As I type these words… I hesitate.
Remembering the past can feel kind of funny. Funny in a scary way.
This story is a story not even my whole family knows.
A story I never shared publicly until this year when I shared it for part of a Surrender Stories series.
But God is the Hero in this story, and He deserves to get the glory.
So I share it. And I share it with hopes that it will touch and encourage just the right hearts that it needs to.
I remember his question exactly. The man in the lab coat looking at me as I got off the scale, under the bright fluorescent lights of the doctor’s office.
“Are you worried about your weight?”
I stood there a minute, dumbfounded. Did I hear him right?
I was 16. All my life I had been the small one. The peanut. The girl who still wore kid’s clothes sizes in 8th grade. The one who didn’t get her period ‘til she was 16.
In the six months since I had hit puberty, I went from around 100lbs to 130. I had also started cheerleading and worked out every day, building alot of muscle. But the curves were in all the right places, and so I hadn’t thought about it…
Concluding that I had in fact heard him correctly, I tried to push the lump out of my throat.
“Should I be worried?” I looked down at the thick thighs that had developed with lots of squats and weight lifting.
“Well, you ARE over the healthy weight for your body type…” He went on talking but I stopped listening. My head was spinning.
How in the world could I not be the skinny girl anymore?
All of a sudden, my self image, which had been in a healthy place my whole life, plummeted to the ground.
I walked out of the office feeling like the emperor with no clothes – feeling fat, feeling like everyone who saw me was thinking how fat I was, like I had just got clued into what everyone else seemed to know.
To made it worse, I had just started as a “flyer” in cheerleading, so I was conscious of the fact that the girls were lifting me each day.
I had grown up in a Christian home, but had only gotten really serious in my walk with Jesus a few years before these events. I spent time each day reading the Bible, praying, and writing in my prayer journal.
My eating problems subtly and sneakily crept into my life.
I would eat a bowl of ice cream, tell myself I had a stomach ache, and go to the bathroom afterwards and make myself throw up. It became so easy, I started doing it more often, after pizza, or anything I thought wasn’t healthy. All the while, I convinced myself I was just having stomach problems.
The months went on. No one noticed my bathroom trips. And more importantly, I didn’t notice that I had developed a serious problem. I was self deceived. While I was in the bathroom, if I thought for a minute about what I was doing, I would rationalize it away as easing my “stomach problems”.
One night I was laying across my bed talking to the Lord and writing in my prayer journal. The night sky was beautiful, and I was looking out the window over the dark rolling hills. As I was praying, I was thinking about my life and how it wasn’t really mine anymore because I had given it to Jesus.
I SO wanted to live for Him. I was so thankful He saved me and gave me relationship with Him. I sat there worshipping.
When all of a sudden, a question popped into my head.
“Whose body do you think it is?”
In that moment, I was struck with the truth that my body was a temple of the living God.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 came to mind, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
In that moment God graciously opened my eyes to show me that I had a problem. If I had truly given all of myself to God, I couldn’t keep treating my body this way. Because it was His. And He loved me too much to leave me there.
If I had truly given all of myself to Him, I had to surrender my body as well.
Sometimes there are sins and problems that you get convicted of, and repent of, but the habit has a powerful hold on you. We all need help overcoming sin.
Knowing that, I called my sister, while the conviction was fresh, and told her everything. I asked her to check in on me, and ask me how I was doing in that area, to hold me accountable. She listened sympathetically and agreed to check in on me.
But God did an amazing work that night. Though I suffered for years with the physical consequences of my eating problem, I never gave in to that temptation again.
When I think about that time in my past, I rejoice in the loving, tender mercy of God. That He cared so much about me, and my body, to convict me of what I was doing. And to show me that He loved me too much to leave me in that depressing place.
Surrendered in His hands is the safest and most beautiful place to be.
If someone you know struggles with eating problems, please share my story. There is so much HOPE!