I’m done with ED. Truly. I’m not going back to exercising 3 hours a day and stupid eating rules. Going back has never been an option for me. I made that commitment from the first morning I woke up at Melrose and knew that I was a surrendered child of God. ED fought a losing battle from that day forward. That doesn’t mean that he didn’t try. If you’ve followed my journey at all, you know the ups and downs and inside outs of this fight against ED. He’s an obstinate little sucker. But really, isn’t that how the stupid ones are – don’t know when they’ve been beat, want to go out with a bang so cause as much damage as possible on the way out. But through it all, I’ve always known that I’m done with ED. Done.
Slowly ED has gotten the picture and has had to admit defeat. This past summer has been amazing freedom from ED. I felt free to enjoy food, time with my family, activities with friends, building relationships, confidence in my body. And then August hit and historically, in retrospect, this has always been a strong ED month because it is the switch from summer activity and free time to school schedule and winter hibernation. Winter means upping the ante to compensate for the lack of calorie burn which is offered abundantly by summertime. I see this now. And so I’ve struggled the past couple of months dealing with those old fears and anxieties. Fear that I’ll gain weight simply because it’s winter. I have had a lack of peace in my mind and heart. It is tiring to live without peace.
But it’s not ED causing it. ED is gone because he knows I’m not letting him back. It dawned on me this past week. This is not ED. ED, to me, has always been equivalent to Satan, pouring on lies and manipulating my life. But I see now who ED is – ED isn’t Satan; ED is Satan’s little minion. Satan isn’t all powerful; he can’t be all places all the time, and so he employs his evil followers to reek havoc on us when Satan can’t be present. ED is one of those. Addiction, Depression, Disorders – these are all the workers Satan uses. These are his mercenaries. They do his bidding and weave their way into our minds so that God gets squeezed out. Satan knows what he’s doing. He’s raging a war on us that we aren’t acknowledging. His spiritual warfare gets glossed over as a need for medication, blamed as technology or social media’s fault, or the fault of money or the economy. And maybe it’s all wrapped into one huge ball of ugly. But I say it again – Satan knows what he’s doing. ED is one of his weapons, and Satan used him brilliantly to steal my peace and God’s place as Lord of my life.
So in this past couple of months, my peace has slowly being replaced by discontentment in my body. I know it’s not ED anymore because even this discontentment can’t make me want to over-exercise, and believe me, the ED-infested me would have surely done hours of exercise to overcompensate for my body hate. I know it’s not ED because I still eat my tallies. My tallies are a mental ability now; I’m able to eat in correct proportions and make swaps that add up to a proper and healthy diet. I like to eat. So this body image hating I’ve got going on is not from ED.
This is Satan. He knows I’m done with his ED-worker. He knows I’ve built firewalls in the form of my family, my friends, all who read this blog, my exercise habits, my tallies, my devotions, my prayer life, my dependence on God – he knows ED isn’t going to work anymore. So Satan has stepped in to do the job ED failed at. All of this sharpened into focus when I was at Snap Fitness early Saturday morning.
I spent the morning at Snap fighting Satan’s lies about my body, how much I hated it, that I’m positive I’m gaining weight, how ugly I look, that I’m out of control, that my tallies aren’t working anymore so I’m just going to continue to gain weight. These are the thoughts that have been slowly invading my mind the last weeks. At the same time I was fighting these thoughts, I was running on the treadmill reading a book called You Can Hear the Voice of God by Steve Sampson. I couldn’t concentrate on the words I knew I needed to hear. God was trying to get through to me – I knew he was – but Satan kept pounding me with his lies. He wouldn’t let me get to God. I’d read a paragraph without comprehending the words. But I knew I needed to understand them. I knew for some reason that reading this book right then was very important. And suddenly, I read these words from the book:
“The enemy is a great counterfeiter and gives us his thoughts so deceptively that we do not realize we are being barraged by the enemy. In other words, he throws his thoughts at us and then accuses us of having those thoughts ourselves – thoughts that were never ours in the first place.” And then this: “The devil (and wrong teaching) have sabotaged the Christian from the reality that God, through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, is working within us 24/7. Begin now to ask the Lord to give you His thoughts.”
And just like that, God overrode Satan. I heard God, and got mad at Satan. I got angry. I got irate with the devil. How dare Satan get into my head and steal my peace and joy?! As I drove home, I realized I needed to have a little talk with Satan. I started tentatively, out loud, knowing Satan can’t read my thoughts. I even began rather calmly. I simply told Satan to go away. You almost could have inserted a “please” before my statement. “Please, Mr. Satan, will you leave me alone?” That is no way to speak to the devil. He plays dirty, so I decided being nice – not necessary. With each statement I made, my passion multiplied. My sense of justice and fairness skyrocketed. My need to make sure Satan knew my hatred and wrath grew exponentially. By the time I was done, if anyone had seen me through my Yukon window, they would have wondered why the psycho lady was given a driver’s license. I was hot.
