Ocean

Tonight I was at a little fellowship in Whales, I haven’t been going too long but I’m enjoying it. It’s not my main church but I’m finding a lot of meaning in meeting other Christians.

Tonight we did a little bible study what was really encouraging in itself. However, there was something else that someone said that struck me tonight, it is as followed,

God’s love is like the Ocean, people are along the side but few ever live on it and even fewer go diving all the way.

This got me thinking.

Last week I came back off a little break away at the sea side with my Mum. We stayed in a relatives caravan. There was very little for us to do there, no WiFi, pretty excluded place and poor TV signal. However, there was one thing I absolutely loved. We were less than a minuet walk away from a little private beach area and when I say less than a minuet, I mean we could see it from the caravan

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Tide was in!

This beach was lovely, it was clean, very quiet and had lots for me to take photos off. We spent a lot of time walking up and down it.

There was something quite peculiar about this beach.

It was full of jellyfish and I’m not talking small ones!

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Photo credit to my mum

I’m not a good swimmer but I do enjoy walking in the sea, I’ll never go above knee height but I’ll still go in it. However whilst I was there I didn’t even go in further enough for my ankles to get wet. Reason for this was down to the squishy pink things that are more commonly know as jellyfish. I was scared of getting stung.

The logical part of me knew that this was highly unlikely. Most of the jellyfish we saw on the beach was the result of the strong moving tide and them simply getting stranded when it pulled back on a morning. The likely-hood of one being in the shallow in low tide was slim simply because the tide wouldn’t have been strong enough to push them towards me. So realistically there was no real chance of getting sting by a giant jellyfish but I let the fear stop me from enjoying myself.

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Weirdly this links back to what was said tonight, how God’s love is like an ocean.

For me I’m too scared too go deeper into the waters, into God’s love. This is because of two reasons.

  1. I’m not a strong swimmer
  2. JELLYFISH!

Not being a strong swimmer means I can’t go very far or deep in waters, I physically can’t swim that far, especially in the sea where I can be pushed back to shore or further out in some cases. With my relationship with God it means that I can’t swim deeper into God’s love because I’m not strong enough to make the journey. The tide is pushing me back to shore away from God and this does this in the forms of ever increasing anxiety’s and finding eating very difficult right now. By myself I can’t do it. I’m too weak.

Good news though, is that there are wonderful things called buoyancy aids! These give people a helping hand when they’re learning to swim. Buoyancy aids can come in many forms, through relationships with other Christians and their support, the holy spirt helping and even answers to prayer that strengthen out faith.

Next problem was the jellyfish.

I didn’t go into the waters that far because I was scared of getting stung and this ties into not going deeper in a relationship with God. I’m scared that I’m going to get hurt. I’m scared of abuse I could get for it when I start reaching out, of getting attacked because I’m now a threat as I’m actively serving God and I’m scared of losing relationships and friendships with people because of it. I’ve never been stung by a jellyfish before, I don’t know how much it hurts and to be honest I don’t particularly want to find out either, so I walk on the shore with only the bottoms of my feet in the ocean.

Here’s a funny little thing that I found out when I was there though. We read this in a little leaflet.

If you are stung by a jellyfish do not scratch it and lightly cover in ocean water to relive the pain.

So if you get stung you turn to the ocean to help ease the pain. Isn’t this what God does?

If we as Christians get attacked, hurt or stung we can go back to God and still rest in His love, whats as vast as the ocean. Will the pain go instantly? Not always. But no matter how much we are attacked we can go back to God and know that we are deeply loved and cared for.

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So it’s just an encouragement.

Dive a little deeper.

It’s something I’m going to be encouraging myself to do a lot more and I hope you’ll be able to do the same.

Swim a little further into God’s love.

 

Tempting promises to pain

There’s two things that I didn’t know about what happens to your body when you starve it, until they happened to me.

  1. Hair loss
  2. Dental Problems

When you lose too much weight the common misconception is that you becoming skinny will be the only thing that will happen. This is a lie. Sever weight loss can cause you to lose your periods (it’s not as good as it sounds ladies!), pass out, lose your hair, lose friends, lose people’s trust in you, lose relationships, lose your teeth and even lose your life.

Something like an eating disorder can sometimes start off as a promising aid and help for some people. An eating disorder is a promise to pain. What started as a promising thing lead to pain and unforseen consquences. Kinda like temptaions of things we know are wrong.

I don’t often have an amazing attention span on a Sunday mornings, I dont’ sleep well the night before so am a little groggy, but if there’s one thing that I’ve taken away it’s that temptation looks pretty, hence the name. It looks pretty, it looks like a perfect quick solution that requires very little time, effort and most of the times it appears to come with a no strings attached policy.

Stopping eating seemed like the perfect solution to my pain. It was something that I was in control of. I was in total control, or at lest that was the lie I kept telling myself .

The lie- Stop eating and you’ll feel better.

I didn’t start off with anorexic like symptoms, my eating disorder came from a place of simply wanting to control something, to give me relief of a confusing world I was living in. It stemmed as something as innocent as a child like fear with no desire to hurt myself through it.

That’s how the majority of temptations seem to start. They don’t always appear to have consequences, but they do. They might not be visible but they are there.

Soon I started to look in the mirror and things seemed wrong. I don’t know exactly when I developed body dysmorphia or the anorexic symptoms. They didn’t come at once I know that much. It was a slow process that I didn’t see coming. When I did finally come to the realization that the eating disorder now controlled me, the damage had already taken place.

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This brings me to what I wanted to talk about today. Early I mentioned that temptations were nice looking not only because they looked appealing with no strings attached, but also because most of the time they seem like instant fixes and solutions to problems.

