Letting Go of Body-Hate: A Fresh Perspective 

 

http://ministry-to-children.com/psalm-13914-coloring-page/
 
Happy Monday all! 

Are you ready to start the serious part of the week? Actually I beat you to it. Japan really is the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’and my Monday is over! (Breathes sigh of relief.) 

Anyhow, I’m popping in to share part two of last week’s post. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Catch up here. 

I tried it. 

Every time I looked in the bathroom mirror I recited Psalm 139:14 and praised God for my body as His creation. 

As I forced the words out of my lips I felt akward and totally phony. This exercise  was so completely unnatural for a girl who was habitually faultfinding and critical of herself. 

I had no idea where this strange experiment would lead but I really sought to see myself from a different perspective–from the perspective of the Scriptures.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Ephesians 2:10 NIV

I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And [that] my soul knows very well. -Psalm 138:14 NKJV

And slowly but surely, my perspective began to change. It didn’t happen  overnight. It wasn’t instantaneous. My processs letting go of body hate was just that, a process of Jesus’ healing and transforming power. 

I realized that my physical appearance was of little weight in the grand scheme of life. What really mattered was that God loved me and created me for a purpose. 

He had already prepared good works for me, and had lofty, exciting plans in which living in perpetual resentment of my body was not a part. 

I realized that hating my body sapped positive energy that I could be using to bless others, to share the love of Jesus, and to enjoy life. 

Today, I’m still a far cry from absolutely loving my body. Yet that is not my focus. Whether or not my body is perfect is no longer my focus. In fact, I try not to consider my body too much at all these days.

Instead I have a new focus. A focus that began with those pointed words from my mom and God speaking to my heart through His Word. 

I am happy to say that I no longer hate my body. I no longer hold resentment or anger for my appearance. God deserves all the glory for this transformation. He is the one who is gently bringing me along this journey called recovery…

But, back to the Scriptures. 😉

Praising God for being fearfully and wonderfully made isn’t just a clever way of saying “I’m so pretty” or “I’m so awesome.” 

That’s not the point. 

Neither am I saying that we should be in love with every aspect of our bodies. We are human and physical imperfections are a normal part of our existence.  

What I am saying is this: the fool-proof remedy for negative body image and self-hate is to remove the focus from ourselves and to focus on Jesus. 

Consider Psalm 138:14 again.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And [that] my soul knows very well. -Psalm 138:14 NKJV

Notice that this verse does not say “I will celebrate myself for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Or  “I am so marvelous…”

We are not to generate pride or cultivate self-glorification in any way for that would be to simply flip from one extreme to another. 

Instead, we are to praise Jesus. In order to emerge from the dark place of body-hate, we must focus solely on Him and His awesomeness. 

Like the Psalmist, we should place the focus on Jesus, saying “I will praise you” and “Marvelous are your works.” David gave all the praise and glory to God while freely rejoicing in His handiwork. 

Friends, you and I are God’s handiwork.  We were created for a purpose. We were fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Since God’s works are marvelous and we are His handiwork, we are marvelous–you are marvelous. 
This ‘marvelousness’ (forgive me for making up words) comes with a purpose. God created us for good works. 

It pains Him to see us wasting time and energy living in underlying hatred for the bodies He has given to us. 

At some point, it’s time to quit. Even if it feels strange and weird at first, try to believe God’s Words. Thus slowly but surely, your perspective will be positively transformed.

When your feelings tell you otherwise–when they scream that you are ugly, fat, awful, or unlovely–ignore them and focus on Jesus. 

Imagine Jesus lovingly creating you. 

Imagine Him intricately and skillfully forming you in your mother’s womb. 

Imagine Him excitedly planning for you the wonderful things that He has in mind for you to do for His kingdom. 

Imagine Him smiling wide in anticipation for the day of your birth, just waiting to have a friendship with you and to give you a happy healthy life. 

Don’t waste your energy on body-hate. I know it’s crazy hard not to once the habit has been formed. It’s difficult at first not to focus on perceived physical flaws and imperfections. 

In spite of this, resist the temptation to nurture any thoughts of body-hate.

Put in the hard work. Repeat and seek to believe what God says about you regardless of your feelings. Ask Jesus to show you the specific mission for which you were created. Never forget His outstanding love and that He desires to see you recover from poor body image and live life to its fullest. 

