Emotional pain is no stranger to someone with a food struggle. In fact, if you struggle with food, you probably find yourself stuck in the following painful cycle day after day:
- Uncomfortable feelings of dissatisfaction, anxiety, and depression
- A pressing desire to get rid of these feelings
- Use of food to numb the feelings (binge, purge or starvation)
- Feelings of guilt, shame, self-hate, and hopelessness after the food abuse
- Resolution to never binge, purge or starve again
- Lack of ability to honor these personal boundaries
- Right back to number one to keep on repeating the cycle day after day.
If you are trapped in this cycle life can be downright EXCRUCIATING.
If you’ve lost some weight through diets and programs before and you find yourself back in your old stretchy jeans and black T-shirt, then the pain can almost be unbearable. The shame and the inability to change can make you isolate yourself from people and sink into a bottomless pit of depression.
Why does this hurt so much?
There are two reasons why people experience deep emotional pain in this struggle:
1. Most people experience pain because of the symptoms and consequences of an eating disorder such as; obesity, clothes that don’t fit, shame about their physical appearance, lack of intimacy in their marriage, illness due to the disorder, relationship problems and social isolation because of the eating disorder.
2. Some people experience pain because of the spiritual problem behind their eating disorder: They feel a deep pain about the distance it creates between them and God, and sorrow for not being able to live a life of self-control. They despised being mastered by food, and they ache because they let gluttony and idolatry into their lives. They also have a deep sadness about grieving the Holy Spirit in the process.
You might experience all of the above, but only one of the scenarios that I’ve described can bring you to a place of permanent change.
Most people just want to get rid of the intense pain caused by the symptoms and consequences, and they try to fix it with diets, drugs, surgery, purging, and excessive exercise, but they do not find lasting change. It’s like putting a band-aid on a deeply infected wound. The pain prevails.
The only answer for PERMANENT CHANGE lays in TRUE REPENTANCE and CONSISTENT SURRENDER to God.
The problem: ONLY TRUE SORROW BRINGS TRUE REPENTANCE
TRUE SORROW is when we hurt because WE CAN’T STAND A LIFE WITHOUT GOD AND WITHOUT SELF CONTROL, not because we can’t stand being overweight and unattractive.
I have never seen a woman overcome this struggle permanently without a TRUE CHANGE OF HEART. I know it’s hard to hear, but if we desperately want to look good, but still want to overeat, still want to hang on to certain occasions where we binge, or still have our times where we just don’t care, then the pain that we’re feeling is only about the symptoms, and we only want a band-aid, not true healing.
This struggle between SORROW ABOUT THE SYMPTOMS and TRUE SORROW FOR THE SIN can be seen in BULIMIA. When I struggled with bulimia, I couldn’t bear being overweight and judged by others, but I couldn’t bear being without my favorite piles of comfort food either. I wanted desperately to be free from the symptoms (extra weight), but I didn’t want to give up the sin (gluttony and idolatry). I settled for a band-aid, instead of God’s healing power, but it proved to be DESTRUCTIVE AND DEADLY.
Ask God today to bring you to TRUE SORROW for your SIN and then to TRUE REPENTANCE.
You ladies know my heart, I don’t mean to be hard on you, but I have to tell you the truth about this struggle, or you will carry the pain with you forever.
Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart today: WHY ARE YOU REALLY HURTING?
**If you recognize that the pain you’re feeling is only about the symptoms and not about the sin, then please sign up for my free Week 1 where I talk more about this topic.
**If you are already a member and realize that this is still very much a HEART ISSUE for you, then join us on the forum as we encourage each other to seek TRUE CHANGE not mere band-aids for our symptoms.
Jesus is waiting to forgive you…His arms are always open wide to welcome a wayward child, bind up her broken heart, and free her from the chains that bind her.
In His never-ending Love
PS: Inspiration for this post came from “When eating becomes sin” by Jack Huges, as posted by Marie on her blog Redeemed from the Pit of Bulimia. Thanks, Marie!
Heleen Woest, MA, NCC
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