I’m often left with two choices when a temptation through food arises. Like today, everyone was out and I was home alone. This meant that I had to be responsible for my own food.

Option 1– The temptation

No one is home, I can get away with not eating a meal. Nobody will know

Option 2– The things that I know God would want me to do

I don’t want to eat but it’s the right thing to do because I need to eat to survive. 

“It is for freedom that Christ has set up free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” Galatians 5:1

At one of the sermons I went to at New Wine we were reminded of this passage. The message behind it was simple. Jesus has set us free. So, STAY FREE!

Temptations are going to come your way, but stand firm.

Walking with God isn’t the quick and easy option. It isn’t always going to be pretty either. Sometimes it’s full of pain but God is in control. God isn’t going to come with empty promises and then at the end dump a load of horrible debts or pain on me, no, God isn’t going to do that. Walking with God isn’t always easy but it is so worth it! Today I wanted noting more than to not eat when everyone was out. It was such a tempting offer! But it was an offer that would have left me feeling guilty and ashamed, I would have slipped back down the slope I’ve been trying so hard to climb back up.

So when a temptation comes you way just pause for a second and give it some thought.

 

 

Breaking it down

A problem

Saturday is always a hard day for me.

I’m privileged enough to have a Saturday job at a great company with some great people. Being able to have a job whilst studying has been a great help in bringing in a little bit of money that’s given me a small step in becoming independent. This being said, its always a hard day.

Despite having anxiety, I don’t struggle too much with answering the phone or talking to anyone who comes in. Can it be difficult? Sure. But I manage. What really hits me though is eating at work.

You would think having a semi structured environment when it came to breaks and lunch time would help. Sadly though it’s not the case. Eating at work is hard and part of me hopes it is for others as well simply because it feels like such a silly thing.

My problems start the night before where the tasks of making tomorrows lunch arrives. Have you ever come across the idea that the best time to go food shopping is straight after you have eaten? This is because you’re already full up so you will be thinking about what food will be the most logic and needed and not buying food because you’ve listened to your stomach what can often lead you buying loads of junk food that isn’t needed (but is very yummy). The same went for making food on a Friday night. After tea I was already full up and with a sever dislike for food as it was I really didn’t want to make a lot of food to eat. So this lead to me not bringing a lot of food with me to work.

The next stumbling block was getting up early and dragging myself out of bed and into the shower then having to face the first meal of the day. Breakfast. I have no idea if other people experience this and not just people who struggle with an eating disorder, but eating breakfast is difficult because I often feel very sick in the morning. It could be a concoction of being half asleep, anxiety’s waking up and the fact that I’m faced with food or it could just be a total normal thing that other experience, it’d be great to know though!

Most of the time m breakfast is minimal, this causes a bit of a problem when I’m standing for most the day. Feeling faint every Saturday was a constant for my first 5 months at work. Turns out breakfast is a very important meal.

But I would make it to lunch, very tired, hungry and anxious. Sadly I’d never be full due to my small lunch, sometimes my mum would make it for me if I had needed to sleep earlier what meant it was a lot more nutritious than what I would make myself., but most the time I would try to get away with the minimum. Eating in front of others in the staff room was also an issue. I don’t like eating in front of people, it’s as simple as that.

To others this might not seem like much for me to deem my Saturdays to be hard. I guess everyone’s illness is slightly different

Over coming it.

This morning I was set on taking a stand to my Saturday cycle. Next week I would have been working Saturdays for a whole year. I don’t want this cycle to still be in motion for a second year.

One thing I did a lot when I first gave my life to God and became a Christian (just under 2 years ago) was read my bible every night.

Not going to lie, most of what I read didn’t make sense. However, I was excited and just wanted to know God more. Over time I fell in and out of doing this, sometimes I felt like I was just doing it because I felt like I needed to, other times I felt so unworthy that I didn’t dare pick up my bible because I didn’t deserve God’s grace. I would go through periods where I’d get a spark and I’d study it to the best of my ability, staying up till the early hours of the morning just because I wanted to read more. Then came along distractions where I’d be texting people till late at night and by the time I’d said goodnight to then I was too exhausted to spend a single moment with God.

Now that I’ve decided that this is it and my real recovery starts here, one thing I’ve recognized that gives me peace is being able to spend time with God. This means spending more time with my bible.

Waking up and going to bed with God on my mind.

This morning I wrote a list of what I needed to do to get ready for work. I broke it down to it’s most basic of steps. The list is as follows:

  • Get up
  • Shower
  • Get ready for work.
  • Eat breakfast (A PROPER ONE!)
  • Remember to bring a snack to work.
  • Pray and read bible.

Breaking down what I had to do that morning really worked. I have a thing for post-it notes so this list was on one of those and as I completed each step I would simply tick it off (there is something oddly satisfying about ticking things off as complete, wouldn’t you agree?). Not only did it help me with actually eating properly this morning, but I was also ready earlier than I have been for a while what was a pleasant surprise.

A second thing that I did was start my day with God. Yes, I know it wasn’t the first thing on my list, I did need to make sure I would be at work on time. Spending some of my morning with God really helped though. It wasn’t a massive bible study that I did, it was only a chapter I read but it took my mind off my anxiety’s and eating disorder and focused my eyes back on God. Whilst eating at work today was still hard, I was a little bit more confident in who I was in God and myself. I was hopeful and exited for things. So yes, eating was hard but in some ways I could push it to the back of my mind.

So that’s my challenge for now, start and end my day with God. It’s something I would recommend others to try as well. Even if nothing major comes out of it, no time with God is ever wasted time.

So if you’re struggling, try breaking it down into small goals, it doesn’t matter if they sound silly and talk to God about it. He’s listing and cares for you.