In an attempt to cheer myself up, I’ve been listening to sermons today on how God uses our weakness. I still think I talked a lot of nonsense, but my brain’s just as fallen as my heart and its judgement can’t be trusted.
Things that were good:
lovely lady who was prompting me (and cameramen, who agreed to enhance my chest and give me long blonde hair. Ok, maybe not – but they said they’d try).
opportunity to talk about Jesus (I rambled, but there we are)
Things that were hard:
the opening: ‘my name’s Emma Scrivener. I’m a Christian and a recovering anorexic’.
urg, double, triple and quadruple URG. One of the hardest sentences I’ve ever said – particularly to thousands of strangers.
The producer suggested I say ‘recovered’. I wanted to – and I guess in some ways I could have. Every skerrick of my being wants to run a mile from the tag ‘anorexic’. But I said ‘recovering’ because:
I think it’s a work in progress – and much more than just regaining weight. It takes a long time to get there and a long time to get out. It sounds a whole lot better much to say I trusted Jesus and was instantly fixed, but that’s not what happened. For me, the miracle is also a process. And maybe it’s just me – or maybe there are others who are also in process and need to hear it.
One of the prompt questions was ‘how can you reconcile being a Christian and having nearly died twice of an eating disorder? Surely that’s a total contradiction’.
I felt like I’d been winded: but my instinct was to agree. What on earth was I doing? More than embarrassing myself: I was bringing disgrace to Jesus.
In my head I visualised an enormous hand, picking up my book and blog and testimony and dropping them into the bin. Rubbish, all rubbish. How dare you parade your weaknesses and call yourself a believer? How can your story point anyone to Jesus? – the very opposite.
More than my shame,
More than letting down my family, my God, myself
I believe it is okay to be a Christian and have struggles. Needing a Saviour – whether for an eating disorder or something else – is the whole point. That’s the good news. That’s why the Cross is necessary. And that’s what sets us free – from sin and shame and a million other chains of which addictions are just one.
They asked about apologising – to God and to others, as part of my recovery. About what drove me into it – as a child and an adult. They said ‘you look attractive and healthy. What would you say to someone who thinks eating disorders are glamorous?’ I spoke about the hair loss, nails, organs shutting down etc. Then I thought about where I was today. I gulped. Asked for a break. And spoke about my bones and my bowels – but not about babies. Too raw.
I don’t think I made much sense. In my head I was trying to explain my life. My marriage. The gospel. My theology of food and feasting. I weighed it up beforehand -the personal stuff : painful and exposing and embarrassing. But more importantly, an opportunity to talk about Jesus. In the event, I felt like I exposed myself but didn’t explain the gospel. I was inarticulate and I didn’t point to the Lord with fluency and grace. Maybe I let Him down and let others down too.
But in amongst all this, I come back to this:
– we do what we can. I’m called to simply acknowledge Jesus: nothing more or less.
– I know you were praying: and those prayers will be answered.
– In the world’s eyes we look shameful and foolish – and maybe we are. But the truth of the gospel is that it’s okay to be weak. I’ll stake my life on it.