Long ago, I tried to apply the principles of eating according to physical cues and to go to God for all the other times I was tempted to eat when I wasn’t physically hungry. For some reason, I just couldn’t pull it together. What sounded so simple on paper or on the computer screen seemed a huge impossibility for me. Of course, this made me feel like I was nuts. Why couldn’t I do this? It seemed so simple!

In those days, I didn’t realize it, but there were truly reasons I was in a place of “I can’t.” 

I didn’t understand that. So I would beat myself up. I looked at the whole thing–all the weight I wanted to lose and how I constantly ate more than I needed–and just didn’t have a clue why it seemed so HARD. I felt so hopeless!

“I can’t DO this!”

I was right! I couldn’t.

But God wanted to take me PAST the “I can’t!”

God was at work in my life doing things, teaching me things, leading me into recovery over trauma…to forgiveness of myself, others, and, even, Him. I didn’t realize how much I had allowed things I had done in my past or that had been done to me to define me. There was such shame there. God had great plans to free me from all of that…In fact, at the cross the victory had been won. He wanted me to experience it.

I literally had emotional “triggers” that God wanted me to bring to him. His will was for me to stop being in that place of “I can’t.” He used this struggle to show me I needed to bring each of these things to him, to confess what I was struggling with and to ask him for HIS will in this thing. It meant sitting in the pain and emptiness. It meant waiting. NOT something that is fun to do. How much easier it is to stuff the emptiness with food. But he wanted me to wait wait wait…and invite Him into the thing that was causing me grief.

It is a bit more complicated than I have made it sound, but the fact remains, it was a time when “I can’t” was a fact of my life more often than not.

Much healing has taken place. God has taught me a great deal. He has brought me through a ton of stuff and I wouldn’t trade the painful poking, prodding, and flushing out of the wound, given all I have experienced, all He has given me. He continues to do this today of course with the many many “do overs” that he brings my way. But more and more I see what is going on and I welcome it…well, sort of. At least more than in the past.

In any event, something that struck me not that long ago is this: At this stage of my life, any struggle I have to respond to my body’s physical cues to eat or not eat…well, it no longer boils down to an “I can’t.” It is now, simply, an “I won’t!”

Yup, now I am in a different place. I must admit that it is really really humbling, but with all the healing God has brought to me, the experience of living according to these principles imperfectly, but nevertheless seeing changes inside and out, with the renewing of my mind that he has done…wow. I have been transformed! I see it so clearly most of the time! I think differently about food, about portions and, even, about my body and about who I am. Sure, there is still room for much growth. Definitely! But right now, I am in a radically different place than 5 or 10 years ago.

5 or 10 years ago, it really was an “I can’t.”

Now, when I am out of line in my eating, it is definitely more of a rebellious, “I won’t.”

So, what is it for you? Do you find yourself again and again saying, “I can’t do this! What is wrong with me!?” If so, then I urge you…first, don’t beat yourself up. You may really be in a place of “I can’t!”

But secondly, you can experience God’s grace and healing in a practical way. I suggest that you stop focusing on the food and your body and start welcoming what he plans to do INSIDE you. It seems the long way around, perhaps, but it is where the change HAS to begin.

For others of you (and I include myself in this), if you have experienced his healing emotionally and you know that saying “I can’t” now is really somewhat flaky, then join me. Let’s face into our rebellion head on and refuse now to claim “I can’t.” Let’s choose to give God credit for the work He has done and own that we are really digging in our heels to say “I won’t” instead. Sure, let’s keep allowing the inner healing work. But let’s also own that we can TOO say NO to food when we aren’t hungry!  Like Dr. Rita says in her book, Jesus is the Lord of me and he says I am lord over my food. I can TOO say no!

For me, I have to be willing to use words like “obey” and “sin” to describe what I am doing (or not doing). That is all there is to it. It isn’t about if I feel like eating the way God calls. It is about obedience. It is about all the other things that happen in life that I want to deal with by eating and, instead of eating, asking God what HE wants for that moment, that experience, that pain.

Again, I am speaking to myself and to anyone who, like me, has seen a huge inner healing and transformation that God has done already. If you know you haven’t yet allowed God access to your unmet needs, expectations, disappointments, and deep wounds, then sure… “I can’t” may be more accurate. Please, then, know that it may be time for you to stop fixating on the scale, the food, clothes, etc., and time to be still and know that He is God. It is time to feel the pain and bring it to him. He will bring you to a place where you can in the strength He provides.

For those of us who WON’T, let’s quit with the “I won’ts.” One moment at a time. Ask for God to soften our hearts to make us willing and do our part to BE willing. Wow, there are blessings in obedience. It is awesome to walk in humility and praise God for the way He is at work in us to will and to do HIS good pleasure!