by Donna Gibbs, LCMHCS, BCPCC
No… I’m not pregnant again! But, I vividly remember this profound counseling session from four years ago, and think it fitting to share with you again today. Eating Disorders are a false sense of resilience, and the treatment of this vicious struggle represents a significant portion of my caseload. If you’re struggling, I hope you’ll find encouragement here.
Those who have known me for any length of time, know that my greatest and most treasured learnings have come as a direct result of my interactions with precious clients over the years. Today proved to be no exception. Today I witnessed such a powerful and profound revelation with a client that I had to share it with you – I know you will be blessed. I call this blog-post Designer Baby because that is the title my client used, in reference to herself. Understand, this is a beautiful young woman, a highly intelligent young woman, who has been robbed of herself by a vicious and dangerous eating disorder. This eating disorder was born out of a terrorizing and evil victimization of her body by a group of teenage boys. Years later, she now has little understanding and appreciation of her value, and has been on a journey of self-destruction for some time. If there has ever been a tool of the enemy, this is it. An eating disorder involves lies and deceit, by definition. Sadly, pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia websites provide even further instructions to its victims about how to believe the lies that will better feed “success” in an eating disorder. In essence, it is a “successful” brainwashing into a pit of darkness and death. However, today, I saw a ray of light in this darkness – and these are the moments that motivate me to stay faithful to God’s call in the trenches of tough counseling.
Her revelation was born out of a discussion regarding my own pregnancy (I am pregnant, and beginning to blossom, to say the least, so this obvious aspect of my new appearance was a platform for much discussion in the office these days). I had previously assigned this particular client homework that involved writing a letter to herself, as if it were written from her Creator. This has been a challenging assignment, as it is for anyone who is deceived by the lies of the enemy, and the lies of an eating disorder in particular. For years, she has almost intuitively felt and thought disgust for herself, diminishing any value within. She has also pushed God out of her life, finding that her relationship with Him, and her eating disorder, could not co-exist. A smart young woman, intrigued by discovery, made reference to the progress in technology in “designing” a baby at the request of its parents. Far beyond the developments of IVF, or other reproductive technologies, parents can make preferences for a baby boy or a baby girl. With a humbled, but intrigued, countenance on her face, my client looked at me and profoundly said, “I am God’s designer baby. He created me just the way I am, because He had a purpose for my life, and I’ve spent years trying to sabotage His design”. I celebrated within as I witnessed glimpses of hope; hope that my client could see the value that I see in her, and the amazing person that her Creator designed her to be. Following that statement came a beautiful letter, as if written from God, straight to her heart. She’s requested that I share the letter with you. As complex as eating disorders might be, their solution is not so complex that it cannot be understood. Regrouping with the Creator is a significant part of that solution, and I see a spark of that today.
“You are wonderfully and fearfully made. You are a rare creature. You do not even understand your full potential. You are an heiress of the Kingdom of God. You were designed perfectly, as I wanted you to be. Embrace who you are, and stop fighting the warrior inside of you. You are a fiery woman, and it is your choice whether that fire consumes you, or you use it for good. There is more to your life than others’ opinions of you. A lion does not fear the opinion of sheep. Do not cower under fear”.
Her next homework assignment is to read and re-read this letter daily. Lies and deceit have been the repetitive “friend” of her previous years. It’s time to defeat this enemy and take life back. She is a beautiful and strong woman – I look so forward to her full recognition and embracing of this fact.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, know that the issues are complex. Team up with a professional Christian counselor who is familiar with eating disorder treatments, and who can facilitate your recovery. Do your homework. Understand the nutritional aspects and the psychological struggles correlated with eating disorders. But, most importantly, know your Creator. He is the way out. He is the One who provides truth about your innate value, prior even to your conception. Even while addressing the necessary nutritional and psychological components, pay attention to God’s truths about you. Work diligently and intentionally, even when it doesn’t seem right, not to sabotage that truth. You are in for a challenging marathon, but it will come with incredible reward. Stay in there, as God truly shines His light on darkness, breaks chains of deception, and sets you free from your captivity!
Donna Gibbs, co-owner of Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC, is author of the recent releases Silencing Insecurity and Becoming Resilient. Donna has authored numerous other books, her blogs and articles have frequently been shared in various media outlets, and she has been featured on radio broadcasts across America, and internationally as well. Donna has been providing individuals and families the hope and help they need for over two decades as a North Carolina Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor (LCMHCS) and a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC). A member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), she is a professional provider for Focus on the Family, Christian Care Network, r3Continuum, FINDINGbalance, and Samaritan’s Purse.
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