We all have battles, right? I’m not just talking about physical battles, because that would ignore the whole person we were created to be, mind, body, soul, and spirit. I’m talking about the intense warfare that goes on behind the scenes, the kind that often takes years to surface in an eating disorder. Each day our minds are being assaulted.
As a person in recovery, I think I started to realize that every person’s mind is being attacked by lies, and that we need to search for and stand on truth.
In the mind, you might battle fear, anxiety, pain, hurt, bitterness, and anger. It’s tough. It’s not easy, and I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of the battle you face.
When I learned that the battle in the mind is the most difficult and the foundational part of recovery was when I saw where the real enemy was.
If you say, ‘No,’ I might have to guess that you aren’t telling the whole truth. I’m going to get really raw with you right now, because I can’t not get that raw with you to show you the full depth of the attacks on the mind in an eating disorder.
Before we get into it, don’t forget to check out the ‘Dark Chocolate Overnight Oatmeal’ on yesterday’s (um.. Saturday’s post). Yep, I’ve been slacking on the blogging department.
This is not going to be a hopeless post, but it’s going to a battle post that gets into the nitty, gritty details of the battle behind recovery. It’s going to be a tough one and a beautiful one, because recovery is that.
The whole inspiration for this post came from 1 Peter 1:13, ‘Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’
You see. Everyday you and I are assailed by things that want the mastery over our minds. Everyday there are forms of brainwashing about your body, exercise, food. Of course, there are many other forms of the battle for the mind, but today I’m going to focus on those.
How does the culture battle for our minds to get us to think the wrong things about body image, a healthy relationship with food and exercise?
1. Advertising and propaganda.
Look at me and my little friend.
Look at her. Now I don’t think that children are entirely innocent, because just babysit them, and you find out that we are all conceived in sin, and that we all need Jesus, but this little girl hasn’t seen or soaked in the advertising that is everywhere as much as I have.
She hasn’t imbibed all the ‘social media’ before and after pictures. She hasn’t seen the ‘six pack abs’ and ‘goals’ photos.
And there is a simplicity about her understanding. When I spend time with precious little children, I start to see what Jesus Christ meant when He said that we needed to have faith like little children.
Little children aren’t always doubting and skeptical, and they’ve taught me a lot about the simplicity of how God created us. They just eat. They just drink. This little girl would tell me that God made her, that God takes care of her, and she doesn’t seem to question that like I did for so many years.
But there’s more… Overt advertising is not the only way your mind is attacked.
Subliminal Advertising, Words, Expressions
Have you ever walked into a store and seen the label, ‘guilt free’ on a package?
Why should a food make someone feel guilty? I know from reading God’s Word, from reading His law that eating food is not sinful. God made food. God made the grass and the herbs, and there was even a time in which He permitted Peter to eat meats that He had formerly called unclean.
So then, food is not evil. Sin is evil. The devil is evil, but food is not.
Yet the store and the diet industry would have you believe it.
They take you down the mac n’ cheese aisle, and they take you past the ‘Kraft’ macaroni because it’s too full of guilt, and they put you on the one that is lower fat, lower carb or _____ (fill in the blank.)
It’s not that I’m trying to put down one food over another, but these ‘advertisements’ (even on Pinterest) do affect you when you struggle with an eating disorder.
I’ll let you think on that for a bit while I …. move onto the other attacks on the mind.
What are these insidious attacks? Well, they are sly. Sometimes they even attack me when I’m hungry and I look at the empty nut butter jar and think, ‘Maybe I should eat it, but eating 4 or 5 tablespoons would be too many because a serving size is only 2 tbsp?’ You don’t even know that they are attacking you, but they are.
What do these take the form of in an eating disorder?
a. Mass Mentality – The masses are saying, ‘Eat this. Do that,’ and you just take it without thinking about it.
b. Busyness and stress – The mentality that you have to be always ‘busy and stressed’ instead of being still and knowing that God is God and that God holds the nations in His hands, the sparrows, and your soul, your body, your heart, your mind in His hands.
Instead maybe I could focus on this.
