Faith and Fasting: How to Use Spiritual Practice to Enhance Your Recovery

Image: @iamdiana

As Jessica has said in many podcasts, spirituality can be very helpful in eating disorder recovery. For me, my Christianity has been an integral part of my recovery.

Christians around the world are now in the season of Lent. If you don’t know what Lent is, it’s the forty days leading up to Easter. During this time, it’s common for believers to prepare for Easter and remember the sacrifice of Jesus by fasting from food. Even though food is something that people have historically fasted from, it’s not really about the food. It’s more about feasting on God.

As someone who struggled with an eating disorder, fasting from food is obviously not something that I would do (or really recommend that anyone do). Fasting doesn’t always have to do with food though.

This year, my church recommended a different kind of fasting. Suggestions such as fasting from Facebook, TV, or even talking about politics were made. This was a kind of fasting that I could get on board with!

Their suggestions were great, but I decided to take a different route. Although I’m much better about it than I used to be, I still catch myself mentally scrutinizing my body far too often. If I truly believe that God made me with his beautiful design, I shouldn’t be doing this so often! So, I decided that I was going to fast from negative self-talk about my body.

How exactly did I do this?

I decided that each time I thought something negative about the way I looked, I would replace it with a prayer or positive thought about my body.

Prayer was really huge. Wherever I was when a negative thought came, I would ask God to help me to be thankful for my body. To help me love it and appreciate it the way He does. We’re now towards the end of Lent, and this practice has really helped me.

Here are a few of my biggest revelations and take aways from this Lent experiment.

1. Look out for winks from God

Winks from God are things that happen that are more than coincidence. Those things that just feel like a divine intervention.

At the end of yoga class the other day, and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Immediately a flood of negative thoughts about my body came to mind. I tried to think of something positive, but nothing was really coming. I decided just to pray for God to help me appreciate and love my body more.

Right as I was doing this, a lady in the class came up to me. She said, “You work so hard. I admire your strength and determination.”  Wow. A compliment not directed towards my body, but to my strength and character.

Similar instances like this have happened more than once.  I consider them to be winks from God. He was using other people to speak truth to me and help me out. Watch out for these little things.

2. Start the day with music

Around the same time that I started this Lent experiment, my church began making Spotify playlists of the worship songs used on Sundays. I’m the world’s worst singer, but I love the music at my church. So, I’ve started listening to these playlists in the morning as I get ready.

Listening to positive, spiritual music as I get ready for the day has reminded me to remember what really matters. My make-up and hair really isn’t that important in the big scheme of life. Starting the day with music has also made me in a better mood overall.

So if you don’t listen to music in the morning, try it out! You don’t have to listen to worship music, listen to whatever motivates you (perhaps the one of these playlists). It can really help set the tone for your day.

3. Ask for what you want

When you’re really struggling to find those positive thoughts, just ask.

Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 

Keep praying for God to change your heart and mind. Pray that you will see yourself the way He sees you.

You might not totally love yourself or your body at every moment of every day. And that’s totally okay. Just give it to God. Turn the negative though into a moment of prayer. With time, the thoughts will lessen.

Give it a try, Warriors. What is something unconventional that you can try fasting from?

 

 

2 Comments

  • Wow- I love this so much. Thank you for sharing your heart. God is doing great things through you!

  • Nicki says:

    YES YES.
    I did Lent last year and it entirely changed my mindset. Went from full on eating disorder to rarely struggling with food. As you said, it’s NOT about the fast, it’s about focusing your mind on God (y)
    Happyy for you! God is AMAZING.

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