Monday, January 16, 2012

Anorexia: Body or Soul?

And this is beautiful?

To be honest, I have been at a loss as to what to write next. I cannot discern whether the focus should shift to more nutrition and cooking posts, or if I ought to continue on the Becoming a Fair Lady side of things. Then a friend emailed me and it sparked these thoughts on Anorexia - is it depravity or a disease? Recently, so many ills have been attributed to a complaint of the body. Just like we have naturalized history, philosophy, and ethics, we are now naturalizing morality. Before I push any more buttons, however, let me clarify what I mean by "naturalization".

It is simply this: we have removed all possibility of a spiritual realm from the mind, soul, and body. As a culture, we have denied the fact that there is more to what goes on in our life than mere chemical reactions. When scientists and philosophers claimed "there is no God," they took the Creator away from His creation, stripped the reason from the rhyme. Now all with which we are left are chemicals and reflexes, guided by nothing and going nowhere. This is what I am edging towards when I say we have naturalized morality. It can all be blamed on the neurotransmitters.

Do I deny the biology? No, of course not. We know there are chemical reactions in our bodies which trigger such and such behaviour or movement. I am not out to bash the hard labour of many scientists because I am afraid of the science. But I do not worship science, I worship God. And I embrace the beauty which God shows of Himself through science.

So, where does that leave us? Well, it clears the way for me to answer the question of this post. Is Anorexia a disease of the body or a disease of the mind? Could my outrageous behaviour have been explained solely by chemistry gone wrong? And, whatever the answer is, what are the implications for my life and yours?

Considering everything I said about anorexia before, it is probably obvious I think it is a deceit, a blinding, a sin. There, I said it. After living through it, I can honestly say it is a decision, determined one even if unconscious, to grasp for control of your body and bow down to Man's wishes for your life. Did that throw you off a bit? Well, now I will throw the other camp off a bit. I think there are real physiological issues going on in an anorexic. I can just see everybody shaking their heads. How does this work? Well, my belief is that God designed the human body to house the human soul, amazingly fashioning it to provide a way for us to serve its Creator. How then can we separate the soul from the body? To deny either is to fall into dangerous ditches on both sides of the road.

Now, to marry these two seemingly opposing thoughts, and to bring both under Christ's authority, let us dissect this a little more closely. Take Girl, bombarded with lies, lusting after the idols of her heart, and rejecting the truth of Scripture in favor of worldly demands. She decids to sin. Her heart enticed her to sin. The heart is, as someone wise said, deceitful above all things. Then what happens? She is ensnared in the path of Thin and cannot turn back. A pig likes its mire (it is a harsh analogy, but true). No matter how waif-like she becomes, she will never see herself as anything other than fat because she will never be satisfied with the amount of control she has in her grip. An idol never satisfies, right? Once she achieves some of her wicked goals, the body, not just the mind, starts to break down. Biologically speaking, Girl's homeostasis is ditched and all her feedback functions are fried. The dynamic equilibrium of the body is not so dynamic nor is it so equal. She could not fight back even if she wanted to! Her hormones withered, her sensory abilities flew to Hawaii, and her once coordinated systems are now either warring each other or too weak to put up a fight - against good or bad. God designed the body beautifully to protect itself from a whole host of things, but sin, sin infects all. Creation does groan under the weight of this horrific load. Thus Girl's body. It started with a choice.

There are those who do not admit this choice. Both the "healers" and the "doers" in the world of Anorexia do not want to admit that this is sin. To do that would bring along with the concession ramifications they feel best left alone. What sinner wants to face perfection, and what darkness does not flee light? Not too long ago, I watched a documentary called Dying to Be Thin. Droll name, no? I appreciated much of what it said. I was happy someone was talking about it at all. But it left me feeling empty. Why? Well, its only solution the anorexic problem was therapy and a new method of boosting neurotransmitters so patients once more have a realistic perception of what they look like. Hmmm. I could tell I was painfully thin when I was there, but I never admitted it because I would have to give up control and since I was never satisfied, I reasoned a few more pounds shed would not be too bad. This is not a problem of neurotransmitters, but a deceptive heart. What hope does biological therapy hold for someone caught in Anorexia's web? At best, a life of counting calories to eat the bare minimum to lead a relatively normal life with a few trips to therapy centers when you cannot cope any longer. That is not living, that is surviving. And it certainly is not being a Fair Lady for your Prince.

My point is a purely biological answer has no hope whatsoever for a brighter future.

Thank God for being God, rather than us! There is an answer, and it does not come in a pill or self image classrooms. It comes through a shock to your soul, a piercing of your heart, and an awakening of your mind. It is radical, and it is lasting. It is a divine healing to a spiritual problem. It is called salvation. And predestination, and justification, and sanctification, and, well, you get the idea. It is the life of God in the soul of man as never seen apart from Him. We need a spiritual Conqueror to fight this spiritual battle. And that conqueror is Christ, who now acts in you through His Spirit. He must wrap your heart in His hands and break it from all those horrid desires which has encircled it. He must tear the blinders from our eyes, so long accustomed to trapping us in a path to living hell. Remember Girl? There was no way she could have fought herself out of trouble. Neither could I. That is why only He is the answer to the problem of Anorexia. It is exchanging a lie for a truth, an idol for the God. Once Christ is fighting for us, who can be against? What neurotransmitters can get in the way of their Creator? In Him we can overcome the biological hurdles and leap into a new life. It is not so much an issue of mind over matter as it is Master over matter.
And that gives me hope. Real, true hope. Hope that I do not have to struggle with Anorexia forever, like all those people out there say I will. It means this evil root will be plucked from my heart, never to bother me again, unlike psychologists' assertions that I must be placed in wards and under supervision for the rest of my life for fear I may spiral back to the pit. It means that all those girls who grovel in this situation do not have to grovel anymore. You do not have to fight forever. You are not anorexic, you are a sinner who can be SAVED! One of the things Papa always told me through this was that I was not wedded to this label. I did not have to be marked anorexic like a jar is marked pickles for the rest of my life. I could and should be free. But that only comes through a spiritual transformation. It comes through smashing the jar and forming a chalice instead.

I like that a lot better. What do you want?


  1. This. is. your. best. writing. yet.

  2. Thanks, Beth. It really came from the heart. I just pray God will use it as He sees fit!



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