What real recovery looks like

“I haven’t felt free in a long time. I’m either trapped by anorexia or hindered by anxiety. I want to be FREE.”

“I’m literally at the cusp of recovery. I’m not in need of mans help at the moment, but God’s. I need to rely on him now, I needed to a long time ago. I CAN AND WILL LIVE A LIFE FREE OF THIS!!”

“I’ve never felt my heart cry out like this before. No matter how many counseling session I attend, how many books I read, coping strategies I use, I have never felt this before. I want to do more than cry because to cry doesn’t touch deep enough. I think I want to mourn, I want to let myself feel the pain I’ve kept behind bursting doors. Only Jesus knows what I’m feeling, I can’t trust this expression of pain to anyone else but him. He’s the only one who can feel it too.”

Above are three journal entries I’ve written within the last month.

Possibly for the first time in my life I’m understanding how hard it is to follow God every step of the way.

It’s really hard to follow God, there I said it.

To follow God through recovery is so hard. To hold Jesus’ hand is hard because he’s asking so much of me and yet nothing at all. I once read a quote that said God loves us just as we are, but too much to leave us this way. I’m trying to wrap my head around it. I am loved as I am, Jesus will have me just as I am, but I am loved too much to be left this way.

I’ve been told by so many people to just go to God. But just going to God doesn’t do anything. I have to GO to him.

Most people describe mental illnesses as chains, that they are bound. For me they are more like balloons. I often feel like I have balloons attached to my waste, so many that they’re lifting me us and my feet no longer touch the ground. With one gust of wind I can be sent up so high and so far that I no longer recognise where I am. God feels like a rope that anchored into the ground and that rope is in the palm of my hand. Just going to God in times of difficulty feels like I simply acknowledge the rope in my hand. But to GO to God is taking the rope in BOTH hands and pulling myself back to the ground, when I’m close enough His hand reaches out to me and pulls me the last gap and into a warm embrace.

Pulling yourself back to the ground and to God is exhausting. But that’s what recovery is, exhausting.

You see guys, for the last two years I’ve only been acknowledging the rope in my hand. That is neither a good or a bad thing.

God loves me just as I am, that knowledge allows me to hold onto the rope and Him to be my anchor.

But he loves me too much to leave me this way, that’s Him asking me to come back to the ground and to Him.

Recovery is not an easy task and now that I’ve seen what it entitles, I’m going to fess up and say I’ve only been half arsing it and forgive me but I never recognised just how truly a commitment it was to follow God. This isn’t a just turn up on a Sunday, pray and look like a christian, this is giving everything I am to Him. Everything!

After a year of writing on here, thinking I was sort of getting there with my walk with God, that I knew what it meant to give my life to him, I’ve come to realise just how little I knew.

My eyes and heart has been opened and I’m seeing this for the first time with fresh eyes.

Take up your cross.

That phrase has alway confused me. Take up my cross, what did that even mean? But lately I’ve been drawn to Mathew 10:38, where the phrase take up your cross is used. In my bible the notes that accompany that say be prepared to follow jesus all the way to martyrdom if necessary. Martyrdom is someone who is a martyr, a person who is killed because of their religious belief. This has captured my heart for a while.

I am privileged to live in a country where I am currently not in any danger because of my faith in Christ. There are many people around the world who the act of martyrdom is a very real thing. But for me sitting in my house safely, in my bedroom, the significance didn’t feel the same.

But this verse is just as relevant to me, but in a different way.

Take up your cross, be prepared to follow Jesus be prepared to die for your faith. What if for some if us, being prepared to die for our faith isn’t literal death? What if it’s being prepared to let something die to follow Christ?

What if for me I have to be prepared to let anorexia die for my faith in Jesus. Not ignore it, not let it go, anorexia has to die in me.

Taking up my cross daily is making the conscious decision to let anorexia die in me. I have to make that decision DAILY, probably even hourly.

Now that is big.

But God is big and all-powerful. So why would following him be anything but big.

Want to know something though? I want a big relationship with God. I’ve mentioned a lot in this post that following God is hard, but guys it’s so worth it. I’m going to need support and a church and a whole lot of faith and to humble myself right down. But that’s what I want.

Real recovery is doing more than just acknowledging God, turning up on a Sunday and a quite prayer before bed (all of which I’m guilty of). It’s daily taking up your cross and making the real hard effort to get yourself back to Him.

God loves you just as you are, but he loves you too much to leave you this way

Make me anew

I’ve spent the last week decorating at home with my mum. It’s been a tad overdue but it’s finally getting sorted.

Personally, I’ve never decorated before or painted a wall. Sure I can paint a canvas, so how hard could it be? We’ve been living at this house for a good 16 years so I can’t say I’ve ever had the pleasure of making a room our own. But last August the opportunity arose to make ‘The Barn’ our own.

‘The Barn’ is the lean-to at the side of the house. It’s this funny combination of a shed and a conservatory that links the house to the garage. It sounds fancy, but it’s called ‘The Barn’ for a reason. It leaks, it’s moldy as the garage and it’s cold, but it’s secure. It also looked like a barn when it was occupied by mums old partner.

