Monday, January 25, 2010

Listening to the Liar

"You don't deserve to be loved. You are detestable, ugly.  Even your own parents rejected you, how could you possibly think that any one would ever love you.  You aren't good enough.  You'll never amount to anything."

I've been listening to these statements for over a decade.  Psychologists will tell you its negative self-talk the product of low self-esteem.  I'm not convinced.  I believe its Satan trying to mess with me.  If its me beating myself up its never in the third-person its in the first-person, "I shouldn't have done that, I don't think I'm enough."  Third person its an attack. 

Satan wants nothing more then to destroy life and for so many years he has been hassling me.  I didn't realise it at first but most 13 year olds don't dream of growing up to be a prostitute or being absolutely convinced that they would be dead by 26.  I'm not sure that I thought that this was normal, obviously I didn't voice some of this until many years later but it was my 'normal'.

When you're abused at such a young age you develop coping mechanism to survive.  I'm still discovering what some of mine are but God is revealing them to me one at a time.  Some of these coping mechanisms can become sinful and are ungodly.  I know that, for me, having believed the lie that I was going to die when I was 26 (which sounds ludicrous - but was a very real fear) has led to certain patterns of behaviour and certain lifestyle choices which are sinful and destructive.  I am so grateful that Jesus has broken death and that for the first time in years I don't feel as though I'm living with a time bomb about to explode.

I was talking to one of my closest friends today about honesty and integrity in relationships.  So often we try to cover up our sin or dress it up and justify, we try to manage it rather then repenting of it.  Well on my way to 28 now I am having to repent of my sinful behaviour.  This is an incredibly humbling experience.

For years I've spent money and ate myself into obesity.  I have spent money that wasn't mine and racked up large debts partly because I didn't know how to manage the resources I did have, partly because I was going to be dead when I was 26 and I didn't care that my parents may be left with a large debt to pay off.    Now I'm working this out with God and with people I trust to give me wise and prudent advice, I don't resent the debt because it represents my own sin, nor do I expect someone to come riding out of the sunset to save me from the hard work of paying it off.  God has blessed me with a well paid job and I have absolutely no choice but to rest in him to get me through this next stage in my life because I've tried to do it my way and it hasn't really worked out well.

Food has always been a problem for me.  I've seen mum go on diet after diet her weight yo-yoing as regularly as her mood.  Mum definitely modelled emotional eating well for me but I don't hold her responsible for my poor decisions. 

I think my eating has a number of key motivators - listening to Satan's lies I believed I deserved to die.  Some people choose to slit their wrists or swallow a cocktail of drugs.  I chose eating.  For me it was a more socially acceptable way of killing myself, and the best part about it was that it was a long slow shameful death. 

I didn't want anyone to get close to me, in both a literal and a metaphorical sense.  I've begun referring to my fat as 'scar tissue'.  I think its the best way to describe what it is.  The hurt, pain, soul deep pain of my history of abuse has made me fear people getting too close to me.  Of guys finding me attractive or beautiful, of anyone thinking I'm desirable.  Although I long for someone to fold me in their arms and tell me they love me - I fear it just as much. 

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see glimpses of beauty but they are fleeting.  Most of the time I see a fat ugly women who has eaten her feelings and needs to get off her lazy arse and do some exercise.  I know that I am overly harsh and critical of myself and I do have to remember that God has shown me grace I should show myself some.  If I ask the God who created me from scratch to forgive me for not being a good steward of the body he gave me and he forgives me what does it say about me if I refuse to forgive myself?  Effectively it is pride, its okay for God to forgive but I have to work it off for myself. Under all the 'scar tissue' there is a little four year old girl who is scarred and lonely. 

God is transforming me and as I become more confident in His love for me through Jesus I know I will blossom...I already feel like I am so much more alive now that I know that a lot of the thoughts that run through my head are lies.  Get behind me Satan in the name of Jesus, Get behind me!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I've often felt as though I needed to have my stuff all figured out and neatly packaged before I could be of any help to God.  So I've discovered that's a load of crap.  It is at my weakest when I'm holding tenaciously to the Cross of Christ that he has used me the most.  Perseverance in the face of suffering, I am learning, is one of the greatest witnesses to those around you.  Standing firm in your faith though your knees are quaking and basking in God's light has taught me to never question how useful you can be simply by being obedient and honest despite how you may be feeling.  And so God is using me...and its petrifying and exciting and humbling and scary all mixed into one jumbled emotional package, cleverly disguised behind a sense of humour.

Piece by piece God is turning my heart around, bringing me to an understanding that I am loved abundantly by him and that his love for me and for all mankind brought him to pay a ransom with the high cost of his son's life.  Jesus, brought me life and I am precious to him.  He has clothed me in white and I am pure and blameless in his sight.  How incredibly amazing is this gift. 

I've lived so much of my life up to this point feeling unworthy, unlovable, grotesque, ugly, small, insignificant and dirty.  The truth is...apart from Jesus, I am all these things.  BUT by God's amazing indescribable grace I have a new identity in Christ.  One marked by love, beauty, greatness, significance and holiness.  There is no shame.  As my confidence in Christ grows and I come to a greater understanding of his love for me and what it means to be renewed I am being changed.

I notice that I'm looking people in the eye more.  Feeling more beautiful and lovely.  Standing confidently taller.  Hiding myself less and making myself more vulnerable to those I trust.  Opening up my heart to hurt and disappointment but also to love and hope and infinite possibilities. 

I still have a long way to go and know that I need to pray and meditate on the Word to guard myself against Satan, sin and his effects.  But, with the Holy Spirit's help I am becoming the lady that Jesus desires for me to be.