When I stood at the sink, trying to purge but unable to, I said the blinders were ripped off my eyes. It was deeper than just that moment, though. I have back up a little.
That was a Tuesday night. Two days before, Sunday, Jason asked me if I was struggling with eating. He noted that I was grazing more, taking random bites of things here and there throughout the day (another big no-no). At first, I was pissed at him and stormed out of the room (how did that response not whisper to me that there was a problem? How powerful and deceitful my heart can be!). Later, I explained to him that because I do track the vast majority of those bites into my SparkPeople app (which was true), that I was staying within calorie goals and was fine (which was sorta true- most days I was within calorie goals, but I wasn't fine). I was certain that I was fine.
I wasn't fine. Suddenly, I could see clearly that I was quickly going back to old habits. Eating things like sushi (read: rice) that filled my small stomach pouch to an uncomfortable point but justifying it because, hey, sushi's healthy!, but then feeling rescued from my sin of overeating when I got the foamies (google it if you please) and threw up.
Then there was the lie that if I tracked the calories I wasn't sinning. That I was experiencing "freedom in Christ" if I ate what I wanted without asking God what I should be eating to worship him. I wasn't fine, and I had been willfully ignoring the fact that though I was working out like crazy and had lost 120 pounds, I wasn't worshiping Jesus with regards to my health.
There's so much I could say here, but I'll cut to the heart of the issue- I didn't want to still struggle with food. I wanted that struggle to be dead and gone. This became clear to me when I was so ashamed of my struggle with food that I literally wished for a moment, during a recent sermon about the sinful woman in Luke 7, that my struggle had been that I used to sleep around and had had sex with more men than I could count. I've only ever had any sexual contact with my husband; I was so ashamed of this food struggle that I was willing to trade in a struggle with food for the pain of a past of utter sexual debauchery.
Why? In my mind, I would be healed from sleeping around by now, and wouldn't struggle anymore. Again, the heart motive was to kill this sin, not for Jesus' glory, but so that I can feel better about myself.
LIE! SINFUL LIE! I am in Christ. I can do nothing to earn his favor, including overcome this struggle. Even if I regained weight and ate like a pig and had a heart attack in two years and weighed 4,000 pounds I could not unearn his favor, because Christ's righteousness has covered me.
The point is not that I get fixed and quit wanting food to make me feel good, in control, etc (back to that in a sec). The point is that Christ has already won, but until I die I will struggle as a sinner, and he wants to be made great by showing himself powerful through my weakness. I cannot reiterate that point enough.
I was ashamed of my sin. I took back on the identity of obese, disgusting, worthless, lazy, almost 400 pound woman. I felt ashamed that I have to rely on Christ for every single bite of food that I take; for wisdom in the food choice and for wisdom in how much of it to eat. I was ashamed of my weakness, that I know how to eat well but just can't make myself do it 100% of the time without failing.
God showed me two beautiful things:
1) I was too focused on my weakness, but not crying out to my God whose STRENGTH is made perfect in my weakness; I was undermining his strength by pitying myself for being weak.
2) Everyone should rely on Jesus for wisdom with everything they eat. We are to be Spirit-led and worship Jesus in EVERYTHING we do. The thing is, none of us can do it on our own, but Jesus did, and if we rely on him then the same Holy Spirit who helped Jesus worship the Father in all things will help us, too.
That shame is not mine to own. It's dead. I am in Christ. I'm learning to not just force myself to "eat right", but to actually be prayerfully dependent on Christ. And, shocker, as I'm learning to do this in the area that is currently my most prevalent struggle I'm beginning to rely on Christ more consistently throughout every day. When I stumble, I cry out to him for forgiveness and the strength to get back up. It's bringing the intimacy with God that I have longed for but thought was for others but unattainable for me.
Quick thing: Some may read this and think, "Ok, but isn't her food struggle a surface idol? Isn't there some deeper root she should be searching for?".
Here's where I am: I've thought about it some, prayed about it more, and what I've come to is the conclusion that there may be something deeper. For me, eating without having to think, to just eat as much as I want because I want to, with no rules or limits or calories to count, is a form of control. Being out of control makes me feel in control, because I am the one controlling whether I am being controlled about my behavior or not. That said, I don't sense the Spirit leading me to spend a bunch of time digging into that right now. Eventually, he may, but the direct correlation to my desire to be in control by eating uncontrollably is that I'm not relying on the Holy Spirit to be in control. I'm willfully refusing to rely on God, because eating feels good, I want it, and I don't want to seek him. Truth be told, I don't hate the sin of overeating- I hate the effects of the sin of overeating (being fat). I like overeating. When I give into the temptation, I worship overeating and don't worship God.
I want to change those last sentences to past tense, but I can't. Today, I'm not tempted to overeat. At least, I haven't been so far. But that doesn't make me fixed. I need Jesus. I celebrate that today he's allowed me to rest and not be tempted. Tomorrow temptation may come, and I'll need to cry out to him for deliverance. I pray I will. Either way, he's a good God both when I'm tempted and when I'm not.
From here I will keep asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom as to how to share as I go forward. The purpose of this little mini-series isn't to say, "Oh, look, I struggled, but I'm all better now!". Yes, much of it is written in the past tense, but the struggle of loving Jesus and clinging to him in the moments when my lust for food feel insurmountable is ongoing. I want to be more honest as I go, but I still need to utilize wisdom.
One reason I waited so long to write about this at all is that it's easy, as a blogger, to manufacture life to fit into a blog post. Anyone who has seen Julie & Julia or who upkeeps a blog of their own can likely relate. When I kept a weight loss blog, I found my mind constantly swirling around how to blog about what was happening. My heart began to worship the journey for the sake of the blog, and not the Jesus whom I purported to be holding my hand through the journey.
So, more weight issues will come. This isn't over- it may well be a struggle I face until the day I die, and I pray that Jesus will get glory as his power is perfected and, hopefully, made known in my weakness.
That said, Jesus has been so faithful to me, and just as a reminder of where I've come from, I'd like to share my progress pictures. This, my friends, is visual evidence of God's grace; it's also a testimony that though I am weak and struggle, God has also been faithful to change my heart and I have worked very hard and need to remember to celebrate how far I've come!
|June 3, 2010 - 255 pounds|
I've lost 121 pounds and 95 inches-
I always wondered what my body looked like beneath all that fat,
and apparently it's a smokin' hot hourglass shape :)
|June 2009 (ONE YEAR AGO!)|
About 365 pounds; 11 pounds below my highest weight of 376 in February '09