Maybe because I’ve been writing more poetry lately, but I’ve been deep in thought today about the way words affect our perceptions and what we believe. I had my first experience of the power of words about a year and a half ago. I was having a really rough day and updated my facebook status to say something to the effect of “Jessica sucks at life today.” Because, you know, I’m totally a mature adult.
At any rate, my small group leader happened to be online at the same time and IMMEDIATELY sent me a message that was powerful and painful in its truth and love. I am posting an excerpt of it here because to try and paraphrase would be silly:
“Plus on a spiritual note words carry weight i.e. God spoke the world into existence… so too your words carry weight and anything you speak negatively over yourself most likely is hurting you and your situation. I’m not talking in an extreme way, but in a practical way.
I think you are freggin’ great and you do a poor job of giving yourself credit. You are in the natural battle to lean harder on Christ and less on self. Own it. (James 1)”
He’s right, of course: God SPOKE the world into existence. He said “Let there be light” – and there was. And while I’m definitely not God, I AM created in His image and my words carry weight, too.
All of this background is really just setting the stage for my major revelation yesterday. At my suggestion, my support group Monday night was spent sharing our own recovery stories. We had a few new girls last night, but even those of us who have been together for months are a little fuzzy on the details of each others’ stories. I know I’ve never really gone into it here (one day, I promise) – but this past year is simply a chapter in a story that has been brewing since I was about 12 or 13. So when it came time to talk about my recovery, it was a little difficult. I think I placed the beginning of my real recovery journey sometime around February, but as we all know, I waffle a lot.
When I’m waffling, my inner dialogue looks a lot like this:
-I really want to run/restrict/binge/purge/swallow a bottle of pills.
-But I’m supposed to be in recovery, so I really shouldn’t do that.
-But I don’t really want to be in recovery – that’s stupid and I’ll get fat(ter).
-But I really should be working to get better.
Take a moment and see if you can recognize the problem in that inner dialogue. I’ll wait.
Right. My inner dialogue is full of phrases like should be and ought to — and never once in my inner dialogue have I said, “But I am IN recovery and action X is not in line with that.” My inner dialogue has been setting me up to fail. It created this bizarre pattern where I could never win – if I ate, I was a failing anorexic. If I didn’t eat, I was failing because I’m “supposed” to be recovering.
So yesterday morning, I decided:
I AM IN RECOVERY.
And it’s been interesting to see since then, how that knowledge has changed my actions and inner dialogue. I don’t think I realized how much power comes with identifying myself as someone “in recovery” versus “failing anorexic” or “failing Christian” or “failing at life” which is how I’ve pretty much been identifying myself since I started the recovery process.
As someone “in recovery” – eating is a victory! (Even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.)
As someone “in recovery” – taking a total rest day from working out is a victory! (I could not tell you the last time I didn’t work out at all. Seriously.)
As someone “in recovery” – I’m going to make mistakes. And that’s okay.
Take that, ED!