“After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church-” Ephesians 5:29 NIV
“for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,” Ephesians 5:29 NASB
“No one abuses his own body, but pampers it-serving and satisfying its needs.” Ephesians 5:29 TPT
For those of you who don’t know, but many do, I have Graves’ Disease, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks a little tiny organ in your throat, something very small that controls so many things in your body, and it’s called a thyroid. I don’t have a thyroid now; I had a total thyroidectomy on 8/27/2015. There are plenty of women on my mother’s side of the family who has dealt with the exact same thing and had to get their thyroid taken out. Even after my thyroid has been taken out, I still have complications.
Before I had my thyroid taken out, I was in a thyroid storm for months, and on two occasions it got super bad, I had to get transported to the hospital by ambulance. My resting heart rate was between 180-200, I lost 60 lbs in two months and I could not put on weight no matter how much I ate (and I ate so much, like too much. You know those frozen bags of Walmart brand chicken nuggets? I would eat one of those for a meal. Everyday. And would not gain a pound, and I inhaled everything in the pantry. I would lose weight even though I ate probably five times more than what one normal person would eat in a day), my eyes protruded from my head (as they still do), I would have muscle fatigue/deterioration, diarrhea, severe emotional distress (you can ask my sister), confusion, bad hand tremors, I could not talk, I couldn’t walk up the steps, I would lightly sleep between 30 minutes to an hour every night, most of the time not sleep at all, and because of the lack of sleep I would hallucinate, and I had extreme anxiety that you wouldn’t believe. Those two years of my life are so blurry, I can hardly remember what happened.
After my thyroid got taken out, I had hair loss, I quickly gained back my weight quick and then some, now it’s so hard to lose it, my sleep is restored to the point where I oversleep and I can fall into a deep sleep practically anywhere now, my eyes still are protruding and will always be big, I’m fatigued easily and my mind can be foggy, one side of my face is bigger than the other, BUT I feel much better without my thyroid, because if I still had a thyroid, all those symptoms I listed in the above paragraph would still be going. I honestly don’t know if I would still be here if I hadn’t gotten my thyroid taken out. According to https://www.healthline.com/health/thyroid-storm, the mortality rate for people left with an untreated thyroid storm is 75%.
“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” Hosea 13:14 NIV
Anyways, all this information is the preface to my point in writing this, Ephesians 5:29. I was helping out at an awesome Spirit-filled church, and we were all praying and the pastor asked me if I had something wrong with my body or any pain. Whenever that question is asked, I always say I don’t have a thyroid due to this, this and that. It’s been my prayer for my thyroid to grow back without Graves’ Disease. I’ve heard stories of God restoring limbs, fingers, making the blind see, the deaf hear, I’ve even seen the miraculous happen before my very eyes, so why wouldn’t He be able to grow my thyroid back? I totally believe that He can if He wants to. Whenever I told the pastor that Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune disease, he said, “Nobody hates their own flesh, for something to make the body attack itself is definitely NOT of the Lord,” but the thing that stuck out to me was “nobody hates their own flesh.” I knew I heard somebody say that recently, and I knew it was a scripture; I just didn’t know where.
Honestly whenever he said, “nobody hates their own flesh,” the thought popped into my brain, “except me.” Immediately after that thought, this word that I’ve known all too well yelled loud in my mind: self-hatred. Especially during my younger years, I hated my body with a passion, my whole self with a passion, and I personally know that some of the women in my family who have had to get their thyroid taken out due to Graves’ Disease suffer with the same self-hatred. I mean, think about. The definition for autoimmune disease is this: An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex organization within the body that is designed normally to “seek and destroy” invaders of the body, including infectious agents. Patients with autoimmune diseases frequently have unusual antibodies circulating in their blood that target their own body tissues. This is a disease where the very thing set up to protect the body starts to destroy it. Self-hatred is designed to seek and destroy all things regarding the body, soul and spirit of a person, which often results in recklessness, depression, suicidal tendencies, rejection, etc. Self-hatred literally destroys how you see your whole self, the outside and the inward workings of your mind. I know self-hatred destroys how you see yourself, which leaves the defenses of the mind open. I can draw the parallels between autoimmune and self-hatred.
