I spent a lot of time during my teen years and early twenties looking for acceptance in places that only offered temporary fulfillment. I was focused on having it all. I wanted the perfect group of friends, the perfect body, the perfect boyfriend, a good income, and an upscale lifestyle in the city. I knew the whole time I was pursuing this dream that it was wrong. I knew there was more to life than these things but I became convinced otherwise.
I fell into a dark pit. I was blinded by the world. Lies became my truth.
Mentally, I felt like I was in a cul-de-sac. I was trapped inside my head and running into the same dead-ends. One of the biggest struggles during this time in my life was a developing addiction, an idol. I became very sick spiritually, mentally, and physically with an eating disorder supplemented by prescription pills and alcohol. I spent 99.9% of my day obsessing over what I could and could not eat, how much I exercised, what others thought of me, etc.
My identity was my eating disorder when it should have been Christ. It became my entire life. If anyone or anything threatened my idol I felt out of control. I was under the illusion that I was in control of my life. There was a part of me that knew God was in control but my heart was unwilling to accept it. The scary part of all of this was how fast one sin led to another. What was once a “diet” became starvation. What was once a healthy workout became purging. Friendships turned into unhealthy relationships. I walked around with a false confidence thinking that I could manage this way of living. The truth was that I was dying physically, spiritually, and mentally.
I hit rock bottom multiple times attempting to get help with various treatment plans. I went and saw health specialists, psychologists, nutritionists, and counselors. All of these helped for a day or two but ultimately my disease/idol/addiction won. I had never felt so alone, empty, useless, and ashamed. I was utterly miserable and in painful despair.
Finally, I found a support group, I found community.
I met other men and women who shared my same struggles and were willing to journey with me. These people became my family. I was finally able to get honest and get accountability. May 28th, 2008 was the first day towards what would be freedom and eternal sustenance.
When I began my recovery process from my eating disorder I did not have the slightest hope of actually recovering apart from God. I could have all my health restored but without a right relationship with God my recovery would be in vain. For what is perfect bodily health without the Divine Physician?
Not giving into sin by relying on my own flesh was impossible. Each day felt like a lifetime. I quickly reached a point of utter desperation. A place where I had no words, only tears, to ask for His intercession.
Desperation led to surrender. I realized that I had to give up control if I wanted a different life. I had to surrender my selfish desires. God wanted my obedience, trust, and dependence. In my helplessness God intervened and took control of my life.
He chose me to be His daughter and was not willing to give me over to death.
“O Lord, you took up my case.” —Lamentations 3:58
For the first time in my life I actually understood what grace was. I actually understood the Gospel. I was a broken, diseased, slanderous fool and despite all of my sin Christ died and took on the wrath that I deserved from God. He redeemed my life from the pit, healed my diseases, restored my youth, and gave me new desires. He made me a new woman with a new heart and right spirit.
One day at a time He romances me. He makes me in awe of Him by the new life I have been given. My life is unrecognizable from only 5 years ago. Physically, spiritually, and mentally I have been transformed.
Usually this is the part of the story where there is some great happy ending. The part where I tell you that my life has been amazing since my regeneration. Yes, it has. But, for the most part it has been a long journey of continued struggle and pain. The Christian life is not one of comfort and ease.
I have had many times in the recent years where I have relapsed into old behaviors and sins.
There have been times where I have sinned in ways I thought I was incapable of sinning. This daily proves my need for Jesus and the Gospel. If I had it all figured out I would have very little need for God. God does not promise a life without affliction or trials. In His love for us He allows us to struggle so that we come to the end of ourselves. So that, we may decrease, and He may increase!
“Severe trouble in a true believer has the effect of loosening the roots of his soul earthward and tightening the anchor-hold of his heart heavenward.” —Charles Spurgeon
As I continue to walk with God and pursue relationship with Him my desires for this world and for the sin of my former life are slowly dissipating. I have grown to hate my sin in a way that I did not before and that is an exciting part of sanctification. The happy ending to my story of redemption is that I have a Hope. A hope that one day I will be with the love of my life and get to spend eternity with him. Striving for that day is what sustains me while I am, for a little while, sojourning here in this world, waiting to go home.
“May I learn the holy art of abiding in thee, of being in the world and not of it! O God, keep me in this faith, and ever looking for Christ’s return.” —The Valley of Vision
Sister, are you free from bondage? I urge you to surrender the areas in your life where you are relying on yourself, others, or this world for contentment. When you finally give up your “strength” you will find all you need and more in Christ. Whatever your circumstance there is healing and His grace IS sufficient!