More than a decade passed between finding myself wrapped in the shower liner, facing the likely end of my battle with bulimia, and my next defining moment. During that time, I was forced to confront other sins that had spiraled out of control. I spent time in therapy and twelve-step programs in an attempt to set myself free. Things got better some of the time, but true freedom, healing, love, and worth eluded me.
As the Lord turned my heart to Jesus as my only source and healer, I learned what it meant to have a personal relationship with a tangibly real Savior who loved me unconditionally, to love Him back through reading and obeying scripture. Yet, the way I saw myself based on how I felt about my body ruled my relationship with James and affected how I treated my children. I was confronted daily with the detrimental effects of my continuing struggle.
One day, out on a compulsive six-mile run to burn off steam and calories, the Lord spoke to my heart: “When you die, do you think your children are going to stand at your funeral and say how thankful they are that their mother was a size four all their lives?” My heart broke for them, because that’s what ruled me: staying little. It took priority. And it was destroying the very people I loved the most.
For a second time, I was forced to confront what lay at the end of my path: death. No longer physical death, but spiritual death. Relational death. Death to what my husband and children deserved from me. Needed from me. And the harmful consequences to them if they didn’t get it.
The Lord opened my eyes of understanding to see I was ready to be free, whatever it took. My answer to the Lord that day was this: “Lord, if I have to be a size twelve in order to be truly free, in order to have joy, then let it be.” Not that there’s anything wrong with a size twelve, but for someone who is terrified that life will literally fall apart with the addition of a single pound, to add even one size was unthinkable.
In that place of total surrender and readiness, the Lord began to expose the root of my stronghold: lies.
“And you shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
I don’t remember anything remarkable about this particular day or what was happening in my life, but I was standing in front of the mirror, sinking emotionally and spiritually because I saw myself as fat, and the Lord spoke to my heart once again: “Shauna, it’s impossible to be a size four and be fat.”
It was a simple truth with tremendous power to transform my thinking. God’s truth – His word – sanctifies us (John 17:17), purifying us and renewing our souls. I am not declaring God’s words to me that day as scripture. I am simply saying God revealed truth to me that day, and that truth changed things deep inside me as only God’s truth can do.
On the flip side, in order to divert us from the power of the gospel, “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16), Satan lures us onto his path of death and destruction with falsities. He “was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
The devil’s MO has not changed from the beginning of time, when Eve declared: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:13).
If he can deceive us, he can disable us.
I believed the lie the devil whispered to me constantly, telling me how fat and unlovable I was. But as Jesus promised in John 16:13, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, “will guide you into all truth.” The truth God exposed set me free from my self-destructive thinking and enabled me to retrain my thoughts according to His truth.
It took some time, but when I felt myself leaning toward the lies again, when my reflection in the mirror threatened to send me into a tailspin, I would repeat the truth: It is impossible to be a size four and be fat. I would declare Psalm 139:14: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”
Beth Moore, in her Bible study, Breaking Free, talks about rewriting what’s on the wall of our minds. In identifying the lies we’ve been told throughout the years, we can then replace them with God’s truth, which is the only truth. As we believe God’s word, as we live by it, He sets us free.
Alternatively, deceived hearts turn us aside from God (Isaiah 44:20) to “serve other gods and worship them (Deuteronomy 11:16). The result of exchanging the truth of God for a lie is idolatry, the root exposed in my third defining moment.
Will you join me again Thursday?
Lord, sanctify us with Your truth today, setting our feet firmly on the path that leads to life as we become more wholly Yours.