This is a guest post from Marina Abdel Malak - a third year nursing student recovering from ANOREXIA NERVOSA. In a previous guest post, Marina spoke about her battle with her eating disorder and how God helped her to overcome. Today she speaks specifically about some of the habits/practices she developed along the way. You can follow Marina on her blog where she speaks about her experiences with ED, her faith, and life's challenges. And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
Have you ever had a moment when you feel so negative about yourself? It's as though you can do nothing right but everything wrong. You are tired with your current situation and are frustrated with yourself.
I have these days, and they aren't fun. For example, I remember feeling like this when I got a bad mark on one of my exams. Why had I done so terribly? How could I be such a failure? Why is there so much wrong with me? God, why is this happening? I hate myself - there is nothing good about me!
The day kept getting worse. After receiving the bad mark, I realized that I had also forgotten to submit a payment for one of my accounts. Great! Now it would be overdue and I would be charged interest. Later on in the day, I acted out rudely with one my friends and hurt their feelings. Then I went home and was miserable to my family. I was angry - more at myself than at anyone else. I felt so bad about myself.
"God, I really don't like myself. I can't do anything right. I feel like a failure at everything and nothing seems to be going well. How can you still love me despite all my shortcomings? How could someone like me be your Beloved child? What good is there in me?"
I was so hopeless and tired. So, I did the only thing that came to my mind – I prayed. I asked God to show me why I was here, and how He could still love me, despite being a failure at so many things. I spoke to my father of confession, who gave me a suggestion. He told me that the next time I felt like this, I was to take five minutes and look at myself through God’s eyes.
What would God see when He looked at me?
He would likely see His child – a sinner, but nevertheless, His special child. He would see His beautiful creation, a human being made in His image. He would see that yes, His child might have times when he/she makes mistakes. But the important thing is that they turn to Him, the Comforter. God would see that despite my weaknesses, I have strengths. He would see that beauty is more than skin deep simply because I am His child.
This exercise really helped me. To be honest, I did not think much of it when it was first suggested to me. But after doing it for a few days, I felt better about myself. I still make mistakes, and I still have times when I am frustrated with myself. But looking at myself through Christ’s eyes helped me to see that I am not a terrible, ugly, horrid person. I am His Child – that alone makes me special.
The Bible is an excellent portal that reminds us of how amazing God’s love for us is. Being God’s creations makes us beautiful. Think about this: Songs of Solomon is a description of God’s love for us. In Songs 1:5, the woman says ‘Dark, I am; yet lovely in His eyes’.
WOW! What does this mean? Though I may be a sinner, though I may make mistakes, and though I am not perfect, God considers me to be beautiful. I am lovely in His eyes.
Or what about 2 Corinthians 12:9? God tells Paul that ‘My grace is sufficient for You; My strength is made perfect in weakness’.
God’s strength and His wonderful gifts are truly evident and perfected in our shortcomings! When I consider these verses, I begin to realize how much God loves me. And I see that although I make so many mistakes and blame myself for them, God still loves me.
It also helps to me to understand why I may go through tribulations. Perhaps God is trying to teach me a lesson – maybe I need to stop focussing on myself and start seeing that He alone can do all things. Maybe I need to put more trust in Him and lay my troubles in His hands. The Bible tells us to ‘cast your cares on Him for He cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7).
How comforting is this?!
God is telling us to put all our troubles, all our fears, and all our anxieties in His hands. He is giving us hope and encouragement that although we may feel troubled now, good is on the way. God comforts us and tells us that ‘the present sufferings of this world are nothing compared to the glory which is to come’ (Romans 8:18).
So perhaps I need to take a step back from my life and focus on what is really important. Maybe I am stressed right now, and I have a right to feel this way. Life is challenging, and God warned us that it would be not be easy. But regardless of how difficult this life may seem, I know that my God is always with me. I know that there is a purpose for this suffering, and that God’s glory and power will be revealed. I just need to stop worrying so much and start putting my faith and hope in Christ!
Indeed, a few days after that difficult day, I saw the amazing work of God in my life. I still had that bad mark on my exam, but that experience opened the way for me to learn more about that particular topic – and now I can say that I am more confident in this field of study!
When it came to pay the payment with interest, I learned that I need to be more aware of my bills and become organized. And after being harsh with my friends and family, I saw that they still loved me and that they were willing to support me.
To top that all off, one of my family members got into a serious accident the day after, but he was unharmed and safe – although the car was severely destroyed. When that happened, I looked up and smiled.
God, I knew that that was You. And I thank you. Because although I may not understand why things are happening in my life, and although I often hate myself, I know that You love me. I know that You are close to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18), and that You have written my name on the palm of Your hands’ (Isaiah 49:16).
Discussion: Think about a time when you felt bad about what was happening in your life. Or about a time when you were frustrated with yourself and felt that you were worthless or hopeless. Can you see how God was with You, and how His amazing love never fails?