Tag Archives: Eating Disorders

30 Days of Gratitude-Day Thirteen

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Our Pastor has inspired me to use this season to improve my attitude of gratitude. I have committed to writing about thirty things I’m grateful for. Even the hard stuff. Gratitude is not about our circumstances. It is a choice. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today I’m grateful for my body.

Now that may sound really brazen. I’m on the thin side, so some may think that is easy for me to say. Some may even think it sounds boastful. But I assure you it’s not. You see, I struggled for almost twenty years with an eating disorder called Bulimia.

Webster Dictionary defines Bulimia as

“an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting.”

Let’s look at the word distortion. The definition is

“a change, twist, or exaggeration that makes something appear different from the way it really is.” 

I’ve always been relatively thin. It runs in my family. But because of childhood trauma my identity was defined by the emotional needs of others. That’s cause for a lot of dysfunction. In my case, I believed that if I was perfect enough, I could control the behavior of others. I believed that if people valued me as perfect, then I would finally experience the love I so desperately sought. 

I could never be thin enough.

At nineteen, I entered a fitness model contest. I was in amazing shape. I worked hard, denied my cravings and built the body I had dreamed of. But when I looked in the mirror I saw the same body I had always seen. One that was imperfect and disappointing. One that didn’t measure up. 

A year later I moved to New Jersey to pursue a modeling career in New York. I lost another ten pounds and got down to 111 pounds at 5’8″. I was so emaciated that my face just sunk in. When I returned home, my own family didn’t recognize me when they picked me up from the airport. Everybody commented that I looked like I had been sick. I deflected their comments, but inside I was pleased. I thought I had finally arrived. But when I looked in the mirror, I still didn’t measure up. 

That’s distortion.  That’s the lie we buy into. That we have to be perfect. That we are damaged goods. And as a therapist once told me, we spend the rest of our lives trying to disprove the lie that we are bad. 

I found something even more interesting about the meaning of the word distortion on the Wikipedia site.

“a distortion is the alteration of the original shape (or other characteristic) of something, such as an object, image, sound or waveform.”

That is profoundly true! What is our original shape?

The image of God!

We are made in the image of God! That is our original shape! But because of sin and brokenness and hurt and darkness, our original shape is altered and distorted. Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden, man’s natural instinct has been to pursue his identity apart from God. That’s why we are broken! But there is GOOD NEWS! There is redemption in Jesus Christ!

As believers, we must understand our identity in Christ!

As people recovering recovery from eating disorders, I think we must pursue 3 key disciplines. 

  1.  Forgiveness of self and others. People with eating disorders keep standards that no one can meet.  It’s a way to stay in a perpetual state of disappointment that allows one to punish themselves and others. A person with an eating disorder will be served well by focusing on forgiveness, which leads to acceptance
  2. Communication. I was unable to communicate my feelings as a child because of fear and shame. For me Bulimia started as an experiment, and quickly led to an obsession. It became a way to not only purge my food, but symbolically to purge my painful feelings. Please talk with someone you trust. Reach out.
  3. Renewing our mind. Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  When we focus on the Truth instead of our feelings, we are renewed. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, instead of the world, we are renewed. We must learn who we really are. Who God made us to be. Who God says we are. Most importantly, we must learn who God himself is. That is a process. 

Eating disorders are mental disorders and they are complicated. If you have one, I pray you will get professional help. I’m not a trained professional, and only share my personal experience and beliefs. I have 7 years of recovery from my disorder without one single relapse. All Glory to God! I have been delivered and set free and I believe that is possible for every one of us. 

I’m praying that you will have the strength to look into the eyes of Jesus and see the absolute love and adoration He has for you. You are enough. He has a plan for your life. It is a good plan, because He is a good God.

What are you grateful for today?

The Edge of His Robe

Heather Murdock's blogI’m beginning to see how shame has profoundly shaped my life by insinuating itself into the very core of my being, clouding my perceptions and driving my decisions.

I have written quite a bit about painful childhood experiences; almost like I’m trying to vomit them.

As I write that last sentence, I am struck by my word choice “vomit.” If you read my other posts like Rebirth and A Heart for the Underdog, you will see that I struggled with bulimia for almost twenty years.

I became a Christian three years ago, and just like the woman who touched the edge of Jesus’ robe in Luke 8:43-48, I was immediately healed.  The moment I recognized His love and accepted Him as my Savior, my decaying spirit came to life. I felt it happen.  But it wasn’t until a few months later that I realized I had not had one thought or craving of my eating disorder.

Over the years, I had gone through stages where I was able to resist the urge to indulge in the act of my disorder, but it was never far from my mind.  It was always there calling out to me like a long lost friend; pretending to be my solace. I jealously protected it from exposure.  I desperately wanted help, but revealing its presence in my life would mean it could be taken away.  To me, it was a way out, a way to control, and a way to purge my shame. I came close to telling my husband, and when I finally did, it came out like it was a problem I used to have. He felt sorrow and compassion for what his wife “used to go through.”  I mourned with him, as the secret raged on.  My shame grew, and the chains tightened.

It’s interesting to me how something as shameful as an eating disorder could represent a way to relieve my shame.  How can that be?

God is starting to take me even deeper in my understanding of myself and my past.  I realize the shame came from the sin being lived out in my family; the sin of abuse and addiction. Sin begets sin, and shame begets shame.  As my desire to hide what was happening grew to giant proportions, so did the fear and anxiety of anyone finding out.

As a child, I internalized all of this.  However, as I grew into adolescence, I learned the art of cultivation.  In other words, I designed an external reality to hide the internal one.  I hid behind my facade, which provided a fortress for the shame.

I say my healing was instantaneous, and in so many ways it was.  I do still struggle with some of the remnants of my past, though.  God hasn’t delivered me from everything overnight.  I am grateful He hasn’t.  The struggle is where the relationship with Him is built.  My issues and challenges keep me seeking Him.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

To this day, I am COMPLETELY free of my eating disorder.  I know there are many out there with similar stories of great transformation.  I also know there are many who are still in the darkness of their shame.  I encourage you to reach out to our Lord and ask Him into your heart.  Ask Him to be with you in those darkest places and to lead you into the light.  I don’t know what miracles He will work in your life, but I do know He is faithful and He is good and He loves you more than you can ever imagine.

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— 
to bestow on them a crown of beauty 
   instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy 
   instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise 
   instead of a spirit of despair. 
They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
   a planting of the LORD 
   for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3     

To watch the latest Love, Hope and Faith click here.  I was blessed by my interview of Pastor Cameron English, as he shared about his painful experiences of childhood abuse, substance abuse, jail and the loss of a child.  It’s amazing what God has done in his life and how God has used it to give Cameron a ministry for the hurting.