For much of my life I did not understand why I was created the way that I was. I really struggled with low self esteem and feelings of low self worth. Although on the outside I appeared I “had it all together” it was just a facade. I never felt my opinion mattered or that my voice was important.
I have always been a little heavy set. As a child, there was always pressure on me to lose weight. A day would not go by that someone in my family would make a fat joke. As a result, I was always very self-conscious about my weight. I started dieting at the age of 9, but with very little success. At the age of 13, I really put it into high gear and lost a considerable amount of weight. This was reinforced by all of the positive messages I received, “You look great, you are getting so skinny”. These comments were fuel to my growing pursuit of perfection. This all continued, and by the age of 14 I was by definition an anorexic. I was never formally diagnosed but I displayed all of the classic symptoms. I had lost a considerable amount of weight and my obsession with caloric intake and exercise were at an all time high. By this time, school officials were becoming increasingly concerned for my health as they saw me continuing to lose weight. My parents were also urging me to eat. This was when binging and purging reared its ugly head. A friend of my sister was bulimic and she taught me how to “eat without consequences”. This was the beginning of my 13 year battle with bulimia.
My parents were not Christians, but by the grace of God, they put me in a Christian school. I understood from a young age my need for a Savior, and at the age of 6, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I have always loved the Lord, though I did not always serve Him the way I should have. I always new intellectually that He loved me and that He created me. I knew that my secret sin of binging and purging was hurting not only my physical body but it was hurting the heart of God. Despite all of this, I could not stop. I tried so many times to stop this behavior, but the reality is, it is more than a behavior, it is an addiction.
It was not until I had a true encounter with the Lord that I was set free from this addiction. It was not until I saw myself through God’s eyes that I was finally able to stop this destructive addiction from secretly controlling my life. I thought that I had hurt my body so badly that I would never be able to have children. The Lord truly healed me from the inside out. Today I have 3 year old twin daughters. I no longer let the number on the scale define me. The one who defines me is my Creator. His word says that I am the apple of His eye, and that He stitched me together in my mother’s womb and knows me from the inside out. I am valuable to Him! He loves me with an everlasting love. His love for me does not change, despite my imperfections. He loves me wholly, completely and unconditionally. His thoughts for me outnumber the sand on the shore: Psalm 139:17-18: 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
How precious to know that God will never leave us nor forsake us. When I finally understood the love of Christ for me, I was finally able to love myself and value myself. His amazing love and the power of the Holy Spirit broke all the chains of addiction, low self esteem and feelings of low self worth in my life. Today, I hold my head up high knowing that I am the daughter of The King of King and Lord of Lords. Today, I am able to serve Him without reservation and to sing songs of praise without the guilt of hypocrisy. I am a new creation! All the glory to our Lord!
~Cary Sanchez, LCSW