I’m a routine person. So is my mom. When I was in high school, we would wake up to our alarms at the same time every weekday, 5:40 am, and shuffle down the stairs. She would turn on the lights and take our dog outside. I would pour my mug of coffee and settle into my corner of the couch in the den to read my morning devotional. Through the double glass French doors, I could see my mom doing the same thing, couch corner, coffee, and the Bible. Five years later when I’m home, we still do a version of the same routine. We do it apart, too, she in the same old rooms and I in my latest tiny room. Waking up and enacting our pattern, and knowing Mom is, too, gives me comfort. Routines make me feel safe.
My eating disorder could be interpreted as a collection of unhealthy routines, a litany of deleterious habits. And though they hurt me, they make me feel safe. My disorder structures my schedule and patterns my days. It’s predictable and sickly soothing, and I’m scared of what will happen once I give this structure up. My mind pictures the skeleton of a house. My old ways are the beams that hold the house together. Without them, the walls will cave in.
I am not out of the woods. Yet I fully believe I will look back on this lower, grayer season and see that all the while I was pacing the floors, pondering which beam could go down first, which ones needed to stay to prevent collapse… All the while Someone else, a Savior of strength, was holding my roof up.