5

Skinny Love

This world constantly bombards us with the message that we are not good enough. Have you ever thought this? Have you ever disliked your body? The way you look? The number on the scale?

Guess what. You are not alone.

Everyone has something they do not like about themselves. I think {especially as women}, it is our nature to pick and criticize ourselves by comparing ourselves and our lives to everyone around us. However, Satan can use completely monopolize on these weaknesses and infinitely compound their affects. It leaves us feeling too ugly, too fat, too skinny, too pale, too shy, too poor, too damaged… too anything… and not enough of something else that we think is so lovable about others, and it is so damaging. Damaging to ourselves, to those around us, and to the cause of Christ that we have been put here to accomplish.

Eating disorders really are a lie of Satan. See, if Satan can get you to believe you are not good enough, then you will believe you can not be used of God.

He doesn’t want you to believe that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He does not want you to find your worth in Jesus Christ, and allow Him to transform your heart to take on the beauty of Jesus. He does not want you believe that the real measure of your worth comes from what is in your heart.

Satan wants you to believe your worth comes from the number on the scale.

He knows that if He can get you to believe this lie, then you will be defeated in your Christian life. I say it is time that we girls fight back. We are not summed up in one number. The pictures on the pages of the magazines have nothing on the pages of God’s word and who they say I truly am.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

So easily we buy into the lie that the world has something “on us” and that we need to measure up to the standard it has set for us. We try to put a band-aid over the issues by telling ourselves and each other, “You are beautiful.. and unique.. and wonderful.. and special all on your own.” But without God, those good feelings will fade. Your worth does not come from the number on the scale, how your body looks today, how many people check you out, how hot your boyfriend is, or what you do together. It doesn’t come from how many friends you have or how many “likes” your Facebook status gets. It doesn’t come from your parents who never seem to be proud of you no matter what you do. It doesn’t come from your job, or your clothes, your spouse, or your kids.

Your worth comes from the One who created you, and has already defined you.

The world does not appreciate you for who you are. Most people do not recognize the worth that is found in you because you are a child of Jesus Christ. You are made in His image, and you are the very place in which the Holy Spirit resides. Just like someone who does not recognize or appreciate fine art would toss a masterpiece into the trash. Would that make the art any less valuable? No. The true worth of the art would be seen when an art collector spots the painting and says, “That right there is a priceless piece, and I am willing to pay any amount to acquire it!” That is exactly what Jesus says when He looks at you.

Jesus Christ is so beautiful, and when we find our identity in Him alone, we are defined with HIS beauty. Is there anything more beautiful than Jesus? Nope… I promise. Get to know Him, and you will know what I mean.

I am not special because of me… who I am, what I look like, my personality, or my performance in my job, school, or sports; BUT I am special because of Jesus….. because of all the wonderful things that HE is, and because He lives inside of me and has complete control of my heart.

We have to take on the definitions of Jesus Christ… DAILY. Did you know that God has defined you already? These are the definitions that declare who we ARE in Christ. Not who we are becoming or who we aspire to be. God says right now at this moment you ARE confident, and worthy, and loved.

Here are just a FEW….

You are Confident.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrew 4:16

You are God’s delight.
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

You are the Child of God.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. Romans 8:15-16

You are made perfectly by God’s Hand.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:13-14

You are Loved.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 1 John 3:1
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3

When we embrace these names that our God gives to us rather than the definitions of the world, we learn to see ourselves the way God does. God loves us beyond measure and looks on us with pride when we serve Him.

Let’s grasp this, girls. Because we are more than conquerors. We are strong, and we have a glorious design and purpose to our lives that we do not want to miss out on!

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:37

I wanted to share some inspiring stories that were shared with me about healing from eating disorders. I really pray that if you struggle in this area that you will reach out to someone for help, and that these stories will help you to know that there is hope in Jesus. Nothing is impossible with Him!

If you would like to share your story, please email me at thefulltimegirl@gmail.com. Or leave a comment on this blog! I LOVE to hear from you.

