Category Archives: Scripture

Hey there Johnny boy

I’m reading through John this week. Not sure why… I felt a little Holy Spirit nudge so I’m going along with it.

I have found something I wasn’t even looking for. I believe I may have found the most confusing verse EVER for people with eating disorders:

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give you. On him God the father has placed his seal of approval.” -John 6:27

An anorexic brain may filter this verse to say, “God approves of you not eating.” And add a little footnote or commentary: “Refusing food will make you more spiritual.”

Obviously, the eating disordered interpretation of this verse is sorely wrong. Jesus’ words here are a response to the crowd following him the day after he miraculously fed all 5,000+ of them with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 little fishies. Upon further reflection and a little help from WIlliam Barclay‘s commentary (thanks to my very Scottish grandmother for giving me a set of Barlcay commentaries!) I gained a little more insight.

This crowd came looking for Jesus because they wanted more bread. Jesus sees right through them. The crowd of people missed the point of Jesus’ miracle entirely! Jesus does far more than give bread for the belly. These people saw God work miraculously, and all they seem to care about is their physical hunger. They saw GOD HIMSELF and all they want now is a snack. Come ON. Jesus’ words in verse 27 don’t show God’s approval of anorexic starvation… instead He is pointing to the truth that He is the only one who can satisfy our spiritual hunger. Bread and fish will never satisfy our longing for truth, for love, for life, for guidance, for belonging. Only Jesus can satisfy those needs!

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In Mark 9:14-29, the disciples encounter a man with his young lad who is possessed by a demon. The father finds Jesus and tells him, “I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” After Jesus casts out the demon, the disciples ask him why they were unable to do so. Jesus replies, “This kind can only come out by prayer.”

Apparently, the disciples didn’t even pray before trying to exorcise the demon from the boy! Or perhaps they didn’t pray rightly. In either case, the truth behind this passage is that we must maintain constant prayer and recognize that we can’t cast out demons without the strength and guidance of Jesus.

I think the same goes with eating disorders. I’m not expert on demons or spiritual warfare, but maybe some anoretics, bulimics, and people with over-eating disorder have some food demons latched onto them. This could be taken literally or figuratively. I think that an essential part of recovery (which is a lifelong process for some) is prayer. Praying against temptations to throw up or restrict or overeat or over-exercise. Praying for renewal and strength from the Lord. Praying for guidance and wisdom when it comes to recovery. Praying for strong relationships and friendships in order to get the support you need. And prayer to bring us out of our self-centered worlds to see others while we work through healing.

P.S. fun fact: this post was difficult to type because I got bit by a fawn and have a bandage on my pointer finger. who gets bit by a deer?? Seriously.

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Scripture connections

I seem to have forgotten I have a blog…. oops! Work has kept me very busy this summer! I want to share a few scriptures that have spoken to me lately about eating disorders. (Of course, I recognize that these verses were not written about EDs, however I think that the Truth behind them can apply to different situations.)

“The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” -John 10:10

For men and women who struggle with anorexia, the temptation to stop eating is overpowering at times. Evil comes to rob life from  us… the very thing that gives us life – food! The Lord is a living God and wants to give us abundant life, that includes food. For some of us, this simple truth is incredibly difficult to grasp when all we can think about it how to keep ourselves from eating.

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” -Psalm 81:10

A friend read me this verse and said to me, “I think this eating disorder is like your Egypt. God wants to deliver you and fill you.” !! The theme of  the Israelite exodus is deliverance, liberation from captivity. This verse speaks to me because I think that God wants to deliver us from our disordered eating, not keep us stuck in slavery to food.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” -James 3:16

I’m doing a study on James this summer, and this verse stuck out to me not just because of the word disorder, but because of how I have experienced the truth behind this verse. EDs pull us into a selfish world where only food and our own bodies matter.

Again, I don’t claim to be an expert on Scripture, but I want to testify how the Lord has spoken to me through these verses. I hope that you or someone you know can find encouragement from these connections!

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Thoughts on Scripture

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

-Genesis 1:27

… Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves… and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

-Genesis 3:7-8

They were ashamed of their bodies! I’ve never realized this aspect of the creation story before. This is not something new or unique to people with eating disorders in the 21st century… this was one of the very first struggles that human beings experienced after the fall.

Therefore since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.

-2 Corinthians 4:1-2

For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven – God-made, not hand-made – and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. 

-2 Corinthians 5:1 (Message version)

I love chapters 4 & 5 of 2 Corinthians. And look! Other people struggle because they don’t feel fully at home in their earthly bodies. This experience of not feeling fully “shalom” (or well, or fully at peace) in the fleshly body is not something new. It goes even deeper into the human experience. For me, it’s comforting to know that people have experienced these same feelings about their bodies since the very beginning. I recognize that those feelings haven’t manifested themselves into eating disorders for all people, but I still see a connection. I don’t think that God wants us to have eating disorders, but perhaps He isn’t calling us to be entirely “at home” here either. I don’t think we’ll fully comprehend these things until we get our resurrection bodies and the Kingdom comes completely. And I am so looking forward to that day!! (Jesus, if you’re reading this, come back soon!)

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