Oh yes and I’m talking to me too. Although I praise God that I no longer hate my body, I am still in the thick of recovery. I’m daily discovering new attitudes and thought processes that need to be surrendered to Jesus. 

And that’s what I love about recovery. It’s a time of discovery, of identifying what I really believe and aligning myself with truth. 

At the same time, recovery is tough. It takes work and effort. Yet in the end it is worth it. Jesus is right there to help us and He will support us through it all. He gives grace for our slip ups and strength for the fight. 

Just know that Jesus loves you deeply and that indeed, you are fearfully and wonderfully made by Him!

-J

What is your favorite part of eating disorder recovery? What do you think is the biggest factor in recovering from body-hate? How’s your Monday going so far? 

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Letting Go of Body Hate: the challenge

I was harboring absolute hatred for myself, I hated the creation of God-me. -Beauty Beyond Bones

I strangely resonated with those words from Beauty Beyond Bones as I read her latest uplifting post. 

That was me! I thought. I was just like that!

For years I hated my body more than words could express and my actions reflected my feelings. I treated my body badly. I starved and binged and spoke to myself in ways that I’d never speak to a friend. 
  

I could hardly stand to live in my body. I was angry that God had made me to look the way I did. I was angry for the personality that He gave me. 

I was so full of rage that when I looked in the mirror, all I could see was one big, fat ball of ugliness. 

I picked apart every imperfection and flaw and drove myself farther and farther into deep discontentment with the way God had made me.

If someone happened to compliment me, I’d smile while inwardly thinking, Whatever. They have no idea what they are talking about. I look awful. 

If my family complimented me, I was much more vocal. “No,” I found myself saying many a time, “I’m not [whatever compliment had been given]… I’m fat.”

I continued to live in perpetual anger with the way God made my body. I was swimming in negativity.

One day,I was once again freely expressing my utter dislike for my body during a conversation with my mom. 

“You know that’s like a slap God’s face right?” She responded, looking me steadily in the eye. 

Huh? What?!?
 

Everything froze.

 Uh-uh. That’s not true. Plus I don’t want to hurt God. I reasoned. I love God but just hate my body. 


I dismissed these thoughts and continued life as usual–my life of perpetual anger and disappointment with my body…

That is, until I came across these two verses in my time with God. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Ephesians 2:10 NIV

I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And [that] my soul knows very well. -Psalm 138:14 NKJV

Apparently God wasn’t finished with the topic. There was something He wanted me to hear and understand. 

After I read those verses my thoughts went something like this:


Me? God’s handiwork? That sounds so serious. Wonderfully made? Yeah right. I’m supposed to praise God for my body? Ha ha! And I know this stuff well? Hmmm…

Instantly I was convicted. 

The truth is, I did know this stuff. Deep down in my heart I knew that God created me just the way I was. I’d read these Scriptures before. I knew that I was His creation. Still, I simply hated the way I was created.

 But that sounds so bad, I thought. I don’t want to hate God’s handiwork. 


God definitely spoke to my heart that day, inspiring me with uncomfortable thoughts. 



How must I feel when you say you think you’re ugly? I created you. What must I be thinking when you stand in front of the mirror and criticize my handiwork? How can you truly love me and hate what I’ve made? -God

“It’s a slap in the face of God!”My mom’s  words came flooding back to my mind. 

As much as I didn’t want to acknowledge it, she was right. God was right. I needed to stop hating my body. 

Yet I wasn’t ready to change. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to. 

After years of allowing and believing lies about my body they had become my truth. 

After years of habitually hating my body, it was hard to let go. 

I was sure that I could never genuinely say with the Psalmist that I as God’s handiwork was marvelous.

And then God took it a step further. I felt strongly impressed to memorize Psalm 139:14 and recite it whenever I looked in the bathroom mirror. 

 

http://ministry-to-children.com/psalm-13914-coloring-page/
 

Ugh! But I don’t want to God! I hate how I look. I hate my body. 



The idea was new and strange. It was so not “me.” I felt both hesistant and challenged. Yet I determined to give it a try.

