Posts Tagged ‘eating disorder’

What Recovery Looks Like

In my first ever post on this blog I shared that God told me that 2013 would be the year I recovered from my long-term eating disorder. And it was. This is an update on my recovery journey, ask two years after I received that promise. 2014 ushered in a year of solid, glorious recovery. I’m living a life I never thought was possible and it just keeps getting better year by year!

I’ve learned that recovery truly is a process. In 2013, I had a lot of bad days, days where I felt like my eating disorder was controlling my life. But I was able to stop all my eating disorder behaviors and then slowly my depression started fading away and my self esteem improved and I entered 2014 with so much more confidence and actually loving my body for the first time!

In 2014 I found a continual increase of good days. Days filled with glorious freedom, days where my mind was able to fully focus on the present, on my day to day life and my relationship with my friends, family, and God. I would find myself during rare, quiet moments realizing that I hadn’t even struggled remotely with my eating disorder in a long time. My eating disorder is becoming more and more removed from me, fading into my past, becoming more like the memory of a nightmare that almost doesn’t feel real to me anymore.

If you had told me that this sort of recovery were possible for me while I was in treatment or even during my first semester of college, I wouldn’t have believed you. And yet here I am.

I’ve learned a lot about recovery and have been so surprised by the faithfulness of God. And when I say the faithfulness of God, I really mean it. I think back on the life I was living, completely miserable and distanced from my friends and family, hating myself and convinced that God didn’t love me, and I’m left feeling astounded and thankful because I know none of it would have been possible without God’s never-ending pursuit of me.

My recovery means that I’m living a joyful life. It’s not all happy rainbows, it’s not perfect, but it is marked by joy, a hope and excitement for each new day.

My recovery means that I understand that food is necessary for my health and survival, but also that it can be eaten simply to be enjoyed.

My recovery means that I can go clothes shopping and not be bothered that I can’t fit into the sizes I used to wear. It means I can wear a bathing suit and feel pretty darn good about myself.

I love my tattoo for so many reasons – it reminds me of God’s promise and faithfulness to me and it also embodies all the things I’ve learned about recovery – it’s continuous, it doesn’t move on a straight line. He is making everything new. He’s doing a new thing. And if it’s possible for my life, it’s possible for yours.

What Recovery Looks Like | He is Making Everything New

Recovery is a process and I’m learning what its twists and turns looks like. I am looking forward to the day that I realize that I haven’t thought of my eating disorder for years. I know that day is ahead of me and I am ready for it!

When relapse happens

When Relapse Happens

Trigger warning: drugs, website addiction, decease relapse, herbal eating disorder, depression, anxiety

I was sitting in a cafe today, reading various theology essays for one of my classes while also listening to some music. I ended up turning on Macklemore, just needing to listen to something different. What I wasn’t expecting was to start tearing up right there in the coffee shop. I was listening to Starting Over off The Heist album and its honesty and vulnerability really struck me, as well as its connections to my own journey and story. Starting Over is, in a way, a follow up to his song Otherside, which Macklemore wrote about his journey to getting sober.

*Both of these songs have swear words*

Here is Otherside (this is the remix):

I’ve seen my people’s dreams die
I’ve seen what they can be denied
And “weeds not a drug” – that’s denial
Groundhog Day like repeat each time
I’ve seen Oxycontin take three lives
I grew up with them, we used to chief dimes
I’ve seen cocaine bring out the demons inside
Cheatin’ and lyin’
Friendship cease, no peace in the mind
Stealin’ and takin’ anything to fix the pieces inside
Broken, hopeless, headed nowhere
Only motivation for what the dealer’s supplying
That rush, that drug, that dope
Those pills, that crumb, that roach
Thinkin’ I would never do that, not that drug
And growing up nobody ever does
Until your stuck, lookin’ in the mirror like I can’t believe what I’ve become
Swore I was goin’ to be someone
And growing up everyone always does
We sell our dreams and our potential
To escape through that buzz
Just keep me up, keep me up
Hollywood here we come

And here is Starting Over:

