Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips -Unwritten Natasha Bedingfield
This is my experience. It's not for everyone.
Religion in recovery can be tremendously helpful and uplifting, or, in my case, it can be harmful and dangerous.
Let me explain.
Religion to most people seems like a good idea and usually is, because the message that God loves you is a very strong one, especially if you are going through recovery from an eating disorder, where you typically feel as though no one could ever love you.
My background with religion started when I was in the hospital the first time and I almost died. My faith changed in that moment because God saved me. God didn't let me die because He had bigger plans for me and so that's where my journey took off.
I began reading the Bible and praying and I grew close to God. However, I always felt like there was something missing.
Even though the message was loud and clear, God did in fact love me, I still couldn't believe it. I didn't feel loved by anyone, not even God.
As my journey got deeper and I really started to recover, I prayed to God every night that He would heal me, that He would take away my pain, that He would save me. And yet, none of those things happened.
Of course, praying is not going to solve everything, but if God loved me so much and wanted the best for me, then why was I struggling so damn much? Didn't he care that I was killing myself? Didn't he want me to get better?
For some reason I just couldn't fathom the idea that God was going to help me. So I gave up.
I started to feel as though I wasn't good enough even to God. He didn't love me or else He would save me from this disease. He would save me from myself.
I was furious at God. I felt guilty for this though, just like every other feeling I ever had. When I sinned against God, I was guilty and believed He was punishing me by not helping me heal. But in the same sentence, when I cut Him off, my guilt was still strong.
Somewhere along the lines, on a walk with my Mom, I remember telling her all of this and although she believed that God was truly helping me, she suggested that maybe I had to find God within my own heart, within myself.
Even though I knew there was a God, I couldn't truly believe He loved me because I didn't love myself. I couldn't grasp how anyone could love me because I was clearly unlovable and worthless.
So I put aside my prayer and the Bible and started thinking about what my Mom had said. I needed to find God in ME. How was I going to do this?
And so I began this new journey to finding the strength within me and saving myself.
The steps aren't clear for how I got there, but I knew something inside of me changed when I realized that the reason why I never believed God was helping me was because I wasn't looking in the right place. I thought that God could just take away all of my pain, all of my problems and He would make be better. But this was not the case. That is not how it works.
God can surely help on the journey to recovery, but when everything boils down, it comes back to you, to make the final decision. No one else, not even God can make you change. It is YOU that decides that. YOU are the one who needs to make the change and save yourself.
So my journey turned out to be a learning experience, as they always do. I learned how to find God in myself, and then I loved her. I loved myself. I believed in myself, and I saved myself.
No one else did it for me. I did it. I healed myself. I got myself through every obstacle.
And God might have been there to help on the sidelines, but it was all me playing the game and scoring the goals.
Have you ever felt this way?
What is your experience with religion and God?