When I first entered recovery for an eating disorder I was in an anorexic phase, exercising extreme control over every bite of food that passed my lips. I had set a goal for a certain weight and had dropped way below that weight. Yet, every time I weighed, I thought, "Just one more pound." I began to hear this voice in my head when I looked at the scale that said, "It will never be enough!"
There were also times I lost control of my control and binged. I would go in the kitchen and search for the perfect food to satisfy my cravings. Each time it happened I'd eat and eat until I felt stuffed, but I kept eating hoping that something would satisfy the deep heart-hunger. And that voice would whisper ever so quietly, "It will never be enough."
After I joined a recovery group I began to see a common theme running through each person's story. The drinkers thought their next drink would be the drink that satisfied their thirsty hearts. The drug users thought their next hit would be the hit that would finally numb the pain they didn't want to feel. The shoppers thought their next purchase would be the purchase that would let them feel like they were good enough. The workaholics thought the next project would be the project that would calm their fear of failure. The people pleasers thought if they did enough good, the next relationship they had would be the one that filled their empty hearts. The controllers thought that if they could just gain enough control, they could feel safe. Even those who took charge of their health and worked out in the gym ended up thinking another hour there and another muscle built would be enough to calm their fear of getting fat or not being strong enough to stay safe. No matter what our "drug of choice" was, every one of us eventually came to the same conclusion, "It will never be enough!" I began to believe that the voice we heard was the Holy Spirit's. He was trying to wake us up to the fact that in spite of our faith, we were living in bondage to self-destructive sins.
My therapist suggested I look at the temptation to use an eating disorder behavior as an opportunity to turn to God. As a believer, that resonated with me. But when I first tried to turn to God in the face of a temptation, I was overwhelmed by the strength of the temptation. It was then that The Enemy began to mimic the Spirit's voice, speaking lies that hindered my recovery--lies like He won't be enough. He doesn't hear you. He doesn't see you. He doesn't love you enough to help you. You are so weak, He won't give you His strength. He won't really satisfy the longings in your soul. You are so needy, He won't help you this time. You are too much to be loved. You are not good enough to be loved. His love will never be enough."
There were times I walked in victory and experienced joy and there were times I was too hungry, too angry or too anxious, too lonely, and/or too tired to withstand the cravings and gave up early in the spiritual battle I was fighting. After one such failure, I walked into my therapist's office and shrunk down on her couch in shame. At some point I said that I hated the Enemy and she said, "Tell him!" She pulled a chair over and placed it in front of me and said, "Here he is! Talk to him." I don't remember what I said, but I do remember how quietly and timidly I said it. She had me move over and sit in the enemy’s chair and I spoke his familiar words with the same contempt and strength I had heard in my head so often. She had me move back and forth between the chairs. I battled the lies the enemy spoke with the truth. There was something about saying God's truth out loud that empowered me and I began to speak with confidence and authority and the enemy's voice began to grow quiet as I proclaimed God's truth. Then the enemy said, "You're such a failure God, can't love you." I became angry and cried out, "You are wrong! God loves me! There is nothing I can do to lose His love and there is nothing I can do to get Him to love me more. Christ's death proves that!" And there was this dead silence in the room and I knew I didn't need to move back to the chair to speak for the Enemy. We had gotten to the false core belief that I was unloved that was hindering me from turning to God when I needed Him the most. That core belief began to change that day.
Recovery brought God's truth to life for me and the others who attended the recovery group. We began to understand we were fearfully and wonderfully made and the needs we each had were written on our hearts by the Creator Himself. Those needs were originally designed to draw us to Him, and were not proof of our defectiveness. We began to understand that because we were living in a fallen world and had experienced trauma before we understood God and His power, we had begun to try to meet our needs and to protect our hearts in ways that were not godly. We began to understand that temptation didn't mean we were bad and instantly go to feelings of shame. Instead, we began to see them as opportunities to walk with Christ in such a way that His strength was manifested in our weaknesses. We began to accept and understand that we would be dealing with our temptations on a daily basis for the rest of our lives. In the beginning, many of us grieved that, but we soon realized that by walking with Christ and accepting His mercy and strength on a daily basis we got to know Him in ways we never thought we could. We learned that when we called on Him in our struggles, He doesn't roll His eyes and say, "Oh, here you go again." He simply meets us where we are and all we have to do is hold on to the truth until His strength and love sees us through our struggle. The Spirit's whisper, "It will never be enough" has melted into a firm belief that even when I fail to walk in victory, my God is enough!