Somebody stops me and says, “Are you Macklemore?
Maybe this isn’t the place or time
I just wanted to say that if it wasn’t for Otherside I wouldn’t have made it.”
I just look down at the ground and say thank you
She tells me she has 9 months and that she’s so grateful
Tears in her eyes, looking like she’s gonna cry. Fuck!
I barely got 48 hours, treated like I’m some wise monk
I wanna tell her I relapsed but I can’t
I just shake her hand and tell her congrats
Get back to my car and I think I’m tripping yea
Cuz God wrote Otherside, that pen was in my hand
Im just a flawed man, man I fucked up up
Like so many others I just never thought I would
I never thought I would, didn’t pick up the book
Doin it by myself, didn’t turn out that good

If I can be an example of getting sober
Then I can be an example of starting over
If I can be an example of getting sober
Then I can be an example of starting over

Whew that last line gets me every time. Otherside continues to help people get sober, and yet Starting Over is just as important because we all need reminders that our relapses are not the end of our stories.

My own personal journey is different from Macklemore’s. I’ve never struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, but I have struggled with an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. I am very open with people about my journey and about the freedom I have now in the Lord. But, at least for me, it’s really easy to get into the mindset that because I have freedom from these things, I will never relapse. And if I do relapse, then that must mean that I have failed in my freedom, I’ve failed God, and I’ve messed up my testimony. And that thinking makes it so difficult to be open with and share struggles that I still have.

There are days that I look at my body and I don’t feel like a new creation. My mind starts going and I fall back into eating disorder thoughts. 

After months of being depression free I experience another depressive episode and then another and I don’t want to admit that it’s actually depression.

Then out of nowhere I find myself triggered and my anxiety rushes back and I don’t know how to respond except to shut down.

God has been teaching me a lot about what it means to live in freedom.

–I’m starting to understand that to live in freedom means to live free of the shame that accompanies struggling.

–He’s teaching me that the sooner I can lean in to community and let people know that I’m hurting, the faster I experience freedom again because Satan operates in secrecy and darkness.

–And I’m learning that relapsing doesn’t change the fact that I am a new creation and that I live in Christ’s freedom. I belong to Jesus and Satan has no authority over me. My identity is freedom and that cannot be shaken or taken away from me. My relapses do not define me or change the fact that my story is about God’s continual faithfulness to me.

We need more stories of freedom from addiction and eating disorders and depression and trauma. But we also need more stories of people bravely starting over again.

Let’s keep writing our stories together, armed with grace and love for ourselves and the power of Christ.

How to Eat a Meal with Someone Struggling with an Eating Disorder

Eating Disorder Awareness- How to eat a meal with someone struggling with an eating disorder

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, sildenafil which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.

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So your daughter, son, friend, roommate, wife, husband, sister, brother is struggling with an eating disorder. You feel helpless and don’t know how to talk to them or help them. And then comes the tension of meal times. Are they eating? How are they eating? Do they look distressed? What do I say? I can’t stop staring at them…

Let’s just get this out in the open—eating meals with a loved ones who is struggling with an ED can be very tense, stressful, and painful for everyone. Here are some tips to make these meal times better for everyone. Many of these things I learned while eating meals together with other girls in treatment—we had to seriously support each other through those meal times, but we all managed to get through each and every one of them. This advice is based on my own personal experience- I am not a psychologist and this advice may not right for everyone. I think most of my tips are probably applicable and helpful for most people with an ED, but EDs are so unique and different so don’t use this list as an excuse for not having a conversation with your loved one about what they would specifically find helpful.

Helpful Tips:

