Contributor: Laura W., alumni for Timberline Knolls
Hope once seemed bleak and distant- a word so impossible that the name wounded my soul. Hope seemed like something so out of reach. Hope was the light at the end of the tunnel, but I felt trapped in the darkness with no way out.
Hope became masked in years of every variation of the eating disorder realm: starving, bingeing, purging, swallowing laxatives and diet pills in hopes that the pain would go away. My hope was focused on and about me. My hope was in myself, and I was drowning.
My distortion of hope to save me from my own circumstance left me broken, hospitalized, and in captivity to a cold, lonely bathroom floor. My hope in my eating disorder, I was told, nearly cost me my life.
Hope Through the Hardship and Pain
I think the lie we tend to believe about hope is that those with hope can’t at the same time experience hardship and pain. We hope for a change in circumstance or for a miraculous healing, and sometimes those things just don’t come… But maybe the most beautiful part of hope is that the circumstances we are placed in now are not all there is.
I have been out of residential treatment for two and a half years now, and I still have difficult days. In fact, in the past eight months I have had some of the hardest days of my life. I have had to fight harder than I ever have before.
Feeling Joy in Hope
But I would also say that in these same moments- the moments where suffering and battling feel so unbearable- that I have felt the most beautiful joy. My hope is greater than me. God has ransomed my heart, called me His own, and fights on my behalf.
Tim Keller states, “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dare believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope.”
We Do Not Fight Alone
The truth is, the struggle is beautiful. Our struggling produces endurance and fixes our eyes on the hope to come…and on the hope at this very moment. We do not fight alone. We do not battle in vain.
So now, when flashbacks occur of some of the darkest hours of my past or when my heart’s desire is to run back to the numbness of my eating disorder, I remember the hope set before me, a hope that is not a fairy-tale imagination hope. This hope is real, true, and beautiful, and it produces confidence in the fight.
We are not promised a life without pain, but we are promised hope through the storm. Keep fighting, friends. What hope will you choose to cling to?
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
Where have you found your source of hope and strength in your journey to eating disorder recovery?
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 18th, 2014
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com