I made a promise that I could not keep. But maybe, just as terrifying as the fact that I could not keep my promise of “stopping it,” was the fact that my fiancé had confidence that I could stop it. He thought I could stop it. We both did. What was wrong with me? Again, the only answer I could come up with was questioning my salvation. Instead of my fears driving me to Christ, they drove me on a path to prove my Christianity, to prove my salvation. My fears drove me on the path called “isolation.” Telling someone and asking for help, in my mind, was equivalent to saying, “My Christianity is not real.” A candy-coated lie, whose center was poison from Hell. My view of sin and my view of grace were shallow. I was blinded to my pride. Failing to see that my attempts to “quit,” according to the terms that I had laid down for myself, was merely a works-righteousness in disguise. I equated my victory over bulimia with salvation accomplished, unknowingly taking the victory from the hand of my Deliverer. I saw bulimia as something I needed to conquer rather than something from which I needed to be saved, and this belief was the final nail in the coffin. This was the trajectory that sent me spiraling down a self-defeating cycle of destruction and defeat. Let me try this on my own, in my own strength. (Sound familiar? Like Old Testament style?) My enemy was pride, and so I set off to conquer, in my own strength, an evil whose weapons far surpassed my own.
For a girl that grew up in a Christian home and could never remember NOT knowing “the gospel,” I did not have the faintest clue that what I needed to hear was the gospel. I’ve told you how the only prayer I would allow myself to pray was “Jesus, HELP ME!!!” I did not know that my prayer had to change. I did not know that at the core of my prayer for help was the poison of self-help. I was too scared to pray the prayer that I really needed to pray. I was too scared to pray it, because I was afraid it would cancel my Christianity.
There was something I did not yet understand about Christianity. I believed that the gospel was for those at the beginning of their journey with Jesus. I believed the gospel was something that you moved on from, and, in wrapping up the gospel in a nice package, I had left it at the beginning of my timeline with Jesus. But I needed to go back. I needed to go back and open the package that had first set me free. I needed to go back and open that package and cling to it with all my strength and never, ever let go. The prayer I needed to pray was “Jesus, SAVE ME!”
Yes, the gospel saves unbelievers, but its job is far from over. The very gospel that opens our eyes from the first moment is the gospel that continues to save us, and it is this same gospel that is our only hope for the future that we will still be believing on that final day. The very last day I purged was a day that the beauty and greatness of the gospel grew far beyond the reaches that I had ever known it could go. But, I had a long way yet to go to get to this place – to that final purge. Five more years of praying “Jesus, help me!” Then, when my five years were complete, it took but one horrific moment for my prayer to change from “Jesus, help me” to “Jesus, save me!” It is not a moment that I have offered to share with others when I tell people of my deliverance. I am able to share a deliverance story without it fairly easily. But it was in that very terrifying moment, God changed my prayer.