  • DO NOT talk about eating disorders at the dinner table. EVER. Don’t talk to your loved one about their eating disorder, about someone else’s eating disorder, or EDs in general. Don’t mention any ED behaviors, don’t talk about body image, low self esteem, or weight. Your loved one is being SCREAMED AT by their ED throughout their entire meal and they need you to help them get their mind off of their ED, not on it.
  • DO NOT talk about the food you’re eating. Typically when people are eating food, they’ll comment on what they’re eating, they’ll talk about other food they’ve eaten in the past, etc. Don’t do it. I would suggest not even saying whether you like the meal or not. Just don’t talk about it at all. Do not talk about calories, fat, nutrition value, portion size, your new diet, or anything related to food! Your loved one is analyzing everything about the food they’re eating and they don’t need you to add to the conversation happening in their head.
  • DO NOT talk about exercising or working out, going to the gym, participating in sports, burning calories, your new exercise regiment, your muscles, or anything having to do with your body.
  • DO NOT talk about any controversial or stressful topics. Don’t get into arguments with other family members. Don’t talk about politics or religion. Anything that might make the conversation get at all heated has to be off limits. Trying to get through a meal is hard enough for your loved one—don’t add additional stress and tension to the situation with your topics of conversation.
  • DO NOT stare at your loved one. They already feel self-conscious and know that you’re keeping your eye on them. Try not to stare—it will just make them feel more self-conscious.
  • DO have continuous conversation throughout the meal. Think of light but interesting conversation topics and keep conversation going throughout the meal, trying to bring your loved on into the conversation. During our meals in treatment, we talked throughout the entire meal and if we could see that one person was having an especially hard time, we would intentionally try to bring them into the conversation, asking them specific questions to help involve them. This helps keep your loved one’s mind off of the food they’re eating.
  • DO model good eating behavior. One thing that we talk about in treatment is the idea of matching the meals eaten by the healthy people around us. If you are not eating a healthy-sized, balanced meal, how can you expect your loved one to do so? I remember one girl in treatment sharing that she had a really hard time eating carbs, especially bread. Her mom would never eat bread during meals and this made it that much harder for the daughter to convince herself to eat bread. Then at one meal, her mom ate a piece of bread along with dinner. What didn’t mean much to the mom was incredibly significant for the daughter and helped her make good food choices for herself and eat bread with more ease. I know that sometimes dinner rolls around and you’re not that hungry, or you don’t like the food, or you’re on a new diet. However, you have the responsibility to model good eating behavior, meaning that you need to eat a full, healthy sized meal when you’re eating with your loved one. Yeah, I know it’s not fair, but eating disorders aren’t fair to anyone. Your loved one is watching you and noticing all the food you eat constantly, so make sure that you are modeling good eating habits and behavior.
  • DO NOT get frustrated if/when your loved one is having a hard time. I can’t tell you how many times I cried during meals in treatment. Meals are harder than you could ever imagine—they are intense, anxiety-producing experiences. Most likely, you cannot understand why these times are so emotionally charged, and that can be frustrating. However, if you do things like roll your eyes or say things like, “just eat, it’s not a big deal!” or “you’re being silly/stupid,” you are being incredibly unhelpful. You need to be loving, supportive, and try to understand what it happening with your loved one. Sometimes it’s best to just sit quietly with your loved one, not saying anything but showing your support with your presence. Sometimes it might be helpful for you to ask your loved one what they’re feeling, and then listen without judgment or input as they share.
  • DO have important conversations about meal times BEFORE meal times occur. For example, ask your loved one what would make meals easier for them. Make a game plan with them and their psychologist about how you’re going to handle meal times. If you’re having dinner with people who maybe aren’t as informed about good meal behavior, have a conversation with them before the meal and if things start getting into rocky territory during the meal, steer things in the right direction. If you have set expectations for the meal time–what will be eaten, what sorts of conversations you’re going to have, how you are going to support your loved one, you can at least ensure that everyone is one the same page and in the moment disagreements or misunderstandings are less likely to occur.

I hope these tips are helpful. Feel free to ask any questions/clarification points you may have in the comments below :)

If you want to learn more about eating disorders, click here to read more of the posts I’ve written on the topic.

Top Eating Disorder Myths

eating disorder awareness- top eating disorder myths

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, decease which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.

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Eating disorders are really misunderstood diseases and the fact that there are so many false beliefs about EDs means that many people don’t get the treatment or support that they need. Eating disorders are diseases that tell you every day you don’t have them. All the girls I was in treatment with shared the fact that they had been diagnosed with EDs by professionally trained psychologists, and yet all us of consistently doubted that we really had EDs or deserved to be in treatment. Part of the reason for that, I believe, is that our society has this picture of what eating disorders look like and that picture is wrong. This post tries to take apart some commonly held ideas about eating disorders.

