TRIGGER WARNING: eating disorder behavior in detail
At a meal in residential, I placed my napkin in my lap as I was accustomed to doing. The staff person at my table said, “Peggy, no napkins in laps, please.” Innocently and ignorantly, I asked, “What, why?” truly not having a clue why this was a rule.
Residential was full of rules that made no sense to me, many only discovered when I tried to commit the offense and was corrected. I am a good girl, well behaved, and a rule follower. I hated learning the rules this way, especially since it was almost always in front of a few other clients at least.
The staff person just gave me a look, and I understood. Most of the rules exist because a previous client struggled with a behavior. A lot of behaviors (and therefore, the rules) were beyond my understanding, as they had nothing to do with my experience of having an eating disorder.
This past weekend, I discovered why I wasn’t allowed to put my napkin in my lap. For the past two days, all food before dinner has been tasted, chewed, and spit into a napkin. I get to taste the pizza, Oreos, Chick-Fil-A…but not ingest the calories. I even felt pretty full, just from the sensation of tasting and chewing. WIN.
Ana is very clever. When you start to defeat her in her rules, she creates new ones. She always has plan B ready and waiting in the wings, ready when you start to feel a sense of strength and confidence about recovery.
I went to church yesterday. I believe that having anorexia has brought me back to faith in Jesus. I believe that I understand things about God that I didn’t before. How he leaves the 99 sheep to chase down the lost one. How He doesn’t give up, no matter how far we roam. I’m working on the part about Him loving me the same, despite ten years of completely living without Him. I am grateful for His reckless love that chases me. I understand the lyrics below in a way I couldn’t have before. This is how God turns ashes to beauty. In these lyrics, especially the ones in bold, I have a deep connection to how God sees me and how His grace is even possible.
Reckless Love by Cory Asbury:
When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me.
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.