“When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life…He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.
Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!”
He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep.
The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”
He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out.” (1 Kings 19:3-9 excerpts from MSG paraphrase)
I can really identify with Elijah here…can you? Because of my fear of not losing the baby weight, becoming undesirable to my husband, being outcast by my friends, not fitting in…and so much more—I ran. I ran away from dealing with the things that scared me, from standing up to my own insecurities. Just like Elijah, despite my faith in God, when things started falling apart…I fled into the shade (darkness, more like it) of my eating disorder behaviors. When I read Elijah’s prayer, I shudder. I too have said those words. I have thought that my husband and children would be better off without me. This is hard for me to admit, but I believe that being honest here is important. As they say in AA- we are only as sick as our secrets. So yes, there were times when I was stuck, collapsed, exhausted from fleeing my problems, not knowing what else to do so I just stayed there in my ED.
Do you ever feel like that? Not wanting to be weak, sick, and tired yet not knowing how to change? Where to go? Have you ever cried out to God like Elijah did in these verses? Keep in mind this is the same Elijah that had experienced God’s provision many times (see previous Chapters of 1 Kings) yet he was experiencing doubt—doubt in his ability to “do” what God wanted of him. I can identify with that too. Sometimes we know what God wants us to do, but we forget that it is really HIM working through us. When we try to solve problems on our own, we get discouraged. We doubt ourselves…we begin to doubt God. Eventually we wind up hiding under a bush, exhausted, weak, and weary.
God does not want us to stay in that place. Depleted, alone, desperate. (Here comes the good part!) For Elijah, God sent an angel. I had an angel too, of sorts. God sent me a treatment team that encouraged me to “get up and eat!” (Not EXACTLY those words, but you get the point.)
The lesson for today is this–God is not done with us. He has a journey for us…this journey out from under the bush, out from under the darkness of the eating disorder, out of the Valley of Dry Bones. BUT FIRST, we must “Get up and eat!” We see in the verses for today that this doesn’t happen just once, but it is necessary to repeat the cycle of nourishment and rest. Proper nourishment of our body is very important and must happen if we intend to follow God’s leading us in this journey. Notice here that Elijah did not eat and then immediately go out to exercise…He eats, he rests, he eats (and drinks) until he is full. Only then is he ready to embark on this long journey.
In recovery, even though we know “it isn’t just about the food.” We also know, sometimes, “it’s about the food.” In future weeks we will continue to explore more examples from God’s Word about the role of food in our lives and how we can find and maintain a proper perspective of the purpose of food. However, I encourage you this week to begin to focus on nourishing your body so that you will be ready for this journey we are going on together. Whether this means following your treatment team’s meal plan, or trying to be more intuitive with your eating, know that nourishing our bodies is something that is required for us to move through this journey Out of the Valley of Dry Bones.
Breathing In (Bible Study)
- Read 1 Kings 19:1-9 again in your own Bible. Journal about how you might relate to Elijah in this passage.
- What is your Jezebel (the thing/things you run from)
- What is your broom bush (where you hide)…Maybe it’s Ed or a specific behavior, “safe food”, or other habit.
- Have you sensed God calling you to “get up and eat?” How has this happened for you?
- Making healthy food choices is not always easy, even for someone who is not struggling with an eating disorder. When I began to try to follow my treatment team’s advice in this regard, I would often use Bible Verses as my “mantras”—repeating them over and over trying to drown out the voice of the enemy. Here are some verses that might be helpful to you. Look them up in your Bible, write down the ones that are encouraging to you and place them in a spot that will be easy to see/get to if you are struggling.
- Philippians 4:13
- Deuteronomy 30:11
- Isaiah 41:10
- 1 Corinthians 10:13
Breathing Out (Prayer)
Dear Heavenly Father,
I am tired of running scared, hiding from the things in my life that are trying to destroy me. I know that I cannot fight these things on my own, but you, O Lord, can and will! My journey is long and I am weak. Thank you for sending me encouragement to follow your plan for me. Please help me to remember that you created food to nourish my body so that I may truly LIVE for you. Amen