The following is a guest post by Megan of apronstringsandstickyfingers.com
The funny thing about your sharing your story is that no matter how many times you do, it still amazes you at how incredible it is.
Looking back I can’t believe how hopeless and lost I felt.
I can’t believe how empty and broken I was.
I can’t get over how God’s incredible love can turn any situation into something beautiful.
I grew up in a Christian family. We went to church every Sunday, I sang praise songs, I read my illustrated kids bible and at the age of 4, I asked Jesus to come into my heart.
Somewhere in between that sweet little girl who always wore tu-tus and who I am today, I stopped listening to the quiet murmuring of my heavenly Father, and started tuning into the blaring noise of the world.
I began believing the voices in my head that were telling me my thighs were too big, my stomach was too round and my body wasn’t toned enough. It didn’t happen all at once, but bit by bit those voices wore me down until I was hardly recognisable.
That’s when my disordered eating began. I began carefully measuring, calculating and tracking every morsel that went into my mouth. Which I paired with intensive workouts that I pushed myself to do every day without fail. I denied myself desserts at family celebrations. I worked out instead of seeing my friends. People praised me for being “so dedicated to my health and fitness goals.”
But I was anything but healthy.
My relationship with food and exercise was seriously messed up. All I cared about was getting a body that others would approve of. I scrolled obsessively through recipes on the internet feeding my desperate desire for the carbs and sugar I was restricting. I would bake delicious things for my family and friends but would never eat it myself.
But I told myself this was just temporary. Once I reached my ‘goal weight’ I could eat chocolate, cupcakes and sweets again. Once I was the right size it would just be about maintaining the weight. Maintenance would be easy.
The weight kept dropping off me. Yet I still wasn’t satisfied. My body wasn’t good enough. I kept pushing my goal weight lower and lower, hoping I’d finally find happiness at that size. At this point, God wasn’t even a part of my life anymore. Like a friend from high school that you lose touch with.
I was heading down a slippery slope without any hope of healing.
Then at the beginning of last year, I left home and started college. And little by little, I became myself again.
There are multiple factors which contributed to my recovery commencing. I was living in a hall which meant I no longer had control over the food I ate. I found books and podcasts in which the author’s talked openly about their own struggles. I started attending church again with my friends.
All of the above are excellent reasons…
But I give full credit to God for setting me free.
While the healing process has been slow and exhausting at times, with Jesus by my side my yoke was easy and my burden was light.
I’ve learnt that seeking God is the most important thing we can do. When we allow things of the world to separate us from God we become weak, and the enemy finds this the perfect time to attack.
My body became an idol for me.
I put it before my relationship with God.
I was so obsessed with eating just enough to survive and manipulating my body to try and fit a certain standard of beauty, that I completely lost touch with God.
I let the desire to be accepted and adored by those around me fuel my unsustainable and unhealthy lifestyle. I let my fitness goals separate me from the only One who could truly satisfy me.
The incredible thing is, once I came running back to His arms with tears streaming down my cheeks…it all began to fade away.
I slowly began to love and cherish my body, in the way it allows me to run, dance and heal. I began to enjoy eating food again, without worrying and obsessing about how much fat or sugar it contained. I began to see other beautiful, slim women and not feel ashamed or critical of myself. I began to see myself through God’s eyes…as a precious, delicately crafted and adored child.
God’s love has filled every broken crevice of my heart.
He has given me a purpose for living, outside of eating a perfect diet and having a perfect body.
He has opened my eyes to the masses of women who are suffering just as I was.
Now it is Him that I live for each day. It is His approval I seek above all. And it is He who fills me, sustains me and gives me hope.
It is my biggest prayer that all women will realize their immeasurable beauty and strength cannot be found in the superficial ideals of the world but in Jesus Christ alone.
Megan is on a mission to redefine what it means to be healthy. Rebelling against the prioritisation of clean eating and six packs, her focus is on finding balance in emotional, spiritual and physical health. You can find out more on her blog and connect with Megan via Instagram, twitter or facebook!