I ran cross country and track in college. At the end of my freshman year, my coach conferenced with each of us about our goals for the upcoming year. He also discussed with us our BMI, or Body Mass Index. Although my BMI was within the suitable range for an NCAA athlete, he was not happy with my weight. At 5 ft 9 inches, he wanted my weight to between 124-134lbs. I was at 137lbs. I was too heavy.
That summer, I dieted, while running at least five miles a day. I was consistently exhausted and slept many hours, too many hours. But, when I got back to school in the fall, I was within the weight guidelines.
This behavior led to a very unhealthy relationship with food. I would cut out food groups, not allow myself to indulge, and if I did, the guilt-oh the guilt would riddle me. I felt the need to run extra miles to make sure it did not affect my weight. It became an obsession.
Eventually, I lost all control. I would binge on everything I had been denying myself and began to gain weight. Then, I would restrict myself again. For years, this relationship with food continued. Up and down, up and down, the roller coaster I went.
One evening, I was sobbing after I’d made myself throw up and I knew I needed to gain control of this disease. The Word of Wisdom kept coming back to my mind-I needed to treat my body well, to nourish it, and stop abusing it through my relationship with food if I wanted to be able to function properly: mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. All the pieces of us are intertwined, but how was I supposed to fix this?
For me, the answer was the enabling power of the Atonement. I know it may not be the answer for everyone, or perhaps some need more help like therapy or medicine, and that is okay, but it was MY answer.
I went to Lord in prayer and pleaded with Him to help me overcome this all-consuming trial. As I called upon the enabling power of the Atonement, I was very specific in my plea. In those moments when anxiety and the desire to feed my feelings were overwhelming, I would hum or sing in my mind, a particular hymn. This was my signal to the Lord; I needed His help, and please send me His Spirit to comfort me so the moment could pass. Through this action, I acknowledged I could not overcome this on my own. I believe, our humility is a driving force in connecting with the enabling power of the Atonement.
Each time I reached out to the Lord in this manner, the Spirit came. Perhaps not right away, but as I kept singing, showing my faith, He never failed to bring peace to my soul.
It took diligence and I did not always make the right choices in my healing process; but over a couple of years, I was able to heal my mind, body, and spirit from this disease.
I know the Savior lives. I know the enabling power of the Atonement is real. It is a power like no other and if we ask for help, He will not let us down. We can draw on the enabling power of the Atonement like butterflies draw the sweet nectar from a flower, to fill our souls with power, peace, and the ability to overcome.
Featured Image from Pexels: by Maria Orlova
Amber is a speaker, writer, teacher of nine years, wife, mother of three, and lover of chocolate.
Teaching about Christ and His Atonement which allows us to learn, grow, and become, is a passion of hers. Amber’s desire is to share hope, testimony, and light with all.
Amber feels far from perfect, but knows as we share, learn and commune together, we can be united, stronger, and face the challenges of our day with faith and trust in our Savior and our Heavenly Parents.