My parents never helped me with the low physical self-esteem that I had while growing up, so I stopped eating. Well, I would eat, but I’d vomit afterward, until my parents found out and disciplined me very harshly. Years passed, and the illness was always there in the background.

Now I am twenty-two, and the problem has gotten worse. First it was anorexia, and now it’s uncontrolled bulimia. My mind is controlled by anxious impulses…. I feel the worst of the worst because, even though I know the Word of God, I fall into the same trap every day. My flesh wins and it makes me mad that I don’t have enough willpower to get out of this…. Every day I feel like I’m dying and getting farther away from God.

Dear Friend,

We are so very sorry to hear about your illness! But we are glad that you have told us your story, because you have several beliefs that are causing you more distress.

We congratulate you for knowing the Word of God and wanting to be close to God. However, when you say that your “flesh” wins, you are making a contrast between what you believe God requires of you and what you find yourself doing each day. It is as if you think that your illness is sin and that, by having the illness, you are failing God. Because of your guilt and your inability to change, you become hopeless and you distance yourself from Him. To you it feels like He is pulling away from you, but the truth is that you are the one who is isolating yourself and pulling away from Him.

God gave each of us the instinct to eat. Babies come out of the womb wanting to eat, and almost every animal has that same instinct. The fact that your brain chemicals are overriding your natural instinct is proof that you have an illness. Anorexia and bulimia are real diseases caused by chemicals in the brain. Unfortunately, your illness is extremely serious and will kill you if you do not get medical help immediately. Even with intensive medical help, the disease is difficult to control, so we are not suggesting that it will be easy.

However, you can be thankful that God, our Heavenly Father, instead of judging you for your illness, has a heart of compassion for you. He wants you to feel His loving arms around you when you are helpless and hopeless. But He also wants you to understand that your willpower is not enough to conquer the disease. You can’t control the destructive chemicals in your brain just by being mad at them.

Many people do not understand the nature of eating disorders. They believe that you can just make yourself stop if you try hard enough. So they will judge you when you fail. Don’t make the mistake of believing that God is like those people. He is not! People in your life may fail you, judge you, and condemn you, but don’t confuse their actions and attitudes with our Heavenly Father’s.

We wish you the best,