When I was 15 years old I began a journey. I chose a path and I made some bad turns along the way that eventually brought me to an eating disorder.
“Rebekah, you have a problem. You can either tell your mother or I will.” These words spoken by my doctor still give me cold chills. This was the day someone finally noticed! Part of me was so relieved, so hopeful that I didn’t have to live this way anymore. That I didn’t have to hide. However, there was another part of me that was stubborn. Too stubborn to listen, to obey. I had made my decision. And in my head it was much easier to live the rest of my life this way, then to change.
I was 17 the day my secret was exposed. I continued to live the next year and half in complete bondage. There were moments where I tried to change my ways, but human effort can only take you so far. It wasn’t until much later that I realized I could never escape on my own. I didn’t want to escape. I knew what was right, but nothing inside of me desired to do the right thing when it came to my body.
You see, I felt as if it was the one thing in my life that I could actually control. Everything I did seemed to be for somebody else. I started down this path rather innocently. I wanted to continue to fly for cheerleading, but my height kept getting in the way. I knew if I could remain the smallest in weight I could stay in the air. So I began to count calories and restrict myself from all things sweet. I dropped five pounds far too easily. I loved the way it made me feel. Like I was in control. And so began, my addiction to losing weight.
I had finally found the one thing that was just for me and I jumped in without hesitation. I was so tainted by the lies of the enemy. I thought I was in control, but the whole time my actions were mere responses to the lies I believed. So I did what I had to do, to be the way I thought I needed to be. I starved myself, over exercised, under ate, tried to throw up, and used laxatives. I thought I had it all together, but really I was just a young insecure lonely girl trapped by the choices I continued to make.
I finally reached a point at the end of high school where I was silently screaming for help. I would try to convince myself I was no longer suffering from an eating disorder in hopes that the “fake it til you make it” strategy just might work. It didn’t! And now I was exploring unfamiliar territory. I began praying that God would place in me the desire to want to change. I didn’t want to change, but I knew I had to. So I prayed that prayer over and over again.
College meant a new beginning, a place I could start over. I couldn’t wait to get there. I prayed all summer. I prayed for new friends, for a desire to grow closer to the Lord, and that God would place in me a want to want to get better. I knew the only way I could heal from all that I had done was to invite the Holy Spirit in. I’m so glad that I did!
God worked a miracle in me. I shouldn’t be okay. I never went to rehab. I never saw a counselor. But I am forever free from the bondage of an eating disorder all because I gave my life completely over to the Lord.
Going into my freshmen year of college I decided to rush a sorority. You have to understand, I never, like ever, thought I would join a sorority. But for some reason I felt like I was supposed to. I did it thinking that I would go in and be light and minister to these girls and just be such a great Christian. Yuk, I can’t believe I actually thought that! Little did I know that God was going to surround me with a community of Believers in the least likely of places.
God used these girls to show me how much He loved me and wanted me! They were my hope when I couldn’t hope anymore. My light when all I could see was the darkness. They gave me their best so that I could be my best. They were true friends. They were love.
My freshman year was full of growth and breaking free. God used the following four years of college to heal me from the scars of my eating disorder. Yes I said four years! It was long and hard. There were good days and there were bad days. I knew what was right, but renewing your mind takes time. It’s hard to be patient when you know what you want, and you know that human effort is not going to get you there.
I had to rely on God and the community He gave me through all of it. I committed to honesty when it came to my struggles. My friends kept me accountable and prayed for me constantly. I knew hiding was not the answer. I had to be vulnerable to others because I knew I could not face this alone.
I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was challenging and there were many days where I just wanted to give up. In the midst of healing, there were still bad days. The thoughts were unbearable at times. There were even days when I was tempted to put actions to the thoughts, days where I did. I’m not proud of those moments, but I’m not perfect. I needed to learn that too!
Even though it was difficult at times, God had answered my prayer of creating a want inside of me. That desire kept me chasing after Him. I learned light always overpowers the darkness. I had the one thing I needed to heal. To be free. I had God! I leaned into that. Took His hand and held on tight.
By my senior year of college I could honestly say I was completely free from an eating disorder. Are there still days where the Devil tries to get me? Absolutely! But I have good boundaries in my life and accountability that keeps me from traveling down that road again.
God is not asking me to be perfect or to have it all together. All he is asking, is for me to let go! To give Him the control.
I spent many years entangled and trapped by the choices I had made, but the Devil doesn’t get to have my story anymore. God does!
Note from Lane of Roses: Just because Rebekah's journey did not include rehab, doesn't mean that it's not a part of yours. If you suspect you might have an eating disorder, please contact a counselor. As a personal friend of Rebekah, I know she agrees!
Rebekah is on staff at Lane of Roses as our Director of Operations/Author&Speaker. Learn more about our Lane of Roses team by clicking here: Meet the Team