I am set free from body image bondage (Galatians 5:1)
I will walk in the truth of who I am, for I am more than my thoughts about myself (1 John 1:7)
I am choosing to not give into my desires and emotions – but react only to what is true (Romans 12:2)
When I gaze upon Jesus and resist the evil one, I have already won the battle (James 4:7)
I was not created to live in a constant cycle of defeat, I will choose to live in peace (Deuteronomy 2:3)
The road may not be easy, but I do not go alone (Isaiah 43:2) God lives in me and commands me, therefore, I am stronger than my flesh (Joshua 1:9)
I do not have to live in the false reality of the distorted perceptions I’ve created for myself (Psalm 16:9)
When I walk with Christ and not with my flesh, I am a triumphant conqueror (Galatians 5:16-18)
I will lift my head when I feel low, and I will speak truth when all I hear is lies (Luke 22:46)
I am gripping and clinging to the truth and tossing away the lies – for am more than the lies I am told to believe (Romans 12:9)
Who I was yesterday is dead and gone, For today: I am a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
He died for my freedom. So just as the tomb couldn’t keep Him, these chains won’t keep me. (John 8:36)
Man, where do I even start?! These confessions tug so deeply at my heartstrings. For these lies, I believed controlled the earliest most vulnerable and impressionable years of my life. After a few hateful comments to an innocent young girl about her young growing body were made, I chose to sit in that puddle of hate and wear those lies as my identity for so many years.
I bowed down and worshiped and followed the alter of condemnation, instead of saying “NO. That’s not true.” It’s hard to admit this, but from about the age 10 to 21, I lived in a dark, lonely, and empty place of an eating disorder and body dysmorphia. I starved myself. So I’d binge eat when I couldn’t take it anymore. And then, I’d overexercise. I logged and planned and prepped all my meals. I’d throw away school lunches my mom would send for me, and I’d lie in social setting saying “I already ate.”
I counted calories, I took my measurements, I have more “before” and “after” pictures than I’d like to admit, and I have spent many dollars of my past minimum wage jobs on workout programs and DVDs.
I remember sitting in my room writing a story about how I was planning on turning to bulimia – but by the tender loving grace of God, I just couldn’t stomach it. I always think of the Lauren Daigle lyrics at the beginning of Dry Bones where she says,
“…one by one the enemy has whispered lies and led them off as slaves.”
It still baffles, humbles, and fills me that I can sit here today writing this – freed, forgiven, redeemed, and at peace with the lies that I thought captured my soul for good. But the beauty of the song is, she goes on to say:
“BUT… We KNOW that you are God, yours is the victory.”
BUT. There’s always a “but” with Jesus. “Oh – she’s too far gone. She’s an atheist or a drug addict, or she’s been around the block too many times.” BUT – God died for her. BUT – she’s still loved. BUT – He’s made a way. I can’t tell you the moment that I was set free. And I won’t lie and say it was easy. I was recklessly driving pedal to the medal on the path to the mental illness with the highest mortality rate – Eating Disorder.
But 3 years ago, God lovingly and painfully stripped me of myself. And now I STAND here so full of LIFE. I deeply miss those years I lost by living in a false reality. BUT – now, I use that pain to speak TRUTH to women and walk alongside the broken and bear their deepest burdens.
I live my life so deeply, I care for others more, I have more patience and grace with myself. Therefore, I have more patience and grace with others. I actually ENJOY ice cream and pizza with my husband. Guilt isn’t invited to the party anymore. And shame has no place here. Praise God for His redeeming grace.
1. Get rid of the rules and restrictions (No off-limits foods, not eating at certain times, not eating certain macros) – I know this might be scary and unusual, but it is the only way to start a normal relationship with food.
2. Do any exercise that you enjoy/have time for – Don’t force yourself to stick to a specific workout regimen (some days that may be walking, some days that may be yoga – just let it happen organically).
3. Have grace on yourself – Have grace when you overeat, have grace when you revert back to restriction, have grace when you are hating on your body.
4. Realize that you are beautiful and worthy of love and good things NOW, AS YOU ARE – No matter if you lose or gain 20 pounds, your worth and beauty and ability to be loved will always be the same.
5. React to the truth – don’t let emotions/desires/mood affect what you say, how you act, what you think, or the decisions you make. (For example, you may FEEL fat or you may WANT to restrict what you eat – but those are emotions/feelings. The TRUTH is you are beautiful, and you need food to survive).
6. Let God be your personal trainer. Train your body to eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, eat the foods you desire, and do exercises that you enjoy… Our bodies all have “set points” where they naturally like to fall. This is the point where God planned purposefully for you – for His will for YOUR life. It is the set point that you are able to serve others at best, and have the most energy to carry out God’s beautiful plan for your life. If you try to fight this set point, you will be irritable, low in energy, and it will NOT last.
7. Turn health and fitness into a tool to worship God and display Him in your life – don’t use it as a guilty hidden idol to change who you are. See it as a means to enjoy life more and be stronger mentally, physically and spiritually.
8. Make peace with your body – ruthlessly accept yourself no matter what.
9. Move on and live in the NOW – no hampering on past meals or future workout plans. Your lifelong mission is not to lose weight.
10. Check out CambriaJoy on Youtube (her main channel and her vlog channel) – she was a huge part of my healing journey.
Lord, shower love, and truth over this fearfully made woman. Strip away the calluses on her eyes and help her to see who she truly is, made in your image. Help her to live in the truth and no longer listen to the lies. Help her to submit this to you and replace this spot in her heart.
Show her how to live a healthy, balanced life where she glorifies you by eating well, moving often, and praying endlessly. Give her peace that there is a way out. Don’t let her be burdened anymore by the yoke of slavery, but let her see that in you she is a redemptive warrior.
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Hanha is the founder behind Transparency Blog, and she is super passionate about encouraging women to find their identity and belonging in Christ! A few fun facts? She’s addicted to Grey’s Anatomy, has a special place in her heart for Chick-fila-A, and podcasts are her present obsession. In her spare time, she daydreams about places she can travel and loves connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!