Today was a really down day for me. Or well…it started that way. I don’t know why, but for some reason today I was overcome with doubt. I doubted my recovery. Doubted I would ever be fully restored and recovered. I became overwhelmed by how far I have to go in recovery, that I began to question if I would ever get there. I just don't think I am recovering quick enough. That I am good enough at recovery to recover.
This got me in a very dark place. A place where I just wanted to give up. Why keep fighting if I will never win? This is a place I have been in before and it either leads to relapse immediately, or pushes me to push myself very very hard in recovery…farther than I am ready for, and I get scared, and then relapse. Either way…it’s never been a place of growth. But today..I didn’t make any abrupt changes from the doubt. I just felt it. And you know what…I feel amazing now. Why? Because of God. God and this sermon:
Through this sermon God helped me to see that this doubt isn’t a bad thing. That there is a reason I doubt so much when I am pushing so hard. Because I am stepping out in faith. Yes, this sermon is about when we doubt if God exists, but that isn’t the only doubt we as believers deal with. We can doubt God’s ability to heal, to restore. We can doubt He loves us. There is tons we can doubt..and this sermon applies to them all. Here I will touch on recovery doubts.
This isn’t just the doubt of today where I doubt if I will recover, but also when I doubt if I can eat a certain fear food, or take an extra rest day, or eat a certain dessert and not balloon. Has God time and time again shown me that I can do these things…yes. But still I doubt. Usually this causes me to feel guilt for doubting and shame and so I don’t express it..but now I see it’s okay I doubt and God isn’t disappointed.
In this sermon Pastor JR focuse on John 20:19-31. It’s the story of Thomas. The disciple who said he wouldn’t believe the others had seen Jesus until he could put his hands in the holes in the palm of the Lord’s hands and feel the hole in His side. Thomas doubted God existed. And you know what…so would we. If we had just seen the Lord brutally murdered and a stone seal his tomb….we wouldn’t believe that our friends had seen Him risen and alive. It just…it wouldn’t compute…and that’s okay.
I know this may sound extreme. But with how long I have had my disorder…sometimes someone telling me I can eat dessert and not balloon or eat whatever exchanges I want and be okay is about as unbelievable as someone being raised from the dead. My mind just doesn’t wrap around it and that’s okay.
As Pastor JR explained there is a difference between unbelief and doubt. Unbelief is when you refuse to believe even with evidence. When you just want to argue. It is a problem of the heart and is centered around unwillingness to believe. Doubt is different. Doubt is when you so want to believe…but your mind just can’t wrap around it. It is a problem of the mind because are beyond willing to believe your mind just can’t comprehend what you are telling it is real.
Sound like recovery to anyone? I am not in unbelief that God has created my body so I can eat or that God can completely heal me from this disorder and one day I can eat without worry. Sometimes I experience shock and disbelief when the truth is proven right and I discover I can eat, but I am not in unbelief. I want to believe for full recovery. I want to believe everything nutritionist and treatment centers have told me about eating. It’s just hard sometimes for my mind to wrap around it.
Now what really hit me was what occurs in verses 26-27. Jesus hears about this doubt of Thomas and what does He do? He doesn’t shun Thomas, or scold Thomas, or any of the things the enemy and ED tells us God will do because we doubt. No. He shows up personally to Thomas. He comes near to Thomas and encourages Thomas more to believe. And this is how God views our doubts too.
When we doubt God pulls us close to Him. Even if God has proven Himself time and time again (as He does with me and my recovery), He doesn’t judge our doubt. He expects it. As JR says “When you doubt God doesn’t punish, He pursues.” God uses doubt to make us and our faith stronger. To me this makes sense with doubting God’s existence and now I see it works with doubting recovery too.
You see if I doubt recovery, but push through anyway, I will get stronger. If I voice my doubt and explore my doubt instead of running from it through relapse or making giant leaps in recovery…I will grow stronger in my faith and in recovery. Like when I doubt if I can eat a fear food, but eat it anyway and explore what lies are behind that doubt. God will use it to teach me a lesson and to make my faith in Him and my body and in recovery stronger. I will learn once again that ED is wrong and because I do it through such intense barriers and struggles…it will stick more. JR doesn’t say that in His sermon, but I know it’s true.
It got me to thinking how people say something is burned in their memory. Or etched in their mind. Well burns don’t come without fire and etching doesn’t come without the first cut. This fire and cuts could be doubt.
As JR puts it. Doubt tears us down so faith can build us back up. I think this is the same in recovery too. Our doubts and fears try to tear down our recovery, but recovery and our faith in a higher power or maybe just in our team and what they speak as truth can build us back up. Make our recovery lasting. Because we actually learn from it. We actually experience recovery and learn how to lean on faith. And that makes us stronger.
Dear Thomas who was known for his doubt, ended up being put to death because he wouldn’t deny Jesus. Here is a man who we see filled with doubt and yet he ends up building faith so strong he dies for it. And I bet it was through several instances of doubting and God coming to his side. And I know this is how recovery can be.
If I bring my doubt to God and my friends. If I express my fears and learn from them instead of running from them, I feel my recovery will get stronger and the very doubt I had will give me the strength to lay down the life of my ED. It will require me being patient through the doubt though. Not trying to push myself or relapsing so the doubt will go away, but acting through the doubt and keeping on with what I know is right. Even if that means taking recovery slowly despite ED screaming it’s not fast enough. Because slow is okay. Slow allows me to enjoy the view of recovery. To grow and learn about recovery, my body. To strengthen my faith. And so does doubt. Doubt allows me to learn, to grow, and to lean into God and I know in the end it will make me stronger. I am praising God for the doubt I had today and the amazing ways the doubt made me stronger.
Thanks JR and Freedom Church for allowing the Spirit to move me once again. Love you all.