A year ago, I received a phone call from my friend Josee that changed my life– or rather, God changed my life through that phone call. It was a conversation and then prayer that led me to literally rip up stringent rules about food and eating that I’d lived a fearful slave to for years.
And since then, I have not looked back. Food has faded into the background of a very full, vibrant life that I aim to live in submission to Jesus for His glory alone.
It is because I know that HIS WORD and HIS SPIRIT prove food to be so small, such a minor part of life in terms of filling up my thoughts, that I knew that this would be good.
Back then, though, taking the leap didn’t feel easy. I get it. In fact, while it seems as if one phone call changed everything in and instant, God had been readying my heart for years beforehand. To receive and to know that HE is my reward, ALL I want to live for.
This year has proven that my physical health is still in need of repair. While food has been such a small focus, and mentally that has been fantastic, my body has proven that it isn’t ready to live normally yet– it still has damage to repair, which requires extra nourishment. To learn why those recovering from restriction need lots more food, check out this wonderful resource.
This whole past year, eating “intuitively” hasn’t felt like a big question or thought or focus. It has just BEEN, reminiscent of when I was a child before any disordered eating. Reminiscent of the position food is meant to have in one’s thoughts.
And while that has meant a lot of food and a big appetite, it hasn’t led to necessary weight gain because… well… “normal people” eat a lot of food, and their bodies don’t turn it into loads of extra weight. Bodies use food.
Ie., freedom eating doesn’t equal weight gain. Now knowing that I need some more weight on my body, the Lord has given me rested assurance in focusing on eating more to repair my organs, my reproductive system, etc…. and that has been an amazing growing period, too.
A year since such an important surrender that is only for the cause of Christ– and yet I am unfinished until the day I am face to face with my perfect Saviour, my Holy Concellor. Lord, make me more like You.
And oh, as I listen, He directs, He informs, He imposes. Even when I try to close my ears or temporarily chase something else, His Spirit, forever sealed within me (Ephesians 1:13), doesn’t let me.
Today, a year later, I was at the gym stretching my splits after a rejuvenated morning class, after coming into the gym and seeing the “free food” table (yessss) and snackin’ before stretching (plus loading up for later, cuz, food), when the kind voice of a girl next to me piped up, “Excuse me.”
I turned to her, and smiled in way of answer.
“I was just wondering… do you have any diet advice for me? Like… do you diet?”
I stammered for a moment. I opened my mouth to say, “No, I don’t ‘diet’ at all. Food is ‘so small.'” But before I did, I said a silent prayer to the Lord. Asked Him to help me love and see this girl the way He did.
He made me calm, and gave me peace.
“No, I don’t diet. I eat a lot, actually, right now, cuz I’m wanting to gain some weight! I also definitely wouldn’t advise dieting.” Not that the girl’s body would influence my telling her that I wouldn’t advise dieting, but I noticed her very slender frame. She was a stunning girl.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I was just looking over at you and like… you’re so skinny and that’s all I want. I would give anything to look like you.”
I blushed. I felt so much sadness in my heart. Recalling, as if in a cave in the deep-down parts of me, a time when I felt that way with every part of my flesh. Felt such intense desire to get smaller and smaller. This sick and twisted mindset that I now see exactly for what it is. An idol that removes me from my only purpose in life: allowing my Father to live through me.
I gestured briefly to my tattoo. It was rare for me to speak outwardly about it, but I knew this was a moment for it. “I understand,” I said, “I used to be really sick. But I’m better, and I don’t think about food like that anymore. There is so much more to life, and food is truly so small. I eat whatever I want, and don’t think about it other than enjoying it. And I love cooking, and nourishing my body. I eat so much more than I used to, and my body knows what to do with it. Our bodies are incredibly smart.”
I felt sad as I saw the girl’s empty eyes. She wasn’t receiving what I was saying. She had been hoping for a secret recipe of “the perfect way of eating” to fulfill her. The illness had warped her mind so that she believed that a certain diet was the secret to happiness. She– Ana, I learned– opened up to me about the eating disorder she was struggling with.
Ana kept asked me about my advice; how my weight had changed, the speed of my metabolism, how often I worked out– and I kept answering her in saying that those things were “so small.” She wasn’t getting what she was looking for.
“I’m really happy you’re better,” she said finally, “You look great.”
There was a time that I would have felt jealous of her sickness while I had found health. But now, I felt nothing but anguish, deep sadness for her situation, prayerful that she would receive the love God was already showering on her.
But I know it’s not easy.
I also know it can’t be shoved down someone’s throat, especially when they’re in a physically and mentally starved state. Everything is warped.
A relationship with God is an intimate one. It’s not based on the notions of others, though they help. It can’t be built upon or stored up in facts and knowledge, or in conversations about Him with others. It is a responsive, vibrant relationship.
My beautiful friend, Kayla, shared the testimony of God’s work in her life at church last night. In a conversation with her afterwards, she talked about that intimate relationship with God. “If we’re relying on His Spirit, He’ll prompt within us to other people, and that’ll be a seed within their relationship with Him. But He’s on a journey with all of us.”
When I talked to God, I knew He was calling me to seed through His Spirit in my conversation with Ana.
“You’re built for more than this,” I told her finally, “In fact, you’re not built for this illness at all. I promise you… a beautiful, purposeful life without this illness is possible, and I have confidence that you’ll know it.”
I got Ana’s contact info before leaving the gym, and I’ve been praying for her.
It’s amazing what our Father will do to chase us down. I know He’s chasing her down.
A year since the Lord set me free from an ill way of living.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. PHILIPPIANS 3:8-10
Lord, use me.