Coping Mechanisms, we’ve all got ‘em. Our desire to control something uncomfortable, it’s human. One of my favorite authors calls the things that give us pleasure, whiz-bangs. The risky thing is that the whiz-bang often leads to us seeking the created rather than the Creator.
As a child, I had anxiety. I didn’t know it then, but now see a well-worn way that was traveled. As a little girl, I began a terrible habit of eating the extra food at meals so that nobody would “get too big”. That sounds childish to even say it that way and in some ways I’m still uncomfortable saying the words that I really felt. I feared health issues for my family and took it into my own hands to do what I could to prevent them.
I developed weight issues, which then led to shame issues, which then led to identity issues. For nearly 20 years, I struggled with a clinical Eating Disorder – waffling between Anorexia and Bulimia. Sadly, it’s origin was a deep need to protect my loved ones. Eating was my whiz-bang. Eating served two purposes, it “protected” and it gave me pleasure – because eating is fun, right? God designed it to give us pleasure, to give us a whiz-bang — but to not be the end goal.
I struggled throughout my life, but am going to focus on my adult life in this post. During those years, I battled the comings and goings of an addiction – one that never left my side even when I was standing on the mountain tops – marriage, graduating college, moving for first professional jobs, but mostly, babies, babies, babies being born. Pregnancy has long been used as a metaphor from God in my life (and in the Bible). Seasons coming and going, Hope bursting forth, and recognizing my limitations as one designed to be dependent.
After my third baby was born, (my sweet Bear) I took a very challenging path. I say took because for the majority of my life I believed that I was at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of the disorder. (This is not the case today). I began drinking to try and control hunger and numb myself to the underlying identity issues that hadn’t been addressed in my life. I found myself struggling with multiple whiz-bangs.
What began as a means to control my fear as a child was now controlling me and creating fear as an adult..
One evening I surrendered, this was something I had done before but there was something more humbling about it this time, a desperation. I recognized my lack of control which was the one thing I was seeking to find. This marked the last night for 9 whole months that I even remotely struggled with temptation, controlling thoughts, or the manipulative behavior I’d previously enforced upon myself. I began to walk in freedom. I began to allow myself goodness in the form of community, rest, and nourishment. I wasn’t afraid.
For 9 entire months, I never once considered my old ways. It was a supernatural healing.
To help you understand the depth of this healing, I hadn’t ever gone longer than one month free of these issues for the 20 years prior, and those times consisted of white knuckles.
But God wasn’t done. No, He didn’t heal me for the sake of healing me. He then helped me to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit within me. It was a voice that I had long heard but hadn’t trusted because I thought it was unsafe because it sounded so good to me. That sounds funny right?
The Spirit communicated with me uniquely, like He does all of us. It fit my shape, my personality, and my heart. It felt unsafe because I thought the Spirit would only correct me and I had long felt shame and couldn’t bear any more. (This was a misbelief that He also healed during this time). But instead, He led me down paths of delight. He showed me how He could take what was once used for evil and use it for Good! He showed me that He really does make a table in the place of my enemies (Psalm 23:5). The old places the enemy used as a playground, God now reigned over! To give you an example, exercising. Running had been used as a form of manipulation for years and was finally used as a way to grow stronger and care for my body. BUT, it didn’t stop there, God also used it as a direct opportunity for me to connect to Him, but mostly to hear His voice! I began to run so that I could talk and hear and connect with His Spirit within me.
What once was darkness now brought me into Light.
After this pregnant pause (the 9 months of freedom), I was eager for New Life. My husband, Matt and I had dreams for our future and looked forward to the Fall season that was before us. There was all this space that we were going to frolic in, spaces that were once consumed by the darkness that the eating disorder (and associated behaviors) controlled. The behaviors were actually the most consuming aspect of the disorder. The highs and lows of moods, the time it consumed, the lack of community it allowed.
We were finally free!
And then, we found out we were expecting.
This was not part of our plan. At all. Yes, we know how children happen.
The season we had just experienced (and were currently leaving) was a full 9 months. This is the time frame of a full term healthy pregnancy. What comes at the end of a pregnancy?
God gave us New Life in the form of a precious baby boy, born to a virgin mother.
He also was giving Matt and me a precious baby boy in another 9 months. Another pregnancy. Another opportunity to trust and depend. Another New Life.
We named our sweet boy Caleb Josiah, meaning the Lord is Faithful (born of a leader of the Isrealites sent by Moses to scout out the Promised Land. He and Joshua were the only to enter in because of their faithfulness). Josiah, because – the Lord Heals!
The Lord heals! He healed in the Bible and He still heals today! In Luke 8, the daughter who bleed for a dozen years was healed by her great faith.
Consider for a moment what this woman must have experienced for those 12 years.
Her loneliness and shame. Did she feel loved? Her inability to connect to others (whether because of self-imposed reasons or those imposed upon her).
She was essentially quarantined! (We can all relate to that to some degree, right?)
She reached out and touched Jesus.
He felt power leave His body and flow into hers.
The woman realized she was no longer able to stay hidden.
She trembled, fell to her knees at his feet.
She poured out her heart, the depth of her pain. The desperation.
He tells her:
“Go! Your faith has made you well, my dear daughter. “
God supernaturally healed me so that I could be well – but also so that I could hear His voice within me. He healed me so that I could be the daughter He created. He healed me so that I could be the mother that He designed. And the wife my husband was designed to have.
The list goes on. He healed me but not for me, but I still received blessing upon blessing through that healing – even today, two years later.
Reach out! Touch Him!
Dear Daughter, you are worth the stop too.
Written and Recorded by Annie Becker