Diving Deeper into Spiritual Healing: Part 4 of Finding the Spiritual in Eating Disorder Treatment—A 5-Part Series

Sometimes when you feel overwhelmed by your spiritual pain, you can think that there is no hope.  It is at these times when you need to dive deep into your pain to let yourself experience spiritual healing.  If you struggle with disordered eating, you know how painful it can be . . . emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually.  Becoming acutely aware of all aspects of your pain as you go about your daily life in San Diego lets you open yourself to healing. It’s like when you have an infection in your arm—you need to open it up and clean out all of the gunk and then put the medicine on it so it can heal.  Spirituality can be your medicine—the balm for your soul.

I remember many years ago I was feeling a lot of spiritual pain.  I was questioning whether God even existed.  It was definitely a “dark night of the soul” moment.  One hot summer day, I was walking my dachshund, Max, and I was feeling so despondent that I sat on a bench and started crying while he continued sniffing around the grass.  I recall looking at the trees and flowers around me and feeling so lost.  It was at that moment that I told myself, “I know I’m really, really hurting.  What do I want to want to believe?  What do I need to believe?”  I decided then and there that I wanted to believe in God.  I needed to believe that God loved me unconditionally.  Period. I immediately felt an incredible amount of relief and acceptance.  The spiritual pain lifted.  It was amazing.

Now, I recognize that you may not believe in God, or you may believe in a higher power, or a spirit, or the universe, et cetera.  It may be because you have felt rejected by God, or by people who say they represent God. Various faith denominations or clergypersons or your family may have told you that you need to believe a certain way, and these beliefs may not fit with your worldview.  

I understand the need for religious organizations and for families to espouse and teach specific doctrines.  Religious organizations without doctrine are like balloons without air—without it, the balloons would deflate and not be balloons at all. 

I also recognize that people can get caught up in (or overemphasize) aspects of these doctrines that may trigger a lot of guilt, self-doubt, and even self-loathing in others.  I believe that people of the LGBTQ+ community especially struggle with religious doctrines that are discriminating and shaming.  At this time, I encourage you to step away from these doctrines and really ask yourself, “What do I want to believe?  What do I need to believe?”  The answer may surprise you—it may even free you.

One thing I love about many 12-step programs is that they integrate the spiritual.  A great intervention I heard from one such program is to write a classified ad for God/your higher power.  It can help you pinpoint your spiritual needs.  Here is an example:

WANTED:  A God who loves and accepts me unconditionally.  A higher power who does not take a tally of my mistakes.  A God who loves me because of my unique qualities (that I’m gay, trans, larger-bodied, etc.), not despite such characteristics.  A higher power who created every cell of my body—a being who believes that I am good and beautiful, inside and out.

I encourage you to write such a classified ad.  Set it aside for a day, then return to it and ask yourself, “how would my life be different if those characteristics defined my higher power?”  Journal on the answer, and then move forward in your life by assuming that God is this being—the very higher power that you want and need. Keep the ad handy, as you may need to remind yourself that your relationship with God is unique, that no one can define it except for you.

Thanks so much for reading my blog! Look out for next week’s entry, which will be, “Tapping into Mindfulness.”Have a wonderful week! :)

If you are struggling to find eating disorder treatment in San Diego, give me a call for your free 15-minute phone consultation at (858) 699-3754, and I will help you get where you need to be!