Series Starting June 1st, 2015
Lisa Brown at CommunityMoms.wordpress.com and Angel at Vision61.com will be starting a series about Self-esteem and Food-Related issues.
This series will start on Monday, June 1st!
We have a wonderful group of writers who will be sharing their stories with us. Stories to encourage and give us hope that God will pull us through.
Through the rest of May we will be introducing the series along with some of the writers! So check in with us on Mondays.
Today we would like to introduce you to Barb Winters who has offered to share her insight about Food Issues and Self Esteem with us. (You can find out more about her at the end of our post.)
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By Barb Winters
Hello, my name is Barb and I am a reformed (almost) junk food junkie. Honestly. I was the child my parents took a picture of under the sign “Won’t Eat Vegetables” at the amusement park. Of course, at that time I didn’t eat anything. But I changed. I evolved. I grew. To love potato chips, Diet Pepsi, pizza, and . . . ice cream! In college, I thought the food groups were Pizza Hut, Monical’s Pizza and Domino’s.
Since then—twenty plus years have passed—my eating habits have fluctuated; but eventually I accepted I had an unhealthy relationship with food. So I embarked on a quest to decipher why I couldn’t maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I know I’m not alone. Many people I converse with about food will admit to some sort of problem. Some laugh it off . . . and some cry. But it is obvious that an escalating problem in today’s society of plenty is how we deal with food. Our minds reel with questions: What should I eat? What shouldn’t I eat? How much should I eat? Why should I eat that? Why shouldn’t I eat that? We meditate on it. We mull it over. We munch on it (pun intended). We toss the questions around until we feel as if we are on a merry-go-round with no off button. The thoughts consume us. And we feel as if there is no place to hide.
During my quest, God disclosed to me many eating issues go deeper than just making wrong choices. Lies we believe affect these choices. Lies we decide to believe. Rationalizations. Justifications. Validations. Excuses. Thought patterns. Things Satan whispers in our ears until we don’t need him to whisper them anymore . . . because we believe them and tell them to ourselves. So instead of discussing which diet is best or how many hours of exercise will counteract the effects of the piece of pie we just ate, I want to look at the purpose of food and how we have twisted that purpose by believing lies. I want to identify the lies so we can replace them with truth.
What is the definition of “food”? What is its purpose? Until a few years ago I never stopped to ponder these questions. But since we deal with food on a regular basis (that’s an understatement), we should answer these questions. Here are my initial thoughts:
Food can be . . .
- a comforter
- something to keep my mouth and hands busy
- the satisfier of my cravings
- what I use to keep my stomach from talking to me
- an outlet for my creativity
- a necessary evil (having to think about and plan three meals a day can be mentally exhausting)
- something we fellowship around
How do you define food?
My Scholastic Children’s Dictionary defines food as, “Substances that people, animals, and plants eat to stay alive and grow.” Hmmm. Really? Substances? Sounds boring and unappetizing. It contains no depth, no enjoyment. I wonder what my husband would think if tomorrow he asked, “What’s for dinner?”
And I responded, with a lilt in my voice like all good wives have, “Substances, dear.”
I prefer a definition I heard at a conference: fuel for our bodies. Again, not very appetizing (the smell of gas fumes comes to mind). However, this definition helps me maintain the right perspective on the purpose of food. When I think of fuel, I think of something that provides energy to keep going. I am compelled to ask: What is the best fuel for our bodies? To take that one step further, we are told in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (for those in Christ). Therefore, the real question is: What is the best fuel for God’s temple?
The living God dwells within these bodies He created. Why would we poison them? Why would we load them with substances that are harmful and contrary to what God desires?
Because we believe lies and rationalizations like:
- I deserve this reward for doing well.
- I can eat as much as I want if it’s healthy.
- My eating habits have nothing to do with God.
- I’ll miss out on something good if I don’t eat this.
- One won’t hurt.
- It’s a time of celebration/special occasion. /It’s a party. /I’m on vacation.
- It’s too hard/too time-consuming/too expensive to eat properly.
- I’ll start my diet tomorrow.
- Eating this will relieve stress.
- This food will make me happy/give me comfort.
- If I turn it over to God, I’ll never enjoy food again/I’ll never be able to eat this again.
- I’m in PMS.
- I’ll exercise it off.
- I’ve already ruined my diet today.
And the list goes on.
What lies/rationalizations do you tell yourself to justify eating improperly?