—-

To be continued. 😉

-J

Have you struggled body hatred and/or discontentment? What do Ephesians 2:10 and Psalm 139:14 mean to you? Have you ever considered how God feels when we hate our bodies or treat them poorly?

7 Encouraging Texts That’ll Give You a Boost in Your Fight for Recovery

Ahhh yes…hello everyone! 

It’s good to be back on the blog today and it’s been awhile since I last popped in. 

Though it’s been a little bit my silence doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped thinking about recovery and am no longer continuing in the fight! 

Because recovery is a fight you know. 

A fight to say no when our eating disorder wants us to say yes and a fight to say yes when our eating disorder wants us to say no. 

In other words, it’s a fight to live by the Word of God rather than by the word of ED (or insert your own struggle).

It’s time to be strong. There is absolutely no time to lose in half-hearted efforts. The battle is on

Jesus, the commander of heaven’s armies, the One who created each one of us and who loves us to death, is our biggest cheer leader in the fight for recovery. 

Not only does He want to see us succeed, He’s provided a way to make it happen. 

Do you wanna know what that way is? 😉

[drumroll]

By the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of [my eating disorder]. -Psalm 17:4 NKJV 

Okay okay, I did replace the words in this text that originally read ‘the destroyer’ with ‘my eating disorder’ but aren’t they the same?

An eating disorder is a slow destroyer. It literally worked to destroy my life, health, happiness, relationships with others and most importantly, my relationship with God. 

I’m not alone in this realization. Countless others who have experienced an eating disorder say that it destroyed their life, relationships, and overall wellbeing. 

And now I’m fighting back. Actually it’s not me because I have no strength of my own. All my efforts won’t work unless I link up with Jesus who is just waiting to give me unlimited strength for the fight… 

…The fight to say no to my eating disorder that has falsely sustained me for so long and yes to Jesus who can truly satisfy my every need. 

Essentially, my fight for recovery is the fight of faith fueled by God’s messages to me which are found in His Word. 

Of course these messages aren’t for me alone–they’re for you too. 

So today I’ve rounded up my favorite words from God urging us to be brave and am super excited to share them with you. 

The fight is real but God’s promises are real too. By the word of His lips we really can overcome ED! 

Isn’t that invigorating?

Until next time 🙂

-J

—-

1. Joshua 1:9 NKJV

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God [is] with you wherever you go.”
   

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/463378249139213199/
 

2. 1 Chronicles 28:10 KJV

“…be strong, and do [it].

3. 2 Chronicles 15:7 KJV

Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/463378249139213094/
 

4. Deuteronomy 31:6 NASB

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

5. Isaiah 41:13 NASB

“For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/463378249139031884/

6. Exodus 14:14 NLT 

The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

 

7. Ephesians 6:10 KJV

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

What are your favorite Bible texts and quotes in your fight against your eating disorder? Have you tried incorporating Scripture into your eating disorder recovery? Do you find recovery to be difficult?

Happy Fall!

  
Happy Fall everyone!! 

Although fall officially began last week I don’t think I’ve yet welcomed it here on the blog! 

I’ve never disliked the fall season but neither have I been particularly interested in the fall season. I think that’s because I’ve always seen fall as a segue into winter, a season which I dread. 

It’s funny that I don’t like cold weather and I’m living in a part of Japan known for its cold winters… It’s already cool and windy here but the weather is still beautiful. 

I find myself enjoying fall a little more this year and the golden sunshine and cool crisp air during my early morning runs makes my heart happy. 

This weather is gorgeous and thank God for it. 

Thank God also for blogger friends like Emily and her kindness in giving me the Liebster Award last week! 😉

  
Life’s been busy around here in so I haven’t created this post until now but… thanks for your patience Emily and let’s get started!!

—-

1. What is your favorite book? 

The Bible! This may sound cliche but it’s true. The Bible has such encouraging, inspiring messages seemingly written just for me! It’s filled with beautiful stories of Jesus and not-so-beautiful stories of people from which I can learn tons. I’m so happy that God has left us His written word and I’m asking Him to help me to live my life by them. 

