Anorexia and Freedom: No Exceptions, No Exclusions, No Exemptions to God’s Power, Part 2

Anorexia can be daunting, especially if you are watching someone you love suffer. But Beauty Beyond Bones blogger, Caralyn, says sufferers can get free of eating disorders. When it comes to anorexia and freedom, there are no exceptions, no exclusions, no exemptions to the hope God offers, she says. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Caralyn smiles at the future with great advice for those seeking victory over anorexia.

 

Caralyn won our hearts with her open, beautiful way of talking so authentically!

“You’re on a mission to save the person from themselves,” emphasizes Caralyn. “Eating disorders are all about control and they (the sufferers) are not going to be keen about giving up that control.”

When someone we love struggles with an eating disorder, like anorexia, people all around the sufferer are affected. How can we help?

To hear the full conversation and all the personal stories Caralyn shared from her own life, go to CathyKrafve.com

Get Professional Help Now

If you suspect someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder, don’t wait to get help. Truly, your loved one needs to be under professional care immediately, according to Caralyn.

“Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. They need doctors; they need therapist,” declares Caralyn. “Sufferers need professional dietitians. They need professional supervision because their body is literally wasting away. The organs are shutting down. The body is feeding off of itself for fuel to stay alive as a last ditch effort.” 

Loved ones who see the pain will want to offer comfort, but how? Further complicating things, sufferers use their appearance as a way of pushing people away, Caralyn says.

“People are wearing the illness on their bodies. They’re skeletal. They’re gaunt,” says Caralyn, adding, their appearance fills an important function even so. “It’s the walking billboard for their inner brokenness.” 

In families and churches, we need to talk.

How Do We Begin the Right Conversations?

When was the last time you heard the word anorexia mentioned in church? Perhaps in a whispered confession by a close friend. Maybe.

“Anorexia and eating disorders are so misunderstood. There’s such a stigma around them, like they’re some vanity disease,” says Caralyn. “That’s part of the reason I didn’t want to tell anyone I had an eating disorder. How could I call myself a Christian and have this vanity disease?” She says pride and concern for her family’s reputation kept her from asking for help.

Yet, churches need to address the hard topics we all face daily, including how mental illness is affecting families. So, I asked Caralyn what influential people can say at church to break down barriers to these important conversations? 

For instance, body image is a great place to introduce eating disorders as a topic for open discussion, suggests Caralyn. Naturally, everybody deals with body image in one way or another. (For fun, easy ways to inspire confidence in your kids, click here.)

We Can All Relate to Stress

Lately, she’s been speaking to churches who find her via her blog. (Click here to sign up for her wonderful blog.) Every time she speaks, she feels humbled. She finds people are interested because we can all relate to struggling. 

“There’s a common thread. Daily life is stressful. There’s a vein that runs through (my story) that everyone can relate to. I think people shy away from talking about anorexia because it really makes people uncomfortable.” But, once the topic is opened up for discussion, people respond with compassionate hearts. (For more info about how mental illness affects families, click here.)

No Exceptions, No Exclusions, No Exemptions

Caralyn recommends persistence as one of your best tools for getting through to people who are suffering with anorexia or any eating disorder. Love them, no exceptions, no exclusions, no exemptions.

“Keep it up and do not let them slip through the cracks,” she says. Knowing how to communicate you commitment is powerful. She suggests comments like these: 

  • I care about you and I’m going to keep caring about you. 
  • We are going to keep loving you. 
  • We love you enough to not let this be brushed under the rug. 
  • I see these things happening and let’s talk about it.

“You’ve got to do it (speak up about anorexia) with prudence and compassion and empathy,” she says, “Shining a big ole spot light on it, starting a conversation, I think people will find a lot more people who can relate than expected.” (Why churches need to talk openly about tough topics, here.)

Anorexia and Freedom

With the words—no exceptions, no exclusions, no exemptions—Caralyn explains how much freedom God offers us all in His Son, Jesus. “I want to shout it from the rooftops!” God offers forgiveness, power, and hope.

“Obviously the weight loss is a glaring red flag. It seems “kind of counterintuitive, but there’s shame associated with how skeletal you look,” adds Caralyn. (For more on the spiritual battle associated with anorexia, please find Caralyn’s personal story here.She describes shame as this horrible weight that presses on you. 

“Shame corrupts our way of thinking about ourselves,” she explains. “Shame says, ‘You are too just far gone. What you’ve done or what you’ve been through is so terrible that you are exempt from God’s love, from His forgiveness, His redemption, His healing.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth! In fact, the idea of no exceptions, no exclusions, no exemptions speaks to the core of the ministry God has opened up for Caralyn. 

You Shall Live!

Ezekiel 37:5 has become one of Caralyn’s favorite verses: Thus says the Lord God to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.’”

“Jesus comes and He breathes life. For me that’s how I got rid of that shame is through the new Spirit God put in me,” she explains. We can all build up theses impenetrable barriers between us and God. 

“When we feel shame we want to keep anyone and everything at arms length,” she says, “We don’t want anyone to see the mess behind the smile we’re wearing. Or, we’re hiding under baggy clothes.” 

Caralyn says the message comes through loud and clear, “Stay away!” (For more wisdom from Sandy Bristow on how the devil wants to isolate us, click here.)

Caralyn reminds us to be courageous about speaking up when we see others suffering. She credits her youth pastor for getting in her face and insisting she get help. (For resources and her website, click here.If someone you love seems to have symptoms of anorexia or other eating disorders, I encourage you to contact Caralyn. For the symptoms, click here.)

May we pray together?

Good Father in heaven, oh, how we love you! You love us—no exceptions, no exclusions, no exemptions. In fact, You sent Your Son to seek us out. Jesus died for our sins. He took on the shame  we felt. By His resurrection, You free us—no exceptions, no exclusions, no exemptions. Give us grace to reach out and accept the free gift You offer today. Help us walk in Your resurrection power. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

We LOVE to hear from YOU!

How has a persistent friend thrown you a life line? When did you notice symptoms of suffering and what did you do? How could your church be more effective in addressing mental health?

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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