This months post was written by Dawn. I hope that you take what she has to say and be challenged in your own life as you strive to live a life of freedom in Christ.

I remember clearly the moments when I lied to seek attention for my eating disordered behaviors. I remember clearly the day I decided to ‘fake’ a fainting spell due to lack of food in a friend’s house, to garner the desire of love and concern; and more importantly worry. I craved the worry of a friend, the constant ‘How are you’, ‘Do you want to come over’. Those words were what I lived for. I wanted someone to be concerned about my weight, if I had eaten that day, or was I still taking pills. I would scrutinize outfits in the mirror wondering if they made my arms look skinny enough because if it didn’t no one may stare with a look of concern at my wrists.

In some sick way I longed for love and attention, and even if I had to ‘fake’ purging noises or ‘accidently’ leave a spoon by the toilet so my friends would think I was purging regularly I would do it. This gave me the attention that I so desperately wanted but allowed me to get caught up in a tortured life all because I felt like it’s the only way to feel loved. Yet it wasn’t proper love. I had a feeling deep down inside me that the only way I could get attention from anyone was if I was thin and small, weak and frail, I would be easier to hold and hug that way.

Letting go of the identity of your addiction is a very big bridge to cross. I didn’t know how to get attention without it. It gave me life each day to think up ways to get sicker, of ways for others to think I was getting sicker when instead I was actually eating or binging daily. But what were these behaviors really doing for me? They were getting me great immediate attention, that’s for sure. I was taken care of, hugged, was able to sleep on friends couches and had someone holding my hand 24/7. But really what kind of life was this? What was I doing to the poeple that were just simply sharing their own love of Christ to someone that they thought was hurting and needed love? Satan tricks us into thinking that we need to act out in order to fulfill those needs for attention. But it’s a lie. Instant gratificiation works, but long-term it doesn’t. You’ll end up feeling empty and hopeless when peopel start to get frustrated and annoyed at the constant attention seeking. People know when someone is really struggling and when we just want to be cared for. Sometimes we just have to face the reality of it that we can’t find our identities in addictions or in other people.

In the course of my attention seeking I sought some of the most unhealthiest relationships that I thought were the best ever, the constant need to spend 24/7 with the same person, and any decision is only made with the approval of that person. I fell hard, twice, into the trap of a codependent relationship.

The relationships I was in were strong and intense; they were co-dependent on both ends. I needed them for the physical touch of a hand holding and a hug and the worry they did about me. They needed me from a financial aspect and to be a constant go-to for them, the one who could be called in the middle of the night and I would throw on some clothes and be right over. I played savior, when in fact I was the one who was seeking salvation from me. Satan had his hand all over my life, he had it covered. He was smiling as he used co-dependency to feed the feelings that I craved.

As painful as it was and even though Satan can still tempt me I have learned to curb my tongue when it comes to what I say about myself. I have currently worked for several years with what I consider a very close friend without disclosing the gritty details of my past, I can say I am proud of myself to not fall into the trap of getting that sympathy and attention from my past sins. Instead I am loved as a friend because of who I am and what I do right this very day. I am loved because I bring Christ into the room with me. How did I get here? It was weeks of reminding myself that utter helplessness and dependency on Him for my every breath was the only wayh true healing was going to come my way. It was a hard transition into being a responsible adult who cares for themselves as well as others. It was quite difficult to make my own decisions with just the help of God. It required daily renewal of the mind while being fed and filled with God’s Word, being surrounded and immersed by it. Learning who I was, not just ‘Who I am in Christ’ as defined in the Word, but truly learning who I am and how to be me. Something I’d never done. I have found that there is no other way to be filled except through His Spirit. Nothing truly satifies my soul like God does.

Some of the best advice I ever received was that if you need attention then you can do GOOD things, and long term, those things pay off. I can touch other lives and walk out my freedom; THAT is the positive attention that I REALLY need. I don’t want to be the one getting pity and attention instead I want to be the one pouring out compassion. My cup is now filled, my cravings are satisfied by the One who loved me FIRST!

And remember, your Father is ALWAYS paying attention!

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