Trials or On Trial
James 1:12 “Blessed is the one (me) who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person (me) will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (Me)!
I think of the word trial and sometimes I wonder if I am going through trials or on trial. I feel as though I am constantly confessing my guilt, proclaiming my innocence, or at the very least defending my actions, thoughts and emotions.
I hesitated as I stepped backward on the scale to be weighed by my dietician, after my week of treatment in San Francisco. The straw that could break me would be my weight creeping up. I am tired of facing trial after trial. So, I step off waiting for the verdict. She asked me to step back on. “You have lost a significant amount of weight,” she states, but doesn’t tell me how much. I know I “should” be disappointed by this declaration, but I am not. Although I have not been restricting, my last few weeks have been very stressful. She wants to know what I feel about this. Of course she already knows the answer to her question like an attorney knows the answer to her question as she cross examines her witness. She all but says “Isn’t it true, Lisabeth, that this pleases you?” And of course she is correct. I however purger myself, (no pun intended) as I tell her I was sure I had gained weight and felt thick and fat. Actually I did feel like I was down a little by the way my clothes felt, but didn’t say anything out of fear of, A-being wrong, or B-being judged, and C-yes it pleased me. I sit there and say as little as possible. Do people with eating disorders truly ever get disappointed when they drop weight? Maybe some of you do, but I am not quite there…yet.
“Would you ever feel thin enough?” She asks. “Do I feel the same regardless of my weight?” I ponder my answer carefully and admit that when I weigh under 110 pounds I don’t feel well, and I look frail and sickly. I leave out the part about actually liking the way I look despite how terrible I feel. She looks satisfied with my answer. I know 110 pounds isn’t good, but I am not sure 125 pounds is good for me either. So I prefer to hover between 114 pound and no more than 117 pounds. In other words, somewhere between sick and well.
It is an odd pace to hang “in limbo” I don’t think of myself as anorexic anymore, but she thinks I am way off base to say this. So, I listen to her throw down her judgement, and I feel like a child: Remembering my mother telling me how I “should” think or feel. How can I possibly know how I feel???
I try to re-direct the conversation by saying, “I only purged once, okay twice while out of town!” I say it with a lilt of confidence and pride. She isn’t buying it the way my therapist did. She wants to know why, and what I could have done differently. “Ok, so here is the truth, and nothing but the truth! Sometimes when I hear God calling me to cast my anxiety on him and not the toilet, I stick my fingers in my ears and shout “La, la, la, drowning out his voice and just have at it!” Knowing what to do and doing it are polar opposites! And when the purge doesn’t ease the pain; it is then that I make another judgement call of turning back to Him, or cutting my flesh in hopes that the physical pain outweighs the emotional. I am already deep into my self loathing for the purge, so I wound my arm watching my own blood flow forgetting that Jesus shed his so I shouldn’t have to shed my own.
It is in recounting my story that I feel the tears well up, threatening to spill over. I am sorry God and I feel shame rise as I mistake what feels like condemnation from my dietician, for God’s condemnation. Could it be that the only one condemning me was myself? I stop her in midst of her litany of suggestions. I can’t take on too much change, my mind is spinning. I need to approach this one step at a time, and I am okay with that. There is a wisdom that comes from having ben in recovery before, and age, I suppose. It is by knowing my tolerance for change , that I have come this far into recovery. I think that is true for all of us in recovery, therapy, or just seeking to grow as a human being. It is important for us to know how much change will move us forward and how much will make us throw down the white flag surrendering to our pasts and not propelling us toward our futures.
I listen to my voice. I can’t add “X” amount of calories, decrease my workouts by 2 days, not purge, and not cut all with one bang of the gavel declaring this case of the Eating disorder closed. For those of you that can….”Go for it” and I am thrilled for you. It is your journey, your way. I am a slow processor. I like to move ahead one step at a time. The huge leap is scary for me. Hell I even take one step forward then back sometimes until I feel stable in this odd dance of recovery before I can take a new step.
I share this all with her and remind myself that God allows us to face trials, but doesn’t put us on trial. Romans 8:1 “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” And I am grateful that even as I stick my fingers in my ears shouting “La, la, la!” Romans 8:38 “And I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love…..”