2. Who is your best friend? 

Hands down my sister!!!! She is amazing and just thinking about her right now makes me want to fly to America and give her a nice big squeeze! We’re practically twins and have done almost everything together. I’m so grateful for her ❤

3. What is your favorite sugary food? 

I don’t really like sugary foods at all. My sweetener of choice is honey. I LOVE honey and eat it (with other things of course) as often as I possibly can. When I’m tempted to drink the entire bottle down I try to remember Proverbs 25:26 😀

Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick! -Proverbs 25:16 (NLT)

4. What is your favorite salty food? 

Hmmm…salty food… I’d probably say pita chips. They are quite tasty!!

5. Describe a typical day in your life.

Typical day? 🙂 My life is crazy. However, I do have some anchor points the rarely change no matter what the day brings. Those anchor points are time with God and violin practice

6. What are qualities you look for in a husband or a wife? 

Marriage seems far off in my future right now so I don’t give much consideration to qualities I’d look for in a husband. But since you asked I’d probably say driven and motivated are some qualities I appreciate. 

7. Greatest Strength? Greatest weakness? 

I’m not sure whether see are the greatest but one of my strengths are being a strong time manager and one of my weakness is not trusting God enough. 

8. Almond butter or peanut butter cashew butter?  

Ugh, this is a hard one. I love ALL nut butters so I can’t quite decide. 

9. Type of travel you prefer (road, car, bus, plane, submarine, ship.) 

Bike 🙂

10. Why do you like reading blogs? 

Many blogs are inspiring and have been instrumental in my journey to recovery. I enjoy reading others perspectives and gaining lessons from others thoughts. Also, blog recipes are awesome and I cook off of blog way more often than out of cookbooks. 🙂

11. What are some foods you didn’t used to like but you like now?   

Wow there are so many! I think I’ve really broadened my horizons in the category of food. One food I used to greatly dislike were oranges but I enjoy them now. 

-J

What’s your favorite thing about fall? Do you have a favorite fall food? Why do you like reading blogs?

—-

Once again, thanks Emily for giving me this opportunity. I’m going to share the love with Erin @ Little Wanderings. 🙂

Erin, feel free to answer these questions in a post, then create your own questions to share with another blogger to spread some blogger love! 


1. What’s your favorite holiday?


2. What inspired you to start blogging?


3. Which do you like better: fruits or vegetables?


4. What’s your favorite season?


5. What are you most thankful for?


6. What is your dream vacation?


7. What is your favorite quote?


8. What makes you smile when your having a bad day?


9. What is your favorite animal?


10. Would you prefer to live in the mountains or by the beach?


11. What inspires you the most?




Start here: thoughts on knowing where you are and moving forward

  

I’ve come to a profound realization. At least it’s profound to me. 😉

Come to think of it, this little blog is an online chronicle of my realizations since stepping into the new and unfamiliar world of eating disorder recovery. 

And this realization might just top them all! What’s the realization? Oh you just wait! 🙂

Lately, I’ve been considering my current position in recovery. How should I move forward? What does true recovery look like? How can I be truly consistent in my adoration of God and not myself? 

All of the good things that God has shared with me through His Word, His Spirit and His people appear overwhelming to implement. On an intellectual level I am confident and solid. I know what to do. But as for incorporating these good things into my daily life? Well, that’s another story…

I believe that the problem of knowing what to do and having a hard time doing it is an integral part of the human experience. You’ve probably been there too. 

It’s easier to know what to do than to do it. It’s easier to talk than to act. 

And that’s just what I don’t want. I don’t want to waste my breath. Words are truly empty. It’s actions that count. 

While contemplating these things yesterday morning God placed two simple words in my mind. 

Start here. 

I felt as if Jesus were speaking directly to me. 

Don’t worry about what’s happened in the past. Don’t concern about the what might happen in the future. Consider your current location and get started. Get started now on My perfect path of peace. 

Okay ya’ll it’s confession time here at Surrendered Stomach… 😀 I’m super bad at directions and knowing my way around.

It’s so bad that although I lived in the same area for 15 years I still didn’t know how to make it to the nearest Publix.

But don’t worry! I’m doing way better now. I can make my way around my town in America but that’s only because I now make a conscious effort to pay attention to the roads. I’m just not gifted in that area. (We’re still working this knowing my way around Japan thing though… at least I’ve only been here for two weeks.)

But it really doesn’t matter whether or not knowing directions is my gifting because knowing directions is essential to get around! And I n order to arrive at one’s intended destination, one must know their current location. 

