Frequently, young girls and women approach me concerning their disordered eating issues and the recovery processes. And, quite often, they want support.
However, my perspective is that the word “support” is often code for something else instead. It is code for approval of their choices and even help with self-destructive behaviors.
A young woman in recovery (let’s call her “Sissy”) I have known for years recently started a conversation with the following: “Can ask you a question?”
My first reaction to that question, already, contained great trepidation. I usually brace myself for certain questions asking for weight loss or secrecy tips. It’s happened like that too many times before. So, I said yes. And, sure enough, Sissy asked me if I would help her calculate her BMI (body mass index). I asked some why questions, trying to get to the root of its importance. At that point, she became defensive, adamantly stating she was “recovered,” had finished her treatment and was not going back.
At one point, she also stated, “It’s okay. You don’t have to support me.”
It was here, the following scripture was ringing in my ears:
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
That’s what I was trying to do, repeatedly expressing my concern for her well- being and the subtle triggers which can affect eating disorder behavior and recovery.
And it’s a delicate line to walk because I know God is powerful, a miracle working healer; I also know each individual’s recovery story is unique.
But, all too often, I think, as human beings, we mistake support for approval or endorsement. It’s akin to asking for advice as well. Do we really want to hear the truth? Or, do we want to hear what we want to hear?
In my own life, I’ve had a few “intervention moments.” During college, especially, family and college roommates tried to express their concerns for what they saw in me: disordered eating, weight loss, followed by extreme weight gain, stealing food, eating out of the garbage. The list goes on and on. And, as they expressed their concern, my reaction, of course, to that concern was defensiveness, anger, feelings of betrayal and hurt. But, I wasn’t in a healthy place to see anything but those things. I bought the subtle lie of my eating disorder behavior and because of it, I would/could not hear anything, God included, which opposed that line of thinking.
Again, scripture states:
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
The truth is only God fully knows what our issues are and how they’re affecting us. Each of us, however, in life, is vulnerable to temptation, to imperfection and to sin. There may, indeed, be incredible miracle deliverances. But, for most of us in addictions and disorders of any kind, it, more often than not, is a daily process, requiring our attention to healing and healthy choices. And support, in real terms, may not always feel great, warm and fluffy. We may not always hear what we want to hear.
And, even God doesn’t always tell us what we want to hear. Yet, He still loves us:
“For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”
So, we need to remember that truth, in the context of support. Do we want something to tickle our ears and tell us everything’s okay, or do we want the truth and real help? It is a challenge for any of us. What does support really mean? Are we getting it now or are we even rejecting it?
Let’s examine what support means, is and is not to our own recoveries and life situations. And let’s never say, to the true, helpful and healing kind of definition, “You don’t have to support me.”
Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse