I think the first thing I learnt from reading through all the passages God highlighted for me is that He is to be our all, our everything. In some distorted version of the truth Food had become that for me. If I am being honest it had been since I was a child.
But God wanted much more for me than that. I knew it. He knew it. What I didn’t know was how to get from the theoretical ‘God is my everything’ to the actual reality of God being my everything. The answer was in Romans.
I have read Romans so many times. It literally was nothing I hadn’t heard before and yet this time the words very nearly jumped off the page. I couldn’t put the Bible down. I wrote furiously in my note pad, wondering if photocopying might be a better option. No, I knew God wanted me to write these words down, to catch them as they jumped and to restrain them into the pages of my journal. These were His words to me. Each one as relevant as the next.
I ended up writing the entirety of Romans chapters 4- 8. I knew now that by turning to Him back in November and giving Him regency over my eating was the turning point. It was too big a problem for me. I had tried to solve it by myself and had failed every. single. time. Now I was trusting Him.
I was finally understanding that each excess bite of food, the food I had always felt the freedom to eat, had actually destroyed that same freedom. Food had bound me up and the temptation to eat more was growing stronger all the time.
Then I read what Paul had to say in Romans 7 v14-16:
‘What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise‘
Sound familiar? There are so many goals I set myself, and you know the vast majority I achieve. And then there is my eating. It is my nemesis, my Achilles heal, my area of sin. It doesn’t matter how many times I have attempted to get it under control, I have failed miserably. But this is Paul speaking here. Man of God extraordinaire. If he couldn’t do it, how on earth could I? He continues:
‘But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!’
Uh, yes, that would be me….
‘I realise that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.’
Do you know the self loathing I have felt because of this very fact? I seem so full of words but lacking in any tangible action.
‘It happens so regularly that it is predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?’
I think I would have liked Paul. He is so honest about his failings, failings I am sure every human struggles with at some time in their life. And he asks just the same question as I did back in November when I finally came to the very belated conclusion that I was never going to be able to do this alone. He asks who can help him? And of course he has the answer to this purely rhetoric question….
‘The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different’
I continued writing down these precious verses. These were not merely words anymore. I can’t explain, and I don’t think I have ever had such an experience with God’s word before. All I knew was that this was God’s love letter to me. He had written it years before I asked for it, years before I was even born. But He knew that these words would be there for me when I was ready to accept them. Last November I was ready. From that day on I had stopped trying and instead I waited.
And He answered:
Yes, the answer is always more of God and less of me. Always.
Thankfully I just have to groan and God gets it. He gets me. I can cry and ask for nothing and He will give me everything, and make it all work out for the good.
And those feelings of inadequacies? God has called me by name. There is no need for any inadequacies, for I am a child of God.
So what do I need to do?
Nothing is impossible, every chain is breakable;
With you we are victorious.
I am a conqueror through Christ….