“You are not enough.”
That is the sentence I used to say to myself for a very long time.
It started in my teenage years. When I was 15 years old, my parents told me they were getting a divorce. Some people I thought were my friends turned out not to be. I was lovesick. It felt like my world was falling apart – and I felt so lonely and lost.
Before that, I struggled with the image of myself from time to time, but when all of this happened, those struggles became an obsession.
I remember staring in the mirror thinking that if I was going to be considered beautiful, I needed to lose weight.
“Beautiful girls are thin. They don’t need food. And you are ugly.”
It was like everything around me was getting out of control, and this was the only thing I could control. My body. My daily intake. My workouts. My weight.
I lost weight. A lot. But what I also lost without even realizing was my joy. I didn’t go out and I didn’t meet friends anymore. I constantly compared myself to others and I didn’t see them for who they were. I didn’t see their smiles, their talents, or the sparkle in their eyes when they talked about something they loved.
I only saw their thighs, their collar bones, and their shoulders. Being in the same room with someone who was thinner than I was made me very sad.
“I’m not hungry. I feel sick. I had breakfast already.” The lies started darting out of my mouth daily and looking back now, I am so sad for the girl I was becoming.
I hated every reflection of myself, whether that be through a mirror, a window or the display of my phone.It was all about losing weight and about being skinny – just to be “good enough”. I remember going to a bar with some friends one night and the waiter gave us glowing finger rings and we wanted to take a picture of just our hands. I changed the position of my hand multiple times just to make sure it looked skinnier than everyone else’s hand.
I was so stuck in my eating disorder but eventually, one day I knew I didn’t want to continue living like this. I knew I wanted things to change. But I did not know how.
And that’s where his unending grace met me in my brokenness.
I had heard about Jesus before when my best friend from first grade told me about him and his love, we also went to Christian summer camps together.
Looking back, I had heard about him, but he was not a part of my life.
I thought I knew Jesus when I definitely didn’t. But in this very dark season of my life, I started searching for him in a different way – or maybe I actually started searching for him for the very first time.
From this search, I discovered that He truly makes beauty from ashes. What He did was a miracle. When I finally made the decision to recover, doctors kept telling me that I would never be completely healthy again, but that the eating disorder would always be a part of my life.
They were wrong.
It was a process. All in all, a process of healing, but also of crying and wondering why. A process of letting go of myself more and more so that Jesus could become bigger and bigger in my life and in my heart.
Recovery is a process of many steps – but He is there, every single day, giving us grace for each day. We don’t have to take a single step without him – HE is our strength. He helps us back up when we fall and he is so, so faithful.
Even though the process seems hard and slow, it is SO WORTH IT – and I want to encourage you that full recovery IS possible and that Jesus is truly able to heal. He has NO boundaries!!!
“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14
One important thing I’ve learned in my recovery process was that I needed to stop trying to hide what was obvious to everyone. When somebody asked me if I had a problem I would always say no – and that led to the next lie eventually.
But through this trying time, God reached out to me in brokenness. It was such a blessing to discover the treasure of vulnerability – and to see people praying with me, supporting me, sharing their stories with me once we‘ve opened up to each other.
God has spoken over and over to me through the people close to my heart who are part of the story he has written for me. Through midnight-conversations, through laughters and tears. He led me to healing and freedom.
In the beginning, it seemed so hard to share what was on my heart, to share the problems about my eating disorder, about struggles, about relapses… But it was so worth it.
Vulnerability was such an important part on this road to recovery, and it makes an impact on my whole life up to this day.
He used the darkest time of my life to turn it into something so beautiful, to pull me closer to him and to change the way I live my whole life in the light of his love.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
I actually think there’s a lot of pressure on ANY girl. It’s so hard in this day and age where our culture just throws all these things at us as women about who we are, who we should be and what gives us value and worth.
And I see that every day. It makes me sad how I used to think about myself (and still do more often than I would want to). But it breaks my heart even more to see all the beautiful girls around me struggling. Girls I love. Girls Who are full of talents. Whose laughters light up my world. Girls who tell themselves they’re not pretty enough or not thin enough or too imperfect to be desired… Girls who have been created so wonderfully by a perfect creator who shines through them.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
It can be so hard to make a difference – but let us be girls who do that. Who believe what HE says about us is true: we are loved, redeemed, chosen, pursued, wanted, regardless of what we look like, what we do or what we don’t do.
And i think if we could see ourselves through his eyes, even just for a second, all of our doubts and struggles would be gone forever.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
YOU ARE ENOUGH. You have always been. And you will always be. You don’t have to hold yourself to a standard of perfection. Weight is NOT the indicator of beauty.
You are a peculiar treasure. You are pursued and cherished by the king of kings. Let’s try to love through His eyes.
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7
You are worth it. And you are so beautiful.
Written By: Carolin Rusch