I knew at some point I was going to write about this, I just didn’t know when. However, I’ve watched people close to me go through seasons of suffering and I hope this can be encouraging.
During my senior year of high school and through the summer after graduation I struggled with food. A lot. I ended up developing a severe fear of “unhealthy” foods and an obsession with exercising past a healthy point. I lost a ton of weight, and I didn’t realize it until a doctor told me I was in bad shape. I was exhausted all of the time. I was not present in any of my friendships or my relationship at the time. My mind was miserably occupied all day with counting calories or grams of fat, and ensuring that I ran until my knees hurt so badly that I couldn’t walk for hours afterwards. I never took a day off from running over the period of about 6 months. If I didn’t run at least 6 miles, I considered it a failure of a run and I cursed myself in my head. I didn’t even run because I liked it, I ran because I was determined to look like girls around me. I nearly destroyed my knees and hips from the endless miles I suffered through in order to slim and tone my body. I read an article this morning that was titled “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” and it couldn’t be any more true. Looking at myself in the mirror whenever I could, I was never satisfied and I longed to look like others. If I was going out to eat, I always looked the menu up ahead of time to make sure I could pick something healthy enough to satisfy my obsession. Pretty soon I had destroyed my metabolism and became so weak I would always fall asleep during the day and I was always shivering. After I hit my lowest weight ever I decided enough was enough and I needed to overcome my unhealthy relationship with food and exercise.
The road since then has been bumpy, with tons of hurdles and dead-ends. This is not to be romanticized. I had to be put on medication to fix my metabolism and gain weight. I lost tons of hair and felt like a prisoner to my own mind.I battled severe anxiety and depression throughout my first year at PC. I would pray endlessly to find no relief from my despair. It was horrible. I hated myself and sought to find an escape through self-harm and disordered eating. This is something I cringe at when admitting to people. I would love to say it was all in the past and it ended after that year, but unfortunately thats not always how it works. I still fight my anxiety and depression and found myself slipping again last month.
Unfortunately I was in the midst of a spiritual rough patch throughout this semester, growing more and more frustrated with ministry and finding myself trying to throw off continuous judgement and disdain for every single move I made, or had made years ago. I was hurt, frustrated and upset in my search for Godly truth and rebuilding a relationship with the Lord. Slowly I realized that God loves me endlessly, even during the lowest points of life. I want to glorify the Lord with my life and I won’t let anything stop me. Not food, not depression, nor those who are waiting to see me fall.
The Lord is my life, and all to Him I owe. I am happy to say that I’ve made huge strides fighting against my eating disorder. I love to fuel my body and run to stay in shape, but only to keep moving rather than to attain some kind of body type. I have found self-love, where I feel excited to celebrate the who the Lord has made me to be. I’m thankful to be intelligent and compassionate, and I know I can use these gifts to glorify God. He has always seen me as valuable, and I’m ready to embrace that identity for myself. Anxiety and depression will always rear their ugly heads when I least expect it, but with the Lord on my side, what could overcome me?
I will always be fighting, but I want to live to reflect Christ in everything I do. If you feel neglected, unworthy, or outcast, I can promise you the Lord has other plans for you. You are valued beyond imagination by the Creator of the Universe and you can overcome every season of suffering that comes your way. My happiness comes from my relationship with God, and its more fulfilling than anything this world can offer. I want to live to love and live to serve. I am making a comeback, with the one true King right by my side.