Don’t Despise Yourself

There’s a big difference between hating your struggles – and hating yourself. But so often, the two get mixed up.

It’s right to hate my anger. My desire to be in control of everyone and everything.

It’s right to hate the depression that makes it difficult to get out of bed.  The self-righteousness that means I can’t admit I’m wrong. The fears that stop me loving others and living as I want.  The eating disorder that nearly killed me and wrecked the lives of those I love.

What’s not right is thinking that my battles are actually me.


The Anorexic.

The Depressive.

The Rebel.

The Coward.

It’s tempting to wear these tags. But here’s what happens when I do:

I allow my struggles to define me

and instead of hating them, I start to hate myself.


Instead of saying:

‘I’ve had an eating disorder.  It’s a horrible and ugly thing and I hate it’

I think:

‘I am anorexic.  I am horrible and ugly and I hate myself’.


Separating out the truth is difficult. You see, I want to be all good  – or all bad.  Saint – or sinner.

But the truth is – I’m both.

Before I married Glen, I met someone else.  A prince, who saw me in my mess and my filth and lifted me out of the gutter and washed me and put a crown on my head and pledged Himself to me.

On that day, I became a princess.

But even though I was given a new name, sometimes I forget.  Sometimes, I still sign things with my old names. ‘Fat’. ‘Stupid’. ‘Useless’. ‘Frightened’. ‘Anorexic’.

That’s not who I am.  But it takes time to feel like a princess and it takes time to act like one too.


My struggles aren’t me.

And your struggles aren’t you either.


No matter how long they’ve been going on.

No matter how impossible it seems to move forward.

No matter what other people say or think.


Hate your struggles.

But don’t hate yourself.

You are so much more – because He says so.



10 thoughts on “Don’t Despise Yourself

  1. I sometimes forget that I am truly forgiven for the past and my eating disorder by Jesus. I also find its easier to bear grudges than to really really forgive.

  2. Do you think you ever escape from it, this side of heaven? Or is it a battle you will face every day, or on and off, for the rest of your life?

  3. Jill and Jeannine: yes, it is much, much easier said than done. And some days I feel it more than others. But just as I’ve spent years telling myself lies, if replace these with truths, then by God’s grace they’ll hopefully start to sink in. And I love that the Bible speaks to me as I truly am: the princess who forgets she’s no longer a pauper.

  4. Greygoggler, yes – the legacy of an eating disorder is so much guilt and shame. And in my experience, the guiltier I feel, the more I’ll hold grudges against others too. But if Jesus can forgive me – then maybe I can also forgive others. Both however, are the work of His Spirit – not me trying to work harder.

  5. Kondwani, that’s a great question: what has been your experience?

    This side of heaven, I don’t think I’ll know complete freedom.However, whilst I am still fighting battles – it’s in the context of a war that has already been won – and this makes all the difference.

  6. Dear Emma,

    There are times when I think I am getting there, but some of the mental battles persist, and I don’t know that I could ever know complete freedom. Having had children, I value my body and what it has been able to achieve, and have seen the need to be reasonably nourished in order to carry the pregnancy, breastfeed and chase around after energetic young boys. Having also had a child die, I feel that something ‘self inflicted’ is just such a waste of time, such a waste of a life, when other people don’t get that ‘choice’. i use inverted commas, because as you know, it is not quite so simple as that, but often it does feel like being stuck in a bad way of thinking or unhelpful choices.

    I long for freedom and wholeness, but I don’t know if it is possible here. Of course God can do great miracles, and I don’t want to limit Him by my lack of faith. Sometimes I think He teaches more through daily submission, daily trust, daily requirement to lean on His strength, than He might through a flash of light and a ‘miraculous’ healing.

    Your blog makes me think you understand much of this, and it encourages me.

  7. Kondwani

    Thank-you so much for what you’ve shared.I can’t begin to imagine how you’ve felt or gotten through such painful experiences; but your faith and wisdom is a inspiration.

    I’m struck too by what you’ve said about God speaking more in the daily struggles, than the flashes of light. It’s not comfortable and it’s not what I expect or want, but you’re right, it’s often how He ministers to us most deeply.

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