Weight-loss and God
Last year I gave my food and weight issues to God. And waited. As He directed I sought for wisdom from the Bible, learning lots as I went along – not much of it had anything to do with food though. I dieted at the same time. I honestly thought that by the end of the year I would be svelte with no food issues lingering around. That was my human understanding. I had asked God for help. I knew He would deliver and (to me) delivering looked slim. I was disappointed to find myself putting on some weight at the end of the year instead of losing it! But I know. I know that God’s ways are not mine. The reason I know this is because His ways are never mine. Throughout my life’s song He continually surprises me. He does so much more than I could ever imagine. Did you hear that? I mean really hear it? He does so much more than I could ever dream.
Using Food to Cope
My food issues stem from a childhood made unhappy by my father’s alcoholism and his verbosity towards my (many) character and physical flaws. I was never good enough. In any way, shape or form. Each time I looked in the mirror, I saw a monster. The monster Dad alluded to each time he told me what an embarrassment I was to him.
So I ate. Eating was my comfort. I loved to eat! Over the years this has led to some heavy-duty fat, compounding the visual images of the monster I had of myself. I have tried every diet, every eating program and every single method I knew of to control my eating. They would all work for some time, but nothing worked over a sustained period. So last year I gave it all to God. I was fed up with feeling like a failure. Heck, I was fed up with being a failure.
During the first half of the year God led me to read His word with an almost feverish enthusiasm. I learnt so much, about God, about myself and most importantly about how God sees me. I carried on trying to lose weight, because honestly I didn’t want to let Him down. I wanted people to see just how mighty and incredible my God was. I was convinced it would be a doddle from here on out. Only it wasn’t. In fact, as I became more and more tired, my eating got more and more out of control. I had failed. Again. I did what any girl in those circumstances would do. I cried my heart out. And then I ate.
…Or maybe not
In December I came down with what I thought was a symptom-less virus, but which I think was probably more likely just exhaustion. I had to stay in bed for over a week, because I was just too tired to do anything else. During this time God began a conversation. It was His normal, gentle but persistent voice, urging me to look at just how far I had come. Very slowly I began to see that over the year, whilst I had been working on the surface issues, He had been at work on the much deeper rooted problems I had.
It became clear to me that I no longer see a monster in the mirror, I simply see me. I am no longer the product of my father’s alcoholism. God got right down deep inside me and He healed me in the way only He could do. And then He told me it was over.
I have written before about how God healed my relationship with my Dad, so much so that Dad and I were incredibly close in the year preceding his death, talking everyday on the phone. Who would have thought it? Certainly not me. God showed me that alcoholism is an illness and the words which come out of an alcoholic’s mouth are the lies of the illness. But understanding this and forgiving the past is not the same as the past never happening. Those negative words were said to me daily over the period of 18 years. I harboured no bad feelings towards Dad but I was living as the monster he had taught me I was.
Except not any more. Physically I look no different to the outsider. To me, I look human. I am no longer the monster of my mind. And that is where God has been working all these months; imperceptibly, without me even noticing, until I had slowed down enough to realise. Do you have any idea how big this is for me?
But there is more. I am by nature a very open person. Anyone who knows me well knows about Dad. At the end of last year, I began to share something about Dad with one of my friends. Whilst sharing I felt God say to me ‘No more’. In December this happened again. God was saying it is over. It is finished. He has completed the work in me He began over a decade ago. He not only helped me to understand Dad, He healed our relationship, He helped me see all the great times with Dad when he wasn’t drunk instead of focusing on the not so great times when he was. And over the past year He has wiped my childhood clean in a way only He could. He was telling me that from this moment on I was healed of the effects of that childhood. It was over, and He no longer wanted me to share about Dad. There was no need any more. I was to let Dad rest in peace and focus on the happy later memories, because as far as He was concerned my childhood slate had been wiped clean, and with it all the hurts.
I prayed about writing this post because I did not want to prolong any mentions of my Dad. But I felt it was important to write in case someone else could relate. It was also important to me to have a specific end point. This finishes it for me.
Courage and Strength
What does this mean? Will I now shed the weight and become the beauty God always had me be? I don’t think so, at least, I don’t think that is a given. I do think it means I now have no reason to over eat or comfort eat. God has shown me time and time again, that He is enough. Period. Food is a poor substitute and does far more harm than good. The reality is that I have some incredibly poor habits when it comes to food. I have a relationship with this inanimate edible rubbish, and it is probably killing me. I can feel that it is now my turn to step up. God has done what He needed to do and I now need to find the courage and strength to say no to this toxic relationship.
I have very good boundaries when it comes to human relationships and will always walk away from a friendship if it becomes negative in any way. I do not allow any kind of toxic relationships with humans in my life and am very particular with whom I let close to me emotionally. This has meant I am blessed to be surrounded by only people who love, accept and cheer me on. I have never really thought about food in so far as comparing it relationally. I can see just what an important position it holds in my life and I now need to break its stronghold on my life. I have to resist the habits which have become ingrained very possibly into my DNA. I need to replace them with healthy habits and healthy feelings towards all things edible. And most importantly I need to make sure that food has an appropriate position in my life. Right now I can see the nasty truth that food is King in my life. That is God’s position. Food should occupy a much lesser position. It should be nutritional and enjoyable. It should not be my crutch. And it should not be my Ruler.
And it is my job in 2016 to begin the task of putting food back where it belongs.