For over twenty years, the voices inside my head have spoken to me about food. There are two: one is reasonable and calm and assured in her directives, and the other is her nemesis -passionate and unreasonable and accusatory.
Middle teenage years stretched through my early twenties, leaving space for these voices to battle unrelentlessly. The latter voice often gained momentum, challenging me to eat sparingly and see my too frail frame as fat and disgusting. Her voice did what demons do. Seek ferociously. Steal surreptitiously. Destroy completely.
Committing to follow Jesus as a spiritually and physically hungry 18 year old woman changed my life. When I chose to believe God’s love for me, I pursued loving Him, and, in the process, tried better to love myself than I ever had.
But loving God more didn’t change my addictive heart. I can see that now.
Believing how seriously destructive anorexia nervosa is to every soul it pursues validates my writing purpose. This disease is not imagined. We do not create it and claim the symptoms for attention. In her book, Brave Girl Eating, Harriet Brown nails it. “Someone with anorexia suffers under a set of delusions just as powerful as the delusions of a schizophrenic – but only when it comes to food, eating, and body image” (53).
In this heart, hard, cracked soil will have to be pierced through to begin the process of thought-change. Well meaning motives will need to be poured through the sieve of truth to separate away the lies. Emotional baggage pulling around blame and guilt and shame will have to thrown out to the garbage. To burn.
There will be fire.
In Exodus, 13:21,the narrator details how the Israelites moved through the days and nights. “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.”
In the Bible, fire plays many roles. Fire refines. Fire provides heat during some very cold desert nights. Here, in Exodus, fire lights a clear path for an easily distracted, but generously-loved-by-God people.
So, as I ask Him to navigate this path of dark road, trudging up past addictive behaviors, I trust He will also show me what kinds of things I have tried to hide in the dark. We learn how to do that, you know. We get good at hiding our ugly and lies in the dark.
May He refine and heat and mold. And heal. By his all consuming fire.