Question: I have an eating disorder. What do I do to stop struggling with that?
Mom’s Answer: Inherent in this life is the concept of brokenness. The possibility of living apart from brokenness is slim. The real questions are: How to live in spite of brokenness; How to continue to dream in spite of brokenness; How to continue to trust in spite of brokenness; How to continue to try in spite of brokenness. I have yet to meet a human being void of some degree of pain and suffering, usually at the hands of another fallen human being. Each person deals with the damage in a different manner. From heavy involvement in sports, computer games or some other form of entertainment to more self destructive behaviors like introversion, depression, addictions and eating disorders, people are dealing with their own problems. What most people don’t realize is that the inflictor of pain is him/herself in pain. Hurting people hurt people. How do we break this cycle? Is it possible to live a pain-free life? Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” So then, the prospects of a tribulation-free life are null and void. Perhaps it is in the overcoming that we find our answers.
The goal here, in the midst of tribulation, is to overcome the world – your world. How? Just as each person deals with pain differently, so each of us have different gifts given to us to help us overcome in the midst of pain. Maybe you have a loving parent(s) who is waiting and hoping that you will share your hurt with them. Perhaps you’ve been gifted with the ability to write or with artistic or dramatic talent. You might be a people person, able to befriend even the downtrodden. Use these gifts to create beauty out of sorrow. In whatever way you’ve been gifted, God Himself wants to recycle your pain.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
Our suffering is not purposeless. When one suffers, God sends along another who has received comfort and can pass it on. Eventually, in the healing process, you will also find a recipient to whom you can pass your comfort on as well.
“That’s how it is with God’s love. Once you’ve experienced it, you spread His love to everyone. You want to pass it on.” (“God’s Love” Camp Song)
One thing is sure, Jesus never expected you to overcome alone. Since eating disorders are self-destructive, this is a serious issue. Get help. Whatever the situation, there is never shame in asking for help. There is no magic formula for overcoming problems, whether they are eating disorders or any other problems. The first One to ask for help is your heavenly Father. Make sure your life belongs to Him. The next on the list is your parents. Except for a few rare situations, most parents really want to help, though they often don’t know how. If you ask them for help, be prepared to help them on the way by realizing that they are also hurting people and they might not do things the way you wish they would. Give them the right to fail. Next, since your problem is a health issue, get medical help from a counselor/doctor. Again, remember, you were never meant to deal with life’s issues alone. There is no shame in getting help.
Last of all, I recommend finding someone else to serve. There are many other people in worse pain than we are in. One of the best ways to forget your own pain is to improve someone else’s life. Find a ministry, a neighbor, a classmate, or a relative who needs help too. Giving of yourself will often help you to refocus.
To sum up, brokenness is the new (or not so new) normal and it’s definitely not the end of your life. Your eating disorder is an opportunity to overcome and to pass on The Love of God. Trust Him. Get help. You are not alone!!