Topic Tuesday: Recovery

“Finding Faith” (By: Lindsey Love)

“WHY do I keep doing this?” I ask myself. It’s as if I am banging my own head against the wall over and over. AND OVER AND OVER. But why? I have all the tools necessary to climb back out of this pit, but I don’t use them. I have done so much work on my self worth and my core issues that I just can’t comprehend why my body keeps robotically doing these behaviors. I’m not even self-medicating anymore. It’s just what I do. This self-destructive ADDICTION I call my eating disorder has the steering wheel with the gas pedal to the floor. If I don’t take the wheel back soon, we are going to crash into the bottomless abyss to never return.

At least that’s how it feels, right? I am here to tell you that it’s not true. You can ALWAYS climb out of the seemingly impossible pit and return to the land of the living. I say the land of the living because I believe that when one is in an eating disorder, it’s not truly living, but dying a slow and painful death day in and day out. Slowly is the worst way to go, right? For the sake of full disclosure and honesty–I can’t say that I’m completely recovered—YET. However, I am far enough along in my recovery to see that it is possible and there is an abundance of joy and peace on the other side.  There are so many proponents that go into recovery, but the one I want to address right now is faith. Spirituality. Higher Power. Whatever you want to label yours is alright with me. I call my Higher Power God.

Are you still with me? Hear me out, please. I know this is a highly sensitive subject, but I’m willing to take the risk for the sake of maybe reaching one of you. I am a believer that anyone who struggles with an eating disorder/disordered eating is not intimately connected with their Higher Power. I say this because we are seeing ourselves through the eyes of imperfect humans instead of our Almighty Creator. Our Creator sees us as perfect. Lovable. Beautiful just the way we are. We are not seen for our outer shell but for our inner breath taking, chill inducing beauty. Viewing our worth based on our bodies is like driving all day to get to the beach, arriving to the hotel and not opening the blinds to see the captivating beauty of the beach and the ocean. There is more to you than your container for your soul. So much more.  I spent a lot of time searching for ways to fill that emptiness I had deep down in the bottom of my soul. I always knew something was missing and I tried to fill that hole with my eating disorder, perfectionistic thinking, achieving and success in my career. Seriously, the list could go on endlessly. My point is that nothing could fill that void except God. I have formed a relationship with my Creator and am happy to start seeing myself through His eyes. That emptiness is going away. Joy and serenity are returning. Some things are starting to go my way. Not everything. Trust me, I know things aren’t going to be perfect. There will always be bumps in the road and I will stumble and even fall. But, now I have someone to help me get back up. Someone who loves me and sees me as beautiful and worthy. Isn’t that what we all really want? To be lovable and worthy? I know that has been a big one for me personally.

I want to make sure you all understand that I am NOT saying to stop doing everything else you do for recovery. Therapy, using tools, your eating plan, nutritionist, connecting with others. Those are all EXTREMELY important too. What I know is that I was doing all those things and I continued to struggle. I needed more. The missing component for me was God. Working on my faith gave me the ability to put all the puzzle pieces together and make recovery work for me. The more steps I take away from the eating disorder, the easier it gets to keep going and to want this recovered life.

I want to share with you what this looks like for me. Each day, I spend some time reflecting on what I am grateful for and what I am struggling with. Then, I share this with God and give Him the things I don’t think I can handle. The things that are just too much for me. Is this a quick fix for recovery? No way. But it sure is the foundation to my recovery now. I cannot do this without Him. The beauty is that I don’t have to.  When I start to hear those negative messages in my head, I remind myself of what He thinks of me. I am beautiful. Lovable. Worth it. It really does help. It’s funny that I just typed that because I realize that I am currently struggling with comparing myself to other moms. Just typing this is helping to shift my perspective. So, thank you all for that! When I get those bad urges to use my eating disorder, I now turn to God instead of turning to all my old habits. What’s amazing is that I can actually feel better than I would have if I used behaviors. It allows me to take some time to identify what I need and to meet that need and also to connect with my loving Lord. Getting that sort of connection is really healing and calming. I essentially took away the eating disorder and filled that hole with my faith.

I hope I’m not coming across as being too “preachy”. That isn’t my intention and for those of you who feel like I am, I get it. Trust me, I do. I used to be someone who never thought that I could have a relationship with God. I thought it just wasn’t going to happen for me because I had tried for so many years and never really felt the connection. I think what changed for me was twofold: I stopped using my eating disorder which was a big barrier between me and God, and I started actively working on my faith. I really started digging in pretty deep. I think this looks different for everyone. We all connect differently. Maybe it’s starting to read a book or just pondering the idea of where spirituality fits in for you. Maybe it’s talking to a friend or mentor about it, doing some meditation or going to church. Start small but keep going and the changes you see will be BIG. I believe in YOU. I believe that you can do this. One step at a time.

About the Author

Lindsey is a Jesus loving wife and momma. In her free time, she likes to write, read, listen to music, be outdoors and spend time with friends and family. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and was previously an ICU nurse at St. Thomas hospital. She is currently enjoying being a full-time mommy and is waiting to see where the Light guides her next. She hopes her writing will encourage others in their recovery journey.