Eating Disorders, Body Image, and Jesus

I received an immediate response today to the post Words Hurt or Heal……

I wanted to share her comment (that was public) as a post and would love to invite Cathy Boyle to respond and highlight her ministry.  I will send this to her.  I think we need to hang out here for a while.  Jesus knows…..

Thank you Amanda for being vulnerable enough to share….

From Amanda:

How true this is! I carried the hurt of a teenage boy calling me fat for 10+ years. Within those years, I weighed 100 pounds and 150 pounds. At my skinniest, I still felt fat and at my largest, I felt like a failure. It’s taken a year and some change of journeying with the Maker to discover that regardless of weight, I have beauty glowing through the areas of my life that I allow God to take control. The scale no longer defines my beauty because I know what true beauty is…Allowing God to bend, move, and mold me to His liking, and displaying His works within me in hopes that it would make Him famous. I am by no means perfect, but I try my hardest to think before I speak. Whoever invented stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me…straight up lied. They cut, they bleed, they scar. If this is where you are…there’s amazing news. God heals!!! I pray redemption for all who need it today! It’s yours for the taking.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Amanda,

    You are so right – ‘sticks and stones’ is absolutely not true for women who become eating disordered. As a recovered anorexic and bulimic, I clearly remember hurtful things said and done to me in childhood, as a teenager, even as an adult. Why did I believe the hurtful and hateful people when no one else treated me poorly? I bet the same is true for you, more than just the one story you shared.

    Over and over, when I’ve met women (and men) who have struggled, they aren’t completely free until they know who God made them to be. Till they’re comfortable in their own skin, and okay with being not like anyone else.

    It was only when I really came to know Christ with all that I am – not just reading the words on the pages of the Bible, but showing myself and the world that I believed them by living what they say that I was free from eating disorder.

    I really don’t believe that those who struggle can be free from the thoughts and behaviors (and if you’re regularly having thoughts and struggling against those thoughts, you still have a problem) until they address the spiritual roots of the problem. Changing your habits and environment can help, but unless you change the way you think and the way you see yourself and your life, trying to change a bad habit is like using a bandaid to cure cancer.

    Jesus said on the cross that He forgave all the people who put Him there (including me), because ‘we’re clueless.’ He didn’t say it quite that way, but that’s what He meant. A big part of overcoming anything – eating disorder, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, anything we use to self-medicate our hurt – is forgiveness. Not seeking revenge. Sure the person who did the hurting deserves to be punished, but God tells His followers to let Him take care of that. He’s a lot more effective at getting the attention of mean people and changing their hearts than any mere mortal. Forgiveness sets ME free, and lets me see that life can be more than just the ED etc.

    Anna, thanks so much for reaching out about this. I would love to share more about eating disorder and related issues as God leads. Love you, Cathy Boyle


  2. Amanda (and Anna),
    Anna, great post. Scripture yields so much insight into the power of words, and teaches us to handle words like the power-tools that they are.

    Amanda, you are so right about words – words hurt. I know for many people ‘sticks and stones’ is definitely not true. As a recovered anorexic and bulimic, I still clearly remember many hurtful things said to me as a child, as a teen and as an adult.

    Anna (and Amanda) I’m writing the rest of this to your blog followers. Just wanted you both to know this isn’t directed at either of you specifically! 

    I finally left behind the ‘mindset’ and behaviors of eating disorder when I truly believed – really took into me and made part of who I am, and everything I do – that the Word God wrote is true for me. Not true for ‘the world,’ but for me.

    One of the most insidious things about eating disorder (which is most commonly a symptom of breakdown or dysfunction in important relationships) is that it steals ‘voice,’ the ability to speak your mind without fear of consequence – or to be yourself wherever you are.

    It’s so important to get to the point where you can genuinely forgive others for how they have wounded you. When Jesus was dying on the cross, put there by people who had no right to do so, He prayed that God would forgive them, because ‘they’re clueless.’ (That’s not exactly what He said, but in our terms, that’s what He meant!).

    People who hurt us with words – and with awful actions – usually have no clue. They have their own wounds, they’re so self-focused they have no idea what they’re doing to others. Jesus asked His followers to rise above that, to see as He sees, to realize that they just desperately need His love and forgiveness, just like we all do.

    Whether it’s eating disorder, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or any other self-medication, you can’t really heal the behaviors without healing what’s underneath them. And for most people that can only be fixed by a God big enough to create a universe.

    And then there’s so much more! I spend most of my time now writing and speaking to help people see that God hasn’t saved us and rescued us for a life of nothing; He doesn’t rescue us from eating disorder or other struggles to do nothing. When we take that step to heal, there’s SO much He has planned next. He can make what happened before (ED etc) seem like a totally different life.

    Anna, I’m always happy to comment. Blessed to do so, dear friend. If you don’t know me, here’s my website: CSB


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