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Deja’s Story

I’ve never been considered what some might deem heavy-set. I’ve always been active and a healthy eater. I’ve always thought that no one’s words could ever dictate my actions. Half of these facts took a turn during my last year of middle school. I liked a boy; it was one of those silly crushes where you tell all of your friends expecting them to run and tell him so he could ask you out. But this isn’t a fairytale and apparently I wasn’t skinny enough for his liking. He specifically said that he only dates girls thinner than him and I didn’t fit his criteria. I cried & cried inside then on the outside when I got home and ended up deciding I didn’t care about for him or his preferred type because he obviously was not the one for me.
I didn’t realize the effect that his words had until I started changing different habits. I’d eat a little less at school, then maybe skip dinner at home, telling my mom I had a big lunch at school. Workouts increased in frequency and intensity. Lies after lies. Voices in my mind motivating me, telling me good job for that hour-long jog. Using the shower after dinner to muffle the horrid sounds of the vomit. More lies and more lies. I was 5’8″ and 99 pounds. I wanted the scale to read 0 because I thought I was worthless. I was losing my hair, I had pushed away anyone who used to mean anything to me.
Ninth grade comes along and I meet my sweet friend, Emilie. She invites me to her church and I’m iffy about it. I used to go to church, I knew we left because a lot of judgement and I wasn’t up for that. I could barely stand without almost fainting. I had all these reasons not to go but something made me take her up on the offer. I went and I now know that God was in everyone at that youth group. They should me so much love and everything was so interactive. I had never stopped believing in God, “whoever He was”, as I used to say. But I was introduced to a relationship with Christ that night. We played Bible games, ate pizza then got in circles for praise & worship. “How He Loves Us” was playing and I was holding hands with Emilie and two other people. We were just chanting “oh, how he loves us” lightly as the youth pastor spoke into the microphone about God’s love and how we were worth dying on the cross for when  we were a sinner and that we’re fearfully & wonderfully made and how only He can define us. He kept going on about how Love covers everything.
Thinking back now, I realize he was quoting scripture but his words spoke straight to my heart and I knew just what I needed. I went to the altar, hysterically crying, pleading for forgiveness, and everyone prayed over me. I gave my heart over to Christ that night and I’ve never been the same. I told my mom about everything and started going to therapy. I stopped all workouts until just a few months ago (I do light yoga now), I’m eating clean again and eating more, trying to get my weight up. But it has been a long, hard journey since then. I still had days where I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw, those voices pressuring me again. I relapsed a lot in the beginning of recovery, deciding to forfeit a meal because I looked pudgy that morning or whatever. On my past birthday (July 10, 2012), I made a promise to God and I haven’t broken that promise. No more of that stuff has crossed my mind; I’m purge-free, meal skipping-free, self hate-free. There is freedom from chains in the name of Jesus.
I am not lying to you when I tell you that I’m at the point where I look in the mirror and am satisfied every single time. God made me. He calls me beautiful and lovely and I’m not too fat for Him. I am found worthy by the blood of Christ. He is who I’m living for, He is who I have a crush on. I’m healthy and I’m not trying to impress anyone but my God anymore and that is so freeing.
:)

Lauryn’s Story

In 9th grade, I sought attention from everyone because I didn’t feel loved. So I didn’t eat. Thinking people would notice how thin I got, and would want to help me. I also felt like I didn’t deserve to eat. I did wrong things and annoyed people, so I thought I didn’t deserve food. I just needed to starve myself. It also just entertained me. To starve myself thinking I was doing something that would get me attention.  It made sense at the time, because I wasn’t focused on God.
Then God just helped me realize, if I have his FULL attention, I don’t need anyone else’s. And I am loved, and don’t need to starve my self to earn love or attention. My body is a temple and I need to respect and take care of it.

