Ransomed from Bulimia's Battlefield
CBN.com - As a non-believer, my life looked great on the outside. I had a terrific job and appeared to have it all together. But inside, I was fighting a terrible battle with a life-zapping monster called bulimia. It was a secret no one could know.
When I was 17, I lost 15 pounds and looked terrific! I received compliments and praise and wanted more. As the pressures of college increased, my bulimia got worse. I was determined to stay thin at any cost, and that included abusing substances like alcohol, cigarettes, diet pills, diuretics, and laxatives.
I barely graduated college and miraculously got a great first job. By day I was Ms. Jekyl, a businesswoman on the move; by night I morphed into Monster Hyde and went into an uncontrollable feeding frenzy. Why would I do this to myself? If I’m thinner, smarter, and prettier, life will be perfect! I became obsessed with my whole body image. I felt shame, self-hatred, and worthlessness because I never felt “perfect.”
I tried to heal myself. I read many self-help books suggesting I look within myself, but nothing worked. Sixteen years later, God slowly pulled me out of the battlefield. My story of restoration begins here.
I went to church with a godly friend and felt the pull to a different life. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I discovered that God was calling me into a relationship with Him that required giving Him control over my life. That was hard for me; I was used to being in control. But I wasn’t really, because a monster ran my life, and it was totally unmanageable.
1 - Replace ‘Me’ With God
I was in the grips of an addiction that rendered me powerless over food and my obsessive behavior, so I admitted defeat. I can’t live this way any longer. I want healing, Father.
I prayed for forgiveness because my body houses the Holy Spirit, so I should honor God with my body (1 Cor. 6:19). Then I took action. First, I quit smoking. Second, I devised a healthy food plan around the American Dietetic Association guidelines. And third, I weaned myself off laxatives and pills. Physical restoration began.
I started to focus on Jesus, not ‘me’. Instead of concentrating on my problems, I looked to Jesus, and who I am in Him. I began reading the Bible and learned about my heavenly Father. He is good, loving, and wants the very best for me. The power of God’s Word started the transformation process of renewing my spirit and mind.
2 – Replace Harmful Behavior with Healthy Activities
As I prayed for God’s strength to work through me, I quite unexpectedly had a desire to take up sewing and crafts. Then it hit me. I don’t have the ‘urge to purge’. I have hope for a future! I made a unique, life-size cloth doll for my niece’s birthday that quaintly resembled her. Friends told me I should sell these dolls; I got the itch and started Auntie Kim Dolls, a home-based business.
My crafts were a means of communication, which enhanced my self-image and interpersonal relationships. I swapped food for dolls because God opened my eyes to the internal gifts He'd created in me.
3 - Replace Lies With Truth
I participated in Bible studies and started to mend emotionally as I began to answer the ‘whys’. I explored root issues and confronted certain lies I had believed about myself. I began searching for the Truth. The truth is, God loves me unconditionally. God does not expect me to be perfect. He accepts me just the way I am. He crafted my unique person for a specific purpose. God looks at my heart. He doesn’t look at the outside. He doesn’t care if other people think I’m successful, or if I can squeeze into a size 3. As I began to seek God and His plan for me, He showed me who I really was - His daughter, a princess.
In a journal I wrote down my feelings and milestones. I made a list of the lies that I believed and replaced each one with a statement of truth according to God’s Word. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am God’s workmanship (Psalm 139:14). Every day I would say one new truth over and over.
Journaling helped pinpoint problem areas. When my mind begins to compare myself to someone else, or a negative thought enters about my ability to do something, I’ll ‘catch’ that negative thought and replace it with His truth. I can approach God with freedom and confidence!
I prayed for a change of heart and an open mind. I asked God to speak to me, which He did through two more Bible studies that showed me how to know and do the will of God. As I progressed, I knew I was changing because my priorities and desires were different.
I explored my relationship to others. If I was to grow, then I had to release the hurts of my past. This meant that I needed to forgive those responsible, whether they deserved it or not. I forgave the people who hurt and rejected me, like my dad. My dad had dared me numerous times to get on the bathroom scale. I was so humiliated. If my dad thinks I’m fat, then everyone else does, I would think.
Secondly, I confessed to my mother. "Forgive me for stealing. I'd take a $20 here and there to buy food, and I started shoplifting." My mother said, "It hasn't changed the way I love and think of you. We’ve all done things that we aren’t proud of. There isn't anyone to judge you, except God. And we know how forgiving He is."
Lastly, I forgave myself. An eating disorder is like a loss of life. I had wasted so many years, time I could never retrieve, while destroying precious friendships. I felt the last chain and shackle melt away. It was freeing to give and receive forgiveness.
4 - Replace My Selfish Intents with God’s Purpose
I based my life around how I looked, because our culture said it was “normal” to dislike my body and obsess over my imperfections. However, God created me to look a certain way and for a specific purpose, which is counter-cultural. What can I do for Your kingdom, Father? went against what I had been taught.
I made a commitment to pray and meditate daily, study the Bible, read more faith-inspired books, and begin seeking God’s great plan. He showed me He wanted to use me and didn’t want to waste anything. The suffering and pain not only caused me to turn to God’s Word, but it gave me a yearning to help women with eating disorders. That meant I had to expose my secretive past to my loved ones. I prayed for the words, strength, courage, humility, and transparency needed to come forward.
When I told my husband, he was supportive. But husbands are baffled by their wives inability to love themselves, and don’t understand eating disorders. My husband equated it to wrestlers that binge and purge to ‘make weight’.
Now that I was free to talk about my past, I leaned on Jesus to give me the compassion and counsel to help others. As I reached out, I found a noble security growing within, and my focus changed from self-centeredness to others-centered. The same comfort and love I received from God enables me to shepherd others, become God-centered, and that has been key to my ongoing transformation into Jesus’ image.
God never intended to leave me in the battlefield with this monster. When I opened the door to my heart and asked Him in, He gave me the armor and weapons to fight. Together we restored my spiritual, physical, emotional, and relational nature to the person God created me to be.
Overcoming my eating disorder wasn’t simply about stopping the destructive behavior, but about changing my inside. My true value and worth comes from an intimate relationship with God. He guided me to do and be things I never dreamt of. It’s good to be free from all the pain!
You can still find me at the gym, but the difference is I’m doing it to honor my body and glorify God.