I can have my cake & eat it too...


....because it's my birthday!  And although I do enjoy extending my special day into a week long celebration, I'm not writing to draw attention to myself.  I want to highlight another birthday today:  the first-ever "Eating Recovery Day," an event created to raise awareness of eating disorders and provide hope for recovery.

For years, I felt like my birthday was a 24 hour leave from prison.  My warden (my eating disorder) would unlock the chains of food rules and the shackles of guilt, and he would say, "Go, celebrate! Eat whatever you would like. It's your special day!"  And just like a prisoner walking out of a dark cell, my eyes would squint at the sight of sunlight. My lungs would fill with the smell of fresh air.  And I could experience the world around me.  Ahhh freedom!  I could eat without guilt for this one day!  I could cheat from any diet I was on! And I didn't have time to think about exercise because I was too busy eating all the foods that weren't allowed the other 364 days of the year.  Donuts for breakfast, a white mocha from Starbucks, followed by lunch and dinner, and anything else I wanted to eat.  Ice cream cake, from nowhere but DQ, is my favorite. Literally licking the bowl when my piece is gone, and then making my way around like a Zamboni to clean up the leftover chocolate crumbles that others leave behind.  Then, at the end of the day, I could go to bed knowing I had really celebrated by enjoying every morsel of off-limits food that was possible.

As the night would end, though, just like a prisoner returning from leave, I was back in my cell.  It was dark and cold, and I was lonely and miserable.  But unlike that inmate, I didn't need anyone to escort me, or to lock the chains on my hands and feet.  I did it willingly.  I went voluntarily, and I, myself, one by one, cinched down those hard cold shackles tighter and tighter--chaining me to the place that I knew so well.  Choosing to be a slave to diets and rules and what "should or should not" go in my mouth.

"You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as,  'Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!'? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
 Colossians 2:20-23 NLT

I'm so thankful that God has released me from that place.  I'm thankful for organizations like FINDINGbalance and the Eating Recovery Center that are doing the hard work to bring light to the subject and to provide help and hope.  Recovery IS possible.  Hope IS available.

Today, my birthday won't be about food.  It will be a celebration of life and the people who love me.  I will also celebrate my recovery.  With ice cream cake.

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