By Katy Beuerle
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5: 14-16
So recently this passage has become a huge motivator in my recovery. It takes me back to Sunday school where most of us learned the song ‘This little light of Mine’. I’m sure you all know how it goes: ‘This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine’ with verses like ‘Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine’ and ‘Don’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine’. I should rock out to this song more often because it’s a great reminder of how Jesus, as the Light, lives inside us. We carry Him around everywhere we go! Our mission: to go out into the world and Light up the darkness. The more we live in sync with God the brighter we shine, and the brighter we shine the more glory we bring to God and the more people will come to know Jesus. Not much in life trumps this purpose. God has uniquely equipped each one of us with our own gifts, talents, backgrounds and personalities to use on our mission. Unfortunately, we have an enemy dead set on stopping us. The more he can discourage and distract us, the dimmer our lights look to the rest of the world and the less effective we become.
I literally cringe looking back over the past 17 years wrestling with ED. He’s definitely been that ‘bushel’ covering my Light from the world. What an incredible distraction he’s been in my life! Had I given the same amount of time, thought and energy I put into him and used it towards something good, like feeding the hungry; there may not be a hungry soul left in this world. ED’s all-consuming nature keeps my attention primarily on him and only halfheartedly on God and others. Score one for our enemy. Addictions are crippling.
Well, God hasn’t given up on me, not even after 17 years. It was just last year when God spoke to me like never before, convicting me of my then complacency with ED. I felt Him telling me as long as my attention was divided between Him and ED, my Light wouldn’t reach as far into the darkness as He had created it to. It felt as though my life’s purpose was on the line. He wanted me back, all of me. If I didn’t want to waste my life serving ED, I needed to seek God with all my heart.
I’ve recently been teaching my son how to hit a baseball. I’m constantly shouting ‘keep your eye on the ball!’ As a five year old he’s easily distracted, so more times than not he’ll swing and miss because his attention was half on the baseball, half on a butterfly 20 feet away. Our enemy puts a lot of these ‘butterflies’ in the world to distract us. Whether they be in the form of worldly gains like riches or obtaining that perfect body, or through emotions we harbor, like anger or jealousy. Try as we may to stay focused on God, our eyes are prone to drifting. I feel like I’ve ‘swung and missed’ A LOT in life. I keep asking myself if these distractions are really worth what I’m losing over them: A closer relationship with God and a life driven with purpose!
Back in the year 2000, when I entered into my first treatment center, I was told my heart was in pretty rough shape. So when it started going crazy one night, I was rushed to the nearest hospital. I was absolutely terrified! I seriously thought I was going to die that night. However, in the midst of my fear came incredible clarity! It was like God removed the dark pane of glass I had been looking at life through, and for the first time I saw life as how it ought to be seen. The things our society tells us we need in order to be happy and to ‘make it’ in life, like having a perfect body, wealth, prestigious careers, popularity, etc. were absolutely meaningless, pointless, purposeless! I saw then how we literally live our lives ‘chasing the wind.’ Was I really about to lose my life over something so fruitless? Instead, what I saw mattered the most were relationships! Deep meaningful relationships with each other and with God. That’s what seemed the most fulfilling and satisfying. Scripture even points to this truth. We are wired for relationships, community and God. Our selfish nature often blinds us of this truth. I felt myself growing both angry and sad as I realized my own relationships, especially with God, had become either superficial or nonexistent because of ED’s stronghold in my life. I wanted a second chance. This time I wouldn’t let ED or the world distract me from what really matters!
Thankfully I was given that second chance, but unfortunately that dark pane of glass was placed back in front of me. Our enemy still reigns on earth for now, so we are easily blinded. At least I was left with a lasting impression. The things and promises of this world, the ‘butterflies’ in life, are merely illusions. Our enemy is full of lies and distractions. It’s important we put our time, thought and energy into God and loving on people; however that may look for you.
I’m tired of hiding my Light under a bushel. I want to maximize my short time here on earth. I want to go out into the world and put my lamp on a stand for all to see! I’ve quickly learned that remaining in relationship with God is the only way I can sustain this. He’s the only fuel for my Flame and the missing piece of the puzzle in my battle against ED. Apart from Him, I am weak. The thing is, like any relationship, it takes time, effort and desire. I can go through weeks when I’m on fire for God and am so dedicated to meeting with him every day; praising Him, singing to Him, talking with Him, crying to Him and devouring His Word. I never knew how real God was until I felt Him speaking to my heart last year. It’s an unmistakable feeling and the coolest thing I could ever experience! You would think this would make it easier to want to meet with Him every day, but it’s not. I have fallen out of the routine several times. Our enemy has distractions lined up as far as the eye can see. But I’m always lulled back to God, desiring that connection and intimacy again, like we were originally designed for. It’s through living in sync with God that we can really set this world on fire!
POST-BLOG RANT: So I have had something on my chest for a while that I’m going too quick share. As a stay at home mom with a kid in school most days, I’ve been blessed with extra time on my hands. Most days when I’m working around the house or working on the computer I’ll listen to sermon messages from well-known pastors all around the country. This just helps me stay uplifted and closer to God. However, recently I’ve heard a disturbing number of pastors crack jokes on stage about their weight, how fat they are getting or how much food they eat or shouldn’t eat. In fact I just listened to a pastor joke about needing to give up eating all together. These comments are always followed by laughter from the congregation. I’m finding myself getting more and more annoyed. 17 years ago, when I was forced to drop out of college and move back in with my parents because of ED, God brought me to the church I still attend today and used that place to rescue me from the pain and daily turmoil I was experiencing. Every Sunday I would literally hang onto every word spoken from the stage and use it against my fight with ED. I was desperately fighting for my life and peace of mind. So if I had heard these comments coming out of my own pastor’s mouth, especially the comment about giving up eating all together, it would have sent me over the edge. To me these comments would have reaffirmed the lies I was desperately trying not to believe; at the one place I thought I could find truth! Roughly 30 million people suffer with some form of eating disorder in this country, so I’m pretty sure each church has more than a handful of them sitting in the congregation each Sunday. It just upsets me. These comments just show how under the radar eating disorders are in the church, and how uneducated people are. Ok, so there’s my little rant. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive. But who knows, maybe that’s my purpose, to take my Light into churches and enlighten them about eating disorders. Thanks for listening.