Today marks the second day of Eating Disorder Awareness week. Hopefully you are seeing recovery supported messages, blogs, articles, infographics all over your social media!
If you aren’t, follow me on Instagram and then follow my people 😊 you’ll get all the goods!!
Over the last week and half I’ve had conversations with some beautiful people that are on the recovery journey from an eating disorder. Without my pushing, these conversations have landed on their faith and recovery. Yet again, I hear someone who deeply loves Jesus confused as to how He fits in with their recovery.
First, let’s just name (as I have before) how poorly the church supports those in the midst of their eating disorder and those on the recovery journey and those suffering with disordered thoughts and behaviors. The church members and leaders that I have spoken with just don’t know or understand eating disorders and are victims of diet culture. This isn’t a knock on the church, its members and leaders, it’s just what I have found in my personal and professional life to be true about the church interaction with those who have eating disorders and recovery.
But the One who does understand and is NOT a victim is ready to walk with you in your eating disorder and your recovery.
Jesus does not withdraw from you because you restricted or binged or purged. He does not withdraw because you were overcome with shame and withdrew from Him. He’s not just passively sitting there waiting for you. In the midst of the pain and the darkness you feel, He’s calling to you. He wants to be in this with you.
Come to ME
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)
These are the red words from the New Testament that means Jesus is the one speaking. He’s the one saying, “just come to me”. I hate when Scripture is taken out of context and I think Jon Bloom from desiringGod.org said it beautifully in his blog post, “Come, All Who Are Weary”:
What does coming to Jesus mean? When we read the context of this promise (Matthew 11–12), his meaning becomes clear. In his rebuke of the cities (Matthew 11:20–24) and religious leaders (Matthew 12:1–8) that saw firsthand his miraculous works, so clearly demonstrating who he was (John 5:36), and still refused to believe in him, we know that when Jesus said, “come to me,” he meant, “believe in who I claim to be and therefore what I am able to do for you.”
That last part is what hits me in my struggles- do I really trust in what He can do for me? Do I really trust in what He wants to do for me? In what He will do for me? In my own life, it often comes down to my fear that He won’t do things the way I want Him to. Or the way they should be done. Or the way I think they should be done.
You may feel that way, but, friend, you don’t have to let the cloak of shame envelope you and hide you further from Him. Because He doesn’t say, “Get yourself right and come to Me.” He just says, “Come to Me.” Jesus offers himself to you. Jesus offers what no one else does- an unconditional relationship that will envelope and overwhelm you with love. And isn’t that what is most needed while battling that eating disorder voice? Isn’t that what you most need in recovery?
You need love- unconditional, perfect love.
He’s the place you’ll find that love and He wants to be in recovery with you. He wants your recovery and faith in Him to be one.
He wants all of you and He wants to give you all of himself.
So when you find yourself weary, go to Him for your rest.
Let Him embrace you and cry with you, laugh with you, just be with you. That may mean going to spiritual direction. That may mean journaling. That may mean yoga. That may mean praying on your knees, arms lifted. It may mean singing/listening to praise music. (Side note, praise music isn’t all happy and upbeat. Check out Though You Slay Me by Shane & Shane with John Piper’s voice over on YouTube… LIFE CHANGING.) Find your way of coming into His presence and experiencing Him. Those mentions are definitely not exhaustive.
Living in the shackles of diet culture, living in the height of your eating disorder, or fighting the battle of recovery is not easy and it is not light. But Jesus wasn’t talking about the circumstances of life becoming easy and light. That’s what the world says, that’s what Satan says- that to find rest and peace we must find the absence of hardship.
But that’s not what He says. That’s not what you know to be true by your life experience, right?
Jesus will one day ultimately heal you of your eating disorder. One day you will be free from living in diet culture. One day you will be free from all the hardships you face. That day isn’t today and isn’t even necessarily a day you’ll experience this side of heaven, but hold fast, my friend, rest is here, now. Rest is here regardless of your eating disorder, pain, broken relationship, broken dreams, even sin and death.
He will give you rest. He died to give you the rest you crave. It may not be rest in the way the world defines rest, but it will be the rest your soul so desperately needs.