I have a habit of thinking that God and others expect me to earn my keep. I believe that I must constantly choose what is best for others so that THEY can have a good life. I believe in duty. I believe in sacrifice. I believe in suffering for the cause. What cause? I dunno. I never thought further than this idea that I should not ask for what I need.
One of the weird ways this showed up is an eating disorder. I basically starved myself almost to death.
This is NOT what the scriptures teach. Everyday I have to unlearn these deeply ingrained inclinations that I have to believe that I am unworthy unless I am achieving for the sake of others. I’m going to level with you - I like to win. I love to achieve. I enjoy being helpful. I am obsessed with a drive to leave the world a better place than it was when I arrived kicking and screaming. If these strategies worked, I would stick with them. But they could not bear up under the wear and tear of life.
Every sacrifice eventually lost its luster.
Success was fleeting, constantly demanding more success to satisfy my craving for significance and praise.
Ultimately, I could not thrive on self-deprivation. My eating disorder, anorexia, was a representation of my false strategies and confused beliefs about God and myself.
These may not be your strategies or false beliefs - your work is to figure out and name yours. As you lay claim to them, it will inform the ways that they have compromised your sanity.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
~ Matthew 11:28-30 The Message