We sat across the table from each other, and there were thin girls walking in and out, and the smell of coffee and the young girl was twisting her hands.
She was telling me she enjoyed food. That she was looking forward to being released from the Eating Disorder Unit because she liked to cook food at home, and this isn’t uncommon for girls with eating disorders. When you have an eating disorder, food is all you think about. You write about it, dream about it, and prepare it for others. You just don’t let yourself eat it. Or, you do, but then you purge.
“So, I know you like food,” I said to her. “But what about your self? Do you like yourself?”
She stopped; sought the ceiling. Then looked back at me. “I’ve never really thought about it,” she said.
“Because until you like you, it doesn’t matter how much you like food,” I said. “Until you believe YOU are worth eating for, healing won’t be possible. It’s all about how you view yourself.”
Self-love is not a sin. Vanity is (excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments), but self-love is not. Self-love is being willing to die to sin so that you might live. FULLY live. Self-love is being willing to die to society’s expectations and believe in who God says you are: Loved. Redeemed. Forgiven. Accepted.
It doesn’t matter how well we take care of our kids, or our husband, or our dog. It doesn’t matter how nutritious the meals we cook, nor how much we exercise, nor the number of hours of sleep we get. One could say, “Without love of self, a healthy lifestyle is but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Until you learn to like the way your left ear hangs lower than your right; the way you limp a little when you walk, or the way you snort out laughter; until you learn to say “Thank you” to your body for bearing your babies and for carrying you through life and for pumping oxygen through your veins, you’ll never be able to truly love another person.
“The art of gentleness toward ourselves leads to being gentle with others,” writes Brennan Manning in Abba’s Child…
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