So here they are, the Top Eating Disorder Myths:

  • Most people with eating disorders are underweight– This absolutely false idea is immensely detrimental to those with eating disorders for it is a belief that really hinders people from seeking treatment or accepting the fact that they have an eating disorder. There’s a belief that the majority of people with eating disorders are emaciated which makes people with eating disorders often believe that they don’t have an eating disorder because they aren’t “skinny enough.” This also makes it so that if someone who is not underweight is seeking treatment for an eating disorder, people often think that the person doesn’t have a severe problem and doesn’t actually need treatment. There are two things I learned in treatment that helped me tremendously in recovery. The first is this statistic: 80-90% of people with eating disorders are not underweight. The second is what one of our therapists shared: she used to have an eating disorder and said that when she was the sickest in her eating disorder was not when she was at her lowest weight. Weight does not accurately indicate how sick in your eating disorder you are. If we as a society could wrap our heads around that, I think people who are severely struggling with eating disorders would get a lot more support and understanding.
  • If you have an eating disorder you’re either anorexic or bulimic– This is actually not true. There are currently three named eating disorders in the DSM 5 and they are anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder. However, the most diagnosed eating disorder is EDNOS (now OSFED), which is Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. EDNOS means that you do not neatly fit into the criteria outlined for the other three disorders. It does NOT mean that you don’t have a real eating disorder. It does NOT mean that your struggle isn’t that bad or that it’s not real. If you or someone you love is diagnosed with EDNOS, it is just as serious as any of the other disorders. It just means that they have a mixture of behaviors and physical manifestations of the disorder that can’t be neatly categorized. Also, important note: most people with eating disorders will struggle with different behaviors and it’s not unusual for someone to transition from anorexia to bulimia to ENOS to binge-eating disorder, etc.
  • Eating disorders aren’t that serious Yes, they are. They have the highest mortality rate of all psychological disorders, with EDNOS having the highest mortality rate over both anorexia and bulimia.
  • Eating disorders are just about food– There’s this misconception that eating disorders are mainly about behaviors, the disordered ways that people eat food. Behaviors do make up a large part of eating disorders and part of treatment is absolutely addressing and stopping behaviors. However, just because behaviors have gone away does not mean that the eating disorder has. Many people will see their loved one with an eating disorder start eating well and stopping their dangerous behaviors and they will assume that they are recovered, and so it’s frustrating when they see their loved one still struggling with this supposed eating disorder and remain in treatment or go back to treatment. “But you eat now and are physically healthy, why do you need treatment?” It’s because behaviors are just a part of what it means to have an eating disorder, and as hard as the behaviors are to get rid of, the thoughts that plague and torture the mind of the person with an eating disorder stick around for a lot longer than the behaviors (I share the mental struggle of living with eating disorders in this post). If a person struggling with an ED has managed to stop all behaviors, that is huge and something to be celebrated. But we all need to recognize that getting rid of behaviors does not constitute recovery.
  • Men don’t get eating disorders- It is estimated that 1 million men in the U.S. are currently struggling with eating disorders, and I’m guessing that in reality, that number is even higher. There is a huge stigma attached to eating disorders in general, but even more so for men which means that few seek treatment.
  • The only people with eating disorders are upper class white teenage girls- Eating disorders are equal opportunity diseases. While a large number of people with eating disorders are white teenage girls, people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic statuses are affected. In fact, there are studies showing that black girls are 50% more likely to suffer from bulimia than white girls, and the girls in the lowest income bracket of those studied were 153% more likely to be bulimic than girls from the highest income bracket.
  • People with eating disorders are super vain and don’t have their lives together- Most (if not all) people with eating disorders are very high-achieving, high-functional people. In treatment with me were straight-A students, star runners, nationally recognized dancers, lawyers, college professors. Eating disorders have genetic and biological, psychological, and social roots. They are not choices and they are not vanity.
  • Binge eating is just a lack of self control– Binge-eating disorder is now an official eating disorder (which I’m so happy about!). Binge eating is not just eating too much food because you lack self control. Binging is the compulsive need to fill a void with food. The crucial thing to understand is the binging is an uncontrollable impulse, very similar to how alcoholics or drug addicts have the compulsion to use. Food becomes a drug that you cannot stop using- binge eating was, at times, a part of my eating disorder and I was never able to stop mid-binge, even when in my mind I was screaming, “I don’t want to eat this food!” Binging is typically followed by massive feelings of guilt and self-loathing. Binge eating is not a lack of self-control- it is a symptom of a very real disease.
  • Eating disorders are caused by the media and dysfunctional families– There are absolutely social and environmental factors that contribute to the onset of eating disorder. These factors include the media’s unrealistic depictions of the “perfect body,” bullying, being abused, growing up in an abusive or unhealthy family, etc. However, more and more studies are showing that there is a massive genetic component to eating disorders, with some studies finding that genetics account for 50-80% of the risk of getting an eating disorder. And while families are getting less of the blame for the onset of eating disorders, psychologists continue to recognize the need for family involvement in treatment and recovery.
  • People with eating disorders only eat _______ – It doesn’t matter what food item you put in that blank, your statement is false. Why? Because all eating disorders are unique. One specific food or category of food might be a fear food for one person and a safe food for another. Also, it is not unusual for people with eating disorders to do a lot of cooking and baking.
  • Eating disorders are glamorous- I had this idea in my mind that anorexia was a “desirable” eating disorder because you lose weight and also because that’s how it’s often portrayed in the media. My picture of anorexia was quickly dashed to reality once my eating disorder transitioned to anorexia. No eating disorder is desirable because all of them transform your mind into a hostile place and when your mind is hostile, you become a hostile person towards others. Additionally, all eating disorder start breaking down and destroying your body. If you need to hear some of the really gross and terrible things that start happening to your body when you struggle with an eating disorder, get in touch with me and I’ll fill you in on some of the details that our society seems to conveniently overlook.
  • Eating disorders are a lifestyle choice- I despise pro-ana and pro-mia communities (communities that promote anorexia and bulimia as valid lifestyles). Eating disorders are serious psychological diseases, NOT lifestyle choices. When you have an eating disorder, you are not in control. Your eating disorder tells you that you’re the one in control and that the behaviors you’re doing and the thoughts you’re thinking are your choice, but they’re not. Your eating disorder is the one running the show. And let’s be clear- any “way of life” with an alarmingly high death rate is anything but a “life” style.

