My wife struggled with bulimia for more than a decade. Every day, for 11 years, the mirror spoke unkind words to the woman I love. And, as the common story goes, she chose to believe and act in agreement with the lies concerning her God-created body.
Catherine heard from someone else that she was not thin enough. The media reinforced that demand. Every time she looked in the mirror she saw imperfections; calves too big, boobs too small, skin too white, body too fat. And, if being “ugly” meant not being loved, then she had to take control and work hard to be loveable.
Her ungodly schedule revolved around weighing scales, body-fat checkups and comparing herself with other girls. Her bingeing was always followed by shameful bathroom time. Then, she would return to the insatiable measuring of calories, self tanning and the most brutal workout regiment.
She was obsessed with self-hate. Addicted to the approval of others. And while she desperately tried to lose 2 extra pounds on her body, she would add 2 pounds of makeup to hide her face.
Society’s grotesque definition of beauty created an ungodly self-image that drove her to take thousands of pills to reshape her body. Her struggle to look perfect was a direct response to the lie that said to her, “You are not good enough.”
On the other hand, while flirting to the max, I spoke words of healing to my future wife: an onslaught of compliments about her voice, her smile and her legs delivered via poems, songs, emails and glances (Yes. Latinos). This woman had to know that she was perfect, and I made it my personal mission to convince her of my conviction. I only spoke of what I saw – the same words that I would have said, whether she struggled with her self-image or not. Her bulimia was not my focus (didn’t even know about it) – I was after her heart.
A year after I met her we got engaged. Seven months later, we got married. 10 years after our wedding she looks more beautiful than ever, and now she believes it too. You see, God has been speaking words of love to her since before the foundations of the world, her parents have been speaking words of affirmation since her birth day, and I have been speaking words of encouragement since we met. But it was up to Catherine to forgive those who had spoken cruel words over her, listen to God’s truth and believe Him.
She made the decision to see her life through God’s eyes. It took a bit of time for it to settle. It was not a quick fix. She still has days when she struggles with the thoughts. But over and over again she looks at herself in the mirror (while eating a warm double chocolate cake) and thinks good things about herself. (Yes my darling girl, You are MORE than enough!)
She is now empowered by her story to speak life and freedom to others in self-hatred prisons. She heard the God-facts, agreed with them and now she is free indeed.
In the same manner, God is not focused on fixing our behavior, He is interested in winning our hearts. He knows that if we listen to Him and believe what He says about our lives, bodies, past, present and future, then everything would change.
The problem is not what we hear, but what we believe. Freedom is not in the actual words, but in our decision to receive the truth that is spoken, read or heard.
Somewhere along the line, a negative experience got us listening to the deceiver. A lie was spoken about us. This wicked information created an expectation that demanded a confirmation. And the only way to be free, is to hear the truth and trust. (Even when the truth sounds like a lie.)
The enemy wants you to agree with the crap he has manufactured about your life; but there are two sides to the mirror of your existence. You either allow sin, Satan, circumstances, opinions and failures to determine who you are, or you listen to God. One of them is a liar. The other one is a good, good Father. And it all starts with choosing the voice that determines your identity.
This journey of breakthrough starts by recognition. You need to acknowledge the source. You might have heard in the past:
“It would have been better if you weren’t even born.”
“You’re so stupid!”
“I am so disappointed in you.”
“You will always be _____________ (fat, angry, dumb, lonely, etc).”
Such statements provide an opportunity to believe them. Faith to see them through. And when beliefs get reinforced by circumstances, those beliefs get fixed to our God-given-identity and begin to distort it.
So the way out, is looking in, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2.) God is able to restore the painful memories of your past and speak truth into the deception that was established in your thoughts. His Spirit can then reveal the truth that will set you free:
“You were knitted in your mother’s womb.”
“You have the mind of Christ.”
“God is well pleased with you.”
“You will always be _____________(loved, accepted, lovely, forgiven etc).”
My friend Amber once asked the church, “Who told you were an addict? Who told you were worthless? Who told you were broken?” God certainly didn’t, someone else did.
Yes, Satan knows those labels might reflect real issues; behaviors you endure or words that have been spoken over you. But you have to understand that what you believe about yourself will determine the course of your life; whatever you believe about the opposite sex will influence how you treat your spouse; and whatever you believe about God will have an impact on how you pray and worship (and smile and dream and die.)
Stop eating from that tree and start pulling out the roots. Those negative labels planted in your heart do not define you! The Holy Spirit wants to guide you. He wants to expose anything that is not in line with His word and His loving character. And in the same way that He healed my wife to see herself as she truly is, He wants to set you free!
During those years, I heard Catherine say she would never get free. Her mind was consumed with the lies. She thought she would have “it” for life. 11 years is a stupid long time. But this is How My Wife Stopped Being Bulimic – She forgave. She listened to Him. She believes. She keeps listening. And now she’s really free. (“More cake please!”)
What is it that you think is too impossible to be free from? That’s a lie in itself! God loves you and He WILL change you – that’s what He does. Wanna give the truth a try?
* Discover the perfect Father and enjoy the life he has for you: