My Eating Disorder Is Eating Me

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”1

A Daily Encounter reader writes: “I need help. My eating disorder is eating me. I have tried to give it to God, but I am not sure if I have wholeheartedly done this. I want to stop but I am hooked on the skinniness thing.”

When under- or over-eating is an addictive behavior, it can be a serious problem. Seeing what the cause of the problem is may be the hardest thing to come to terms with. With all addictions the problem we see—the presenting problem—is usually just the symptom of the real problem—”the fruit of a deeper root.”

While symptoms need to be treated, it is critical that the root cause/s are treated and resolved. If only the symptom is treated, the root will pop out in another area. I know of one man who claimed he was healed of alcoholism the moment he became a Christian. In reality all he had done was change from being an alcoholic into an anger-aholic!

The bottom line in many, if not most, addictions is that somewhere in the past, mostly in early childhood, there has been a failure somewhere in love. The addictive behavior is used to medicate and not feel the pain of one’s inner hurt of not feeling adequately loved. Besides asking for God’s help and praying for deliverance, we need to do our part as well. As we get damaged in damaging relationships we get healed in healing relationships. This is why support groups such as twelve-step programs can be very effective, and why working with a skilled counselor or therapist may be needed and even critical.

As alcoholics need to be in an alcoholic-anonymous support group, food-aholics need to be in an overeaters anonymous group (and so on), where they can be loved and accepted for whom they are. As it is a failure in love that drives people into addictive behaviors, it is unconditional love that is one of the greatest healing agents to deliver one from addictive behaviors. When people feel genuinely loved and accepted, the need to “act out” in self-destructive addictive behaviors is greatly lessened.

A support group also helps the addict to keep accountable for his behavior, for it is only as he stops his addictive behavior and feels the real pain of his hurt or rejection, can he face and resolve the root cause of his problem.

from DailyEncounter, 03-19-2008

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Resting on One’s Laurels

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.”1

In an article in Leadership magazine, J. David Bianchin used the analogy of a basketball game. In “the 1987 NCAA Regional Finals, Louisiana State University was leading Indiana by eight points with only a few minutes left in the game. As is often the case with a team in the lead, LSU began playing a different ball game. The television announcer pointed out that the LSU players were beginning to watch the clock rather than wholeheartedly play the game. As a result of this shift in focus, Indiana closed the gap, won the game by one point, and eventually went on to become NCAA champions.”

At the human level, as we have been so graphically reminded by the events of 9-11 and more recent atrocities around the world, we dare not sit on our laurels or base our security on past victories. “Eternal vigilance is [still] the price of freedom.” And how much greater is the need for eternal vigilance in the work of the Kingdom of God.

As God’s Word says, “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith.”2 “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.”3

May we, Like the Apostle Paul, say, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”4

This, by the grace of God, we can do because, as David the Psalmist wrote, “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”5

Suggested prayer, “Gracious God, thank you for your great salvation in the gift of your Son, Jesus, and for all the unfathomable blessings you have in store for your children, both in the here-and-now and in the hereafter. However, help me not to rest on my laurels, but to keep my eye on the goal and serve you faithfully all the days of my life. So help me God. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

from DailyEncounter, 03-14-2008