Saturday, September 8, 2007

It Breaks my Heart...

As I've told you all before... I don't presume to know the will of God. And I do my very best not to challenge it (though I am flesh and it is a battle!!!) Particularly when things like this occur to me.

I work in a field where transition is all the rage. It seems that the people that accept jobs where I work do not have any intention of making that company a long term employer. And so, the ages of people with whom I work tends to be from 18-24. This information is pretty much irrelevant to my story except that it gives me much access to this age range... particularly girls. And I am grateful because I love that stage. Becoming their own person, living on their own, dating, establishing their beliefs etc. It's a wonderfully exciting time.

Here's where I find myself battling my desire to challenge the Will of God... two of the girls I work with are self- proclaimed Christians. Both are church-going, bible-studying, fellowship oriented 20 year olds. And though both are aware of God, His unconditional love, His mercies that are new every morning, and His faithfulness to draw near to them as they draw near to Him... BOTH battle EXTREME, self-harming issues.

I don't know details, and I only post on this because there is no opportunity for any of you to know of whom I speak... and mostly because I am perplexed by the greater picture of it all... (AND because I know you will pray)....

But these two young Christian girls, despite knowing a God of power and Love, find themselves in a constant battle with issues such as anorexia and cutting!

They are still kids right? 20. Am I naive to believe that at that age there isn't really anything traumatic enough, anything truly important enough to cause such personal loathing or dislike that they would turn their problems into self- harm?

I don't come from a church going, God-fearing family... I didn't experience Sunday school with the folks every weekend. We didn't have family dinners or reunions. (And for none of this do I complain because I am grateful for every thing the Lord allowed me to walk through as it can be credited to a closer relationship with Him.) But... even with all that said, I don't remember 20 being a difficult time in my life. Potentially most pressing at that moment was whether or not I went to my spring communications class that was slated for 3pm on a Friday afternoon. (I wish I could report I went... but my selfish needs to lay out on the lawn under the rays of the sun won out weekly.)

Why, on those that know of the Love and Power of God is there such emotional dismay that causes a display of inward harm?

On a personal level- I have to constantly redirect my thoughts to the nature and person of God so as not to be swept away into my own inadequacies and fears. I have to think about myself in the way He thinks on me because to think otherwise (lesser, more etc) would be to put myself above God and that I am unwilling to do. I have to make myself available to Him in all ways to do with me as He sees fit because to only be available in the areas that make sense to me (or are comfortable) would in essence be limiting God and again, exalting myself over Him... something I do not want to do. I have to seek the presence of God in all I do because He promises to draw near to me- and every time I choose His presence it becomes habitual and I know Him more to which he credits it as righteousness. I have to choose Him, trust Him and know daily that He is enough for me because apart from that.... I have nothing. Even in my physical illness, I have to surrender knowing full well that His will is perfect and if He allows my Lyme to continue it is for a greater good. Is this the same case for anorexia and cutting?

It hurts me to see these girls so pained that they abuse their bodies. Pray with me that they would make their theology (belief system) a reality... by the action of their faith... an exercise of their will- as they seek the presence and person of God. He promises to meet them there. Pray that they too will be able to accept themselves for who they are exactly where they are and see themselves not any more... or more importantly ... any less than how God sees them. And pray that by God's grace, the self-harming will cease.

1 comment:

Redeemed said...

Hi Chelle',

I came across your blog after reading a comment of yours on Beth Moore's blog. I just wanted to try to give you some sort of an answer about the whole self-harm issue.

I don't really know how to answer all of your questions, but I can tell you this: I accepted Christ at a very young age, and yet I still struggled with anorexia from the age of 16 until the age of 31, when I finally went to a Christian treatment center for women with eating disorders. Did I know Christ for all those years? Yes. Did I have some idea of what His character is like? Yes. Did I love Him and want to serve Him? Absolutely, yes, to the best of my ability at the time.
So what went wrong? Why was I anorexic for 15 years? I'm not entirely sure. Eating disorders are extremely complex and can arise from many sources. It would take pages and pages for me to describe how mine started and all the things that kept me imprisoned to it over the years. But I think you really hit on something when you described the way you have to deal with your physical illness day by day. That is the same thing I have to do in my recovery from my eating disorder. One of the turning points in my recovery was when I realized I don't have to do this on my own. It's not something I have to "fix" by myself. God cares about me enough to help me get through a meal. I used to think that was stupid, that I should be able to handle a little thing like eating a proper meal. But God never told me that. In treatment, I had to unlearn some things I had believed about God and learn some life-changing truths about His heart toward me, and His willingness to meet me where I am. I really had to learn (not in my head, but in my heart) that His love is unconditional. That He knows where I am and loves me anyway. If I have to pray and ask Him to help me take just one more bite of the food on my plate, then I can - and He will help me. He won't think it's stupid. If I have to come to Him and acknowledge that I've been deceiving myself in some area, He will forgive me. And He will help me see the truth.
Ultimately, I guess it all comes down to surrender - just like it does for you. I had to surrender my whole way of looking at things, my whole way of life. When I went to Remuda Ranch (the treatment center) and in the year or two after I came home, EVERYTHING changed. My whole life. And now, 5 years later, it continues to change. God continues to show me what more there is to lay down. It's not physical behaviors (for the most part) anymore; but it is emotional and spiritual baggage that I'm STILL carrying from childhood, and He's asking me to surrender it. I suppose this process will continue for as long as there is still anything left that keeps me from being free.
If all this sounds like a drag, IT'S NOT!! My life is 1,000 times better than it ever was before treatment!!!! It's just that God continues to work healing in my life, on progressively deeper levels. I praise Him for that. I'm not healed yet, but I am healing.
As far as my physical recovery goes, I've been maintaining my weight for awhile now, I don't know how long. I had a baby in 2003 and struggled with my weight for awhile after she started walking, because it was so much more exercise than I was used to! But now it seems to have evened out, and I have been stable for some time now.
I guess I should end this long harangue. I hope I've said something that is helpful to you.