So do any of these surprise you? Feel free to ask questions or comment on this post!

Want to learn more about eating disorders? Click here to read more posts I’ve written on the topic.

A resolution that might actually change your life- learning to love our bodies

who rules the world 4.1

This is Part 4 in a 5 part series. To see all the posts in the Who Rules the World? series, nurse  CLICK HERE.

This is the continuation of the last post I wrote on intercessory prayer. I would recommend that you read that before reading this! Click Here to read the first part of this post.

In my last post, pathopsychology I spoke about the power and need for intercessory prayer and that when we pray, we need to pray according to God’s will. And if we are to pray according to God’s will, it seems as though we would need to know what that will is, which brings us to the important question, what does God will? What is it that He wants to do on this earth, in the lives of His precious children? First of all, I want to acknowledge that I cannot even begin to fathom and understand the will of the Lord God, an issue I’ve addressed in this post.

With that being said, John writes:

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. -1 John 5:14

And I don’t think that God would tell us to pray according to His will without giving us an understanding of what it is that He wills.

Sometimes, like with Elijah, we will receive words from the Lord on what to pray for, what His will is in a certain situation. But I also believe that there are three situations in which we can always know God’s will. This doesn’t mean that we will understand His timing or process, but it does mean we can pray with confidence, knowing that we are praying God’s will and that He desires to work through us to see what we are praying for accomplished.

Those three things are salvation, freedom, and healing.

1. Salvation- in 1 Timothy 2:1-6a, Paul writes:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. -1 Timothy 2:1-6a

In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter writes:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. -2 Peter 3:9

We can be absolutely confident that when we pray intercessory prayers for people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Lord, we are absolutely praying the will of God.

2. Freedom– Our God desires us to be free from sin, free from the chains that burden us, free from depression, eating disorders, anxiety, all other mental disorders, and demonic attacks and strongholds.

We see that time and time again, our Lord Jesus sets people who are in bondage free. Just one example of this is found Mark 9 when a father brings his son, who is being tormented by a demon, to Jesus.

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit.
“You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. -Mark 9:25-27

He frees this boy from demonic attack.

