“There’s no free lunch.” “The early bird catches the worm.” “No pain, no gain.”
Don’t you just hate pithy little sayings like that? I mean, who really welcomes pain? And why can’t there be some free lunch with no strings attached? And a worm? Yuck!
Well, remove those rose-colored glasses, my friend (there’s another one for ya). Take a good sober look around. Life is hard.
No, life is brutal.
Aren’t you excited to keep reading? LOL! Okay, I promise, encouragement is coming. Bear with me a bit longer, please.
Ever notice that today’s culture seems to be addicted to comfort, to convenience, and to quick-fixes? I mean seriously. Many of us have become like Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, stopping our manicured little feet, shouting, “Give it to me NOW!”
“We want to have a nice house like our parents,” says the newly married couple still in college, accumulating exorbitant amounts of debt.
“I want that promotion at work, but don’t want the extra responsibility that goes along with it,” says the average American.
“I want to lose ten pounds in a week.” Okay, this is what I say in January about the weight gain that started to pile on with Halloween candy and continued throughout the holidays.
It’s confession time.
That quote above reflects a HUGE issue I’ve struggled with my entire life. FOOD.
But for the first time,
I’m truly beginning to understand a spiritual connection to my issues with food.
I have focused more on the “dieting” aspects of my food issues. I gain an extra ten pounds from overeating in the winter months that forces the vanity part of me to get on some kind of diet plan. Oh, and I have tried most of them out there: Keto, Paleo, and Weight Watchers to name a few. I’ve counted calories, carbs, fat grams, sugar grams and whatever else. I’ve taken pills that make promises I knew were ridiculous. Heck, as a teenager, I even tried speed. That DID NOT work! Yikes! But In all the years of yo-yo dieting and very discouraging inner dialogue, I avoided the spiritual side of why I allow myself to gain the extra weight in the first place. But I knew deep inside,
My relationship with food and God are closely linked.
So, why have I avoided the spiritual aspects of my relationship with food?
If I admit it, I might need to do something about it.
And that would mean facing some deeply rooted issues that are painful and would take some serious “heart” work, commitment, and self-control. It means taking the hard and rocky road, and not the easy one. Quite frankly, I’d rather have rocky road ice cream instead.
Here’s the thing. I have a pretty disciplined spiritual life. I love the Lord, so I spend time reading and studying the Bible every day. I pray, worship, memorize Scripture, volunteer at church, and do all of those “godly” things regularly. I do these things not out of obligation or even habit, but because I’ve developed a love relationship with God and it’s worth it. I’m not bragging, mind you. This relationship with God is a work in progress.
But I have kept one area of my life restricted from God: food.
There. I admitted it. Now what? Here’s where the encouragement starts!
This is how it happened. I have a dear friend, Krystal who also struggles with food. We’ve spoken about our food issues through the years—both of us have struggled with bulimia at points during our lives. However, recently, things got more serious when we got more candid about how deep this issue really goes.
And ya know what? We were both fed up with food and how we’d allowed it to control us for so long.
I mean, we are both Christian women in healthy relationships with God. Shouldn’t we be free by now?!
So, we decided to do something. And not with yet another diet or quick-fix. Been there, done that, and own the darn movie, thank you!
We wanted what God had been telling us was already ours—FREEDOM!
“For the Lord is the spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
2 Corinthians 3:17
Yes, Krystal and I have locked arms and hearts to embark on a new journey.
Freedom from food addiction!
Why am I sharing this on my blog? Well … gulp… let me tell you. It wasn’t my idea. I’d rather not if I’m being honest.
It was God’s idea.
At first, there was A LOT of complaining. “Really, God? Isn’t it enough to admit this to You and Krystal? Must I share it with the world, too?”
I agreed to share this journey because I know, that I know, that I know, soooo many women (and men) deal with this. Also, even though I’m sharing about food addiction, it can really apply to any compulsive behavior that enslaves us.
This is How Our Freedom Journey Begins
Step One: Confession
I finally confessed to God that I could see where I was turning to food rather than Him (more on this to come). That’s called idolatry, y’all.
Step Two: Invite God into the Struggle
I’ve kept my food struggles to myself other than when I would cry out to God asking Him to help me with self-control. I just didn’t think God needed to be bothered with my stupid little eating habits. God’s Spirit gradually began to expose my sinful relationship with food. Yep, that’s right. I didn’t think I had a “relationship” with food. We’ll get more in depth with that later.
Step Three: Accountability
I invited my trusted, Christian (this is critical) friend, Krystal into my world of food struggles and she did the same with me. More on how this looks later.
