To attempt to explain what it’s like to live with an eating disorder is like attempting to explain to a child why it makes perfect sense to jump off the top of a 20-story building. There is no logic. There is no sense to be made. That’s why it is a disorder… it’s an illness… and in our culture, sadly, it’s become more often fodder for tabloids and a slander to throw at would-be celebrities than a legitimate medical condition with legitimate medical consequences. How do I know? Because I’ve battled them for 14 years. I wish I was exaggerating… but it has been that long—now, over half of my life. I never intended to incur a life-long battle with a mirror, scale and food. But when I was 13, a few negative self- perceptions snow-balled into some bad decisions that have become—in my head, at least—more like a habitual, comfortable routine than a disordered behavior. And that is where I hope to reach others. To several people, an eating disorder may seem like a diet gone wrong. And in reality, it may start out just that way… an innocuous, benign attempt to shed a few pounds gone horribly wrong. I’m still very much in the thick of my journey. I want to say and believe that I’m much better than I am, but that’s incurring a hefty dose of denial. Because I still struggle so much, I am so passionate on helping others sidestep this path entirely. I’ve seen the way my family has suffered— not knowing what to say, not knowing what to do and spinning their wheels in helpless, frustrated attempts to do something. And I’ve been in treatment facilities where I’ve seen others, much like me and my family, wrestle this demon within their heart and relationships and within their homes. When we look around at our culture, the sad truth is that eating disorders, by in large, are quite acceptable. It’s not that big of a deal for one to skip some meals day after day after day. After all, we’re all busy, stressed and sometimes there just isn’t time to take care of ourselves. Those, my friends, are lies. God never intended our bodies to become pieces of commerce… traded for another late night at the office or sacrificed to fit into those jeans you’ve kept under wraps for so long. His intent was for our bodies to be respected and honored as vessels by which to worship Him. Regardless of the size or shape, our bodies were created with a very specific purpose—to love and serve our Creator. That can’t happen when they are starved, abused, broken and weak. Moreover, there’s a huge dichotomy in professing love and honor to the Creator of all while expressing hatred and dissatisfaction over the body that very Creator crafted just for you. The long and short of it—eating disorders can steal your life, heart and soul. They can break your body down. They can kill you. If they don’t, they can damage those relationships which you hold most dear. Friends, if you or someone you know is battling the demon of self-image and low self-esteem, please do whatever you can right now—today—to sidestep that path. Reach out. Let someone know that you’re struggling. There are resources. There are places to find help. There is hope. As a starting point, log onto ANAD.org. Here you can learn more and possibly open the door to the help that you need. Don’t give up. As long as you’re still breathing, there’s still hope. And as long as you are created in the image of God (which we all are), you are still wanted, loved and cherished more than you can ever comprehend. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out. It’s never too late to reach out your hand for help. So go ahead… reach… dare to hope… and believe that God authored all hope from the beginning of time. He’s got you. All of you. Trust, believe and accept. You are exactly as you are meant to be. deeper inside an eating disorder With caroline lusk 34 CCM