There are some things in life that are uncomfortable to talk about.
Politics, Religion and Money…those are the classic “dinner party no-no’s…”
But if you know anything about me, you know I don’t shy away from those…
But there is a topic that even I will greatly hesitate before bringing up, and that is the topic of spiritual warfare.
I mean, in today’s secular society, it’s one thing to openly admit you believe in God…it’s quite another…even in most Christian circles…to admit you believe the enemy is real.
Which, frankly for the number of people who believe in crystals and psychics and other “moon-sign-adjacent” mumbo jumbo, you’d think that saying you believe in Satan is par for the course. But it’s not…
It’s uncomfortable because it’s truly scary, and frankly is something I don’t like to dwell on and invite into my psyche.
So I treat it like I treat the reptile house at the zoo…I know it’s there, but I will not go anywhere NEAR it.
That’s because during my anorexia, I had too close of a relationship with that evil, that — I will hold firm to my statement that I believe anorexia and other destructive eating disorders is actually spiritual warfare. And I would invite you to listen to my testimony where I explain how -at inpatient – the darkness that had control of me was expelled from my body in an incredible out-of-body experience. (I will link that here.) OR – the time after I was praying outside of Planned Parenthood in NYC, and as I was walking home, I was literally attacked by a bird. (I will link THAT here…)
SO – if you’re still reading after that, and I haven’t scared you away…welcome 🙂 My name is Caralyn, and you’re safe here. hahah
But seriously…I had another experience over the weekend, that I can only describe as a spiritual attack.
I have mentioned before that on my running route in the city, there are 3-4 clearly anorexic women that I pass along the way. And again, I know it’s terrible to “judge” someone as anorexic, but this is one area where – as someone who nearly died from anorexia – I have some authority on the matter, and can absolutely tell the difference between a “very/borderline unhealthily skinny” woman, and a woman who is suffering from anorexia/another eating disorder.
There are “tell tale signs” that, only unless you’ve had it, can you spot a mile away. (I.E., sinewy muscles, being able to see someone’s backbone vertebrate all the way down to their buttocks, having elbow/knee bones that are larger than their emaciated arms/legs, fine peach fuzz on their face, gray/dull skin, a void/vacant look to the eyes etc.) I could go on…
Well, anyway…I’m running along at a moderate pace…I’m not trying to break any records here. After my disordered relationship with exercise, I now run for enjoyment and to move my body. I don’t keep “pace,” I don’t push myself until I break. I just listen to my latin music and enjoy a break in my day.
Well anyway, somehow, one of these women gets synched up with me. Except she is doing intervals, consisting of an all out sprint to the brink for one minute, and then walk for the next minute. Repeated.
And guess who is right in the middle of that circuit: me.
So, literally every other minute, I’ve got this mayyyybe 80 pound woman passing me, sprinting by in a bra and short shorts. The sight of her made me absolutely lose my breath: she is so skin and bones I was worried that this woman’s heart was about to literally give out. I could see every rib on her back, every bone in her shoulder blade, ever tendon in the back of her kneecap. Clearly, the image was so disturbing it has been seared into my mind.
And every single minute, it’s zoom, she’s sprint by me, and then walk, and I’d unfortunately have to run past her, knowing that seconds later, she’s going to sprint past me again, and round and round this terrible cycle went for, probably close to ten minutes. Ten or eleven times, we had a pass/pass back and forth…
And all the while, I’m just feeling absolutely sick to my stomach. I was no longer having an enjoyable mental break, grooving to my music, enjoying my run — I was transported right back to my own anorexia, back in 2007 when I was — in that same frantic, desperation I was picking up from this woman — just killing myself with starvation and outrageous exercise, when I got myself down to 78 pounds.
I found myself thinking — “I wonder how I would have looked next to her at my worst.” I was reminded of the destructive thoughts that would go through my own mind, back during my disease, and I found myself actively fighting off thoughts of, “Well, look at you running now, you phony.” “Everyone can see through your little, ‘enjoyment’ of running.” “Look at her body.” “Look at her body.” “Look at her body.”
I was being spiritually attacked.
Right there. On one of the most beautiful days of the fall — a crisp 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, a gentle breeze — A day I had been so excited to go out and enjoy the perfect weather on a run….during a time when I have never been stronger in my recovery: Airtight – for years, and the enemy zeroed in on an attack.
So I called my dad.
Right there on my run: “Hey Siri, Call dad.”
And sure enough, like my wonderful father always is, he was right there for me, picking up after one ring.
And his advice to me was so great, I just had to share it.
I told him the story — he had also known about these “notorious” women, because I had expressed my concern for them to him, and how I wish I could somehow reach out to them, or give them a link to my blog so they can get help or know they’re not alone.
Well anyway…He just calmly said, “Caralyn, pray for her, and go run a different route home.”
I mean, leave it to my dad to just give me the one-two punch of best advice/fatherly wisdom ever.
And that’s exactly what I did. And afterwards, all was okay.
But isn’t that wild…that I put up with that attack for ten minutes, when the answer was so obvious: just change routes.
I mean, I live in NYC. It is a literal grid system. I could just hop over one street and take that way home. But I was clouded in my thinking. I was letting the enemy weasel his way into my mind and start shooting fiery arrows to shake my foundation and get me off course in thought.
But the first thing my dad said was the real solution: pray for her.
In all my other interactions with this woman, my heart has gone out to her, I’ve wanted to figure out how to help her, concerned about her wellbeing, about her home life….and just like that, those feelings were forgotten, and I was instead, focused on darkness.
Pray for her.
Yes, there is evil in the world, but there is no darkness that can withstand the power of Jesus when we call upon Him in prayer.
He is our shield. He is our defender. He is our protector.
“At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Philippians 2:10
Pray, and then change route.
Let God do what He can, and then I’ll do what I can…which is change my path, away from anything that is making me stumble.
I’m not proud of my glaring weakness that afternoon. It’s humbling to see that, even when I think my recovery is rock solid, the enemy can still find a crack to try and penetrate.
How grateful am I that God’s strength and power is not only shown best, but made perfect in my weakness. For because of Christ, when I am weak, He is strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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