The Skinny on Shame

Stacee - NEDA Walk for Life I just can’t thank you enough  for sticking it out with me through this walk! (or scoot!) I want my sharing to be helpful to you and please know that it is so helpful for me every time I write.  I’m in the middle of this great chasm of healing, and I can have such a hard time gaining perspective. But I want to try to continue to write throughout this time because I know you all can take it and possibly identify.

These feelings and commitments and choices are what I’m facing now, and I can feel raw in my emotions so my desire is to base my trust on hope in God.  Having said that, I want to be able to tell you  my days aren’t full of struggles and things I have to work on.  That relief may come, it’s just not now. And it’s okay! I’m okay.  I want to be able to tell you that I don’t miss the “gangliness” of my arms which hung to my sides. But I do. Faith and trust come in the moments and spans of time when I ask myself why I have chosen these changes. No one has ever force-fed me, and no one can choose life for me. I want to do that.

One day in treatment while eating in the café where we were re-fed and practicing just staying at the table even though we were finished eating, I can remember having a familiar feeling - a strong feeling.  It was the feeling of shame in eating all that was on my plate when there were people, at the beginning of their treatment, at the same table as me.  And when looking through my distorted sight, they appeared to be so much sicker than me, and I wanted to hide.  I was a little further along in my treatment, but shame didn’t  care.

After one particular meal, as soon as we were dismissed to go and wait outside, I hurried to the door, and swung it open to quickly go around the corner to a table that was out of the way.  I sunk down into the bench and just buried my face in my hands.  I buried my face out of humiliation and betrayal of the anorexia controlling my tired mind. The eating disorder lies and wants to convince me that I wasn't good at anorexia all of those years.   Lies. What am I doing? WHAT am I doing…. I kept saying into my hands.  A sweet friend and my caring therapist came over to sit with me. Not sit and solve…just sit and be with me in that moment and others like it. That was the day my therapist told me I had reached my nutritional level.  This was going to be me except for the re-proportioning, which is transpiring and will continue for an uncertain amount of time.  She said, “don’t hide.” “You’re working so hard…Don’t hide over here by yourself.”

Now that I’m passed that actual situation, I feel this is exactly what God is saying as I can want to sit alone and hide in shame of eating this new meal plan 6 times a day.  But… Shame.Is.Not.Of.God.  It’s a human thing.  Eating is a living life thing. Not an action that should result in hiding.  I fight this.  But as long as you and I are fighting and not giving in to the shame, we are pressing into God’s way.  Fight in humility of God’s power, not in the belief that God wants to humiliate you. He’s not like that. That is not His nature. Check this out…”Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.   Cast all of your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”  (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Dr. Moseman of Laureate Treatment Center has asked many times, as a rhetorical question, “Why does getting better feel so bad?” I couldn’t have asked for a better way to express where I can be some days - most  days.  Why continue then?  Because God has a plan for both you and me right where we are.  Right now.  I don’t feel called to wait for the grand finale of this process to ask Him to use my life.

You and I?  We are on an unpredictable path, but it is not unpredictable to God. His plan can be confusing in my limited understanding of Him and due to my inability to see the full picture of who He is making me to be.  I am trying to rest in the fact that I will get the “grace for me” truth.  It’ll come. Here’s the deal though. You and I cannot wait to understand and trust to work this out. He will light the path as He needs to. He makes our path to fit us, He’s not a part of the “one way fits all” crowd.   At first, trusting God with a struggle  feels like jumping off of a cliff.  But I’ve found the first jump is the worst because it’s a choice to let go of control of the best friend that hates you.  This is what is so deadly and deceiving about this type of mental illness.

Please don’t go to the table of shame and sit alone.  Please don’t hide.  And if that’s where you already are, I’m praying for you. I’m praying for people to come and sit with you and remind you of what He sent those to tell me, “Don’t hide…You are working so hard.”  Shame and humiliation are not of God. And you are most definitely not alone.

Love to You, Stace