When the teachers of the law and the Pharisees throw down a woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus, he says:

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. -John 8:7-11a

He frees this woman from shame.

In Psalm 107, the psalmist writes these words:

Some of you were sick because you’d lived a bad life, your bodies feeling the effects of your sin;
You couldn’t stand the sight of food, so miserable you thought you’d be better off dead.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time.
He spoke the word that healed you, that pulled you back from the brink of death.
So thank God for his marvelous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves;
Offer thanksgiving sacrifices, tell the world what he’s done—sing it out! -Psalm 107:17-22, The Message

He frees us from eating disorders. From depression. From bondage.

In Galatians 5:1, Paul writes:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Christ has set us free. He sets us free. He will set us free.

When we pray for people to be set free, we are praying the will of our loving Father.

3. Healing– We never see Jesus turn away a sick person who asks for healing.

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases. -Matthew 8:16-17

“Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment. -Matthew 9:22

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you,” and their sight was restored. -Matthew 9:29

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. -Matthew 9:35

And these are just some examples from Matthew 8 and 9!

In Mark 8:22-25, we see another instances where Jesus heals:

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

(Remember this passage…I’m going to be talking about it in the next post as well).

When it comes to healing, we often may not understand the process. In this case, Jesus spit in the man’s eyes to heal his blindness. Umm? But although we may not understand the how, I believe that when we pray for someone to be healed of a disease or injury, we are always praying God’s will to earth.

One last point I want to bring up that I think is important when talking about intercessory prayer is the idea that Jesus is the only intercessor for Paul writes:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men- the testimony given in its proper time. -1 Timothy 2:5

So if there is only one intercessor, one mediator, how is it that we intercede for people? How can we pray these prayers of intercession?

Dutch Sheets explains this really well in his book Intercessory Prayer. He points out that our prayers of intercession are always and only an extension of Christ’s work of intercession. When Jesus came to earth, He bridged the gap between the Lord’s Kingdom and this earth- Jesus has interceded for all people. We don’t deliver anyone, we don’t reconcile anyone to God, we don’t defeat the enemy. The work is already done. And yet me must ask for the release and application of these things.

Our prayers of intercession release Christ’s finished work of intercession. His work empowers my prayers- our prayers release his work. -Dutch Sheets

To read the next post, Part 5, click HERE.

To learn more about intercessory prayer, here are some fantastic resources I would recommend:

Intercessory Prayer: How God Can Use Your Prayers to Move Heaven and Earth by Dutch Sheets – I cannot recommend this book enough. It is Biblically based, informative, and powerful.

-Sermon “God Needs Prayer” by Greg Boyd (Woodland Hills Church).
who rules the world 3

This is Part 3 in a 5 part series. To see all the posts in the Who Rules the World? series, ed CLICK HERE.

This is the third post of my “Who Rules the World?” series. Calling this string of related blog posts a “series” makes me feel much more official and legit. It’s funny how, no rx quite often, pastors create sermon series and say that it has 3 parts or 5 parts to it, but somehow it always seems to happen that weeks later you’re sitting in church listening to part 7 of the series because, let’s face it, it’s hard to be concise and condense things when you’re talking about the all-consuming living Author of Life. All this to say, I originally said that my “series” had 4 parts and now I’ve stretched it out to 5 because, as it turns out, intercessory prayer is rather a large topic. I was writing this post in a word document and once I got to page 6 I thought it might be a good idea to save some for another post if I had hopes of people actually making it to the end. All that to say, here is part 3 out of my 5-part-but-who-knows-how-long-it-will-be series. Before you read this post I would recommend that you read Part 1 and Part 2 because they really lead up and set the theological foundation for this post and the next.

In my last post, I proposed the idea that God is not in control over everything that happens in the world because He has given us freewill and also because He wants to work through us to bring His kingdom to earth, not independent of us. And this brings us to, what I believe, is one of the most crucial aspects of the Christian faith- intercessory prayer.

What is intercessory prayer? Simply put, it is to pray to God on the behalf of someone else for something to change- for people to be healed, saved, set free. An intercessor is a mediator, someone who goes between.

