“So let God work His will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and He’ll be there in no time.”
James 4:7 (The Message)
To those who know me well, it’s no secret that I’ve struggled with eating issues most of my life. When I started my blog in 2011, I decided talking about food struggles was going to be off limits until God had freed me of this stronghold. Maybe it was pride, maybe it was shame…whatever the reason, I decided it was a topic that was off limits. Do you notice how I said, “I decided?” If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that it doesn’t matter what I decide. It matters what God wants and that’s what gets discussed. As a result, the next few blogs are ones where I’m choosing to be a little more vulnerable than usual.
I opened the door about my struggle with food in And Your Job Is… earlier this year. While my journey isn’t over, yet, I do believe God keeps working on changing my heart regarding this issue even before seeing lasting results on the scale. I’ve noticed the closer I grow to God, it becomes less about any particular number and more about wanting to please my Father in all areas of my life.
God started the process of transforming my heart through a variety of sources and I want to spend time in the next few blogs talking about three lessons that have spoken directly to me. Hopefully the encouragement I’ve received will also encourage you in whatever area you are struggling with.
How many times have I started a diet or lifestyle change knowing I wasn’t as committed as I needed to be for success? Sure enough, three days later, or sometimes 12 to 24 hours later, I let myself get pulled under by chocolate or a donut or whatever was available. Time and again I would confess to God, feeling like a failure because my heart wasn’t even fully in my confession. Even as I was saying the words, I knew it was a lie and I would fail again. I didn’t have the strength to make my commitment stick. Not only did I fail in the diet department, but I was a fraud for asking forgiveness knowing the pull of food was stronger than my desire to break free. Other attempts started out the same, but instead of turning to God with a false confession, I’d just stay away altogether, feeling even worse because now I’d chosen separation from my Father, blaming food (the symptom) instead of getting to the heart of the problem.
I started reading a Breaking Free, a Bible study by Beth Moore with the intention of asking God to help me break my addiction to food. The entire study is wonderful but there was one section in particular that spoke directly to me. You see, at the time I needed God’s help the most, while trying to break a lifelong addiction to food, I was choosing to distance myself because my heart wasn’t committed enough to give up my idol. Ms. Moore’s words spoke comfort to me. She asked me a question very similar to this one: Even if I’m not quite ready to give up my addiction, am I at least ready to admit to God that it’s there?
Wow! God had been telling me that for years. It took the voice of another who had struggled with her own issues for the message to finally penetrate my heart. God doesn’t need my strength. In fact, I will go further and state in my own strength I will never be ready to lay down my idol of food and walk away for good. I need God’s strength in order for victory to last. Every day. God just asks for my heart. My desire to do what is right.
Once I’m honest with myself and admit to God that I want to want to change, God will take it from there. I have to admit. For myself, it was very freeing to tell God, “I may not be ready to do the work it takes to try again with my food issues, but I am at the point where I want to want to break free completely.” Then I sat. And waited in the comfortable silence. Silence borne from a close relationship with my Father. Not hiding anymore, not lying or feeling like a fraud, but openly admitting what I can give and the changes I desire to take place. From a place of complete honesty.
Do you know what I’m noticing? Small changes are beginning. I’m finding myself content when in the past I wasn’t. I’m finding I don’t run to food as often as I did because it just doesn’t taste as good. I’m realizing it was never really about the food. Overeating is just a symptom. God cares more for each of us than masking symptoms. He wants to reveal the heart issue so He can come in and remove it forever.
Next time we get together I will share with you the second lesson I learned.
© Cheri Swalwell