BCC Staff Note: This resource is part of a Biblical Counseling Coalition series of testimonies by people who have received biblical counseling. Though anonymous, each testimony is from a real person who is excited to share how biblical counseling has benefited them. For additional testimonies in this BCC series, click here.
An All-Consuming Desire
Sin takes you further than you want to go and keeps you longer than you want to stay. At the age of fourteen, my desire for approval and affirmation manifested itself in the beginning of an eight-and-a-half-year battle with bulimia. The desire to lose weight became the driving force of my life as I was willing to go to any lengths to get it.
My heart’s desires were evident in my behaviors. Binging and purging, counting calories, obsessing about my size and weight were all outward manifestations of a heart that was insecure, fearful of others, and longed for comfort from life’s circumstances. My security, confidence, and surety as a person waivered. When I was fearful of others’ opinions or desired to gain their approval by a “thinner” appearance, I would flee to binging and purging. When the circumstances of life brought pressure, heartache, and pain, binging and purging became my comfort.
The desire to be thin and gain the attention of others became consuming. Sin promised happiness but brought much disappointment, despair, and destruction. The way of the transgressor is hard and heavy (Proverbs 13:15). When my efforts to change or stop my behavior were unsuccessful, I gave up and began to indulge in sin in many areas. Hope of changing dissipated. I knew the way I was living was not pleasing to the Lord and the weight of my sin was upon me (Psalm 38:3-4). I would cry out to God to help me, to change me, and to deliver me, but would find no relief because I loved my sin more than I loved Him.
I Needed a Savior
The misery my sin caused me brought me to seek help. After secular counseling, a treatment facility, and medication, my resolutions for change fizzled and hopes were dashed as the behaviors always returned. I was trying to find a solution to my problem, but the coping mechanisms the world had to offer were not enough. I knew what I was doing was “bad” and felt guilty, but I was trying to reckon with my problem as a “disease.” The efforts and attempts of secular help systems left me hopeless because it never provided the solution my soul needed.
All the solutions to my “problem” were never sufficient because sin calls for a Savior. Seeing my behavior as a disease, a problem, or a disorder could only provide short-term relief. My binge/purge cycles, my obsession with appearance, my despairing soul and countenance needed much more than coping mechanisms and strategies—I needed a Savior.
A Worship Disorder
The Lord began to show me my obsession with self and food was more than a “problem”—it was a worship disorder of the soul. The Lord began to lift the heavy burden of my sin. He kindly called me to turn my eyes upon Him (Romans 2:4) and granted me grace as He began to show me He was the only One who could satisfy the deepest longings of my heart (Psalm 145:16). He alone is my Refuge, my Deliverer, my Stronghold (Psalm 18:1-3).
My years in slavery to food were years spent worshiping the creation (food, weight, calories, appearance, the approval of others, and comfort) rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25). I loved myself more than Christ. The Lord opened my eyes to begin to understand that I was sinning against Him. Hope was restored because Christ came to save sinners. He came to proclaim liberty to those held captive (Isaiah 62:1).
Consuming Desire for Christ
The Lord began to turn my heart from my love of food to Him. Seeing my sin as it was, allowed me to seek and find much forgiveness at the foot of Calvary (1 John 1:9). Because I had built habits and patterns of sin in my life, I needed the help of others. I could not afford to make provision for my flesh (Romans 13:14). I had people and friends in my life to hold me accountable—to pray for me, encourage me, and point me to Jesus. I set up “guard rails” to keep me from sin, like giving others my monetary resources so I would not be tempted to buy binge food, avoiding certain foods for a time, and meditating on Scripture in time of temptation. I became accountable for the food I ate.
I began to rely upon the grace of God to cover me, instead of trying to atone for my own sin. The Lord in His kindness showed me that giving-in to a binge did not license me to cover myself from the sin of overeating by purging, rather it gave me the opportunity to turn to Christ, seek His forgiveness, and find much grace and mercy at His feet. God’s Word became sweet and alive to me as I would fill my mind with the truths of Scripture. His Word restored my soul (Psalm 19:7). He remained faithful in my unfaithfulness.
Jesus Is Better
Sin may look attractive and may whisper promises of success, comfort, and approval. However, by the grace of God I am convinced and reminded each day Jesus is better. The Lord has allowed me to taste and see of His goodness (Psalm 34:8). He is better than the fleeting promises of sin. His sweetness, His compassion, His grace, His power, His mercy, and His steadfast love are better than attaining a certain number on the scale or clothing size. His compassion is greater and sweeter than the fleeting comfort that comes from a jar of peanut butter. His kindness is richer and deeper than anything the world has to offer. His steadfast love is better than life (Psalm 63:3).
It is not because of my efforts, or my fears of the harm it was doing to my body, or because I found the strength to put to death the deeds of my flesh that I no longer am enslaved to the practices of bulimia. It is because God in His grace, through His Word, and through His people, reminds me JESUS IS BETTER.
I have tasted and seen He is good. My Savior has lived perfectly for me. He always ate perfectly on my behalf, knowing I would not (Hebrews 2:17). He died in my stead. He rose victoriously over sin and death so I too can be victorious and live free from the enslavement of sin (Colossians 2:12). I cannot say I never desire sin. I desire Christ more than sin because He has washed and cleansed me and calls me His own (1 Corinthians 6:11). Understanding His great love for me in Christ continues to compel me to love Him and live a life of honor and worship to Him (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Drawn Back to Calvary
I have by no means obtained perfection. My struggle with food has looked different in various seasons of life. There are days when temptation sets in and my flesh wages war in my soul, and my mind begins to fixate on my appearance and others’ opinion of me. But the power of Christ reigning in me draws me back to Calvary, to His saving grace and mercy.
I still struggle with fear and wanting comfort and ease more than the Savior, but the Lord continues to grow me, reminding me who He is and what He has done on my behalf. I am continually learning to rest in the finished work of Christ on my behalf.
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