I love this quote by E.M. Bounds:

God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil…the prayers of God’s saints are the capital stock of heaven by which God carries on His great work upon the earth. God conditions the very life and prosperity of His cause on prayer.

Wow. Let those words sink in. Prayer is the way God carries His great work upon the earth. The life and prosperity of God’s cause depends on us and our prayers. I believe the powerful ideas expressed in this quote are absolutely backed up by the Bible. One  example is found in the book of 1 Kings.

The context of this passage is that the prophet Elijah had previously prayed for there to be a drought in the land and there had indeed been a drought for 3 years. This is where the passage picks up:

After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” -1 Kings 18:1

In this verse, the Lord comes to Elijah and says that He is going to send rain. I think it’s crucial to note that Elijah was not the one requesting rain, but rather the Lord reveals that it’s His will to bring the rain.

Later on in this chapter, Elijah says to Ahab:

“Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. -1 Kings 18:41-42

Elijah knows that the Lord has promised rain and that the Lord Himself desires the rain to come. So what Elijah does in response to this is quite interesting- he tells Ahab to eat because he knows that they will have to leave Mount Carmel to escape the heavy rains, and then he goes to the top of the mountain, gets on the ground, and puts his face between his knees. Elijah is praying for rain.

“Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”            -1 Kings 18:43-44

Elijah prayed fervently and persistently- he prayed seven times for the Lord to fulfill His word. In the New Testament, James talks about Elijah’s actions and confirms that it was indeed Elijah’s prayers that brought the rain:

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:17-18

I believe this story is absolutely crucial to understanding the fact that God has chosen to work through people. Even when it is the Lord Himself initiating something, earnestly desiring to do it, He still needs us to ask.

I love this quote from Andrew Murray:

God’s giving is inseparably connected with our asking…Only by intercession can that power be brought down from heaven which will enable to church to conquer the world.

His giving and His power coming down is connected inseparably with our asking.

I would go so far as to say that if you believe that everything is controlled by God, there’s no point to praying intercessory prayers. If what God wills is going to happen on earth, there is no point for us to pray fervently and persistently for His will to come. And yet this is precisely what Jesus tells us to pray:

This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. -Matthew 6:9-10

We need to pray for God’s will to be done- this implies that God’s will is not currently being done on earth.

If you truly believe prayer is important, that things truly hang in the balance, you will pray with urgency. When we understand that the living God of the universe wants and needs us to bring His will, His work, His kingdom to this earth, it transforms the way we view prayer.

So this brings us to the important question, what is it that God wills? What is it that He wants to do on this earth, in the lives of His precious children? And this is where I will pick off in the next post!

To read the next post, Part 4, click HERE.

To learn more about intercessory prayer, here are some fantastic resources I would recommend:

Intercessory Prayer: How God Can Use Your Prayers to Move Heaven and Earth by Dutch Sheets – I cannot recommend this book enough. It is Biblically based, informative, and powerful.

-Sermon “God Needs Prayer” by Greg Boyd (Woodland Hills Church).

A resolution that might change your life- learning to love our bodies

Trigger Warning: mention of eating disorder, approved
ED behaviors, this
weight, case
self-esteem, depression

When was the last time you made a New Year’s Resolution that changed your life and actually helped you love yourself more?

I know that the end of January is not the typical time for writing blog posts about resolutions, but change doesn’t have to happen at the beginning of a new year. Each and every day of the year is the perfect time to start honoring your body and loving yourself—you, a precious child of God who was so tenderly created by the Creator of all beautiful things.

I know full well how hard it is to love your body—I’m traveling this road along with you, walking in the footsteps of my Lord who is teaching me day by day how to relate to this thing He created many years ago in the secret place. Through this journey I’ve learned some practical ways to love my body, and I want to share one of those today.

The top U.S. resolutions are consistently to lose weight, get in shape, eat healthier, and workout. And those things aren’t necessarily bad—we need to love and honor our bodies, and that means keeping them healthy. But in the process of trying to keep our bodies healthy, we neglect our emotional and mental health. I think most of us have this idea that if we only lose weight, if we just get in shape, if we just looked more like that person, if we only fit into that pair of pants, THEN we would finally love ourselves.

