The good man eats to live, while the evil man lives to eat. Proverbs 13:25 Ouch. For the last 35 years, I have lived to eat. It was clearly my addiction of choice. It filled all of my deepest, darkest needs apart from Jesus or so I thought. I have developed health problems now. Two herniated disks in my lower back, a bum knee at times, very annoying floaters in my eyes that sometimes obstruct my vision, a pinched nerve in my right shoulder, pain that shoots up into my esophagus if I don’t mind or take you pick of two spots in my stomach that act a fool on occasion too. Yeah, I loved eating more than I loved Christ. I am sure of it.
How did I come to that conclusion? Well, for one, no matter how hard I tried over the last decade was I able to free myself from the prison I created. Try and try as I might, there never came a release. I’d think I’d found the key over and over again. I’d try this or that for a couple of weeks, but would always fail and find myself in front of a big, fat pile of cookies again. Ever since I was a little girl they were there. Loving me, comforting me, I swear if I could have hugged them back I would! Food has just always brought me extreme pleasure and delight, but I always knew it had more of a place in my heart than it should.
At twelve, I knew something was amiss. Besides being made fun of about my weight by kids at school, my freakishly thin family would tell me on about a daily basis that I was not acceptable due to my weight. Although in love the best way they knew how, my grandmother and mother were particularly hard on me about it. I could never get the third hot dog down the ol’ pie hole without one of them piping up, “Leave some for the rest of us” or I had a terrible habit of grabbing the largest slice of pizza or picking out the meat pieces from beef stew in which even my father would roll his eyes at me.
What?! I would figure its just food! It IS just food, lol, as I sit and think about that now, but that’s not what I truly thought back then. It’s just crack. It’s just sex. It’s just one time. We tell ourselves. Hmm…if only we could see like God sees. We would seek to protect ourselves from the enemy so much more. Food to me was never just food, although I tried to convince myself of that. You see sin never is what you really think it is often times. It’s instead, just a bad habit, just a way for me to relax, just a mind altering state I put myself in so I don’t have to deal with the issues at hand.
I was a master at this. There was nothing I wouldn’t try, and there was no dare I wouldn’t accept. The thrill and the rush for me always came from the acting out. The prize was simply the disobedience. Now I doubt many God fearing men and women would admit they’ve had a problem with rebellion, but I am here to tell you today, I know, that I know, that I know that I did. It’s ok though, God was well aware when he formed me what he was getting into, as he was you, and it is still quite his pleasure to give us all things we desire in him, so yeah, I don’t get to bummed out about it. Just chalk it up, and keep it moving.
What I did find interesting this morning was that verse. I’ve read through the Proverbs many, many times, but today I seen it a little differently. Maybe because I am finally obeying the Lord in the area of self-discipline, maybe because I can so clearly see now how that one area of my life was affecting all the others. How they are connected and while your body suffers so does your mind and your spirit. Yes, I see it clearly now, and don’t ever want to go back. I know that God made me a new creation when I accepted Christ as my Savior, and I know that I am in the process of working out my salvation with fear and trembling.
I want everything Christ died for. I don’t want to make it to heaven before my time because I couldn’t get victory over a piece of cake. How lousy does that sound on your death certificate? I don’t want to be caught up into the heavens with my hand over my heart like Sanford when he acts out a heart attack on the 80’s hit comedy. No, I just don’t! I’ve given it a lot of thought, ten years’ worth to be precise, and I am grieved to admit it took me that long to recognize my error.
In actuality it took me that long to start cooperating with God. On April 30th, I will be a non-smoker for ten whole years. God delivered me even though I started when I was 13, and even though I had no desire to quit. He arranged my life in such a way to get my attention, told me it was time to go, and I obeyed. Immediately after receiving that victory, he said, now don’t stop drinking water or you will gain weight. I was a lot slimmer then, but I got angry. I had given God a lot of areas of my life by then, and I was in no mood to barter about this one. (Aren’t we funny the way we think we can outsmart God? Dear Lord, help us.)
Anyway I didn’t listen; I started drinking Mountain Dew instead. I didn’t like the withdrawal symptoms I was having from not smoking, nasty mucus was coming up, and all it ever seemed to feel like was one cough after another for six whole months. Well, lol, that’s all it took, I ballooned another forty pounds. Add two more children and another 40 on top of that. Long story short, lol, I can’t believe I said that, lololol, short story in my universe, I was over 100 pounds overweight.
For ten years, I kid you not, every. single. day. God had been knocking on the door of my heart about this. Friends, he sticks closer than a brother. He will never leave us; he will never stop trying to get our attention in the area he is trying to get our attention! Don’t like it? He doesn’t mind one iota, around and around the mountain you’ll go, lol, trust me! He has a will, he has a way, it is best we just get in where we fit in, as Too Short would say.
So what do we do when we know there is an area we need change in? I mean we know because Jesus has made it clear to us himself, not because someone else is telling us too, or we feel feel condemned, but because Jesus is bringing conviction in an area of our lives. I know there are times in my life where I feel like the power is not there or I lack the desire. What do we do?! For me, it always has boiled down to a matter of choice. Sometimes God has had to strip away many things for me to be able to see my real need, but he always leaves me a choice. Once I have truly known it was God who desired the change for me, not me, not man, not the devil with a stick, but God, it has been so much easier.
This is because deep down when God truly does speak to us about an area; it is his loving-kindness that leads us to repent. We begin to realize that he has our very best interest at heart, and that if it is that important to him, it should be to us as well. My personal experience has taught me that when I get very serious about changing and make a solid decision to partner with Christ that the floodgates of heaven are then released into my situation and the grace and mercy are available in ways I had never dreamed possible! God has done this for me over and over again. I love how he promises that old things have passed away and that he makes all things new. I am a living testament here to tell you today, that is absolutely true!
Please be encouraged if there is an area in your life that God is dealing with you about. If he is not, lol, God love ya, I can’t remember one time in my entire Christian walk that he wasn’t hammering something! If he brought you to this point, he will see you all the way through! He loves you and desires nothing but the absolute best things for your life. He desires that you too be the best you you can be! That looks different for all of us as we are all in different stages of this game called life, but I assure you whatever it is he is working on that in Him you will be able to succeed! God bless you, and may you be filled to overflow with his kindness, love, mercy and joy, in Jesus name. So be it.
Pic Ref: /www.tumblr.com/tagged/habit?l