While the pastor was praying for me, my mind drifted to “could all of this tie in to self-hatred?” I sort of cringed at the thought of conquering another layer of identity. For what has seemed like forever, I have been walking with the Lord on this identity process. I thought so much hard rock and dirt has been mined through already that I’m so close to the gold by now, right?
I’ve never had a more wrong thought in my life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
For as long as I could remember, I’m currently 23-years-old, up until 18-years-old or around there (which is whenever Graves’ Disease came into play), I remember not wanting to live because I hated myself. It was easy for me to become entranced and immersed into fantasy worlds, video games and books especially, because I could become someone who was not me.
I remember during my teenage years I would lay in bed at night and cry out, literally I would beg and plead for God to kill me. I would give Him every thought of why He should, and I would reason with Him about why He should take my life. I’ve told Him things like, “I was a mistake when You made me. Just kill me and relieve me of my misery,” or, “I hate myself, why would You make me and let me live while I hate myself? What good am I to you?” or even, “I have no purpose, just kill me, Lord!” I tried everything I could to get God to kill me. Every night I went to bed hoping I wouldn’t wake up in the morning, and would be so disappointed when my eyes opened the next day.
I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror, and if I did, it’s like I would block out what I looked like. I look back at the younger pictures of myself and seriously wonder why in the world could I not even look at myself in the mirror? Young Brianna was a cutie! Like I’m actually upset with the fact that young me would block out herself and her image. I wish I looked like that now! I was always the odd one physically in the friend group: too tall, too big, glasses, short hair, braces, doesn’t know how to dress, and I thought I never was physically attractive.
“Look at you, my dearest darling, you are so lovely! You are beauty itself to me. Your passionate eyes are like gentle doves.” Song of Songs 1:15
I never sought out relationships and never have been intimate with anyone, I never sought out alcohol, and I’ve never even sought out or seen any type of drug, to cover up the self-hatred I had deep down inside. I wasn’t physically abused or had a bad home life. I was considered your average “good kid” who had mental illnesses such as “depression with suicidal tendencies.” Nobody knew where it came from, heck I don’t even know where it came from (obviously the enemy.) But such a deep feeling of self-hatred, of self-loathing, came over my life at a very early age, and I know there’s more things that lead to this, but that’s for another time and another blog.
I believe there are levels of self-hatred. I believe the top level of self-hatred I had happened in my years as a teenager. Now I can actually look in the mirror and not block out what I see. I see every part of me, and I’m not cringing at it. Two years ago, there was a season where I had to look at myself in the mirror and tell the things that I didn’t like (which was everything) that I loved them in Jesus name. I wear what I want to and what makes me happy now, not care what people think about it, and look pretty fly while doing so. I don’t wear makeup a lot now, and I use to wear makeup everyday, and false eye lashes. In high school there were a couple of times when I went in with a caked face because my thought process was, “at least some part of me has to be some what decent.” But there’s still a stronghold somewhere inside that needs to get taken down. There’s still a tiny lie that attacks what’s on the inside.
I want to tell you that’s it is absolutely 110% okay to be dealing with these things if you are a Christian. You don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to cover it up. As long as you are letting Jesus deal with it Himself, and you’re not trying to deal with it in self-sufficiency, you are on the pathway to sanctification. It’s progress, not perfection. This is why we have the Word of God, scripture that we can use as a weapon against the false lies and the false thoughts that seem to creep in. It will get easier day by day the more that the truth of God sets into your soul, the more that you make every thought captive in obedience to Christ, the more that you surrender to Him. One day you won’t even be thinking about because Jesus, gracious in His mercies, will have taken it away from you!