One of my dear friends and I seem to discuss fairly regularly whether Jesus experienced the troubles that we experience during his life. I'm pretty sure that most Christians (and I mean people who try to live like Jesus, not the "Christians" who burn Planned Parenthood clinics) believe that Jesus did experience every sort of temptation that people face. After all, the Bible says, "We don't have a priest" (the priest is Jesus) "who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin." Basically what Paul is saying here is that Jesus did have to face down every sort of temptation, but never gave into any of it.
But I can't help but wonder (and my friend wonders along with me) -- did Jesus dealing with an eating disorder? Did he have body image issues? Did he ever want to binge or starve himself or overexercise?
It's weird to look at it that way, right? I mean, how did Jesus have time for having bulimia or anorexia or compulsive overeating in between raising people from the dead? It's like saying Mother Theresa was a cutter. It's crazy.
But it's also comforting, because I think that God does know about eating disorders, that he sees the struggle and the inner torment. I know that when I was in the full thrall of anorexia, my faith suffered in a major way. I kept asking myself -- how can I claim to be a Christian, to be a person who tries to live like Jesus, the embodiment of love, when I can't even love myself or take care of my own body? I felt like a hypocrite. And yet I believe that God saw that and instead of throwing down some smite on me, he was compassionate.
I was reminded of this when I was reading the Bible this morning. I came across this passage in Psalms:
When I kept it all inside,
my bones turned to powder,
my words became daylong groans.
The pressure never let up;
all the juices of my life dried up.
When I read that, I nearly cried because that is exactly what struggling with disordered eating feels like for me. My eating disorder had its greatest power over me when it was a secret, "when I kept it all inside." On the outside I was all smiles, but inside I was shriveling. And it wasn't long before that inner emotional death turned physical, "my bones [beginning to turn] to powder."
Still, all that isn't really new. There are countless personal stories of victories against ED available on the internet, stories in which we can easily learn what living with an eating disorder feelings like. But the crazy thing about this quote (for me) is the fact that it is in the Bible. It is included in this centuries-old document. Which leads me to believe that God really does know what my life with ED was/is like, that he really does see, and most importantly that he cares. How amazing is that?
Have you ever received faith-related revelation or encouragement regarding your daily struggles and temptation?