Recovery, at least in my experience, is not like in the movies. No running, arms outstretched, into the sunset. More of an embarrassed and painful shuffling – forwards (and sometimes backwards, too). An event – but also a process.
First, the event:
a moment, when everything changed and Christ broke into my world.
A miracle, at least to me.
When I was at my lowest weight, it was like being behind a thick perspex screen: I could see people mouthing and pointing, but they were a long, long way off. No amount of pleading or threatening or waving could break the glass. My hair fell out, my fingers turned black, I was covered in fine body hair and my organs were eating themselves. But I didn’t care. It’s funny: look in the mirror for long enough and you stop seeing yourself. What I needed was someone bigger and more beautiful than anorexia to break in. Which is exactly what Jesus did.’You’re mine’ He said. ‘I love you. But I won’t leave you like this’.
An event. A miracle. But a quiet one, with no special effects. No thunderclap, no car chases and no soft-focus lighting. If you listened, very very carefully, you might have heard a tiny click, as something fell into place. But even that might have been my imagination.
But I’m finding that recovery is more than just an event. It’s a process as well. A rejection of old patterns of thinking – self-hatred, perfectionism, moralism – as well as old behaviours. And this takes time.
God is not Paul Daniels. And getting better is not magic – ‘shazzam! All fixed. When things break, my instinct is to chuck ‘em out and get a better model. But people aren’t vacuum cleaners. And God works with what’s already there. I’d like a shiny new airbrushed Emma. But instead, he’s redeeming the limping, snot-nosed girl I’ve always been. He’s taking the bits I hate about myself and making them into something he can use. Something I can’t keep despising – even though that’s the easy option.
So. Recovery – process And event. But the power behind both is not mine. It’s His. And that’s what makes it all worthwhile.