Will the Real Liz Please Stand Up?

After a busy and eventful summer…I am back and ready to share with you my ups and downs, trials and triumphs of my summer.  Much of it was spent preparing to publish my new book.

 Eating by Faith: A Walk with God.  My Eating Disorder from The Inside Out.

Stay tuned for more news about the book!

Jeremiah 31:3 “Long ago the Lord said to Israel, ‘I have loved you my people with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”

 

I love this verse and savor these words as I treasure the image of the Lord drawing me in with his powerful yet tender arms.  My eyes close and feel his arms around me saying, “there, there my child it is okay, you are okay, and one day you will feel okay.” I look up at him to seek reassurance as tears begin to swell. “ Are you sure?”  my voice quivers in a soft whisper, “It has been so long…” God looks into my eyes. He smiles adoringly at me.

 

I remember that I am first and foremost his daughter. I am his beloved and he bares the wounds from the nails in his hands and feet and a sword pierced through his side to prove it.

I am not anorexia or this body; I am his. Just as others are not defined by their physical illness, I am not defined by this illness (by anyone other than myself.)

 

Even as I rest in His arms I find myself struggling with the voices of the eating disorder tormenting most of the summer. Both my pastor and dietician remind me that the closer I move toward wholeness and healing, the louder and faster Satan slings his arrows of lies at me. I feel like flaming arrows are landing in the soft flesh exposed by the chinks in my spiritual armor.

 

Psalm 46:1 “God is my refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.”

I want to find His refuge and strength because I may no longer “look” like I am in trouble physically, but I am constantly troubled and tormented by the rapid crescendo of the eating disorder’s voice over the summer.

I have taken a break from blogging for the summer and at times even a day or two from the eating disorder.   The eating disorder and I have yet to make (and may never make) a full break from each other.  Today my former pastor reminds me that Our God is able. Daniel 3:17 “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it…” (NIV)

A few things leap out at me like flames dancing from a fiery furnace.

  • The first is that I was thrown into this fire of anorexia. I didn’t choose it and choosing to recover is hard. I believe He wants me to know this.
  • I have recently felt guilt and shame rising up in me as if I am responsible.  That I chose my illness.  I watch and pray with great compassion for friends and family members stricken physically with illnesses they didn’t choose.
  • I have trouble offering myself this same compassion.
  • I see is that He is able to rescue me and He is able to rescue all of those fighting a battle, be it mental or physical, that we didn’t sign up to fight.

 

I have been home from Europe for a week (More about that to come) where my restricting, exercising and purging flourished like the Roman Empire I wandered. It has now been seven days since I last purged.

 

I know I am falling short, but I am getting in most my meal plan and keeping it in. This is not an easy accomplishment when I am so uncomfortable in this body.  I am quick to see this as failing, but my dietician is quick to see what I am doing right.   This encouragement catches me by surprise as I anticipated condemnation.

 

Voices

My body seems to change beyond my control. The eating disorder voices in my head are now louder than they were when I was “too” thin. I HATE them! They taunt me “eat this, don’t eat this. When will you work out, and how much will be enough? We don’t care if you are tired, sore and jet-lagged, get your lazy ass up and run. Don’t body check, do body check. Try on those jeans, shorts or anything that you fear won’t fit to make sure they do, and if they don’t you better do something about it. Park far away from the door and walk, walk, walk to burn more calories, and what ever you do always take the stairs.”

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It is a burden to look recovered and not feel recovered. Although there are many indications that I am so much healthier emotionally, in theory I am still undernourished and running on fumes. No one knows the hunger I feel as I try to answer if and fight it at the same time.

It is a dreadful and deceitful feeling especially with my book coming out because some of the weight restoration has come from meds and menopause and not necessarily my own doing. Hiding behind the façade of recovery that feels more like an odd sort of remission, feels as hollow of a victory as feeling like a victor in the anorexia.

 

Ha! “Will the real Liz please stand up?” I see God’s strong gentle arms reach for me to stand. I slowly stand with great trepidation, and then with confidence. This is the real me and I am God’s daughter. I am not perfect and I am trying to be okay with this.

 

I am messy. Recovery is messy. It is long road of glorious straight a ways, slow uphill climbs riddled with tedious switchbacks and hairpin turns, detours and roadblocks that often impede forward progress. I find, for me, that the trick isn’t to avoid the hills, roadblocks, and detours, but to simply stay on the road.

 

So, it is with confidence that I stand because this is the real me. Sometimes I am up, sometimes I am down, sometimes I am coasting on the straight-aways and some times I may just spin my wheels for a while.

James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

It is in these times of spinning that I am often slow to ask for help because of pride or disappointing those who have invested in my recovery. Yet when I confess and cry out for others to “stand in the gap” and pray for me, I always feel safe, surrounded, and bolstered up. After days of purging and restricting I confessed and asked for prayer. That night in Venice, I ate spaghetti and meatballs and kept it all in without even blinking.

 

Sometimes, I think this simply means crying out and saying “Help me, pray for me, I don’t have the words right now.” So cry out to Jesus and don’t let fear and shame keep you from experiencing the wonderful results of the prayers of His righteous children.