Dear Friend

Eating disorders press pause on life; and sometimes rewind too. In the process you can lose yourself. It’s hard to remember who you once were – if you ever knew.  Hard to imagine a world where we’re not just frightened.  A place where other people aren’t just threats.  And where there’s something bigger than the numbers on the scales.

But there is hope – and there is a way forward. It’s hard – really hard – but Jesus is with us and He can bring us through.

I know you tell yourself you’ve got it under control. You’ll turn the corner – tomorrow.

But tomorrow never comes.  Or rather – it comes and goes and leaves you behind.

Other people move on too.  They get married and get promotions and have babies or travel.  They eat.  They live.  But you stay the same.

Next week becomes next month.  Next year.   Happy birthday.

Twenty-six, thirty-six, fifty-six.    Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and then you die.

Because today is what we have.  And it’ll never be easier to get better than it is right now.

But we need help.

We need other people to say no for us and stand with us and by us, especially when we can’t do it for ourselves.  I know that’s a big ask, because relationship and exposure is so threatening…but it’s also the only way we’ll be able to see ourselves as Jesus does and to actually live instead of being so unutterably, painfully lonely.

I know the possibility of love and acceptance is almost unbearable: hope is more threatening than fear, and it’s so much easier to cling to the selves we can hate and control and punish.

What’s really frightening is this:  the love we long for – the identity and the purpose – is real, but it’s not under our control.

There is a God who sees us when we binge and who sees us when we starve, and who loves us but won’t let us keep killing ourselves. Eating disorders tell us that they’re our masters – but they’re not. We have the Spirit of God in us and He is calling you and me away from the lies. And Jesus can do in us what we can’t do in ourselves, even to change our desires so that we actually want what He does.

Like you, I feel scared a lot of time – but with Jesus that is changing. It really is. And like you, I couldn’t imagine a place where I could let go of even a little control…but that’s happening, step by step – and He’s doing it.

I know it’s scary to move forward – but it’s even scarier to stay where you are.

You are not too far away to get back – and more than getting back, to move forward: to know who you are and why you’re here and to step into warmth and life and freedom.

By His grace, we can do it.

6 thoughts on “Dear Friend

  1. Last week I was away in the grower on an eating disorder course run by Helena wilkinson. Today has been such a tough day back home again trying to implement all the new tools I have been giving. I am anorexic. Today has been overwhelming, exhausting…….. Just read your blog above, I cannot stay where I am, I have to move forward but it’s incredibly scarey. Thankyou. I read your book two weeks ago, so good. Love Alison

  2. It so often does feel like the eating disorder decides who we are and where we should be at ..(most often in control…well trying) as well as what we should be doing…(often not eating or binging) but we cannot stay in that place. That is what the ed wants, that’s what Satan wants and we need to fight..fight the negative thoughts, beliefs and trust Jesus’s words instead. But I’m rambling! Thanks Emma Xx

  3. Dear Alison

    Well done for going on the Helena Wilkinson course and for fighting this. It’s scary – but absolutely worth it, and you’re not on your own. Just a step at a time x

  4. Laura – you’re not rambling at all! And you’re right – we’re are not an eating disorder or any other addiction. x

  5. Wow. Your words are so powerful Emma. I am 2 years into my recovery and doing well but things have happened recently that are making it hard to keep going and I’ve found familiar coping mechanisms creeping in. You are right when you say we need others. I spend so much time trying to do it on my own and keeping my fears and anxieties and struggles a secret because I don’t want people to know how ill I still am even at a healthy weight. I think people don’t understand what it means to be in recovery as well, and people so often judge you and expect you to be 100% better. I guess what I really wanted to say is that reading your blog has reminded me of how terrible things were for me, being so close to death and somehow anorexia tricks you into forgetting all of that. Being well can seem overwhelming but it’s even more terrifying to think things will never change. Thts what is keeping me going right now.

  6. Oh N – well done for all you’ve already achieved. It’s difficult to see it sometimes, but you are changing – and so am I. For me, one of the hardest things about recovery is opening up to others: but this has been something that’s been an incredible and surprising joy too.

    It’s really okay to struggle and it’s really okay to be scared. That’s part of living and not cocooning ourselves in the darkness of a false security. Hang in there sister: we can do it – just a step at a time. x

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