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Is it Sin?
For years I knew I could eat better, but had not contemplated the possibility that my actions were wrong. Two separate events helped me connect the dots. First, a friend casually mentioned that sugar could be addictive. I made a mental note, but chose not to ponder too long on the statement.
Then, several years later, I was reading Dr. Neil T. Anderson’s Discipleship Counseling when it all came together. “All people with addictive behaviors lie to both themselves and others. . . .The dysfunctional use of substances such as alcohol, drugs (either street or prescriptive), nicotine, caffeine and food becomes a means of coping and escape for them and usually controls their time, money and relationships.” The word food sort of jumped off the page at me. Dr. Anderson included food in a list of addictive substances. I asked myself, Can some eating habits be labeled as substance abuse?
Remember our definition of food: “Substances that people, animals, and plants eat to stay alive and grow.” If food is a substance, is eating improperly substance abuse? Back to my dictionary. Abuse is “wrong or harmful use of something . . . .” So, if we use food for any other motive than what God intended, we are abusing it. And, ultimately, we are abusing God’s temple.
We are able to move forward once the realization of this truth sinks in.
We find victory over sinful behaviors through God’s word and his power. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We 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” (2 Cor. 10:5).
It is not just a matter of recognizing lies exist. We must identify them, confess, and replace them with truth. Replacing the lies with truth benefits us most in the long run.
Let me give you an example. Some days my thoughts look like this: Good morning, Lord. . . . I need to brush my teeth. Can I have ice cream for breakfast? No, that’s ridiculous. Oatmeal is a healthy start to the day. . . . What kind of ice cream do we have? Oh, yeah. Bunny Tracks. . . . Father, help me teach my children well, today. . . . Lunch was good. Is it too early for ice cream? I better wait ‘til the children go to bed. Otherwise, they will want some. I’ll eat an apple. . . . Is it 8:00 yet? That ice cream was so good last night. I can’t wait. . . . I need to finish the laundry. Oh, I can taste the creaminess of the vanilla ice cream with the crunch of chocolate chunks. . . . I made it. It’s eight and the children are upstairs. I can sit down and enjoy my much deserved bowl of ice cream while relaxing.
Identify the Lies
In this example, my thoughts are not being controlled by the Spirit. One of the fruits of the spirit is self-control or a controlled self—controlled by the Holy Spirit. To escape from this bondage, I take the time to identify the lies I believe. Here are two: Ice cream is good, and I deserve it.
I don’t want to debate the nutritional value of ice cream with you. That’s not the point. The point is I am allowing what I perceive to be “good” to control my thoughts. That is the sin. I must repent. “. . . God’s kindness leads you toward repentance” (Rom. 2:4). Repentance includes agreeing with God I am wrong and turning from that sin.
Replace Lies with Truth
But, I can’t stop there. If I do not replace the lies with truth, I leave myself open for Satan to get a foothold. In this instance, what is truth? “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” (Psalm 107:1). God is good! And, if God is good, he will not steer me in the wrong direction. He will steer me toward what is good.
“The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits . . . who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:2, 5).
Now that I have located verses to dispel the lie, every time this thought pops into my mind, “Oh, I really want that because it is soooo good,” I stop and evaluate whether God has established that item as good for me. Then, if he has not, I replace the thought with a previously mentioned verse.
Let’s move on to the second lie – I deserve it. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life” (Rom. 6:23). Truthfully, I deserve hell. Anything above that is a free gift of God. Remembering that helps me keep the proper perspective.
One last thought. Anything that takes the place of God is an idol. If your thoughts are wandering toward an idol in your life, here are a few verses to help reel them back in. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 21). God’s love through Jesus Christ compels us to listen and obey Him. We are freed from sins and rest in His goodness only through His grace.
Do you think improper eating can be labeled as substance abuse?
Has food been an idol in your life?
Have you experienced victory in this area? If not, do you believe you can experience victory?
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Meet Barb Winters
Barb Winters is a freelance writer and speaker living in Carthage, IL with her husband, Don, and two of their four children. She has experienced many adventures in her walk with God and is currently in the midst of following Him to Florida to plant a church with her husband. Barb’s passion is ministering to ladies. Her purpose is to glorify God.
You can follow Barb’s blog at https://inthemidstof.wordpress.com/.
You can visit their church plant website at http://www.hopeinwildwood.com/.