The Barn is now ours and with free access for the first time in years, we’ve decided to turn it into a proper room.  Continue reading “Make me anew”

The best advice my parents have given me about evangelism

Having divorced parents means that it’s quite rare my mum and dad will see eye to eye on a subject. However, there are the occasions where their advice compliments one another’s. One of these times came in the form of me sharing my faith with my peers.

I really like telling people about God, especially my friends. If I care about you in the slightest, I’ll want you to know God and what Jesus did for you on the cross.

However, none of my friends have given their life to God and as a young, easily excitable Christian, I can find myself getting quite down about it. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong. I’m not afraid to tell them about God, to offer to pray with them and attempt to live a life that reflects Jesus. Continue reading “The best advice my parents have given me about evangelism”

A Night To Remember (NW)

 

There’s only one question that you can say to me as a Christian that will make my anxiety levels go up, that would be, “Could you pray with me for healing?” I’ve never yet been asked that question by someone who doesn’t believe in God, I think I probably would start trembling if I’m honest with you, but I have been asked by fellow Christians.

I wholeheartedly believe in healing, I think nothing is impossible when it comes to God and I’ve prayed with my mum before for healing as she has been healed. It is something that I do believe in, however, this doesn’t stop me from feeling rather nervous when asked. Part of me is always worried that God won’t use me for the big things, that I’m not capable enough too, my own insecurity with my identity in God does play a massive part in my fear.

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New Wine was full of healing. Miracles are almost expected there but this year there was just so many and it was amazing!

One I specifically want to talk about is a guys that I only briefly met one evening, but other members of team filled us in on his story.

He was in a motor bike accident what left him not in the best of ways, he had a stick to help him walk every time I spotted him. Other members of team had been talking to him about his story and were bold enough to ask if he’d like any prayer.

He declined.

Hearing this threw me off a little. Most people would jump to the potential from getting healed, especially from what he was hurting from. But this guy declined.

He then went to explain that told had taught him so much through his pain that he didn’t want it to go. He’d prefer to be in pain just so God could teach him a little more.

That blew me away.

Fast forward to the end of the week and it’s our last night. The evening celebration has finished and it’s only really team members left over in the venue and a few youth who wanted to say goodbye to members of team. Most of the people I had been talking to was from the club one venue so sadly I didn’t get a proper chance to say my goodbyes. Whilst I felt a little bit sad that I hadn’t made any friends with the youth there, it gave me the opportunity to see what happened next.

Ready to call it a night I found the nearest group of people I knew, who happened to be some of the guys from Vibe. Huddled in a circle, very hyped up, I assumed it was just from the atmosphere but I was wrong. Not too far away from them was the guy who had the motor bike crash, only something was different. Instead of the motionless stance he had adopted, he was standing on one leg, swinging the other with a smile on his face. I then watched as he put the cane down all together and carried on standing on one foot. The others noticed as well and they were blown away, this guy was able to stand on one leg.

Eventually I had found out what had happened. Through out the week this person had wanted no prayer for healing. This was because of what God had been teaching him through his pain, but on the final night as everyone was leaving he went up to one of the guys and finally asked for healing, and do you know what?

God healed him!

I watched that night as he folded up hims cane and walked un-aided out the venue with a smile on his face.

 

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So why am I telling you this?

The obvious answer would be that it was just so amazing to see healing like that, that I’ve just had to tell people this.

The other reason being that I learnt a whole lot from this guy.

When I went to New Wine in 2016 I had the buddings of an eating disorder. It wasn’t quite the vicious anorexia I have today, it was just a very bad and binding relationship with food.

I received prayer of a team member throughout the week and the most amazing thing was that it left. I had almost a whole week free from this budding illness.

For those who have been following this blog, you will know that I do currently suffer from an eating disorder and a mean one at that.

So what happened?

I was healed from my controlling relationship with food for a week but it came back, why?

It’s something I mulled over a lot. I wasn’t angry with God that only the month later I was referred to CAHMS and learnt about having anxiety and the ED. However, I was a little hurt, why had it come back? Why had it came back so much worse than when God had gotten rid of it? Had I done something wrong?

After thinking abut it, I had an answer.

That moment of healing was to show me that a life without an ED, without a bad, controlling, binding relationship with food was possible. But just like the guy from New Wine, I’m going to learn so much from the pain it brings.

I know for a fct that if I didn’t have my eating disorder I would not have an as close relationship with God as i do now. Without it I would have no reason to press into Him. I’m learning that it isin’t my strength that I need to recover, it’s God’s.

If God took away my eating disorder last year, over even six months ago, I would have no real need for Him. But within these past few weeks, I’m learning so much about God’s love through my pain. I’m learning that I need Him so much and that He offers me a life so much bigger than the one that I so stubbornly live.

God isn’t to blame for my eating disorder, but He’d big enough to use it.

New Wine presented a challenge to me. Instead of praying for God to take away the situation I’m in, I should be asking Him what I can learn through it.

The pain might not go but I’ll have a deeper relationship with God and that’s worth it.