Counselor, heal thy self

 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

The room is fairly spacious, with big bay windows and two doors, one leads to the nurses station, one leads to the backyard which is now overrun by smokers on break from group.  However, I feel cramped as I sit on the floor, cross-legged with seven other young women.  We range in ages, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.  We have two things in common, we all suffer with an eating disorder and now we are all in this group.  We sit, staring at the life-size roll of butcher paper lying on the floor in front of us.  The therapist has given us an assignment and we are all hesitating to begin.  “draw me a picture of how you see yourself, physically.”  She says with what appears to be a sadistic smirk.  I stare at the paper outstretched before me, and trembling I pick up a black permanent marker.  How do I see myself?  I close my eyes and an image forms. I am no artist, however, I think I came pretty close to drawing the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.  The face was round and had a double chin, no neck and the remainder of the body depicted layer upon layer of fat.  I remember thinking, “yup, that’s pretty accurate.”  Although, I hadn’t really seen my reflection from the neck down for approximately a week. I was said to be a danger to myself and therefore “strongly encouraged” to admit myself as an in-patient.   The mirrors in the bedrooms were small and narrow so you really only saw yourself from the neck up.  Therapists and medical professionals felt this helped to begin to alleviate some of the obsession with our already unrealistic body-image.  Yeah….ok….whatever you say doc!  

The therapist then tells us to take our drawings and place them on the wall at “our height.”  We all comply and pretty soon we are all gazing at each other’s self-portrait. I remember thinking to myself, “she doesn’t look anything like that, she’s so skinny.”  Then came the icing on the body-image cake…we stood with our backs pressed against our drawings, and a person of our choosing would take a marker of a different color and trace our body onto the drawing.  This would help us “really see ourselves.”  I remember stepping away from the completed project and turning around to face “myself.”  What I saw amazed me.  I HAD CURVES, I WAS THIN, I WAS NO LONGER FAT!  I stood in stunned silence and so did others.  This was when my healing began.  To this day I remember that feeling of relief and utter disbelief.  I promised myself I would never lose sight of myself again.

That was over 20 years ago, that I starved myself, exercised myself almost to death, and used various over-the-counter remedies to keep myself thin.  I have grown, I have struggled, I have doubted, I have regressed, I have overcome.  I go through stages where the reflection is unrealistic and stages where I like what I see staring back at me. I have recently lost a considerable amount of weight and did so in a very healthy way, with family and friends watching over me. Even though I have lost 30 pounds, and have reduced my clothing size by 4 sizes,  I admit to you I am stuck in the “unrealistic stage”.  I have voiced my struggles to those amazing women, my accountability partners, who walk through this life with me and they have recommended I seek counsel before this “gets out of hand.”  

Who does a counselor turn to for counsel?  Friends…accountability partners…family? These are all good, positive supports, however, there is One that is better.  How about turning to THE COUNSELOR.  The Counselor spoken of in scripture…the Holy Spirit.  When His disciples were freaking out over His leaving them Jesus basically told them don’t be afraid, I’m going to send a counselor, my spirit to guide you and be with you.  God still speaks, still comforts, still guides, and still has His Hand on us.  We may not be able to see him physically, but He’s here and He cares.

Whatever you are going through…whatever your past, your present or your future, God is there with you, right beside you, holding you.  Don’t lose sight of that.

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer ~ Mandisa (Overcomer)