Learning to see yourself through God's eyes–as loving, worthy and deserving of compassion
by Julia Attaway — Posted in Teenagers on Mar 1, 2017
My anorexic daughter suddenly asked on Sunday, nearly in tears, "What can I give up for Lent?" Sweets and treats have long since disappeared from her menu.
"How about trying to give up being critical of yourself?" I replied. Anorexia is a mental illness characterized by intense anxiety over food and eating, and the mental anguish my daughter suffers as she goes through "refeeding" to a normal weight is extreme. She spends hours each day in tears, wracked by thoughts that she is gross, worthless and disgusting.
"It would be a lot of work to be merciful to yourself and to try to see yourself the way God does," I cautioned.
She nodded, and then shuddered. I could see she didn't think she was capable of it. So I said, "I can help you."
She nodded again, this time with acceptance.
So that is what my daughter is doing this Lent: giving up harsh self-criticism, arguing with self-bullying and praying back against despair. It seems like a good way to grow closer to God.
If you're too hard on yourself, I invite you to join us. We're going to start with a simple prayer each day, "Lord, help me see myself as You do, and teach me to treat myself as You would. Amen."