It’s the same way with life and recovery. In order for me to arrive at God’s intended destination for me, I must kne aware of my current location. 

With these thoughts in mind I felt inspired to create a list of my “current location” physically, spiritually and emotionally–a simply written sketch of where I felt I was in each of those areas. 

I stared blankly at the list I had created. My current location in these areas is definitely not where I want to be, I thought. 

I didn’t like what I saw on the list and yet it was totally true. 

Once again God gently whispered in my ear.

Start here.

Start right now, right where you are, and with the resources that you have. Instead of looking towards the past or the future, acknowledge the present and look to Me for direction.

And step by step, little by little, by utilizing the resource right in front of me (the Bible), God begin to show me how to start right where I am in the areas on my list. 

My mind was flooded with directions and Scriptures that can be used to start right now, right here. 



Below are excerpts from the list I wrote. The first is the current location, then a response and direction based on the Scriptures. 

———

I am broken. —> Praise God that your brokenness creates an opportunity for you to experience God’s healing in your life. Focus on the healing that Jesus promised to give. 

Start here. Place yourself in a position to be healed (by praying, listening to inspiring messages, meditating on God’s Word, asking for His Spirit etc.)

Psalm 147:3 (NLT) He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.

I am disappointed by my actions that do not reflect my knowledge. —> Praise God for showing you that it is futile to have any confidence in the your own efforts to do what you know is right. Acknowledge your disappointment and move forward. Don’t stay there! Hope in Jesus who will give you strength and will never disappoint you. 

Start here. Quit thinking about your past and think about the power of that Jesus died to give you.

Romans 5:3-6 (NLT) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

I have failed countless times. —> Thank Jesus that although you may have failed, He promises to pick you up again. Thank God for the priceless lesson that only He can give true success. Without Him, you can do nothing.

Start here.  Link up with Him who never fails through prayer and inviting God’s Holy Spirit to live in you. Stay connected to Him and you will never fail. Ever. 

Jude 1:24 (KJV) Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

I am weak. —> Praise Jesus that His strength is made perfect through your weakness. Jesus cannot truly help those who are full of pride and self-sufficiency. 

Start here. Admit your weakness to God, ask Him for strength and watch Him give you more strength than you previously thought possible. 

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT) Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

So that’s my realization friends. It’s that God wants me to start where I am and move forward from there. 

No looking to the past, no fear of the future, just starting right here and now and moving forward in the unlimited power that God is just waiting to give. 

Isn’t that awesome? 😉 

-J

What do you think about my latest realization? Do you ever feel like you know what to do but can’t seem to do it? What do you think “starting here”—considering your current location and moving forward with Jesus–could look like in your life practically? Any other thoughts? Feel free to share! 🙂

Adoring Christ–the key to recovery

  
Hello Friends! Or rather, konnicha! I am enjoying my time in Japan so far and am have recently returned from a full and adventurous day in town. I know, I know… It’s only Wednesday morning for most of you guys but here in Japan we are several hours ahead. Thus, when I Skype with my family back home they are essentially speaking into the future! xD

Life in Japan has been both exciting and challenging at the same time. I am adjusting to the culture and learning so many new things! In spite of all the action I wanted to stop in and say “hi” and share what’s been on my mind lately. 
—-

Adoring Jesus, I believe, is the key to freedom in all areas of life, including freedom from an eating disorder. When we focus on Jesus He becomes brighter and brighter in our minds until all shadows are eclipsed by His overwhelming love and care for us.

This almost sounds crazy. How can adoring Jesus really be a key to eating disorder recovery? But let’s stop and consider for a bit. When we lived in our eating disorder, we were consumed. What started out for me as an increased interest in personal health and wellness soon grew to take over my life.

The more I engaged in disordered behaviors the more my ED controlled my thoughts and nearly my entire existence. As I continued to nurture and consult my ED in all areas of life it grew stronger and stronger until everything was eclipsed by our relationship.

I was consumed–consumed with counting, measuring, analyzing, exercising and avoiding food.

Yet my actions were simply an outgrowth of my real preoccupation. I was really consumed with fear, uncertainty, insecurity and disappointment. 

Eating disorders are simply evidence of what’s going on deep inside. 