Step Four: Make a Plan
Krystal and I heard about the book, study guide, and DVD called Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. We are going through it together. We are also doing a healthy eating plan with Beach Bodies. Are you rolling your eyes, or am I imagining it? I know it sounds like I’m just doing yet another “program”. This time is different because we are actively working on “satisfying our deepest desire with God, not food” as it says on the cover of Made to Crave.
Step Five: Realize this is a Lifestyle Choice
This is NOT A DIET PLAN. This is a change of heart and mind about food. This is a new way of life. A choice—in the same way having a close and growing relationship with God is a choice. Yeah, it’s that serious.
I hope you’ll join me on this spiritual journey. I’m learning a lot and my prayer is that God uses it in profound ways in my own life as well as yours. Don’t worry. Not all of my posts from here on out will be about food. But this is something God is working on in my life and I’ll be sharing those lessons with you.
Will it be difficult? Yeah.
Will there be times I want to give up and just take the easy road? Yeah, rocky road ice cream to be exact.
Hey, let’s face it, anything worth anything takes effort.
We put effort into the things we truly want.
So, I’m putting effort into this and it starts with a commitment to God:
I want to crave YOU, God more than I crave food. Teach me how.
I know because the Lord is involved, great things are going to happen. Yes, I do. God is going to help and strengthen me to do what pleases Him. And Scripture proves it.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
Philippians 2:13 NLT
Listen. I believe I hear the clinking chains of slavery beginning to hit the floor!
Subscribe to Blog via Email
Click HERE to receive a periodic newsletter with fun tips and news on upcoming books!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments below.
Oh, my, Beckie, what courage and commitment it takes to tackle a subject like this, to be honest and forthright with God and your blog followers. Years ago, I struggled with anorexia – I mean, after all, I had to be “perfect” in the eyes of my parents, especially my mother, who was a champion fat-shamer. Although I managed to turn that trend around, I know some of the “thou shalt not eat” echoed with my daughter, who struggled with bulemia. Mind you, my own struggles happened in the days before I’d accepted the Lord as my Savior. I truly believe he worked in me, without me really knowing, to turn me around. My daughter has come a long way, too, having had three children and gaining a healthier perspective on her physical appearance. My prayer is that your take on food addiction will speak to hearts and minds of so many struggling out there. God go with you!
Martha, thank you for sharing your own struggles with food (and your daughter’s). I’m so glad to hear how God has worked in your lives. Addiction to food is one of those sins that I don’t think we take serious enough in the church. After all, it’s only food, not drugs or alcohol. What a lie!
I appreciate your words of encouragement and prayers more than you know.
Lisa’s book is the one I was reading when I started to write out Scripture on a regular basis. I, too, have struggled for years with good and the power it held in my life. I seemed to be doing good but I had regrets and this little voice telling me what a failure I was, all due to my inability to conquer my food addiction. I finally took action using many of the steps you laid out in your post. I no longer bow to that god. I do have to say it feels good to live without regrets. And that voice calling out my failures has disappeared. Thanks for posting.
Patty, thanks for sharing your struggle and how God has FREED you! I celebrate with you, my friend.
As I was thinking about this the verse, “My yoke is easy and My burden light.” This is amazingly true. Turning it over to Jesus changes everything.
Yes, love that verse. Thanks, my friend.
Beckie — love this – love the analogy of food and and commitment. I admit I recently had to break up with Little Debbie because she was a hindrance between me and God – lol.
Great post !!
BTW — my post tomorrow involves Pizza!!
Just sayin. 🍕
Del, thanks for giving me a good laugh. Maybe I burned a few calories! I can live without Little Debbie. Bleh! Homemade cookies are more my thing. But pizza? Now that’s another story. I look forward to reading your post. I might need to make my own version of cauliflower crust pizza after reading it to satisfy my craving.
Goodness, Beckie! This is so honest and vulnerable. And the spiritual connection to any addiction, including food, lies deep down in our souls. Yes, how the Lord wants us to walk in freedom and not be chained to anything but Him. “I want to crave YOU, God more than I crave food. Teach me how.” Amen and Amen! Tweeted!
Thanks, Karen. Now the cat’s out of the proverbial bag, I’m a bit nervous. Comments like your help me to keep focused on my Lord and keep up the good fight.