Lauren’s Story

My story begins at a fairly young age. I never felt completely comfortable in my body. I always felt “heavier” than all the other girls in my class. I would feel so horrible about myself that when I came home from school I just sat and ate. I ate because it was a way to occupy my mind from all the negative feelings I had been experiencing. Along with overeating came immense guilt. I was constantly ashamed of my weight and would complain that I was too heavy.                   
 A few years went on of my continuous binging behavior. It wasn’t until 6th grade that a comment was made that triggered the intensity of my negative thoughts. One day, a girl in my class told me I was fat to my face in school. Being called fat was my worst fear and now it had become a reality. It was one of the most painful comments that had ever been said to me. I know some people think “it’s just one comment.” However, for someone who has eating disordered thoughts this kind of comment leaves a huge impact. I couldn’t necessarily stop myself from escalating this one comment because I had already been experiencing negative thoughts.  I remember sitting in the lunch room that day and pushing my lunch aside. I was upset with myself and the person I was. I wished that one day I would wake up and be thinner. It was all I wanted; I just wanted to be skinny.                                                            
The following two years my self esteem sunk lower and lower. I felt that people didn’t like me because of my weight. I started to think that my life would be better if only I were a certain number on the scale. I blamed all my life problems on my weight when in fact my weight had absolutely nothing to do with it.                                                                                                                    
The summer going into high school I decided I was going to lose some weight. This began the time of my weight loss. All throughout my freshman year I engaged in fad and crash diets that left me feeling weak. My restricted food intake left me feeling hungry and irritable. I exercised not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to. I did all this, and still I wasn’t happy with how I looked. I kept telling myself that someday I would thank myself for losing weight.                   
When I entered my sophomore year of high school I had already begun weighing myself multiple times a day and counting my caloric intake. I became extremely strict with what I could and couldn’t eat. I told myself that I was being “strong” by not becoming a slave to food. I kept telling myself that once I got to a certain weight I’d stop and go back to “normal” eating, but when I got to that certain number I still wasn’t satisfied. I cut down my calories more and more every day. Along with that came dizziness and headaches. I couldn’t wake up in the morning without seeing black spots and practically falling over. I began over exercising even though I was feeling weak. I truly thought I was invincible.
That November took its toll and my restricting became more and more a part of my daily life. If I lost weight, I praised myself to keep going. If I gained weight, I would punish myself by lowering the amount of calories I was allowed to eat. I felt a sense of pride by losing weight; it was the one thing that I was good at. I believed that I was the one to follow because after all I was losing weight and to me that was the greatest thing anyone could accomplish. I did whatever I could to isolate myself and spend time with my best friend-my eating disorder. I continued doing my regular routine. I would go to school miserable inside, yet with a smile on my face. I hid all my feelings inside. My parents started becoming concerned and took me to the pediatrician who told my mom that she needed to call the Eating Disorders Unit at Somerset Medical Center as soon as possible.                                                             
Within less than a week I was on my way to an evaluation with one of the psychiatrists at the Eating Disorder Unit. On December 22, 2011 I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. I was told by my psychiatrist that I needed to go inpatient so that I could break the cycle of my eating disorder. I knew I would have to gain weight and that was the scariest possible thing to me. It was my worst fear, my worst nightmare.                                                                         After a month, I was finally let out of the hospital and put into the day program. I began slowly transitioning to going back to school a few days a week. After several more weeks in the partial program, I was finally released in March and returned to school full time.                                                                                     
I transitioned to an outpatient team where I saw a dietician, therapist and psychiatrist. However, I still wasn’t fully accepting of recovery. I wanted so desperately to return to my eating disorder. I still believed that if I just lost a little more weight, this time would be different. I had relapsed, hard. By the beginning of May it was determined that I needed a higher level of care, but this time I made the decision to go back to the program. The key here was that I made the decision to get help and not anyone else. I had become so sick of being miserable and was ready to try to get my life back.                        
During my 2nd stay inpatient, something clicked for me. I remember thinking to myself “if I don’t do anything now to stop my eating disorder, I’m going to keep on running in circles the rest of my life.” If I truly wanted recovery, I was going to have to put in the work and run towards my fears rather than away from them. I had an incredible team of professionals who worked with me and helped me to find myself again.
After being discharged from inpatient for the 2nd time, I returned to the partial program with a different mindset. I was so fortunate to be able to go to such a wonderful program that let me engage in therapy during the day but still have the freedom to engage in my new life. I began to see life in a new way and also decided to share my story for the first time. I never thought that I would be able to say that good things have come out of my struggles. My eating disorder has been a blessing in disguise because I have become a person who I never would’ve become had it not been for this journey. I now know that I want to go into the eating disorder field. I want to be a therapist and help people find themselves again. To me, helping others overcome what I did is one of the most rewarding things out there. Recovery is difficult and scary, but once you get to the other side it is so incredibly rewarding. I truly believe that anyone can achieve recovery…it is truly a rewarding and fulfilling journey that allows you to grow into the person you are meant to be.

