14 July 2017

Living without Fear

I know, it’s been far too long since I’ve written, but honestly, I just haven’t been able to develop the courage to sit down and write. I hear the devil whispering things like “that sounds stupid” or “you have nothing to say” and every time I am still, I must come face to face with these lies, as well as vulnerability. Writing and expressing the desires of my heart prevents me from self-imposed safeguards, allowing my fragile heart to be exposed and facing rejection and further abuse. I just want to protect myself and run away into what has become comforting and familiar over time, but I know that this comfort will literally kill me. I can no longer live a slave to the things of this world but am rather called to something much greater, if I will just simply allow God to lead me. I’ll admit—I am not very good at giving up control and trusting anyone but myself, even though my mind has led me astray countless times! God is showing me that it is OK to let down my guard and trust Him because He is not like others who have so violently hurt and abused me. No, I did not deserve this abuse and still don’t, as much as I believe otherwise, but instead He wants to so graciously pour out blessings and joy. “But I didn’t EARN it”, my performance-driven mind screams and then I hear God so quietly replying “you never will”, which is why He sent His Son to die for my sins and imperfections. I am weary and tired of following endless “rules and regulations”; the more I am told what to do the more I want to do the opposite, which frustrates me!
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”
Romans 7: 15-24 (NIV)
I have become resentful from years of being rigidly controlled by man-made rules that I cling SO tightly, with my entire being, to any form of control, whether false or true. Sports and extreme fitness protected me from further sexual harassment, as well as gave me a false sense of achievement. Anorexia allowed me to override my very own body and its cries for attention to prove I was “invincible”, or so I thought, as well as allowed me to cling to some form of control when everything around me was spinning out of control. God is showing me, though, that by “following my mind” and the things that ED (eating disorder) tells me to do, control is being lost instead of gained. Starvation leads to a point where one cannot be trusted because the end literally leads to death if no action is taken. Sometimes extreme measures are called for but other times they may cause more harm than good. For many years I was forced to eat whatever was placed in front of me, no matter how revolting and utterly un-appetizing, because I’d proven I couldn’t feed myself on my own; left to my own desires, I would literally starve to death. It became familiar to have every calorie counted and food weighed, as well as pre-determined requirements dictating what I could or could not eat. What was it like to eat intuitively and listen to my body—to hear its deafening cries for sustenance and actually provide? Through countless hospitalizations and inpatient admissions, it had become normal and eventually comforting to have every meal and snack planned for me so all I had to do was eat, which alone was nearly too much for me to handle. It didn’t matter if I “didn’t like” the food that was being placed in front of me because I was an “addict”, which seemed to somehow make me “less of a person” and incompetent of decision-making. If I couldn’t trust my own mind, then who could I trust to keep me safe? If doctors told me I must have a tube forced down my nose or eat a greasy, unappetizing and overcooked cheeseburger, I had no choice but to comply. No matter how much agonizing fear and anxiety burned within me, I had to comply—or else bad things would happen. After years of neglecting the desires of my heart and living a slave to man-made rules and antidotes, this internal God-given voice within me—my very instinct—has become depressed and nonexistent. I’m tired of being told “If you’d just do this, you’d be healed” because when it doesn’t happen I feel utterly hopeless and beyond healing—like a failure to the world. Through much gentle pursuing, however, God is showing me that only He possesses the authentic key to the freedom I was born to desire. Trusting in man will only lead me “so far” and at times make me feel beyond hope but God will never give up on me, no matter how many times I run away into my own comfort and destruction. He is showing me, with much patience, that He has already given me everything I need to walk in victory but I need to do the hardest thing I’ve ever done—TRUST!
It has been over two months now since I had my surgery and the doctor cleared me to eat an unrestricted diet. After feeling tired and weary of being told what was “good for me” but later finding out I’d once again been deceived, I ran to the Bible—the only thing on Earth I know to be constant and unchanging. What does it really look like to be “healthy”, nourishing and loving my “sacred temple” rather than punishing and destroying it for every imperfection? How did they live so long in older days, when medicine was nearly nonexistent yet health and longevity thrived? Even though we now have all these “supplements” and weight loss tools, why is obesity becoming an epidemic and heart disease leading to strokes and even death? I don’t want to be terrified of food, yet when the world around me thunderously rages with constant and ever-changing lies and contradictions, I wonder if food really was made for my survival or if it, too, has become my enemy.
After crying out to God for answers and reaching “my end”, I was led to Trim Healthy Mama. Now I’m not saying that this is the “cure for life” and by eating this way I am exempt from disease but to me it just felt “right” and gave me a peace about eating for the first time in many years. I was tired of being told to just eat x number of calories, no matter how stuffed or starving I was, forcing myself to push aside my body’s intuition. I was tired of being told I couldn’t eat this, or couldn’t eat that or needed to meet a certain number of grains, fruit, veggies, fat, etc. to be healthy. What if my body wasn’t hungry for what had been already planned, but was instead craving something different? I fell in love with the Trim Healthy Mama Plan because it wasn’t just another “fad diet” restricting calories, eliminating food groups or pre-planning menus—it was “food freedom”. Rather than gorging myself on processed, sugar-laden man-made foods that my body cannot process, I’ve discovered that, according to 1 Timothy 4:4-5, “Anything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the Word of God and prayer”. I’m learning to tune into the needs of my body, which is scary after being told for so many years it could not be trusted; I’m learning that, no, I in my flesh may not be able to be trusted, but God is and He dwells inside of me, always ready to step in. I’m learning to eat and enjoy foods that once brought me to my knees in uncompromising fear because God created them with me in mind. It is fascinating to learn how the body was created and processes different types of fuels. I no longer need to fear carbs or fat but instead can enjoy the foods He provides and take pleasure in providing the best nutrition for His dwelling place, as a form of gratitude and honor. This has been one of the hardest changes I have ever made and many times along the way I have failed and wanted to give up, but God is so graciously pursuing me to “keep pressing on” because I was not intended to walk through this journey alone. I must cling to His mighty arms with the little strength that I possess and in turn, He will provide everything, if not more, that I need to be victorious day in and day out. On my own, I am apt for destruction but with His guidance and provision I am free to enjoy every blessing He provides! Sometimes I still want to fade away—to become invisible—out of fear I will once again be taken advantage of, but God is patiently showing me that He is not like other men; I can trust Him to protect and shield me from the destruction I’m destined for in my flesh! 

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