And that’s why adoring Jesus is such a powerful cure.

Because Jesus goes deep. He knew us before we were even born and there’s nothing we can hide from Him. 

Nevertheless Jesus will never enter a heart uninvited. He is too polite for that. He waits and woos in great anticipation of the day when we will actually allow Him to work in our lives to sort out and heal those underlying catalysts for our disorder. 

To adore is to honor, love deeply and respect someone or something.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s what I did with my eating disorder. I honored it’s wishes and allowed it to control my life. Although I wouldn’t say so at the time I adored it. It gave me some type of fulfillment and I didn’t want to give it up. 

When we adore Jesus the same thing happens. We become consumed. We love Him deeply, honor His wishes and give Him full control over our lives. He is constantly in our thoughts. We become preoccupied with Him.

And the awesome thing is that when we spend time adoring Jesus by studying His words, following His leading and seeking His presence, we lose touch with our former worship of an eating disorder. We are no longer controlled by it’s dictates and are able to experience true freedom. Jesus gently leads us along His  perfect path and makes us infinitely happy. 

It’s nighttime here in Japan and I’m a morning person so I’m not sure if I’m articulating well but essentially we cannot adore both Jesus and our eating disorder at the same time. 

It’s either one or the other. It’s impossible to serve two masters.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. -Matthew 6:24 NKJV

When we adore Christ, our eating disorder is eclipsed by His presence. Jesus heals us and saves us from whatever craziness may be going on in our lives. 

On the other hand, when we adore our eating disorder, Christ is eclipsed by our preoccupation and we are overwhelmed by the inherent craziness of life. We marinate in brokenness. 

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else. -Isaiah 45:22 KJV

Jesus loves us! He wants our lives to be so much more than we could ever imagine. He longs to give us freedom and contentment. He wants us to turn to Him, worship Him, love Him deeply, and allow Him to lead our lives. 

Adoring Jesus is the key to true recovery! He has SO much good planned for us and as we turn to Him with all our hearts and minds He will heal us and help us to recover. 

I’d like to end with an old hymn that perfectly articulates the message of this post. 

O soul, are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

Goodnight! 😉

-J

Do you think that adoring Jesus is a key factor in eating disorder recovery? How has Jesus healed broken areas of your life? Do you believe that eating disorders are an manifestation of something deeper going on inside?

Generating Perfection: my in-flight reflections 

{This post was written on Thursday during my flight to Japan!}

Wowee! I’m on the plane right now looking out at the beautiful sky! It’s been a lovely ride so far and the morning sun is absolutely glorious. 

  
I’ve always felt most alive in the mornings. There’s just something about that early morning air that makes me want to dance with happiness! I (almost) danced this morning when my alarm awakened me at 4:45 AM in preparation for my flight.
 
I awakened both surprised and thankful that I had slept so deeply because I somewhat anticipated a restless night in nervous anticipation or anxiety about my journey. 

This summer I’ve experienced a smattering of sleep-disturbing anxiety regarding this trip. I have always slept soundly so laying awake at night was completely out of the ordinary for me. 

   
I’d lay in my bed tossing while butterflies danced teasingly in my belly. 

However, last night was completely different. I slept soundly and I’m so happy for that.

While I strongly felt that moving to Japan was was where God was leading me, I also felt overwhelmingly unprepared for my journey.

Nagging thoughts swarmed around my head like flies, insisting that I was not yet “ready” to go. I needed to get ready–and quickly!

I’m not talking about suitcases and passports. I was on track with that. Yet I was still struggling with my eating disorder. I didn’t feel the balance I so craved in my life. 

How in the world was I to go to be a blessing in Japan when I myself wasn’t ‘together’ yet?
  

In an attempt to conquer these overwhelming feelings of unreadiness I created several detailed, idealistic  expectations for myself regarding my life and my recovery. 

By the time I left for Japan I was going to be 100% free of any disordered thoughts or feelings, I was going to be X weight, I was going to eat like X…I would progress in specific, measurable ways in all areas of my life and be as near perfect as I possibly could. 

By the time my departure date rolled around my struggles would all be gone. I would be confidently and completely prepared for my new life in Japan. #unrealisticthinking

Here is where I’d love to insert a big LOL! 😀 Things didn’t go they way I had expected, planned or decided that they would go. 

