Day 163: Just Food

I was recently having coffee with my friend Alice and we were talking covenant stuff. She mentioned that one of her struggles was that she felt the need to be strong enough to resist on her own. She said with a sarcastic note to her voice, it’s “just food”. She felt that she should be able to deal with “just food”.

And I have been really thinking on that a lot since then.

Cause really… she’s right. We so often feel a little extra dose of extra guilt because we can’t resist this stuff that is “just food”.

But as I have thought about it, a few thoughts have come to mind about “just food”…

Satan used food as the first form of temptation in the Garden.

Jesus performed his first miracle changing water to wine.

Christ compared his own body to bread and wine at the last supper.

It’s not “just food”.

And honestly, I thought and thought about WHY it’s not “just food”… WHY does it have more of a power than other things in our life?

And I’m thinking that it ties, in a weird sort of way, to our level of faith. Satan knew that Adam and Eve were provided every piece of vegetation in the garden except those apples (or whatever they were) from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And I think he played off of a small, tiny fear that has glowed in our hearts for all of time… the thought – the fear -  that we might not have enough. Not necessarily that we haven’t gotten to experience everything, but that deep down we fear that we might come across a time of… want. need. starvation.

And now I live in a time where most people in America live in a situation where there IS abundance like in the Garden. there IS enough for all of us. there IS plenty.

But we still have these images from the Holocaust. I can still remember stories of the Irish Potato Famine and the mass exodus that ensued. We see pictures pouring in from Africa, India, Asia, Russia of men, women, and children bare boned and sallow eyed.

And although we might grab another brownie it’s not typically because we are consciously thinking, “Oh, man, I’d better stock up on brownies tonight because we might all be starving tomorrow!” But in the ever increasing state of unrest in the world, it is more than likely in the back of our thoughts.

So, I wonder if much of this addiction and pull to “just food” is in response to our fear… and our subsequent need to control that fear.

But God has instructed us that food is now to become… insignificant. a non-issue.

I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:25-33

And He gives us a promise here… that if we run toward Him that He will give us everything we need. He doesn’t promise that we won’t starve, He doesn’t promise that we won’t be hungry, He doesn’t promise that we will even live. But He does promise to give us everything we need. And once we start to learn to trust that He will take care of us… then we can free ourselves from stressing over “just food” and then it can truly become exactly that… just. food.

Day Fifty-Eight: Haters Gonna Hate

I’ll admit it. I’m a hater.

(A hater is slang for someone that isn’t happy for someone else’s successes.)

I have been hatin on skinny girls for years. Them walking around in their jeggings, high heeled riding boots, snug little top.

And oh how the assumptions have piled up about them:
• they work out everyday, multiple times a day
• they never eat anything except lettuce
• they all have maids so that they have time to work out
• most of them are secretly on speed
• because they are always starving they are mean, miserable, and judgmental (oh the irony of that one)
• they look at me and either feel sorry for me being fat or have decided that I’m disgusting and lazy

Yeah. I know. Those are nasty mean thoughts. And… they aren’t true. They are ridiculous thoughts actually. They are judgmental thoughts. They are revealing thoughts. Because they reveal a lot about me.

Those thoughts are a coping mechanism for me. Cause if the skinny girls are miserable and I’m not- then I must be better than them even if my body is less attractive.

But then as I stop and think about the pain I have felt over the years, the burden of my addiction to food, the crushing disappointment of not being chosen, of not fitting into the same kind of outfit as everyone else, of… of… of… well, of so many things… as I stop and think about the life of a food addict, then maybe the skinny girls do have it figured out. At least more than I give them credit for.

Yes, I know that oftentimes skinny girls have to fight and rail against every calorie, but I have been around my brother (not that he is a skinny girl, haha, but he is an extremely fit guy) to know that there are those that just… don’t care about food. I mean, they enjoy it, but they don’t deal with having an addiction to food, being “attracted” to food, neeeeeeeeeding food. It’s a much better deal.

Anyway, I guess my thing is, yet again with this covenant to rid myself of my addiction to food, I see how much more I need to deal with.

So, skinny girls… sorry for the judgment over the years. And if you are one of those that isn’t under the magnetic pull of food, then, well, I hope to be one of you someday.

And God helping me, I will.

Day Thirty-Nine: Damsel In Distress

I want to start out by saying that I’m so glad that I decided to do this for a year. Five weeks in and I’m realizing that I’m gonna need another 47 weeks to get this worked out. That might sound like I’m “down” but it’s actually almost like a sigh of relief! I am just really glad that I gave myself a lot of time to get “over” this addiction. To work through my bad habits. To become a new creation. Too often before I have expected myself to become a new creation over night and that’s not always the way that it works. I mean, hey, I have thirty-three years of addictive habits that I’m trying to break. That might take a little while!

