On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, millions of people came together across social networking sites to end the stigma around mental illness. With all the tweeting, texting and sharing the hashtag “#bellletstalk” over seven billion dollars was raised in order to support Canadian mental health programs. It’s phenomenal to see people from all parts of the world support a campaign that helps bring positive change in our society, but what if there was more than just a hashtag that would make an eternal impact on lives?
For we walk by faith, not by sight
2 Corinthians 5:7
A few years ago, I was in a very dark place. If you knew me while I was a teenager, you’d know that I was utterly consumed with thoughts of food, exercise, and weight. At the age of 16, I was clinically diagnosed with a mental illness called anorexia and continued to have disordered thoughts around food for several years to follow.
On top of the disorder, I was also spending a fair amount of time with friends getting drunk and staying out late. My life was going down-hill and I didn’t realize it was until I had reached a point of “rock bottom.”
Fast forward to when I was 18 years old and my life had forever changed. I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sin and wanted Him to take full control over my life that was very out-of-control. It was on this day where Jesus became my Lord and Saviour.
I thought that by asking the Lord to forgive me and cleanse me of my sin would eliminate all of my issues, including my eating disorder. In my case, however, God used this mental illness to help me lean and depend on Him. Suffering from the disorder even while I was a Christian brought me into a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with Him.
The healing process from my disorder began at the cross. When I accepted what Jesus had done for me on the cross, I slowly began to see my life transform. It was not in an instant, in fact, the healing process took years before I began to see changes in my thoughts and life.
I believe in some cases, God uses a slow and steady process of healing in order to develop a more intimate way of living in relationship with Him. Some of the strongest relationships I see today are built on years of experience, similar to how Christ desires our relationship with Him.
Throughout the healing process included seeking help from numerous health care professionals. All of my resources were very helpful, but I knew I needed something more than what I was receiving. Don’t get me wrong, guidance counselors and health care professionals are excellent at providing support and help to those who are suffering from a mental illness, but no one can see the “root cause” of our issues, only God can.
After attending multiple sessions of secular based counseling, I decided to give Christian counseling a chance. After all, I had been a Christian for a couple of years and was desperate for more help. I wanted to hear the truth about what was preventing me from getting out of the “disordered” mindset I had about food, body image, etc.
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me
The biblical counselor who I was speaking with showed me this verse from John 14:6, which really opened up eyes to see that Jesus was the only One that could provide everlasting freedom. The counselor also shared with me some other passages of scripture which were helpful in finding out that the “root” cause of some of my issues, which are originally derived from sin.
Many people like to think that most people are considered “good people.” However, the Bible says that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” according to Romans 3:23. It reminds us that every individual, whether they appear to be good or not, are naturally born into sin and separated from God. As a result of our fallen nature, our natural tendencies are to lean toward doing things that are wrong rather than right.
Pride plays a huge factor in denying our sin-problem. Take it from someone like me who did not want to admit that there was sin in my life. I wanted to believe that I deserved to be happy and did not deserve to have an eating disorder. I wanted to think that my life should be perfect. However, the only way I was able to deal with the disordered thoughts was by:
1. Confronting my sin
2. Swallowing my pride
3. Humbly admitting my true condition (I’m a sinner).
It is when we confess our sin to God and solely place our trust in Him that we can find forgiveness and joy.
I praise the Lord daily that He has helped me grow this far in my walk with Him. While I admit, there are times where I fall short, I can find rest when I admit to Him that I have done something wrong.
If we want to continue building a strong relationship with our Saviour, we need to become honest and humble about our “root” cause known as sin. Sin runs deep inside of us, but God’s grace allows us to live freely and righteously.