Dear Ed (My Eating Disorder)

Dear Ed,

Let’s rewind a few years, shall we? I know you can remember it. I was a junior in high school trying to figure out her college plans, wanting to grow in her writing craft, and internally panicking about what was ahead. I was very involved in church—participating in youth group, Awana, Sunday school, and music ministry. I was taking classes at a local homeschool group where I had the chance to connect with other homeschoolers and learn from a variety of teachers.

And even though I wasn’t exactly sure how I would get there, I knew that I wanted to be a published author. It had really been my only dream since I was a little girl. But you were willing to do anything and everything to make sure that that dream didn’t become a reality.

The “Perfect” You Promised

You knew that you couldn’t have my soul because I had trusted Christ as my Savior when I was four years old. But you still wanted me dead. And since you couldn’t kill me yourself, you decided the next best thing would be to use me to kill me.

Feeling desperate for some form of control, especially during a time of fear about the future, I fell for your lie that I would be able to attain it—by getting the “perfect” body. I’m using quotations marks around that word because the concept of a “perfect” body was such an intangible, abstract image that only I could see. Yet I somehow believed that everything would be fine if the image that I had of the “perfect” body became a reality for me. Skinny was the only word that I knew because I listened to you say it a hundred times a day. Yet you could never clearly define that word for me, could you?

Although I felt empowered by doing small things to reach my goal, like going about my day with a constant twinge of hunger and ordering salad when I ate out with friends, I also felt a sense of powerlessness. The vision of the skinny me (which, ironically, I already was) always felt just slightly beyond my reach. You promised that a tweak to my diet or a modification to my workout routine would get me there, but you lied. Shocker.

The Unexpected Escape

You were always there to nag me, tell me a lie disguised as truth, and give me a false sense of control. I would’ve done anything for you, Ed. Honestly, I almost did. I don’t know why I finally took a stand against you (albeit, a weak, reluctant stand). But all I can do is thank my Savior (and the people He placed in my life to speak the truth).   

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:20-26 NASB1995)

Ed, I can admit that you’re powerful—a devious, deceitful, determined captor whose promises are deceptive because you guarantee things that you can’t actually deliver and never disclose the devastating consequences that impact those whom you ensnare. But I also know that my Savior’s power can’t be measured and that His promises are undeniably dependable—that those whom He cleanses will be honored, sanctified, useful, ready vessels for the good works He has planned for me.

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