- Fast Forward
Years of my life have been revolved around eating, but then, one night I felt that I was touched by the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes I wonder why things happened the way they did. I ask God, why did I have to experience tragedies such as heartbreak, eating issues, loss of close relationships.
I am quickly reminded that, had I not gone through what seemed to be a literal mess, I would not have the most important relationship of all. An intimate relationship with God was the missing piece to my story above.
My most recent relationship with an incredible person had ended quite recently. We had been in a relationship for just over a year, and have so many fun memories together. We shared a very special and unique relationship because we had quite a few similarities in ourselves and our upbringings. I felt that it was really easy to relate to one-another, and I find it hard to believe that I could ever stop caring about him just for who he is.
During our relationship though, I did not have a relationship with God, and therefore my faith was absent.
Prior to our relationship, I had already been dealing with eating issues for quite sometime. I was 15 when the disorder began to develop, and was 17 at the beginning of our relationship.
Jumping into the relationship pretty quick, I thought maybe this would be good for me. (How selfish does that sound??). I thought maybe, just maybe, a boy could fill the void in which I had thought I needed, which was love from a person, but I was tragically mistaken.
Truly, because of the situation I was in with eating, I needed faith and God to fill that void.
As a result, I began to go against my own values. I was disrespecting myself, my parents, and people around me. I acted as if I was okay a lot of the times, but I truly was dying on the inside, longing for some kind of hope that I didn’t have for myself. I would eat, and be sad.
I couldn’t see a clear future for myself. I had no idea what my purpose or calling was in life. I was disappointed in myself for not going to university like many of the “normal” people in my grade did.
I was angry with myself for having an eating disorder during high school because I didn’t end up with the grades I needed. I had felt each day that I was a bigger and bigger disappointment on myself and the people around me, even though I had so much support from friends and family. I felt that I had screwed up my life, and my “plan” that I had for myself.
No human being, not even my boyfriend at the time, could “fix me”, because as humans we are make mistakes and we fail time and time again. But there is One who never fails, and who gives us unconditional love and acceptance, and most importantly grace.
It was not until the night that the Holy Spirit had moved me, and shifted my way of thinking. Through God, I had come to the realization that it was time to let go of my own desires, and my own plans, in order to work on my relationship with God and become renewed.
Lot’s of prayer during this time had helped tremendously. All you have to do is ask. Ask God to help you, with whatever it is you need help with. His love is stronger than anything, even those voices which are derived from satan in your head saying things that can ultimately destroy you, and destroy God’s plan for you.
Through prayer, through God, and through people whom God has been working through, I have been becoming more like Him, and less of who I used to be. I am not the same girl as I was a year ago, a month ago, even a week ago.
I believe that God has done miraculous things since I’ve opened up to Him, and let Him take the steering wheel. I have had some amazing conversations with some of my close friends and family, and mentors, who have guided me to form a stronger relationship with God. They said that it doesn’t take much, you just have to allow Him in. Don’t over think it, don’t constantly feel like you have rules and regulations to follow once you’ve made a commitment to serving the Lord. God knows what He is doing, you don’t have to try and fool Him!
I suggest that if you are ever feeling like you need a touch from the Holy Spirit, begin with repentance followed by prayer. Asking for forgiveness is important, because we must ask God to forgive us for our sin.
He removes the shame from the past, He is capable of anything.