A similar article was first published in The Purpose Magazine in March, 2013
The life-giving power of God’s word became real to me at seventeen. As a young girl with an eating disorder, I felt powerless in attempts at getting out of the cycle of starving myself, binging, and purging.
Until one morning I woke up in disbelief. “He provided a way out!” I thought. “God provided a way out, just like His Word said.”
For the first time in three years, I had fallen asleep with food in my stomach. Because of distorted thinking, I truly believed if I allowed food to remain in my stomach overnight, I would wake up with significant weight gain and be rejected. Like many teen girls, I despised the image I saw in the mirror. Rejection was my greatest fear. Feeling insecure, ugly, and not-quite-good-enough, my adolescent mind rationed that if I was thin, I could at least control one area of rejection.
From my early teens to young adulthood, I battled food, faulty self-talk, a poor sense of worth and acceptance as I lived with destructive physical and emotional behavior. Food was my enemy, yet I ran to it for comfort. Daily I purged, while desperately wanting a way out of the never-ending cycle.
During this time my Bible was a refuge for me. One day, I came across a passage identifying a core struggle of my private world – temptation. Daily I prayed to overcome the temptation to binge and purge, but each night I crawled into bed with failure. In my shame, 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV 1984 version) gave hope and a promise:
“No temptation has seized you expect what is common to man. But God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it.
In this passage, God became incredibly personal because He recognized my battle with temptation. When no one else seemed to understand the depths of my internal struggle, God did. He even promised a way of escape.
One night I fell asleep and the compulsive, addictive cycle momentarily broke and the power of Jesus’ love, and Word was validated in my heart and mind. God loved me so much He provided a way out from my daily temptation of purging through something as simple as sleep! God reached down from heaven and made Himself real to me. He didn’t reject me. I had hope for change and a new way of life.
Over the years, I’ve journeyed with many people struggling with a range of addictive behaviors. Common among them is the cyclical trap of temptation and failure to overcome it. Compulsive, addictive activities encompass anything out of balance from what God intends for us. We run to the imbalanced behavior instead of running to God and His control over our insecurities and pain. Addictions can encompass food or exercise, shopping or thriftiness, anger or fear, self-righteous pride or deeds of darkness. The list could go on. All take root in self-protection instead of the power of resurrection.
God’s gift of allowing me to overcome one night of temptation through sleep was a miracle to me. He provided a practical way out, just like His word promised. When I woke up to new mercies that particular morning, and didn’t experience rejection from others, I had hope for healing. God opened a doorway out of my self-destructive routine. He provided an alternative to my fear of rejection that created distorted thinking. God instilled hope that the unhealthy cycle could be broken through His power, not mine.
A new life from addictive behavior didn’t happen overnight for me. Overcoming it was a long, slow process. But that glorious morning at seventeen was the day Jesus personally rolled the stone away from my dark and fearful tomb. He provided a door of freedom for me to walk through. Since then, I’ve learned stepping out of fear and into His power is a daily choice. God provides a door of escape every day from various temptations lurking in the shadows. And every time I walk out of the tomb in victory is testimony to His resurrected healing power.
What shadows lurk in your life, calling you into temptation instead of victory? As we approach the Easter season where we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, the celebration is also in applying Christ’s power to our personal lives. Easter is not about the past, but the future. Where have you overcome the “grave” of addictive or destructive behaviors? We would love to hear your story.
In His love,