Now, with that being said, I feel like I have moved into Phase II of this experience. Phase I was getting past my addiction to sugar, namely, chocolate. Honestly… haha, yeah… honestly, I thought that was my only “issue”. Nope. Turns out that I realize over and over that it really wasn’t about the chocolate at all (well, okay, maybe a bit because it was soooooooo good), but that it has been an issue of the heart. So, once chocolate was gone I simply started to slowly work in new “addictions”. But the good news is that I’m not going to let those new addictions master me for the next thirty-three years but I’m going to deal with them now. nip them in the bud now. abolish them from my life now.

So… yeah. In a way I feel like I am back at square one. I’m seeing some of the same tendencies popping back up! Eating what is not beneficial but is still technically “okay” on the fast (e.g. potato chips). Eating past the sensation of full (e.g. dinner last night and tonight when I ate two servings worth and was way past full). Eating too late in the day and ignoring hunger sensations in the hopes that I would let my belly eat a little fat while I starved a bit (e.g. yesterday when I tried to skip lunch altogether).

I can tell that my weight loss has stalled out a little bit and I think that it is because of these things.

So, I’m needing to remind myself of the covenant. And I don’t think that this is a sign of me faltering, or Satan winning, or a lack of faith, discipline, etc.

I have just finished reading through Joshua in my daily bible readings, and after Joshua and the Israelites cross over the Jordan River (God, again, stops the water from flowing so that they can cross) they pile up 12 stones that someone from each tribe picked up when they were crossing the river. Then Joshua tells them why:

“In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ “Yes, God, your God, dried up the Jordan’s waters for you until you had crossed, just as God, your God, did at the Red Sea, which had dried up before us until we had crossed. This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always. Joshua 4:21-24

It’s not that atypical to set reminders… to need reminders. Heck, it’s all through the bible of the Israelites setting up altars to God to remind themselves that He came through. Like Noah when they got out of the boat. He built an altar to God. I just really like how this part ends… the stones are there so that they can tell others what God did… and why He did it: so that everyone would know how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that we would revere Him always.

So, I am going to be thinking over the next few days of a way that I can set up my stones to remind me that God’s rescuing hand (which I just love that adjective… not just His hand, but his rescuing hand) is strong and that I should revere Him. In the past I might have put a picture of me looking all fatty to “demotivate” me from eating, or a picture of me all skinny to “motivate” me to not eat, or a pig, or a… well, you get the picture. But now again, I am pulling the attention away from me and refocusing it on the things of eternity.

And I think when I see those “stones” and remember that my God has a strong rescuing hand… I might just allow myself to be rescued at that moment. A damsel in distress rescued by The Knight In Shining Armor.

Wow… sounds kind of like a love story.

Yep. The Love Story.

Day Thirty: Holy Hunger

I’ve really thought a lot about not eating too much. about using restraint. about thinking small.

But I was reminded yesterday of the opposite of that thinking.

Like I’ve said before, God specifically designed my body with a hunger mechanism that tells me when I am hungry and when I am not. When I am not hungry, I really shouldn’t eat. But the same thing goes for the other side of that… when I am hungry, I need to eat.

Because otherwise when the hunger sensation turns to a starving sensation… my mind switches into a different approach to food. And this built in approach actually makes a lot of sense.  When I get to the point where I am starving and I am presented with food, I typically eat more than needed. It’s almost as if the most base aspect of my being is thinking: If you are starving now then you might be starving later. Eat as much as you can while you can. But I don’t have a life where starving is a part of my existence. I don’t need to “store up” food for later.

What I need to do is eat when I’m hungry. Eat enough but not too much.

Lest…… when I do stop to eat I end up eating the last four cookie-granola bars that are left… like I did yesterday. And eating the last four cookie-granola bars my friends savors a bit like… gluttony.

And gluttony is no longer welcome in my life.

So I must do whatever it takes to keep gluttony out.

And one of the ways to do that is for me to eat when I’m hungry and not allow myself to get to the point where I am starving. I know that this is a very basic and simple “healthy eating” concept, but I also know that I am having to relearn (or even quite possibly, learn for the first time) a lot of those basic and simple “healthy eating” concepts.

So today, my prayer is this…

God,
Thank you so much for bringing me to this point. Day thirty… awesome! I still need your guidance, your healing, your help, your power. This addiction is strong God. But not as strong as You. Please, send me your Holy Spirit… and make me willing to obey. God, I live in such abundance, and I have not learned what to do with such abundance. I do not know how to handle it. God, give me just enough to satisfy my needs. Teach me restraint through this experience so that it will pour over into all the other aspects of my life. Teach me to be Holy because you are Holy.
In the Name of Jesus Christ,
Amen