What will people say… when they hear that I had an eating disorder and sometimes still struggle?

I struggled with an eating disorder for four years.  

It’s not something that makes me proud.  In fact, I never wanted to tell anyone.  It was something that I wanted to keep hidden.  Finally, after years of struggling, I began to find freedom and victory.  I started to be more open and vulnerable, sharing my story with others.

But what would you think if I told you that despite finding freedom,  sometimes I stumble back into a destructive pattern of thinking? What would you think if I told you that I am not perfect and I stumble and fall more often than I would like to admit?

In reality, I’m sure that no one is surprised that I’m not perfect.  But in my flesh, I desire to be thought of highly.  If people know that I still struggle, then they won’t think I’m a good Christian.

The flaws in these statements are twofold.  These lies can only be debunked with the truth of the gospel that has the power to loosen the chains that binds us.  Read on to find the truths that have helped me find freedom in Christ.

Error #1 is the assumption that Christians aren’t supposed to struggle with sin.

Through Christ’s work on the cross and His resurrection from the grave, He defeated sin.  He was the only perfect man who walked the earth, so, He was the only one who was able to break the curse of sin that was brought into the world by one man.  

Despite the fact that Jesus defeated sin, every life is marred by the trials that plague this broken world.  Not that Christ hasn’t overcome it, but we await his second arrival to make all things new. Until then, we will all have our sin struggles.

“If we walk in the light , as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:7-10

John makes it clear that we are called to holiness.  Christ has cleansed us from all sin.  However, if we say that we no longer have sin in our lives, we lie.  He says that the truth is not in us! Instead of denying the fact that we have sin, we are called to confess our sins, because He is faithful to forgive.  We are freed from the bondage of sin because whenever we stumble, He cleanses us. The gospel isn’t something that we need only one time. We need to bathe ourselves in the truth of the gospel daily.  

The temptation to fall into the clutches of disordered eating constantly presents itself in my life.  And more often than I’d like, I stumble. So I have to renew my mind in the truth of the gospel. I am not called to live in guilt and shame because I stumble.  Instead, I am called to confess my sins and press on, striving to live a life pleasing to the Lord. The gospel is not an excuse to continue living in sin. But it gives us the freedom to pursue righteousness because Christ has already been perfect for me.  

Error #2 is the assumption that people want me to be perfect.

Everyone struggles with sin.  There is no perfect person here on earth.  We await the day when we are free from sin, but until then, we are slowly being transformed to be more like Christ.  When we try to hide the fact that we struggle, sometimes we cause our fellow brothers and sisters to stumble. When others think we are perfect, we are closing the door to transparency.  Transparency creates an environment where you not only minister, but also are ministered to by others.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James  5:16

When we are honest about our sins and confess them with one another, James tells us that that we may be healed through the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  But if we try to hide our imperfection, how can there be growth? When we are vulnerable with one another, as brothers and sisters, we can build one another up through prayer.  We cannot expect to be transformed into the image of Christ by secretly holding onto our sin. By lifting the curtain and opening our clenched hands, we invite the Spirit of God to do His work in our hearts.  

While God does call us to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another, it does not mean that you need to be an open book for all to read.  Share your struggle with those you can trust and who you know will flood the gates of heaven on your behalf.  You can be vulnerable and open without revealing everything you have ever done.

I know it is hard admitting that we aren’t perfect.  I know it is scary to wonder what people will think. But let me tell you, there is so much freedom in being known.  When I have shared my struggles with a few close friends, I have found great joy and growth. We were not meant to walk this Christian journey alone.  Find freedom in knowing that Jesus has set you free, and He has placed people in your life to help spur you on to the finish line.

FOLLOW OUR BLOG SERIES: WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY

What will people say… when you speak up for what’s right? It’s not always easy. It’s not always fun. But it’s always worth it.

When you live a set apart, counter-cultural life, it won’t always make sense to the people around you. But that’s not what matters.

In the NEW blog series “What Will People Say?”, we will be sharing His truth – not letting the fear of what people think stop us.

One thought on “What will people say… when they hear that I had an eating disorder and sometimes still struggle?

  1. Thank you, Kaela! I found error #2 resonated with me. “Perfection” is hard to stand next to. Next to “Perfection”, our own sins and inadequacies stand out even more, which leads to feelings of isolation for the perceived perfect and the one who can’t even begin to pull off perfection. Thank you for sharing!!

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