Christian Help and Support for Eating Disorders
Find Hope and Strength for Your Eating Disorder Recovery
Eating disorder recovery is a challenging process, but you don't have to go through it alone. You can have divine help at any time. And you can use your time in recovery to build a closer relationship with the Lord. He loves you and He longs to help and heal you.
Although it can't be captured in just a few points, some of the basic keys in eating disorder recovery from a Christian perspective include prayer, renewing the mind, seeing one's identity in Christ, trusting God to be in control, and applying biblical principles. Use this page to help you look to the Lord in your recovery.
Visit this page often for the inspiration and spiritual encouragement you need for your recovery. Choose an article, verse or song that speaks to you in the moment. The next day it may be the same thing that reaches you or something completely different. Just allow God to speak to you through these resources wherever you are in your recovery on any given day.
How God Helped Me in My Own Recovery
As I grieved the loss of things that were important to me and as I felt lost in my life, I cried out to God. But for some reason, I couldn't hear Him. I continued to listen, but didn't hear a word from the One I had come to know personally when I was a teenager. You can read more about that experience in How I Came to Know the Lord below. The Lord had been a constant and loving companion for several years, so I was bewildered when I could no longer sense His presence nor hear His voice.
I was patient for a while, but patience gave way to doubt, and doubt gave way to anger. Looking back, I know He didn't abandon me, but at the time I felt like He had. It sure didn't seem to me that a loving God would allow my life to fall apart and then sit quietly by as I struggled to know what to do next. This doubt of His love brought me to anger. My heart swelled with bitterness, and I did something I never thought I would do. I walked away from Him.
Feeling my life was out of control, I desperately reached for something I could control. That something was my food intake. Maybe I couldn't control what was going on in my life, but I could control what I did and did not eat. It seems that most, when driven to this type of behavior, aren't consciously aware of why. But I knew exactly why I was doing it and yet I felt powerless to stop it.
Anorexia became many things to me - an attempt to control things in my life, a steady companion, something to do, and something to focus on so I could avoid feeling my emotions. It also became something that gripped me against my control, consumed my thoughts, drove my unhealthy behaviors and filled me with guilt and shame.
On top of all of everything else, anorexia also became an incredibly poor substitute to fill the space in my heart that I had previously allowed God to fill. In essence, I chose the eating disorder over Him. I'm not suggesting that others with eating disorders have done the same, because I honestly don't believe that, but it was that way for me.
Even after what I'd done, God still chose to pursue me. Somehow I could hear His voice and sense His presence again. He told me He loved me, and I could sense that He was near and watching over me. At first, of course, I resisted Him. In my mind, it was too little, too late. But that didn't stop Him from continuing to reach out to me.
Over time, I warmed up to the Lord again, slowly, and one step at a time. It was a tender time in my relationship with God that I will never forget. Even though I felt hesitant to trust Him again, He patiently waited for that trust. Even though I had doubted His love for a time, He continued to demonstrate His love for me in how He drew me back to Himself. Even though I'd been so angry with Him, He saw right through that anger to my hurting heart and gently healed it. I later wrote a poem about this time in my life that you can find on the Coming Back to the Lord page.
Eventually, I allowed God to have a greater role in my recovery. And when, after a very long relapse, I decided to fight the eating disorder one more time, I even relinquished my recovery experience to Him. That made all the difference as, step-by-step, He reminded me of truth to replace the lies that had been in charge in my life for far too long, and He strengthened me to continue moving forward in my recovery even when I felt weary. Ultimately, He freed me of the eating disorder I had previously chosen over Him.
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I know what it's like to feel far from the Lord while dealing with an eating disorder, but I also know what it's like to be strengthened by the Lord and set free. Let me walk with you in your own eating disorder recovery. I can counsel you, share pieces of my story with you, pray for you, remind you of the truth of God's Word and of His character, and encourage you to find your strength in His. See the Christian Counseling page for details.
Another way I can walk with you in your recovery is through the personal notes from myself to you in my book, Journey to Freedom from Eating Disorders. You'll also find biblical teachings on several eating disorder issues, journaling questions, inspirational pieces and prayers. Also, in Give God Your Eating Disorder, I offer practical tips, call to action questions and written prayers to help you let go of the eating disorder.
How I Came to Know the Lord
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about God and wondering if you would like to pursue a personal relationship with Him. If this is something you’d like to learn more about, please continue reading.
When I was a teenager, I became concerned about the fate of my soul. I knew that I sinned on a regular basis and that I wasn’t on my way to heaven, but would go to hell if I died. Even though part of me thought I could try to earn my way to heaven, I felt that anything good that I could do would never outweigh my sin. At one point, I found out I was right as I heard a verse that told me it wasn’t even possible to earn a heavenly home. However, that isn't all it said. It also said that I could be saved. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
I’d heard that Christ died on the cross for us, and over time I learned this meant He did this in order that we may receive forgiveness for our sins. This avenue of forgiveness made an eternity in heaven a possibility for us. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23 While entering a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is about more than going to heaven at the time of death, it was my concern for my soul that initially drew me to this relationship.
For a time, I still thought I should be doing something to earn eternal life. But one night it clicked that this was a gift. At that point, I asked God for forgiveness of my sins and for Him to save my soul. In doing so, I also accepted His gift of eternal life in heaven. “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved…For, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Rom. 10:9-10, 13
If you wish, you may say the following prayer to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and ask You to forgive me for my sins. Please save my soul. Thank You for dying on the cross for me and for giving me eternal life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I’ve never regretted asking the Lord to save my soul. I didn't know at the time what having a personal relationship with Jesus would really be like. But I have found great comfort in knowing He’s my best friend, that He loves me with an unconditional, everlasting love, and that He will never leave my side. Furthermore, He is my source of strength. It was only through Him that I was able to break free of anorexia and this wonderful freedom gives me joy, peace and hope.
Perhaps you aren't sure if you're ready to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. If this is the case, I invite you to read Unsure about Becoming a Follower of Christ?
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.
By Reinhold Niebuhr
All About Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
I want to be free of my eating disorder. It’s difficult for me to ask for help, but I’m asking You now. I can’t do this alone. I’m asking You to lead my freedom journey.
When I reach for a destructive behavior, please redirect my hand.
When I’m tired of fighting, please strengthen me.
When I hurt, please hold me in Your arms.
When I look in the mirror, please help me to see myself through Your eyes.
When I’m afraid, please calm my spirit.
When I doubt, please remind me to focus on the promises in Your Word.
Lord, I know You want the best for me and I trust You to lead me to freedom.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.