Christians Don’t Get Eating Disorders

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Yep.  Just like we don’t get measles or parking tickets.


I wish we didn’t, just like I wish we didn’t get sick or depressed or sad or any of the other messy stuff that makes us human. But sadly we do. It might look that way, but Christians aren’t people who are ‘fixed’.  We’re people who are broken and weak – but we have a Saviour who is glorious and loving and strong.

Many thanks to everyone who’s been praying and supporting us in the run-up to book publication: I’ve been blown away by hundreds of big and little kindnesses and am massively grateful.

A New Name is now live! And (if you want to) you can get it here or (with free postage today and tomorrow) here.

Here’s a short excerpt where I talk about some of the spiritual factors involved:

As my eating disorder took hold, I was just as ‘religious’ as I’d always been. I was still trusting in God. The difference was that this god had a small, rather than a capital ‘g’. And surprise, surprise, it was a god that looked just like me. The god of performance, hard work, externals and rituals. A god that gave nothing of itself, but demanded everything in return.

In the Bible, worship takes place in the context of a wider body where we are free to be ourselves and speak the truth in love. With anorexia, the opposite is true. I retreat into myself and cut myself off from relationships. I hide and I lie. I turn my hatred against myself and against anyone who comes close.

At the centre of the Christian faith is Christ’s body and blood, broken and poured out for us. In the Lord’s Supper we are reminded that we cannot save ourselves. We are needy – hungry for the Bread of life. But in Jesus we have found a self-giving God who invites us to his table and feeds us. ‘This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them’ is what they said in the Gospels (Luke 15:2), and it’s just as true today. As we come in our brokenness, we know that we are not worthy, but we are welcome nonetheless.

At the centre of the anorexic faith is another body, also broken. This body is solitary. It is mine. And it is punished by me and for me. This continual sacrifice is proof that I am worthy after all. I wear my rules and rituals proudly, for all to see.

The drive towards self-improvement is relentless. The weight and exercise goals are never enough. The rituals serve as sacraments. It all feels like freedom. But I am enslaved. Each day more demands are added to the list. Each day my body shrinks along with my world.

The gospel of anorexia isn’t good news at all. It is a system of works, of slavery, self-salvation and self-destruction. It feels like heaven, but leads to hell. It is a religion, as powerful and addictive as any cult.

Read the rest of this excerpt from Theology Network here.




6 thoughts on “Christians Don’t Get Eating Disorders

  1. Hi Emma! I was pleasantly surprised to open up the post and to find your book this morning :-) Can’t wait to read it, I’ve already read the beginning and I’m hooked! Best of luck with this, you’ve helped so many people (including me) with your blog and I hope your book will do the same.

  2. Dear Emma – I am both humbled & devestated after skimming through your book today. I will read it in full though. Thank God for Jesus. He is sufficient even though we don’t always remember that in our times of distress. We pray that you will be strengthened in body, mind, soul & spirit as people read your life story. Many will be challenged by your honesty and the exposure of your self. Praying for you & Glen as always,
    Yours in Christ

  3. Emma – I pre-ordered your book at the recommendation of a friend. It arrived yesterday, and I have already finished it. Thank you so much. I felt like you were inside my head. I’ve battled with anorexia on and off for 5 years, at the worst being hospitalised for 4 months. I’m a layworker for the church (children’s work like you!) and my fiance is exploring a call to ordained ministry. I often feel like a failure as a Christian for giving in to the ‘god’ of anorexia. Thank you for helping me to see that I’m not the only one, and that it has no effect on my worth in God’s eyes.

  4. Hannah – I’m sorry this has also been a part of your history, but so thankful that we’re not defined by anorexia! I’ve no doubt the Lord will use you and your fiance in powerful ways. Isn’t it strange how our lives intersect? – but wonderful too.Thank you for sharing and taking the time to encourage me.

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