November 17, 2012 by Kara Nichols
I do believe that God could heal me of bipolar if He chose to. And I am open to the idea of not being healed too. I look at the example of Paul and see that bipolar could be the handicap God has placed in my life to keep me humble.
Check out 2 Corinthians 12:7: “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
Now I am going to tell you about another handicap of mine. One that is so deeply rooted in Satan’s lies that it isn’t even funny. And believe it or not I admit that I have less confidence in God to heal me in this area than I do the bipolar.
It’s my weight.
I was put on my first diet at the tender age of 8 years old. My mom had the best of intentions but those diets really did a number on my self-esteem. From that point on my weight fluctuated constantly. And then when I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2001 I was put on medications that made me gain weight. So here I am today, having tried pretty much every diet out there and I am still over weight. There’s a statistic I heard recently that 95% of people who diet regain the weight. 95%!!! That’s not exactly encouraging.
When I tell this story of my childhood and adulthood struggling with food issues and eating disorders I am always met by someone else’s plan for me. “Oh, Kara, you should try Weight Watchers again,” or “You need to go Vegan!” or “Just cut out carbs and eat lots of protein.” I’ve heard it all and I’ve tried most of these plans. And they don’t work for me. Diets are my prison.
I’d like to say that I believe that God has begun a new work in me in this area of life and He is faithful to complete it. But I am cynical. I have a hard time trusting Him. Basically I’m telling God that no, He can’t help me lose weight. Why can’t I cast this burden on Him? 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Why am I holding on so tightly to this ugly thing in my life?
Even last weekend I was prayed over by a wonderful woman prayer warrior and the Spirit made it really clear to me that He loves me just as I am and that needs to be enough: That I am part of the bride of Christ.
And if I approached it as if it was just me and God, I think I’d believe He could help me with this. But I have the rest of the world to contend with – skinny is in. And I want it. I want it bad. But that’s the point, isn’t it? It needs to be just about me and God. I need to leave the rest of the world out of the equation otherwise I will be stuck in this cycle of gaining and losing until I die.
Believe me, I have prayed about this for years. I’ve begged God to help me lose weight. But here I am, 5 pounds away from my highest weight or all time. Why, God? And God, what should I do next?
What comes to mind is intuitive eating. It’s not a diet, thank God. The plan is pretty basic – eat when you’re hungry stop when you feel lightly full. There’s a few other guidelines too but that’s the main one. This is something I have tried before and had some success with and it’s the plan that doesn’t make me feel crazy or deprived.
But I know for sure I cannot do it without God’s blessing and guidance and so I am waiting to hear from Him. I mean, I already heard from Him: that He loves me the way that I am. But I guess the issue is that I don’t really love my body the way that it is. So there’s some tension there. He wants me to love my body at any size. He created me! And I don’t want to rush into a new eating plan only to be defeated for the millionth time.
More than wanting a rocking body, I want to be free of the bondage that food has kept me in. When I am sad – I eat. When I’m happy – I eat. And my portions are too big. It’s like I’m trying to fill a hole that only God fits into and I don’t know how to manage myself. I am out of control. I admit that. I want to be able to go to God when I’m happy or sad. Food is a poor substitute for the Almighty God – can I get an amen?
I want to have a spirit of thankfulness – after all – my body is very healthy despite the extra pounds. And I need to add some exercise back into my routine. Walking on the treadmill or outdoors is my favorite. I stopped walking a few months ago when my depression took me into a really dark place.
I don’t know how to wrap this up. I’m not committing to a program. But I am committing myself to having God’s heart when it comes to this issue. I want to build my faith in Him. I want to love myself in the same way He loves me.