In my years of struggling with overeating and bulimia I found two things that played a major role in my healing and gave me a huge shove toward victory and freedom on this difficult journey: CONSISTENCY and SURRENDER.
I so wished and prayed that CONSISTENCY would come natural for me. It seems to me as if some people are just rigged for consistency from birth. I can't help to envy my husband's consistent nature. He does not leave a project unfinished and he will keep at something long after I have given up. It has greatly benefit him and especially our family through the years. So I know it's a good thing to have, it's just that I HAVE TO WORK AT IT!
I discovered, after refusing to join the "consistent club" for the longest time, that if you can do 3 things consistently for one year, you WILL have a whole different life:
1. Make time for God 7 days a week NO MATTER WHAT!
2. Exercise 5 times a week NO MATTER WHAT!
3. Start doing one thing every day towards the purpose and longings God placed in my heart (such as studying, writing, teaching etc)
But let's be honest about this: It's not easy to consistently do the "positive things" in life. As soon as we try to create habits that will bring us closer to God, glorify God, or aid us in holiness, we get resistance. The "negative things" seem to get a hold of us so easily, but try and do something positive and you have a fight on your hands with both the devil and your own flesh. We usually don't "feel" like doing anything slightly positive, in fact it can feel down right unnatural at first. Changing our lives around is not a little thing. The enemy loves that we're stuck in a rut of negative patterns and the moment we decide to move out of it, the attacks begin: Negative thoughts, problems to discourage us, and difficulties in our relationships. We have to literally get in there and fight for our freedom.
If you are finding yourself in the death grip of and eating disorder such as bulimia, binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating you might feel totally unable to consistently exercise or eat healthy. Certain issues might be blocking your ability to move forward and if you try to put certain habits in place might feel impossible. In fact, trying to "pull yourself together" or relying on will-power can easily push you deeper into a pit of despair. I recommend that you get some help from both a physician and counselor to help you deal with the root issues that are usually physical, emotional and spiritual. Once you receive healing from past pain and learn how to deal with your present relationships and circumstances you will find that you can also become consistent in the areas where you now only experience failure.
However, even if you are unable to put any consistent habits in place this very minute, you can do one thing consistently: SURRENDER to God. This surrender that I speak of is really simple: Let go of control and start asking God daily to help you get healthy.
Here's what I found every time I've tried to "take control" of my own life:
- In spite of my best efforts, it takes only my haywire hormones, my hubby's latest hobby, or an insecurity to realize I cannot control the eb and flow of my marriage.
- It takes only an illness or a remark from an insensitive peer to make me realize I can not always control my children's physical, emotional and spiritual well-being
- As someone who moved across continents I can tell you that yes, after all the work I've put into friendships, career, and church involvement, it only takes a new job in a different state (or country) to make your whole world spin out of control.
- I had to give up the belief that I can control my financial security by working more, sleeping less and investing in the right stuff. As we all experienced in recent months, it only takes a bad economy...
- The notion that I can control my weight with the perfect diet is usually crushed within the first 3 days by a strong craving for the list of forbidden food, or the inability to stomach one more rice cake!
Of course I'm not telling you to just throw in the towel, neglect the kids, yell at your husband, abandon your friends, cancel your gym membership and head straight for KFC. God has made us stewards over many things, including our own bodies and we are accountable for doing our part. I am a huge advocate for consistently doing good things, as the Bible says, and the rewards will come. (Galatians 6:9)
I am simply telling you that if placing your hope in your own ability to control people and things are just an accident waiting to happen. In the end: God is in control, not us. After you've done your part the best thing you can do for your own sanity is to lay your kids, marriage, friendships, finances, health and weight ever so gently in His everlasting lap...
According to Jeremiah 17: 5-8, I will turn into a dry bush if I depend on another man or woman. However, I never realized how much I was depending on this woman (me). I was relying greatly on my own effort and performance. I was sure that everybody in my care (and not in my care) was my sole responsibility.
Please hear me on this one: If you want to stop overeating or binge eating, you will have to get off the "control train". You may know by now that all your plans of taking control through will-power, diets, purging and starvation left you like a dried-up shrub in the desert. There is living water, it only comes from God and it can change you into a green tree that bears fruit and have shade for others to rest under.
In the end we need CONSISTENCY if we want to stop overeating, stop binge eating, and get rid of bulimia for good. But even more so we need to consistently SURRENDER our lives to God in order to see any lasting changes!
Heleen Woest has a ministry and website called Women Struggling with Food. (HT: Ezine).