Recovery Revisited: When The Emptiness Returns

In recovery from my eating disorder, I had to learn the right way to be empty and to achieve fullness.  I wrote about the struggle to sit in my physical fullness and the realization that nothing could fill me but God.  That time in my life was, for me, an experience that God used to show me that I needed Him. Not just to be filled with the life He had designed for me, but also to be emptied with all the things that were keeping me from that fullness.  While I was trying to empty myself of the wrong things, God was using my disorder & my recovery, to empty me of the habits, misconceptions, and circumstances that were keeping me from being able to be filled by His presence.

When I went through that time, I thought I had discovered the secret, found a way to stay emptied of the bad and filled with the good.  But as I have traveled through the last few years of life, it is obvious to me that this is an area where I am, once again, experiencing emptiness.  How can I feel at once so full and so empty simultaneously?

I have found myself feeling so very, very empty yet seemingly choking on the many things crammed in my schedule, in my life, and in my thoughts.  And, in my quest to not be ‘stuffed’, I have emptied myself.  Not of food necessarily like I once would have, but of the very things that used to bring me joy, and the fullness of God’s presence.  I wrote in the original post (referenced above):

“There is also a spiritual hunger within me…one that seeks fullness.  I need both of these.  The hunger drives me more and more into God’s Word; into fellowship with Him.  Seeking the fullness is the most worthwhile pursuit of my life.”

 

Seeking the fullness of Christ, of His presence in my life is my most worthwhile pursuit, yet I have forsaken that for the day-to-day pursuits of trying to be ‘worthwhile’ for my job, for my family, for, let’s face it- myself.

And now, I am full, yet empty.  I am drowning, yet thirst for more.  Consuming, yet hungry.  Why? Because I am full of my own empty attempts to ‘feed’ myself and my soul, bathing in the excesses of the world that promises satisfaction, yet still, and more deeply,  I remain empty of His Presence.

So now I must revisit recovery.

Just like my nutrition needs must be met daily, I must, too, meet my spiritual needs daily.  I also cannot assume that what I once needed to nourish me will still suffice today.  Our needs change, what my body needs for fuel may be different than it once was.  What my spirit needs to be filled by God’s presence may be different than it used to be.  However, I can’t go seeking physical fullness by using counterfeit nutrition, things that promise ‘no more hunger’ but lack the nutrients my body needs.  I similarly can’t go running to counterfeit spirituality to find fullness that only comes from Christ.  That said, trying new ways to experience God, seek Him, and enter His presence are all pursuits that might be the very thing that revives my wounded and weakened spirit.

 

It would be easy for me to give up, to give in, to fall into the trap of believing I can fill my empty spirit with more food, or more fitness, or more work, or more ‘good deeds’ or more sleep…or. or. or….But God created us to hunger, created us to need something more than we can provide for ourselves.   As long as we are trying to be the one that nourishes our own spirits, we will wind up eating ourselves up.  There will be nothing left.   So I am ok with feeling the emptiness for now, knowing that the fullness will come, but also knowing that, if not nurtured, and nourished, the fuel that keeps my spirit running, will eventually burn out.  This is an awareness that I did not have as I walked through recovery the first time and I am exceedingly grateful that God has allowed me to feel this empty again, so that I know that He longs to be the One that fills me again…and again…and again.  So I begin to revisit recovery of my spirit, my mind, and yes, my body, in the hope of receiving the restoration only Christ gives.

 

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