My disordered thoughts didn’t miraculously disappear. I still struggled and fell in the realm of my battle with my ED. New challenges seemed to arise out of nowhere and I didn’t accomplish my goals in the timeframe I had so carefully marked out. 

My perfect summer-in-preparation-for-Japan had taken a not-so-perfect twist. I felt like a failure and more unprepared than ever. 

  
While staring at the wall one fitful night I considered my options. 

There were only two:

To accept where I am today and celebrate the victories so far or to allow my self to be overwhelmed my failure to meet my (unrealistic) expectations. 

Or in other words:

To look to Jesus or to look to myself. 

You see, my number one purpose in going to Japan is to share the gospel. 

From a very young age God has placed in my heart a love for the Japanese people, their language and their culture. I have sought to improve my opportunities while in America to learn the Japanese culture and am still totally amazed at the way God has cleared for me to actually go to Japan! 

Along with my opportunity I felt a responsibility to be perfectly ready. While it is true that working for Jesus does come with responsibility, I independently created my own. 

Still the thought rolled around in my head, How could I minister to others when I myself was not perfect? 

  

Actually, I never articulated my thoughts  so neatly (until now) but all my performance driven goals for myself before leaving for Japan betrayed my underlying goal to be 100% perfect before I could go to bless others. 

Those two options remained: 

to look to Jesus or to look to myself. 

I had to choose. 

I chose the first option. 

The need to have it all together before I left for Japan was crossed off my mental checklist. I gave it up. 

Because I can’t be perfect anyway. I’m simply human. There is absolutely nothing that I can do in my own strength that will produce perfection. 

And the funny thing is, I knew that truth already. I knew it in my head but not my heart.

I was acting like the Israelites of Bible days. The Israelites that Romans 10:3 mentions. 

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. -Romans 10:3, KJV

The word “ignorant” used in this text doesn’t mean that the Israelites didn’t know about God’s righteousness. 

Doubtless they had heard, seen, and experienced firsthand the ultimate perfection of God. Yet they allowed themselves to forget all about it. 

The testimony of their actions showed that they chose to be ignorant by working to establish a righteousness all their own. 

And it didn’t work. 

Because all of our righteousness is as filthy rags. 

This is not to say that there isn’t hope. We are not destined to lives of continual failure. 

On the contrary the heart realization that I can never be perfect gives me joy, hope and relief. 

It points me to Jesus who is perfection personified and who will complete the work in me that He has already begun. 

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. -2 Corinthians 5:20, 21 NASB, emphasis supplied

Did you catch that? Jesus was made sin for me, that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus was made sin for you, that you might be made the righteousness of God in Him

As an ambassador for Christ (all Christians are to be ambassadors for Christ no matter where they live) I am to look at Jesus instead of myself. It’s not my job to try to generate my own perfection. I have no righteousness on my own. 

Instead, I am to trust to Jesus’ righteousness. I am to hope in Jesus’ perfection. I am to trust Jesus to help me to minister to the best of my ability. I am to trust Jesus to work out my issues with food, body image, exercise and my besetting sins. 

The focus is now shifted to Jesus, not Jade. 

Because Jesus is perfect. I can trust Him to lead me on the right path. 

What a relief it is to remember that I don’t have to worry about creating the perfect path for myself because He’s already created it for me!

I need no longer to create self imposed deadlines because Jesus makes everything beautiful in His time!

Jesus gave me a gift in the form of a gentle reminder that restless night to look to Him, to stop creating unrealistic expectations, and to stop trying to generate my own perfection. 

And by His grace I chose the first option. I choose the first option. 

I must say that that choice gave me deep peace–and sleep too! 😀

Although everything in my life is not perfectly ‘together’ yet I’m okay with that because it doesn’t have to be. 

Why? Because I am going to Japan with Jesus. He is all I need. He is absolutely perfect and as I continually look to Him, He will lead me in His perfect way.

He will make me perfect in Him. 

I choose the first option. I choose Jesus!

-J


Have you ever felt the desire to be totally perfect before doing good things for others? Do you struggle with perfectionism? Have you ever tried to attach deadlines to the process of recovery? Any other thoughts?