“Satan, how dare you think you can come into my head, manipulate and weasel into my thoughts your stupid, selfish lies, take away my joy, steal time with Benj, time with my boys, ruin my peace with your lies and insecurities, make me doubt what I know is true, make fuzzy what I fought so hard to clear away. You low life, slithering snake. Go eat dirt and dig a hole to the center of the earth and bury yourself there. Leave me alone! Don’t think for one second that I’m going to allow an evil, ugly, worthless piece of slime like you the time of day or space to fill what God owns. This (I gestured from head to foot) belongs to God and you have no right to even glance in my direction or think about stealing the place I’ve surrendered and given to God! G.O.A.W.A.Y!”
I may or may not have inserted un-Christian words into that tirade, but if I did, it was only because Satan deserved every ugly word I could throw at him. I just got so angry as I realized what I had been allowing Satan to steal from me, that he thought he had that power over me, that he was attempting to take the place in my heart that I had given to God. He wanted my peace and I almost let him have it all. Satan deserves hate. I hate him.
So no, ED has not been the one bothering anymore. ED’s gone. Now it’s Satan attacking me where he knows I’m still weak. Like playing Red Rover, knowing exactly where the easy break in the other team’s chain is. That’s where you hit. I know I cannot let my guard down against him. I would love to say that my tirade was the end of hating my body. It definitely helped make me feel better, but the thoughts lingered. I fought them. I can always fight them. I know truth vs. lies. I’ve spent the last 10 months learning and memorizing truth vs. lies in this body. I can easily recognize the lies now, and in return swing back with truth. My head knows fact, but the leap to belief can fall short. But that doesn’t mean I give in or give up. I constantly combat Satan’s lies, never giving him an inch of battle ground. It makes for a tiring day’s work though.
I woke up Sunday morning needing a walk. I walked down the bike trail, turned at the hospital, down the empty mile road. It’s quiet. I never meet anyone out there. So I prayed. I kept asking God why I couldn’t find peace back, why I was struggling. And then God spoke very clearly to my heart, right there on the road next to the golf course. On November 7, I surrendered completely to God. I gave him all my fear and anxiety. I let it go into his hands. He picked my defeated spirit up out of the pit, a broken child saved for so much more. That was the day I was born again; November 7 is the birthday I want to celebrate from now on. And just like that, I knew why I had no peace, even after screaming at Satan. I was holding on to my fear again. I was pretending I had control while my anxiety ruled my heart. I was scared of gaining weight, scared that my tallies weren’t working anymore, scared that I was out of control. I held onto that fear like it was my best friend. As I walked, God told me in plain words, as though he were walking right next to me, chatting, that I had surrendered once, but I needed to surrender again. The fear that I held so tightly to was keeping me from the peace that only he can give. I had to let go. I had to ask him to help me let it go. So I did. I asked him. I gave him my fear, and asked him to take it from my hands. I set it down at the cross, handing all of it over to him. I watched all of my fears and anxiety float away. And in their place, peace settled. I had peace again because fear was gone. God has this. He has me. I will never have peace when I don’t trust the grace of God to handle the fears that hold me in Satan’s grasp. Satan knows how to play on those fears. That’s why he took over for ED. I’m not ruled by ED anymore. I know how to fight ED. It’s when I hold on to my fear that Satan can worm his way into my heart. Until I hand that fear over to God, until I let my fear go, will I ever know complete freedom and peace.
Satan speaks lies so well. He does have power to drown out God’s voice, but only if we let him. Don’t be fooled into complacency that Satan isn’t attacking our hearts. He does every day. Every negative thought and self-imposed hatred comes from the fiend. Clear him out. Ask God. God has all power over Satan. The battle is won and Satan is desperate. When his minions of evil can’t do his work for him, Satan comes in full force to finish the job. We can never let him. We cannot live in fear. We cannot hold fear in a death grip, unwilling to let it go. We must open our fists, maybe one finger at at time, but slowly palms open, arms out-stretched, and experience the release of fear. Peace and freedom reign under God’s watch. Allow him to fill you with it. Satan hates losing. He’s not going to go down gently. But I will not allow him to take space in my heart already claimed by the King of the universe. I belong, body and soul, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. I am his. I have peace again. I know peace. And peace is very good.