Written By Ana Bohr, USA
There are quite a few obstacles I’ve had to overcome in my 23 years of life so far. But each obstacle has only made me stronger. One obstacle in particular was something I never thought I would get through. In that moment—which consisted of a few long years for me—I was left feeling very hopeless. Struggling with the battle on my own, I could only lean on the one who could truly help me. And that’s when I experienced the good Lord’s help.
Having an eating disorder wasn’t easy; in fact it was one of the hardest battles I’ve ever overcome. In the moment, I didn’t think I had a problem when it came to the way I viewed my body, and the way I controlled my diet. I pictured someone with an eating disorder constantly going to the bathroom to purge after every meal. I didn’t know there were “different types” of eating disorders out there. I just knew I had a problem, an inner demon that I was facing.
Food was constantly on my mind. I dreamt of food, and thought about food as soon as I woke up. And yet, I was always counting calories, worrying about what I was going to eat for dinner, and wondering how I could balance it all out after I had “messed up” during the day. I binged when my body lacked the nutrients that it needed, took diet pills to make me less hungry, and worked out every day (sometimes even twice a day). I remember crying one time while pushing myself to run five miles. I was in this constant cycle, and didn’t tell anyone about it. I hid my struggle so well, but I was secretly hating myself underneath it all. I just wanted to be normal.
You might be wondering why I had this problem. Looking back, I realize that while I had a relationship with God, my identity was not rooted in Him—the God who created me. Instead, it was found in the world. I was lost about who I truly was. I was trying to live up to a man-made standard; a definition of beauty that society had ingrained so heavily in my mind. I looked up to the women I saw on television and in magazines, and compared myself to women around me. I never felt good enough or loved. My worth was tied to the man who left me for someone more beautiful. Someone skinnier and taller.
I was blind to the root issue—my hurt and insecurity. I knew something wasn’t right, but I just didn’t know exactly what was going on, and I didn’t know how to fix it. What I was feeling was real, and not something I could casually brush aside to pretend everything was all right. In my feelings of hopelessness, I allowed the lies of the world to outweigh the truth of the Bible.
Yet the truth was simply this: I was God’s daughter. He loved me very much, and He thought I was beautiful. He was fighting and rooting for me. And He never once gave up on me even when I wanted to give up on myself.
The enemy will do anything to make you feel alone and abandoned. You can lose your sight of God in the mix of chaos if you let the chaos take over your life. That’s what happened with me when I hit rock bottom. Luckily for me, that was my turning point. God placed the right people in my life at the right time—one friend specifically. He used that friend to speak life and truth into my life, and to help me break old habits. He used that friend to love me—and I mean truly love me. And to be honest, I just needed someone to show me how to love myself. It was the wake-up call I needed.
Sure, healing did not happen overnight. But experiencing God’s tender love, grace, and mercy enabled me to persevere through the struggle, and slowly removed the hopelessness I was feeling.
When you realize how much God truly loves you, nothing else matters. When you feel like you are in a dark tunnel and can’t see any light, continue persevering. The situation may seem hopeless from a human perspective, but God sees the bigger picture. He sees the beginning and the end, and He’s with you through every hardship. Lean on the one who will give you strength—He will get you to the other side.