Thought for the Day: Eating in its proper context is not the problem. God gave us food for nourishment, strength, and even celebration. But when pleasure becomes unrestrained, there’s a problem.
God made you wonderful. Psalm 139 says you are wonderfully and fearfully made. You are beautiful and loved, no matter if you’re a size zero or a size thirty. You are beautiful just the way you are. But God loves you so much that He doesn’t want you to stay in a place of defeat.
There was a time when I felt utterly defeated in the area of food and health. I knew that I needed to make changes not because of the number on the scale or what clothing size I was. I knew it because of the battle that raged in my heart. I craved, I desired, I thought about, and arranged my life around food.
Yet I was a Bible teacher. I was a woman who loved Jesus. Why couldn’t I figure this out? I had found victory in so many areas of my life, but this area eluded me. I constantly asked, “Why shouldn’t I indulge?”
One day I looked up the definition of the word indulge, which means “unrestrained action.” And for me, it was unrestrained eating. You see, eating in its proper context is not the problem. God gave us food for nourishment, strength, and even celebration. But when pleasure becomes unrestrained, there’s a problem.
I had to get honest enough to admit it that I relied on food more than I relied on God. I craved food more than I craved God. Chocolate was my comfort and deliverer. Cookies were my reward. Salty chips were my joy. Food was what I turned to in times of stress, sadness, and even in times of happiness.
I knew it was something God was challenging me to surrender to His control. Really surrender. Surrender to the point where I’d make radical changes for the sake of my spiritual health perhaps even more than my physical health.
Part of my surrender was asking myself a different question, a really raw question. May I ask you this same question? Is it possible we love and rely on food more that we love and rely on God?
Now before you delete this, hear me out. This question is crucial. We have to see the purpose of our struggle with food as something more than getting to wear smaller sizes and receive compliments. Shallow desires produce shallow efforts. These good things are nice, but not as appealing in the moment as a cinnamon roll, or those chips, or that brownie.
The process of getting healthy has to be about more than just losing weight and focusing on ourselves. It’s not about adjusting our diets and hoping for good physical results. It’s about re-calibrating our souls so that we want to change for the right reasons. I’ve realized that a healthy eating plan can be one of the most significant spiritual journeys I’d ever dared to take with God. As you join me for the next twenty days, I hope you soon say the same thing!
Before I fell pregnant with Baby Girl, eating was not that important to me. I would skip breakfast, eat lunch, or eat supper – I ate when I was hungry. And my mindset was such that if I didn’t eat now, I would eat later. It wasn’t a big deal. But, as I’ve said in my blog, my life was set up for me to fall into a pit. And after that – eating became very important to me. I’ve gone from being slender to being fat, not because of the pregnancy, but because of all the lies I believed about myself, my weight and eating. And I still do to an extent, but I am starting to more clearly see the lies for what they are – lies. However, what all this has done, is built an unhealthy reliance on food and eating – if I’m tired, I eat. If I’m angry, I eat. If I’m feeling anxious, I eat. And all that eating is not good – because soon you can’t tell the difference between being genuinely hungry, and eating to calm some emotion you’d rather not be feeling. And all of a sudden, I’ve gone from someone who used to eat relatively healthily, albeit not eating a lot, to someone who eats all the time. And I keep praying that God would restore me to eating how I ate before I feel pregnant – but that’s not the point. Its my thinking that must change.
In fact, I’ve bought a book, The Thin Woman’s Brain, to help me to start thinking about food, weight and health properly. I haven’t started the book yet, because to be honest, I am a bit nervous. I have held onto this faulty thinking of “I must eat all the time” for such a long time, that it has become such a comfort to me. I’m not sure what this book is going to ask me to give up. Or if I’m actually ready to give this up. But, I know I can’t keep eating everything in sight – I’m exercising now, but if for some reason, I can’t exercise, I will balloon…
And even more importantly – God didn’t give us freedom to be in bondage to anything. And my being in bondage to eating means I am not free. So, by God’s grace and His mercy, let’s hope this book will help rewire my brain…