The Battle of the Mind - Food and Addiction part 4
Updated: Apr 27, 2021
"Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind Romans" 12:2a
If there is an answer for the madness of food addiction, it will not found in any program or diet, by counting calories, carbs, or fats, or by removing certain foods. It will be found in a new mindset and attitude about food and eating. It will be found through submission and obedience to God. A program or diet will ONLY provide external changes. In fact, in my experience, simply restricting calories or food categories merely leads to another type of obsession.
I can't tell you the hours I have wasted manipulating my food plan to be able to eat what I want, exercising to "earn" enough calories to have a treat, "saving" my calories for the evening so I could spend time with my love - Food. And each time I would sit down with the allotted servings, I would immediately feel like it wasn't enough. It didn't matter what I was eating. The very idea of restricting the food changed my entire experience of eating. Instead of enjoying the food God had blessed to my body, I would obsess about what I couldn't have. I could maintain this cycle for awhile, but eventually my resolve would crumble, and I would cheat. And every cheat left me feeling a failure. And I was on to pursuing the next, hopefully better, program.
The problem with my pursuit of a perfect plan is that every one failed to address the true issue. Instead of taking the focus OFF of the food, these plans amplified the importance food, and the opportunity to start a new plan was merely a temporary redirect of my very serious, lifelong obsession with food.
The Lord has been speaking to me for a very, VERY long time about this issue, and He has shown me that while the battle is fought daily, hourly, and sometimes minute by minute, meal by meal, the WAR must be won in my mind and heart. And make no mistake, it is a war! I never get any peace from the enemy. In addition to the enemy's taunts about how how much I "need" whatever food item is beckoning at the time, Satan throws my previous failures in my face constantly. Nothing has changed in his strategy to distract me from the real issues, but I am beginning to understand that my God does NOT hold my failures against me. He is NOT disgusted with my addiction to food. That is a difficult concept to grasp, but I CAN, because His love for me is greater than any sin in my life, and He just wants me to be free. Free to serve Him and Him alone, rather than part of my heart belonging to food.
God created food in abundance, in glorious variety, for our enjoyment, to nourish our bodies, not to destroy our bodies or become an idol in our lives. I have known this since coming to faith in Christ, but the application to this area has been elusive. How simple it is. I see that now that I have some sobriety. I must BELIEVE that my mindset about food can be transformed, renewed, restored, completely healed. I must NOT put my trust in any program, though ELAB has provided structure to help me achieve abstinence from compulsive overeating, and is therefore a useful part of my healing journey. I must TRUST God's promise found in Philippians 1:6 "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
I believe God does not care if my last breath is exhaled from an obese body or a trim one. But He wants me to have an abundant life, and He is WAY more interested in my wholeness of heart than in my appearance. You may be familiar with the story of David and Goliath, but what strikes me most about David's story is when the sons of Jesse appeared before Samuel and he was to choose which one God had annointed. Samuel thought one of the fine looking sons was surely God's choice, but it turned out to be the youngest, who wasn't even presented. God told Samuel, "...do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
God knows my desire to turn this part of my life over to Him. He knows the struggle, and He knows my heart. When I stand before Him each day, He does not judge me by my appearance, the success of my efforts to lose weight, or the rigidness of my way of eating. He judges me by my heart, and so my focus, my goal is to be changed. Abstinence from compulsive overeating will NOT bring change. Only God can change a heart. However, removing the constant thoughts and pursuit of food creates space for HIM to fill, and that, my friend is how I will win this war.
I will have a healthy relationship with food. It will take......as long as it takes. God's timing is not mine. I will be faithful to continue to seek Him, to forsake food, to believe and trust Him to do the work of changing my heart. And meanwhile, I will put on the armor of God and fight this battle in His strength. And I will remember this promise from Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
If you want someone to walk beside you on your own journey to victory over food addiction, please go to the contact page and send me a message.
If you want to comment on my posts, you have to sign up, and I understand the aversion to doing so, but I invite you to follow me and see God's goodness and His faithfulness as I learn to take every thought captive and finally live in obedience in this area of my life. II Corinthians 10:5 says this "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
May it be so in me.