Powerless to Control My Eating Disorder

 
POWERLESS

I am a firm believer that the Lord turns our ‘mess into a message,’ magnifying His power to bring Him glory. I witnessed this firsthand back in 2014 when a woman named Lindsey boldly shared her story [at church]. Placing her identity and worth in a previous relationship left her broken and lost once it ended. Her deep-rooted joy was evident as she spoke, and I longed for the freedom she expressed. Christ brought her out of a dark season of depression and hopelessness, and her life was forever changed. Her story reached my heart because it was similar to mine, except I was still in bondage to my relationship. I had placed my identity in everything other than Jesus Christ.

 

FEAR AND CONTROL

My struggle with fear and control began at a young age when my parents divorced. I realized this drastic change of lifestyle was completely out of my control. In an attempt to find my worth, happiness, and satisfaction, I sought the approval of men, resulting in ‘on again, off again’ relationships. My life was driven by fear and self-doubt. I was constantly perfecting my appearance and performance to win the approval of others.

At the cost of my relationship with Jesus, I would go to any length to gain approval of others, sacrificing what I knew was true. I eventually turned to body image and managing food intake as a means of taking control of some aspect of my life. What started out as making minor changes in diet and exercise quickly spiraled into self-obsession and starvation. I was dissatisfied, even as the weight rapidly dropped off. The condition of my health continued to decline, and I quickly realized that I wasn’t controlling anything. Anorexia was controlling me.

I viewed my eating disorder as a way of life, failing to recognize it as evidence that I needed God’s presence. There didn’t seem to be enough room in my heart for both my eating disorder and my Heavenly Father. Lost and ridden by guilt and shame, I was powerless over my addictions. I could only overcome this battle by His strength. My true need was not gaining control but relinquishing it. I didn’t need therapy, recovery steps from a doctor, or a three-month long rehab program. I needed a Savior to save me for eternity. That is exactly what Jesus did for me. (Psalm 116:6)

 

CHRIST HAS WON THE BATTLE

When I visited The Porch (Watermark's young adult ministry) in Fort Worth, I was in a miserable relationship that I knew needed to end, but I was fearful of what life would be like without him. The words I heard Lindsey speak that night let me know that I was not alone. It took me six months, but I finally ended the relationship and reached out to Lindsey for help. I needed truth and that is exactly what she pointed me to. When I think of all God has done in my life since we had that first cup of coffee, I am in awe of the Lord’s sovereignty, faithfulness, and the truth behind Him using others to reach and transform hearts.

I didn’t know anything about biblical community before coming to Watermark. Today Lindsey and I are in the same community group with five girls who continually point each other to truth. The Lord never intended for us to go through life alone. Every time we meet I am reminded that I am not alone in my weaknesses and that confession and accountability aren’t meant to flaunt our sin but to magnify God’s grace. Community is the sweetest gift, and life truly is better together.

I’ve also taken part in re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry – first as a participant and now as a leader. The first year I spent in re:gen was such a healing time for me as I shared my story and processed my life with others. God used it to reflect His goodness and power and put new desires in my heart, allowing me to see myself more like He sees me. Because of Christ, my past no longer defines me. My identity isn’t found in my relationships, body image, or what others think of me. It is found in Christ alone.

I used to fear what I would lose if I repented and left my old ways behind. God changed my life, and I went from being far from Him and enjoying sin to hating it. The Lord wanted so much more for my life than what I was choosing. Life is found in pursuing righteousness. Christ has taught my heart to delight in Him, which is the only place that freedom and joy are found. My life has been transformed by the saving power of Jesus Christ.

“The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.” (Psalm 116:6)

 

- Natalie G.

Top 10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Recovery

 

  1. Attendance: Hebrews 10:24-25
    • Consistent attendance is a vital part of your recovery. It is how you get to know your group members and they get to know you. Let your leaders know if you will not be there.
    • Don’t skip large group. Worship is important. You will also learn a lot from the testimonies/teaching.

 

  1. Book Work: Proverbs 14:23, Colossians 3:23
    • Once you get behind it can be difficult to catch up. Find a time that works best for you and commit to spend about 30 minutes a day on the lessons.
    • Let your leaders know if you get behind – even by 1 week so they can help you catch up.

 

  1. Dating & Attire: 1 Corinthians 10:31-32, Romans 14:13
    • While going through the steps, it is best to not start a new dating relationship, as it would place your focus on that person rather than your own recovery. Prepare to be healthy so you can date well.
    • Honor the Lord with what you wear at re:generation. Clothing that is revealing, too tight, low cut, or short may cause other participants to struggle. Try not to distract others from focusing on the Lord.

 

  1. Mentor: James 5:16
    • Utilize your mentor. Contact them regularly and let them know how you are doing and how they can pray for you. Ask them questions. Be open and honest so they can help and encourage you.
    • A good mentor is someone who is of the same gender, a mature Christian, lives locally, and will continue to be in your life after you complete the 12 steps (see the “How Do I Choose a Mentor?” document).
    • If you are already in a Christian small group, consider choosing a mentor from that group.

 

  1. Accountability Groups: 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Psalm 133:1
    • Build relationships with recovery partners in your group. You may all be very different and have different struggles, but you can pray for and encourage one another through each step.

 

  1. No Gossip: Ephesians 4:29
    • Guard Against Gossip – keep what is said in group within the group. If you feel there is a biblical reason to share information beyond the group, always bring it to group/ministry leadership to handle.
    • Your leaders are not licensed counselors, but are committed to counseling biblically. They may need to consult each other or ministry leadership for wisdom, so they cannot promise to keep secrets. Trust them to counsel biblically and to only share information with those necessary to help your recovery.

 

  1. Participation: 1 John 1:7
    • Be open and honest with your group members, leaders, and mentor. Openly participating and sharing during group time and other times is part of the growth and healing process.

 

  1. Pray: Ephesians 6:18, Romans 12:12
    • Pray for your leaders, fellow participants, the ministry etc. Ask for prayer from them, too.
    • Pray daily for the person whose prayer card you pick up. Contact them to encourage them.
    • Pray the daily prayers in the curriculum asking God to change your heart.

 

  1. Memorize Step Verses: Psalm 119:11, Colossians 3:16
    • Each step has a verse to memorize so that you have an arsenal against the enemy’s lies. Work to memorize them each step. Use flash cards, an app or another preferred method to help you.

 

  1. Remember it is God Who Changes Us: Ezekiel 36:26, Philippians 2:13
    • Leaders cannot change your heart. We cannot change our own hearts. Only God changes our hearts.
    • Our job is to be willing and to follow God each step of the way wherever He leads.
    • Take this process one step at a time, focusing on your current step. Trust God for healing.

 

 

- Laura R., Watermark Plano re:generation

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recovery in Christ when life is broken.