Wow, Beckie, I’m so glad you wrote this post! I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but it’s so valuable. I’ve struggled with body image and disordered eating behaviors for a long time now, but God has brought me freedom! It wasn’t easy to get there, as I had to be vulnerable with Him and others. But the more I fill my life with Jesus, the less I am focused on food or body image anyway. My prayers are with you in this recovery journey. 🙂
Emily, Thanks so much for taking time to share. I’m forever grateful that God healed me from bulimia years ago. However, I have continued to struggle with what actually caused me to become bulimic. For way too long, I have “used” food for comfort, to numb, to avoid, etc. God in all His grace has brought to my awareness that my “cravings” for food are actually my desire for HIM!
I have been inspired by the times you have on your blog about your issues with food. I know you “get it”.
Thanks again! <3
So… Here I am as an old fat bald papa, with my cookie and milk habit, my pie and ice cream habit, giving in to lust of craving… whew. But Jesus is my stay, my all in all. He lifts me up when I am weak and takes me on that road to recovery, you know, that road that doesn’t have cookies, nor pie and ice cream. I need this for I am also a Christian author. My characters do what you wrote about, even more to an extreme, for the same reason, so they wouldn’t have to deal with their issues before the Lord. whew. It gives me the opportunity to write about how an issue which is more important than our worship and relationship with Jesus is sin. thanks for your article. It encouraged this fat old bald papa to keep on. Good job. Author Terry Palmer
Terry, Wow! Thanks for your candid and encouraging comment. Like you, the fictional characters (one in particular) in my stories deal with the very issues I’ve written about in this post. In fact, I believe in writing my character’s story, the Lord has helped me see more of myself and how I have shut Him out by medicating, numbing, and avoiding with FOOD.
I was nervous about sharing because we all have “issues” and this “food stuff” seems pretty minuscule. BUT God has shown me anything that replaces Him is not minuscule. He wants all of us so we can have more of Him.
Thank you for taking the time to write. Your comment was more confirmation to press on.
Blessings as you continue to shine the light of God’s love.
Good Morning Beckie!!! Oh my dear friend! I am right there with you! Thank you so much for your honesty! I know this blog spoke to many women! Love Nancy
Sent from my iPhone
Nancy, I’m glad you found this helpful and relatable. It is my hope and prayer to shine the light of God’s love and grace.
I appreciate your encouragement, my friend.
Beckie, There are many of us that are saying, “Oh, yeah, that’s me!” I, too, had a food addiction for many years and thought I was never going to beat it. But that was the problem, you know, I was trying to beat it on my own. It wasn’t until I submitted some other strongholds to God that I was able to break free.God helped me to see food for what it is–a gift from him to nourish us, not a compulsion that brings comfort in times of stress (don’t we always have stress?) What has happened since God rescued me from the cookie dough cravings, is that I’ve developed a passion for wellness–helping others when I can, to make changes that help them have a healthier lifestyle. I’ll be praying for you, dear friend. I’m so glad you and Krystal are partners on this journey. Along with God, she will be your best encourager. Blessings!
Katherine, Wow! Thanks for your encouraging words. It helps me to see FREEDOM is indeed possible through our amazing God.
The reason I posted it (despite my huge reservations and shame) is to help others, just as what you shared.
Blessings on you and thanks for the prayers!
Beckie this is so honest and real and many can relate. Food is often comforting and satiating when we can find a more lasting comfort in our Lord. I love the idea of replacement. The Bible has scripture that refers to hunger and thirst for the Lord. I’m sure that’s not a coincidence that those two needs are associated with our need for relationship with God.
Jill, Yes, I believe you are correct! I am taking solace in the Scripture you referred to: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8. There are LOTS of Scriptures about food, actually. I’m learning so much. I’ll be sharing more on my blog along the way. It’s a process and I’m grateful I have God’s help. Not sure why it has taken me so long to include Him into this area, but so glad I have.
Thanks for taking time to comment.
I love you, dear friend!
I’m part of two recovery programs; NA and Celebrate Recovery.
And recovery starts once we step out of denial and into the truth. And that’s admitting we can’t stop on our own and need God’s grace and power.
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ centered recovery program that deals with hurts, hang-ups and habits.
Check it out when you have time.
Thanks for the hope because I have put down the dope and picked up the food…lol
Thanks for taking the time to give words of encouragement and TRUTH.
Praying for all my Sisters and Brothers in Christ-Messiah Jesus-Yeshua!! “Pray Without Ceasing.” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV )!!
I eat very badly at times eek!! I need to lose some weight someday with GOD Willing and HIS SON Jesus-Yeshua!!
Love Always and Shalom ( Peace ), YSIC \o/
Kristi Ann, thanks for your support and prayers. Our great God is teaching me the ways I substitute Him for food. I’m so encouraged to move toward freedom in the area of food. I’ll post more again.
I’m praying for you, too, dear sister!