But let me tell you, if you don’t love your body how it is right now, you won’t love it no matter how much weight you lose.

For a lot of my life, I was more on the heavier side. I struggled with binge eating and low self esteem and I was never happy with my body or my weight. I hit my highest weight freshmen year of high school as I started to struggle with depression and my emotional and binge eating increased. During that time, I had this magical number in my head- the perfect weight. And if I got down to that number, I would finally have the perfect body and I would love myself and everything would be great.

Well fast-forward a few years and there I was struggling with anorexia. I was still depressed, had massive anxiety, was majorly restricting my food intake, and was weighing myself every day (multiple times a day if I could). And guess what? I got down to that number. And then I lost 7 more pounds. And I can tell you with complete honestly, I have never hated myself more.

I would weigh myself in order to figure out how to feel about myself. How much am I worth today? How good am I today? How loved am I today? Let me weigh myself and see.

As part of my recovery process from my eating disorder, I have stopped weighing myself. In fact, it has been 14 months since I last weighed myself and I have never felt better about myself or more joyous about my life! Not weighing myself has freed me.

I hear you saying, “Well that’s nice for you, but I don’t have an eating disorder so I can weigh myself and be just fine.”

I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that your relationship with your scale is not as harmonious as you think it is.

Let me ask you this: Can you give me a good, legitimate reason why you should weigh yourself?

“Well it helps me ensure that I don’t gain too much weight, because that’s unhealthy.”

“Weighing myself helps me track my progress with working out and eating healthy, and it helps keep me motivated and it’s exciting when I lose weight.”

“I just weigh myself to track overall trends in my weight, not because I actually care that much.”

Personally, I think that all those reasons are crap. I have yet to hear a good reason why anyone needs to weigh themselves. This isn’t how I’ve always felt, partially because my eating disorder told me I needed to weigh myself but also because the media tells us that knowing and tracking our weight is crucial and important. My beliefs about weighing myself were really challenged in treatment when one of the therapists made the comment that there is actually no reason to weigh yourself—if you go to the Dr. for a yearly check-up each year, they can track your weight and let you know if you need to be concerned.

“But however will I know if I’m gaining weight, if I’m unhealthy, if my workouts are effective??!??”

Learn how to listen to your body.

Our bodies can tell us so much—when we need rest, when we need to be pushed, what foods feel good, what gives us energy, what makes us feel joyous, what makes us feel loved and beautiful.

For me, I’ve learned that running makes me feel upset and inadequate, whereas doing Zumba actually makes me feel happy and energized. I’ve learned that yoga helps me pay attention to my body, which is uncomfortable for me but uncomfortable in a good way. I’ve learned that my body craves apples and carrots and sometimes snuggling up in my bed and watching a movie while eating a piece of chocolate cake is just what I needed. None of these things have to do with my weight and I would go so far as to say that not knowing my weight, not counting calories, not measuring my various body parts, is what has allowed me to find out these things about myself.

Not convinced yet? Let me ask you this question:

Does the thought of throwing out your scale and not weighing yourself make you feel at all uncomfortable?

Be honest with yourself.

If it does, let me tell you: Your scale and what it tells you has a hold upon your life.  

And if you really don’t think that not weighing yourself would have an effect on you I want to challenge you with these two thoughts: First of all, why are you still weighing yourself, then? I think it’s something to think about. And second of all, who are those around you who you have influence over?

Maybe you feel like weighing yourself is a perfectly healthy aspect of your life. But if you are a mom or dad or roommate or older sister or brother or friend, your weighing yourself could be having a serious effect on those around you.

If you keep a scale in your home, what are you communicating to your kids? If you’re an older sibling and you weigh yourself, what are you communicating to your younger siblings? Even if you never say anything negative about your weight or about the scale, you are telling them that, for whatever reason, that number is important. And let me tell you, the media and society will tell them what the importance of that number is much louder than you ever can.

I cringe every time I think about the few times where I weighed myself in front of my youngest sister. I wish more than anything that I could take every one of those times back and instead tell her that she is fearfully and wonderfully made and to never let anyone make her doubt that truth.

I’ll end this post with a challenge—will you commit to stop weighing yourself? Will you stop letting a number define who you are, who the Creator has made you to be?

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.