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  • Writer's pictureRenata Joseph

Spiritual Anorexia

Spiritual Eating Disorders Series (Part 1)

This subject has been percolating in my heart for weeks, if not months. I'm hoping that as I write it out, I'll personally get a bit more clarity on what the Lord is trying to teach me.

It started out with me watching a short video about a young lady suffering from anorexia. The video pointed out that anorexia leads to starvation in situations where the person has access to the very food they are starving for. In that moment, the thought came to me, "This happens spiritually, too."

How can someone who has access to food be starving? How can someone willingly put themselves through a process of suffering and slowly dying? Anorexia is oftentimes a response to something else: a trauma, depression or anxiety. The root is often the need to be in control when life feels so out of control.

In today's world, we have more access to God's word than ever before. Most American Christian households have multiple copies of the Bible and various other Bible studies and books just sitting on the shelf. With internet access, thousands of free resources are available at the touch of a button. With all of that spiritual food at our fingertips, how many of us sit down at the banquet and refuse to eat?

Hebrews 5:12-14

12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Are we taking advantage of the rich foods, the meat, God has provided for us? Or are we too stubborn to trust His provision? Do we submit to His food plan and grow, or do we resist, clinging stubbornly to spiritual milk that doesn't provide the nutrients we need to be strong?

You don't become a spiritual giant by starving yourself or working yourself to the bone. How many of us work tirelessly for God, burning more spiritual calories than we are taking in? We run ourselves ragged doing, doing, doing, but not taking in enough to sustain our spiritual health.

Maybe we are diligent in our devotions, but we still feel the extreme fatigue of spiritual malnourishment. If so, we need to take a step back and ask God to reveal His personalized health plan for our lives. What once was enough may not be sufficient as we grow. We need to submit to His plan for us. He made us and He knows exactly what we need. By giving back control, we can recover from spiritual anorexia and grow healthy and strong.

Note: This is Part 1 in a Spiritual Eating Disorders Series. Part 2 will be on Spiritual Bingeing.

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