‘“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.’
c. Pleasure has to be LOUD. – So you go and dance the night away, and you feel the pressure to always be loud and going and going and going in order to have joy. You’re at a party, and you can barely think, but all you can think of is the pressure to have fun, to eat the good food, and to have a good time.
It’s not that dancing is wrong AT ALL! I think that dancing can be an amazing form of joy and moving our bodies. But, do you have to have loud pleasure to have joy?
And for a long time, I thought that. I thought that I needed to be loud in order to have joy, to have pleasure.
But I realized that the best way to rest is to actually REST. It’s not lame; it’s a gift to sit and be still and to soak in the joy of the presence of the Lord and not be ‘loud.’ It’s a joy to look at a bow of ice cream and think, ‘Wow, God made every single ingredient that went into this. There’s nothing here that was made at random.’
Sometimes the greatest moments of FREEDOM in recovery come in the silence, the silence of hearing the comforting words of Jesus Christ saying, ‘Come unto me and rest.’
d. And last but not least, we worship the expert. If they have a degree, we don’t question them.
Here’s the thing. We’re all humans, right? And we don’t have infinite knowledge.
But who does?
What about a turning from the limits of our knowledge to a wonder of the one whose knowledge is unsearchable, infinite, all comprehensive, and everlasting?
Isaiah 40: 28, ‘Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.’
Men don’t know everything. God does, and God can comfort the hearts of the broken by telling them to ‘Cast all their cares upon Him.’
I have to ask myself, ‘Is this something that would be honoring to God even if an expert said it? Could they be wrong?’ Yes, they could be wrong. But God is never wrong, and I can rely on what He says.
But the whole question, is what do we do about all these assaults on the mind?
Karl Marx said that Christianity imprisoned the mind, but look at the fruits of Communism that came out of Karl Marx? Would you say that was freedom?
I have no hope but Christ, and Christ Jesus is all I need.
Christ Jesus paid the price that I couldn’t pray, and He took away ANY need for guilt or fear.
Romans 8:1-3 says it all, ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:’
God is the God of life. He made life. He loves life, and the devil loves to lie. The devil loves to deceive and destroy, but Jesus came to give life and ABUNDANT life, life that dispels every lie of the devil, that removes the soul from condemnation, and purges the guilt and enmity between us and God.
The devil’s lies have no place here. I can say, ‘Yes, I am a sinner,’ when the devil accuses me, but I can also say that ‘Jesus Christ is my only plea. Jesus’ righteousness covers me, and that’s the only comfort I need.’
The history of the world proves the freedom of Christianity. Yes there are those cults that proclaim to be ‘Christian’, but they try to make up their own ‘bibles’ that aren’t the freedom, the truth of the Word of God. They create man made systems of morality.
But Jesus’ doesn’t say that we must be moral in order to be good enough for God. He just says, ‘Come to me.’ It’s so simple. It’s not a system of guilt or merit or lies. It’s freedom!
It’s so free that I can eat anything in thankfulness. I can eat anything because food isn’t my master. Jesus is, and His mastership is so light.
The wonder of the gospel is that Jesus Christ preached to everyone.
He said in Luke 4:18, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,’
Jesus preached to the poor. There was no discrimination in the gospel. It was freely offered. He didn’t force any to believe it, but some did and some didn’t. It wasn’t compulsion. It was a gift.
The gospel gave freedom to the common people. Think of the world before the Reformation. When the Reformation came, men began to be able to read the Bible in their common tongue.
Poor people were crying out for instruction. It wasn’t just a gospel for rich, but it was for rich and poor. Kings and queens became Christians. The poorest of the poor became Christians, because it was freedom.
And I just want to testify that the gospel is freedom. It’s not something to shove at people. It’s a gift, told, preached of, spoken and given to set CAPTIVES, like me free.
That’s what set my mind free. And the truth of the gospel is setting my mind free everyday.
So I have one last encouragement. I know that Jesus Christ saves. He saves His bride. And freedom is amazing, isn’t it?
Freedom to eat. To worship. To care for your body. Freedom to LIVE.
Have you ever sensed the battle for the mind?
How do you think the culture attacks minds everyday especially on the subjects of body image, food, and exercise?
How do you combat the battle with the mind?