I wish I could put into words how wonderful these past three weeks in Corvallis have been, but I can’t.
That’s not to say that everything’s been easy, because it hasn’t. My anatomy class is moving very fast (as is the nature of summer courses), and I got a (insert gasp here) “D” on one of my midterms, despite the significant amount of studying I’d done for it. I’m not one to get D’s — in fact, I’m a 4.0 student. But if anything, I think that this one was a great learning experience for me. The grade is redeemable (by doing better on the final), and I also learned that I’m lacking a significant portion of the biology material that is the foundation for this course. Since making that discovery, I’ve begun to study more of the basics of biology in conjunction with the anatomy content, and everything is making MUCH more sense.
Despite the D, I still maintain that these past three weeks have been inexplicably great. That is a huge turning point for me, and I think what it all comes down to, is manipulation.
These recent weeks have made me realize what a significant portion of my life, namely the last few years, I’ve spent playing the manipulation game.
And it makes sense, really. When my therapist and I started to uncover this last week, she looked at me in all seriousness and said, “Bridgette. Look at your life. Look at your childhood. Look at everything that got ripped out from under you. It makes complete sense that after going through what you did, you’d want to control absolutely everything you could.”
So, it makes sense. It’s “human nature,” you could probably say. And I will say that. I will accept that, that this response that I had was natural, that it’s all a part of who I am in being human.
But that doesn’t mean it’s right, that doesn’t mean it’s Godly, and that certainly does not mean it’s not a sin.
I think it’s this surrendering of the manipulation that’s allowed me to experience this newfound, true joy, these past weeks, despite any circumstances. The type of peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
There are many things in life that I can (and have) tried to manipulate. My body, is obviously one. When I’m holding myself to a restrictive diet and an unhealthily obsessive exercise regimen that takes over all other aspects of my life, that’s me trying to manipulate it. That’s me not accepting that I have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), not accepting that I have been made “in God’s image” (Genesis 1:27).
Essentially, that’s saying to Jesus — “Look, God, I get it that you think I’m wonderful. I get it that I’m made perfectly and completely, just the way you wanted me to be. But it’s not good enough for me! It’s not the way I like it. So I’m going to change it. P.S., thanks for dying on the cross and forgiving my sins and loving me unconditionally and all that other stuff.”
What a way to praise our creator, the Lord of the Universe!
It sounds silly (at least, I hope it does!) when I put it like that, but really, I think that’s how it actually must feel to Jesus! We’re denying Him when we do these things! We’re saying that we don’t trust Him, that His way is not good enough for us.
That’s not the way I want to live my life. And I’m absolutely POSITIVE that’s not the way Christ wants us to live.
My body’s not the only thing I’ve tried to manipulate, though it may be the most obvious thing, given the E.D.
Other things have been: my time (and what I spend it on, using it for selfish reasons and not to glorify or know Jesus more intimately), my finances (giving only enough to the point where I’m “comfortable” that I’ll be able to sustain the life and spending that I want to have, not trusting that He will provide), and I’m sure there are many, many other things.
The greatest difference I’ve seen in my life these past three weeks, has been a lack of manipulating. A lack of trying to control the things that Jesus wants me to hand over to Him. Each morning, when I’ve risen, I’ve spent time in the Word of God. I’ve fought the urge to stay in bed just a few minutes longer, and opened up my Bible. Each time I’ve gone to the gym, I’ve only stayed for 30 minutes. I’ve ignored the voice in my head that says “Just do ten more minutes, Bridge…it won’t hurt a thing. Don’t you want those abs? You know you guys are going to Burgerville tonight…,” and I’ve followed my treatment team’s plan. When I was handed a snack at work by one of the coaches on Wednesday (some new product we’d received) and told to try it, my gut reaction was to make up some excuse as to why I “couldn’t” have it, knowing I’d go home just an hour later and have my snack. The snack I’d planned on having, the one I’d eaten each of the previous afternoons for the past week. As I sat there with the snack on my desk, plotting what I was going to say if he came back and asked how I liked it, I realized what I was doing. Was it really worth going to all this trouble just so I could have “my snack”? No, it wasn’t. In that moment, I opened up the package, and popped the first piece into my mouth. Pleasantly enough, I actually liked it. As insignificant as that one incident may seem, it was symbolic. Because it was me choosing recovery over the eating disorder, choosing freedom over manipulation, choosing Jesus over me.
And what it’s resulted in, has been an inexplicable, unjustifiable, peace, and a deep, deep, joy that I have not felt in quite some time.