I think sometimes we just need to have a good cry. I have no idea why, but it makes you feel so much better. It sounds trite, but it’s very cleansing.
Yesterday I had an “ugly cry” episode during church service. The first weekend of the month is when my church family observes communion. For those who maybe aren’t sure what that is, its a ceremony that’s done in church to remember what Jesus did on the cross. The bread element representing His body that was broken for us and the wine/juice element representing the shed blood as a exemption from our sin. It prompts us to search our hearts in prayer and eat the things together as a reminder of what this life of faith is all about and the mercy that we have been shown. The catholic church does this daily, some churches do it every week, some every other…it varies from church to church. My pastor began the service talking about what it means in our life to gather at the table. To come together and relax and replenish. To share with loved ones over a meal, making memories. Often in times of celebration. Or bringing comfort in times of grief. Moments that we all share no matter our culture. We like to take our place and enjoy.
The thing that struck me is that bellying up to the table is NOT a celebration for me. It’s the scene of the crime. For the person with disordered eating, food is public enemy number one. The act of eating somehow becoming a vile, dirty act. Food presenting itself as menacing and sinister as a dirrrrty, dirrrrty magazine filled with the raunchiest of temptations. Even when I’m eating “in bounds” and doing well and losing weight, the pull is magnetic.
I can relate to the alcoholic that has to dodge the offers of chilled beers and frothy margaritas at bbq’s or the casual glass of wine with dinner. I can also imagine the constant temptation there is to unwind at a bar, let go and have fun with friends. I’m not an alcoholic, but I know first hand how it feels to have an addiction beckoning me constantly. Offering artificial but instant promises of relief. And in some ways I envy them slightly. Crazy right?! Except for the alcoholic there is abstinence. There are black and white lines drawn. Clear boundaries. You wouldn’t expect an alcoholic to drink one beer three times a day and call it sobriety?
No. I can’t abstain from eating.
I must face my ugly beast in the eyes at least three or so times a day for the rest of my life. My bars, pubs and neon lights boast not of beer and liquor but of Golden Arches, Taco Bells..and value menus. Drive thru windows where I don’t even have to get out of my car and can easily hide any or all evidence of the dirty deed done. With one swipe of my card, I’m spiraling downward…physically, spiritually, mentally, even financially. And just like an addict, it seems with little regard in the moment for those who are stuck in my spiral unwillingly. The remorse and guilt only causing more eating…
Food has been the shot in my arm sought to numb and soothe anxiety. A means of avoiding and dimming my feelings to retain some false sense of control. Eating has been a vehicle of self abuse instead of what it was intended to be…a means of fueling my body with energy, nurturing and caring for it.
I’m crying in church, wondering how audacious it seems for me to eat of this “meal” being offered. Me, the abuser of food. My big body is evidence…I can’t deny it.
Just give it up.
Surrender to the facts.
You’ve failed before, you’ll fail again.
You’ll never beat this.
It’s too much.
Just don’t care anymore.
But then …Jesus saying,
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:10 NLT)
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. ” (John 6:35 NLT)
“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:2 NLT)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.” (Luke 12:22 ESV)
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)
“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7 ESV)
A poem of love.
For me…from the creator of this body I’ve hated so much. This body that has allowed me to walk and move and live life despite how my mind has destroyed it. This body that has birthed two beautiful and healthy children. This body that has been allowed to wake again this morning to a new day…despite the pain…to try again.