Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Break the Silence - Faith

This is a difficult point and one I reflect on often, in all sorts of ways: did my lack of commitment to faith cause my eating disorder; did my faith help me recover; did I anger God through my ED; did the lies I told harm my relationship with God.

I'm writing this from a Christian perspective but whether you're Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist etc. or perhaps have no faith at all, I think the ideas and concerns we face when dealing with the destruction an eating disorder causes and faith is important to all.

The most important point to remember is that God loves us. No matter what we have done, if we ask for forgiveness our sins will be taken away. That is the blessing Jesus bought us on the cross.

For the fact is the behaviours an eating disorder compels the sufferer to do are sins. I know I have broken promises a thousand times over through pretending to eat, lying about exercise, hiding laxatives and pills. Or take One Corinthians 6:20 where it says, "for your were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body." We are told to respect our bodies, to care and allow ourselves to grow for we are made in the image of God. An eating disorder drives us to do the opposite, we destroy ourselves in an attempt to attain an impossible perfection.

But it's not the fact that we sin that is the problem, for sin is part of human nature. The problem is how we reconcile with ourselves that we are forgiven, that we deserve that forgiveness and that we are loved unconditionally. Good luck trying to convince a self-loathing anorexic or bulimic that.

With recovery though, there comes an understanding from God that we are trying to make amends; both with Him and with ourselves, our bodies, our minds. We are looking for healing. The aim of recovery from an eating disorder should not be to "just manage it" - what is the point in merely aiming for a state where your suffering is, albeit less, but still present? The idea baffles me now that I know how much better the world can be. Though I confess, when I first began to think about recovering my instinct was to placate my eating disorder with promises that "we would go back to starving" once we had deemed this recovery lark a nonviable option.

In getting better we must let go. An eating disorder thrives on control and so you must do the hardest thing possible and relinquish that control. All sorts of feelings and thoughts get churned up when you begin to fight against the eating disorder, in faith you trust and in recovery you must trust also; this darkest will not last forever.

If you have faith then often some people find it easier to face recovery; they feel able to hand their lives over to God instead of the eating disorder and if that is you then I hope and pray you will continue to be lifted up to Him. But for me, I found faith sometimes made things harder - each day it is about reminding myself that I should not care what others think of me and that I do have people turn to, whether that is people God has provided for me or whether it is Him. Perhaps you don't have faith, that's okay also. There is no right or wrong way to approach recovery; if there is one thing I've learnt, it is that getting better is an extremely unique experience for everyone. I think looking at faith (whatever you're current view on it is) give us an opportunity for a change of perspective though. I may not be without doubt today but in time I hope I will be doubtless.

Lots of love,
Jo x xx


  1. This is really inspiring Jo

  2. This is so lovely, and so true :) xx

  3. Jo this is really inspiring. I am not religious in any way but i know that throughout my recovery i turned to faith in my toughest times to make it through the day. When i needed faith i put my life in the hands of someone else, God, i don't know, maybe. This is such a beautiful statement to make.
    Thank you x


Thank You