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Tell Someone

Tell Someone

 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. — Ephesians 6:14-17

 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. — 2 Thessalonians 3:3

When Carlos and I started dating, I wasn’t bulimic. But I’d still get triggered. It didn’t need to be something huge... More often it would be this tiny little whisper from the enemy: "Feeling bloated right now? Go ahead and throw up…”

Truly, that voice is sinister. I’d wake up in the morning and decide, “I’m not gonna throw up today. I’ll eat something healthy, like a salad, and keep it down.”

But by late afternoon, the lie had invaded my brain, and I would have thrown up. I didn’t understand why I did what I did. The vicious cycle had me in its clutches...

What made it worse was that I was keeping it from Carlos. I knew how damaging secrets could be, and I didn’t want anything to threaten what we had. Our relationship was so good, it felt unreal. So which was worse? The secret or him finding out about the secret?

I decided to stick with the secret. And yet because I was diving into God’s Word and growing in my faith, I became more and more uncomfortable with my own duplicity.

I still can’t completely understand what transpired inside me at that time, but I can tell you what happened.

I’d always begged God to take away my urges, but daily they’d continue to get the best of me.

As I became spiritually stronger, something happened that I’d never experienced before.

One morning as I opened my eyes, I had a deep knowing that my eating disorder was gone. I just knew. If my eating disorder was a person, I knew that he’d moved out of the house. As I walked down the stairs toward the kitchen, I marveled, “Oh my gosh, it’s gone.”

It sounds crazy, right? But I just knew. This chain that had kept me bound for seven years was just gone. It had been chopped off and thrown into the pit of hell.

It felt surreal walking into the kitchen without it.

As I poured myself a tall glass of water and cooked some yummy egg whites, the constant feeling that I usually wasn’t even aware of was gone.

While I’d love to tell you that I was so full of faith that I knew for certain it wouldn’t come back, I wasn’t. I couldn’t risk that hope. And so I waited.

After a healthy lunch on set that day, I waited to be gripped by the daily, unavoidable urge to binge. But it didn’t come. At four o’clock I was still waiting. No urge. I went out with friends from the cast to grab a bite when we finished for the day, expecting that later in the evening I’d be leaning over the toilet.

It never happened.

I wasn’t about to trust that having one successful day meant much at all. The following day I waited, with anticipation, for the wily menace that had plagued me for seven years to return.

It didn’t.

Even though this was the thing for which I’d prayed for years, begging God to deliver me from, I still couldn’t believe that God had done it. And I really believe that the gamechanger was that I’d established a regular rhythm of diving into God’s Word. I’m not saying that I did it. In fact, quite the opposite! In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul tells the believers about the armor of God that they can wear: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14–17). Notice that last one: the sword of the Spirit. That’s talking about God’s Word. And when I was in my eating disorder, I had no weapon to fight with. I was vulnerable, without any way to defend myself. But being in God’s Word and praying God’s Word was the protection I needed to finally defeat the enemy that had been killing me. It was my sword.

If you’re skeptical that it was God who released me from that prison, I get it. But I am certain that God was my helper because I’d been unable to do it on my own for so long. If it had been a matter of willpower, believe me: I would have freed myself years earlier. And yet in God’s timing, that I don’t pretend to understand, He set me free.

For a few weeks I had this feeling like someone — my eating disorder — was going to jump out from behind a building and yell, “Surprise! I’m still here!”

It never happened.

Although I’d been reticent to share my struggle with Carlos, I couldn’t not share with him my deliverance... He’d had no idea at all that I’d been plagued with this deep shame. He was so supportive, as I knew he would be, and continued to check in to make sure I was okay.

If you or someone you love is battling an eating disorder, the very best thing you can do is to tell someone who loves you about it. Believe me, I know it feels like death. When I was clutched in the grips of my disordered eating, I was terrified about anyone finding out. And that’s exactly how the disorder retains its power. It doesn’t want you to tell anyone! It knows that when you do, its power begins to dissipate. If you’re being bossed around by that sneaky demon today, the best thing you can do is to share your secret with someone who cares. Promise me you will.

 ~ Alexa PenaVega

Excerpted with permission from What If Love Is the Point? by Carlos & Alexa PenaVega, copyright Carlos & Alexa PenaVega

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Your Turn

We were never meant to fight our battles, addictions, and trials by ourselves. The Body of Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit can and will help us crush old demons that tempt and harm us! Tell someone! Trust that the Lord put people in your life for a reason! ~ Devotionals Daily