Eating Disorders and the Silver Chair

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The Knight was seated in a curious silver chair, to which he was bound… “Come in, friends,” he said… “The fit is not yet upon me… Listen while I am master of myself. When the fit is upon me, it well may be that I shall beg and implore you, with entreaties and threatenings, to loosen my bonds… But do not listen to me… For while I am bound you are safe…”

[Then the enchantment, the “fit,” begins.]

Now he looked up, fixed his eyes upon them, and said loud and clear: “Quick! I am sane now… If only I could get out of this enchanted chair… I should be a man again… Cut these cords… It is at this hour that I am in my right mind: it is all the rest of the day that I am enchanted.” (C.S.Lewis, The Silver Chair)

It is all the rest of the day that I am enchanted.

This morning a friend shared that her former struggles with disordered eating are alluring her back. Last night she almost shared these struggles with her parents, but then didn’t, thinking, “Tomorrow morning I’ll say, ‘What did I do? Why did I share those struggles?'”

I applaud her intense courage for sharing this with me. And as I listened, I thought: Her eating disorder is her silver chair.

And once upon a time, disordered eating was also my silver chair.

The Knight in Silver Chair dream-walked. He lived under an illusion, a spell that took from his mind any thought or desire of freedom. There was only one hour a night when his right mind returned, when he was truly himself.

Eating disorders are like that spell. It feels like reality. The obsession overtakes our mind. We push away the help we desperately need, wanting only to be left to our own devices. We think, “This isn’t the eating disorder telling me I have to be thin; this is me. Everyone else is out to get me, they want to ruin my life. They don’t realize that thinness is what I want and who I am.”

But then come moments of clarity. Moments when we say, “Cut loose the cords! Let me go from this spell! It is now I am in my right mind. It is now I want help. It is now I tell you what I’m struggling with, even though once this moment has passed, I will say I no longer want your help. But it is now that I am truly myself.

Eating disorders feel real. Feel like truth. But the only truth we can base our lives on is the word of God, not our feelings, not an eating disorder. The only way to know reality is to know His word.

God has GOOD plans, a GOOD future for us. Not evil plans. Not plans of bondage. Not of insatiable quests. Not of disordered eating.

No, His plans are for our good. For hope. For freedom. For hearts that come alive. For liking and enjoying the bodies we’ve been given. For fullness of joy that comes only at His right hand.

But to find that freedom, we have to step out of the silver chair.

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 11.59.33 AM“In the name of Aslan,” they said and began methodically cutting the cords. The instant the prisoner was free, he crossed the room in a single bound, seized his own sword…

“You first!” he cried and fell upon the silver chair… The silver gave way before its edge like string, and in a moment a few twisted fragments, shining on the floor, were all that was left. But as the chair broke, there came from it a bright flash, a sound like small thunder, and (for one moment) a loathsome smell.

“Lie there, vile engine of sorcery,” he said, “lest your mistress should ever use you for another victim.”

Lord, help us draw the sword of Your Word and smash this silver chair that binds us.

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