They were bad eggs. At least that’s what I told my family when they found the entire sheet cake I had just baked in the trash can. Obviously, I explained, I was looking out for their best interest and health, and so naturally if there was any question about the contents of that cake it just had to go.

That wasn’t the first time they had found my food in the trash, though. And often it was a food item my family had already consumed with the knowledge that all ingredients were safe and salmonella-free. Everyone had consumed it – but me, of course. My standards were much higher in regards to food quality. Or so I told my family.

The lies had long ago become truth for me, and the unwillingness of my family to see my struggles for what they were allowed me to perpetuate my unhealthy patterns. It began with a sadness that swept away my appetite and ended with me weighing less than 100 pounds by my freshman year of college, all the while believing and being comforted by the lies that I had been carrying with me since elementary school.

I called my eating disorder Ed. Some call theirs Ana (if they particularly struggle with Anorexia). Others call it Edie. It’s not the name that matters so much as the acknowledgement of the existence of the internal struggle. Before personifying my eating disorder, I thought it was just who I was. I thought I was destined to be unhappy with my body, weight, hair, face, skin – anything I carried with me externally. I didn’t know what self-worth or self-love was and instead practiced self-hatred on a daily basis. The tapes that played in my head were courtesy of Ed’s voice, pointing out my chubby thighs, commenting on the amount of sugar I was consuming, reminding me of my flaws and blemishes. And I believed it.

I envied the models I saw on TV, in magazines, and in person – because anyone who was even similar to my body weight was automatically skinnier and prettier than me. I would stand in front of my mirror for hours, agonizing over my skin and hair, while tears stained my face. I couldn’t look into my own eyes because they held so much pain, sadness, and despair. There were days – maybe even weeks – when I stayed home and didn’t spend time with family, friends, or with God. I became lost in my relationship with Ed and perfected a way to hide such an unhealthy and destructive relationship, doing damage to my body in as many ways as I could.

Once I started recognizing it was Ed who was speaking so harshly and unloving towards me, I was able to begin to separate Ed’s voice from my own. My True Self would say things like, “You are beautiful the way you are. God created your body and gave you everything you have. It’s okay, love – He knew what He was doing.” Of course Ed didn’t like that I had found my voice, as small and meek as it was, but over time I allowed My True Self (some might explain it as the Holy Spirit or God whispering to my soul) to become stronger as I accepted God’s unconditional love, mercy, and grace.

And so, over time, I have been able to find the strength and courage to stop Ed’s poisonous recording in my head and have replaced it with a brand new, beautiful, and pure recording of my Creator’s voice. For several seasons I gave Ed the power to remove my Creator’s place in my heart and fill that void with Control, but after countless years of submission to God, prayer for deliverance, and after reading Jenni Schaefer’s book “Life Without Ed”, my head and my heart are no longer controlled by Ed. The internal void that I struggled to fill for so long is now overflowing with God’s definition of beauty. I have a healthy relationship with food today, and I am able to look myself in the eye when I look in the mirror and admire the beauty God has given me instead of disrespecting it.

I don’t own a scale. I don’t know my weight. And I don’t have a perfect body. But I know I am healthy. I am strong. And today, I am free.

Sarah Shearer

Sarah Shearer is the creator of classymoderngirl.com and is dedicated to helping women find their worth in God. She believes that beauty is an outward expression of an inward condition. Sarah is a clinical counselor & trauma specialist who was rooted in Ohio but is now blossoming in California (as of roughly a month ago). She is a classy (and sometimes quirky) lady and is married to her best friend, Andrew. She is a writer, a singer, & a living room dancer. But most importantly, she is a daughter of a King, a child of her Heavenly Father, & saved by her Saviour.

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