 

Stephanie’s Story

I started having self esteem issues when I was in the 5th grade. It got a lot worse when I entered the 6th grade and I was 11 years old. Every one is starting to develop at that age and everyone’s bodies are starting to change. I was a little bit thicker than most of the girls in my grade and was the biggest out of all my friends.
I decided to stop eating or when I did eat to throw it up, having no idea what I was getting myself into and how addicting and dangerous it is. I did this off and on during the sixth grade and then that summer came. I was headed to jr. high the next year which would be at a different building with grades 7-12 and I was terrified. The bulimia came back full force and I also started cutting myself. I hated everything. Myself, my life, just everything. I hid both of them for a year before my parents found out. They immediately got me into counseling.
I didn’t do well with any of my therapist for a while. It wasn’t until I was 14 and put into inpatient for mainly the cutting (if they put me in the eating disorder unit they couldn’t keep me safe from objects I could hurt myself with). I finally found doctors that were able to help me and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put of medication.
I know I wouldn’t have made it through any of this with out God and knowing that no matter how bad I’ve screwed up and even when I’ve left him, he will love me no matter what and will never leave me or forsake me. He is my only hope and my Savior.

Addie’s Story

I never thought I would be “one of those girls.” I never thought I would think I was fat when I wasn’t. Being a competitive dancer from a young age had always ensured that I was in good physical shape. When I stopped my dancing career I was 5 feet and 10 inches and 130 pounds. I ate whatever I wanted and it never changed a thing about the way I looked. However, when I stopped dancing I slowly started gaining weight. I didn’t notice until I was 18 years old that I was heavier than I had been. The thing was, I really wasn’t overweight. (Before, I had been encouraged to gain weight.) By this time, I was 6 feet tall and 170 pounds. In my mind, the mind I swore would never think this, I was fat. I was ugly. I was hideous. Every negative adjective one could use to describe their body, I thought of myself.
So I wouldn’t eat. I would skip breakfast, telling my mom “I’m just not hungry.” I would put off lunch for as long as possible, and when I finally had to eat something, I would make it as little as I possibly could, simply saying I wasn’t feeling well (which I wasn’t.) I would do this for several days, then I would tell myself “You’re crazy! This is not going to work!” Then I would binge and eat whatever I wanted all day long. I would overeat, telling myself that it was okay since I hadn’t eaten much the previous days. I would make myself sick with the amount of food I ate. After one of these binges I would be plagued with guilt, so I would spend the next few days not eating, and the cycle would continue. 
Every time I looked in the mirror all I saw was my stomach, which to me stuck out for miles. My friends told me how skinny I was, but I knew the only reason they said this was because I always wore baggy clothing and scarves to hide the areas that I thought ugly. I had reached the age of 18 without ever being asked out, and I thought it must be because of the way I looked. I thought guys must think I was repulsive.
I continued on this was until very recently. I confessed my struggles to some trusted friends, and to God. I realized that, as cliche as it sounds, He doesn’t make mistakes, and He doesn’t care what I look like, but the condition of my heart.
It’s been a struggle, and it still is. Every day is a battle when it comes to food, but with God’s help I have healed tremendously and I know I will continue to do so. I used to be ashamed of this part of my life. I didn’t want anyone to know about it. But I realized that there are other people around me that are going through the same thing, and “we will over come by the blood of the Lamb and word of our testimonies.”
So let me say this: It may always be a battle. It may always be a struggle. But He is faithful. He will never forsake us. He is constant. He is there, even in the midst of our pain and our heartache.