It has been nineteen years since I last purged.
“Once a bulimic, always a bulimic”…a statement I’ve have heard many times throughout the years. Yes, maybe that is true in the case for some, but it doesn’t have to be this way! There is a distinguishing factor in this and that it is the transforming power of Jesus Christ; it is this power that I personally experienced nineteen years ago when I made the best decision of my life in putting my faith in Him committing my life to Him. It is also this same power that has been active in me since that time to give me victory over one of the darkest chapters of my life-the years I was bulimic, but also the same power that has allowed me to be an overcomer in what once held a death-grip on me.
Last night as I was in my bathroom getting ready for bed, I had a flashback moment to my teenage years as I looked over at the toilet bowl. All of a sudden, I saw myself as a fifteen year-old again, alone in my bathroom, tormented with self-hatred leaning over the toilet bowl and I began to weep. I wept because I saw how lost I was, how broken of a person I was, how ashamed and secretive I was and most importantly, I wept in gratitude to God for rescuing me and setting me free. I also saw Jesus in this moment standing next to me showing me that He was there with me then-weeping for me.
Do you or someone you know struggle with bulimia? If so, then allow me to share with you some of my personal journey along the way of healing and freedom out of bulimia.
Although there are some key steps to take in this journey out of bulimia, true healing and freedom comes not through following a plan, but through a Person, a relationship with Jesus Christ. (Read Blog… https://caterflylara.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/something-to-say/ )
I see this journey like that of a narrow path that you are deciding to take, and one that many don’t usually take. As you enter this path, there is only one way to do so and that is through the doorway of commitment to Christ. Then once on the path it is one step at a time holding the hand of the One who made this path of freedom available to you. There will be times that the path is made of dirt where you will find yourself having to deal with some hard things, some things that may be dirty and unclean that you have to face from your past. And there will be times on the path were it will turn into a highway and you are speeding high in victories you are experiencing. All in all, this is a journey that brings hope, healing and freedom with each step forward.
I made a decision to enter that “narrow path” when I made a decision to give my life to Jesus nineteen years ago. The next very important decision I made was to commit to not purging. Purging is a choice. Although the solution to freedom from bulimia is not to just get someone to stop purging, it is a vital first step because of the harm it does, not only to the body but to the soul. God is not interested in behavior-management, but instead full transformation! Because just as a weed that is pulled without the root will in time grow back again, the same it is with behaviors-if we don’t get to the root, the behavior (or something like it) will come back. We need to get to the root of the matter which is the “Why? Behind the “What?”
The “Why?” behind my “What?” was complicated (which life can be sometimes.) There were a variety of reasons of the “Why?” but they didn’t just pop up soon after my commitment to stop purging and then wahlah, all clear to me. No, it was the journey I was on with God and Him revealing it to me along the way.
The first stop on this path for me was on the dirt road of exposing all the lies that had been brewing and breeding in my head making me think that I was “nasty”, “disgusting”, “fat”, “unlovable”, etc and that I had to do something about it. What I was doing about it then was trying to conform to what the world’s standards say I should be like and what I wasn’t doing about it was fighting off those lies. Soon after I became a Christian, I was given this amazing teaching by a gifted man of God named Dennis Peacocke where he taught on identity and knowing who we are in Christ (and what He says about us.) This revolutionized my thinking. He pointed out many scriptures in the bible, like Psalm 139 that speak about my value and worthiness to be loved and little by little these truths began to dispel the lies I had so longed believed. He also had practical exercises for the listener to do of writing out what some call “truth statements” where I had to write out these truths I was learning and speak them out over myself. This was key to my freedom and still is!
Another stop on this dirt road was that of being willing to go to some painful memories that have happened along the way and allow God’s healing to come in the midst of it. After I had experienced a trauma at the age of thirteen when I found my little sister hanging in a tree electrocuted- my soul went numb. In getting to the root of our behaviors you will often find a deep hurt/trauma that you have experienced along the way. The hope we have is that God is the best “weeder” out there; He is gentle and loving and strong enough to get every part of that root out. Tears are the best way to release the hurt inside of you. The interesting thing was that the only time I cried before I accepted Christ was when I purged. Not anymore! I sure have cried me a river since then and am so grateful that God has created a healthy release for our souls called-tears.
Prayer has been key part of this journey. I have had many gracious people pray over me regarding the issues that come up along the way in coming out of bulimia. There were times that I felt so tormented by the things I was facing that it was only the love of others who prayed for me that brought help in that time of need and I am so thankful for that.
Nineteen years? Others who have struggled with bulimia are in disbelief when they hear this wondering if I have been tempted along the way and if they too can have freedom? I was tempted some the first year of my commitment not to purge with ‘re-lapsing’ one time (two months later) and have not been for the following eighteen years. God tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that we are new creations and that the old is gone and the new has come (like the caterpillar turned butterfly) and He always follows through on His promises! And can you have freedom too? Absolutely! There is no partiality with God either. The same power that raised Jesus Christ can be alive and active in you! It’s a choice. A choice first to put your faith in Jesus committing your heart and life to Him. It’s a choice then to commit to stop purging. And it’s a choice to enter that narrow path trusting God to lead you on it with healing and freedom along the way. Choose life! You matter.
*Great resources for eating disorders and many other life-controlling issues (self-harm, addictions, etc.) can be found at www.mercyministries.com