There are a couple more things that struck me in recent weeks when I began to more carefully scrutinize my reasons for being lured to food. I know many of these (if not all) sound ridiculous! But that is just the point. There are times when the lure to food seems so tremendously strong. This journey is about figuring out *why* that is, *what* is *really* going on, and dealing with it in a godly manner instead of by throwing food at it. When I throw food at it, I am short-circuiting what God intends to do in my life. I want to do this His way. If I do insist on short-circuiting the process he through which he wants to lead, it requires that he bring yet another “opportunity” for me to learn this. This is why journeying around in the wilderness might take 40 years instead of the 30 days that might have been all it required in the first place had I really cooperated! (Boy, I think I mixed my metaphors bunches here…)
So that said, in the moments I have designated (5 minutes’ worth) to pause before eating, when I am not physically hungry and still want food, I ask “If I don’t need food right now, then what is this about? What is the reason that I am going to food?” Or another way of thinking of it:
What need am I looking to food to meet?
In recent weeks, I found that I had a lot on the emotional line. After being on the search team for a lead pastor at my church, we had unanimously recommended a wonderful candidate. He came to our community four times. The elders then recommended him to the church membership to be voted on.
I really feel strongly that God’s hand is on this man and felt like wherever God called him, I wanted to be there! 🙂
Yet, during the week prior to the congregational vote, I realized that maybe there was a chance that people would not agree with my assessment or my enthusiasm or just for any old reason vote “NO” about calling this pastor to our church. For some reason, I felt very personally about this. I realized this only after someone I appreciate and respect told me she would not be voting yes for him. I didn’t want to, but I felt somehow like she doubted my integrity. This is silly, I realize. But my heart felt it nevertheless. The more the “grapevine” passed on to me about how “people” (nameless, faceless, anonymous people?) felt about the entire “search process,” the more unsettled I became. Somehow, my SELF was inextricably bound up in this! I didn’t realize it until I was facing food again and again (without being hungry) during the week preceding the vote.
When I asked myself the questions, this is what I discovered:
I am afraid of rejection and food will somehow make rejection easier to take.
I basically wanted to numb myself to the pain I felt…rejecting “my” candidate was, for some reason, the same as rejecting ME! Go figure! I know this has to have roots in something because this just doesn’t make any earthly sense…
I had to prayerfully pull this apart.
Lord, I don’t understand why I feel rejected right now–and fear being rejected more. People aren’t rejecting me even if they DO vote no about this pastor! Please help me to see why I feel the need to connect with this entire thing this way.
God was faithful. He showed me that there was an issue of pride bound up in even being selected for the search team in the first place. If I felt it was “my performance” that somehow resulted in my having been selected for the search team, then it is no small wonder that I felt somehow like “my performance” was on display and the evaluation of “my performance” was seen in the congregational response to the pastoral candidate that I was so excited about. God had to show me just what a lie this was!
Child, I ordained that you would be chosen to be on the search team–due to no behavior, character, or performance of yours. I will use anyone as my tool for my own purposes and for my own reasons. My ways are above your ways. Since it wasn’t anything in you that moved my heart to select you for this role, there is nothing in your performance that matters right now except that you do your best to discern my will. Trust me…
I realized that feeling rejection over this if people didn’t like “my” candidate was in some way saying that I could usurp God’s sovereign choice in who would become the pastor of our church! If this isn’t the height of arrogance, I don’t know what is!
Lord, thank you for showing this to me. Please forgive me. How many other times, do I feel “rejection” due to this misplaced pride and ego? How often do I need to trust you…how often is it “not about me,” and I make it be about me? How often does this, then, lead me to food when I am not hungry?
Obviously, even apart from all of this, eating will not make feelings of rejection go away. I have to deal with the root of why I feel the rejection instead. I have to deal with the root of why I feel loneliness, pain, heartache–whatever it may be. I have to go to the only source of healing for these things.
This is one reason why diets don’t work. They don’t deal with the cause of my going to food again and again. They deal only with my symptoms…the food! Diets tweak the food and make me feel so good about myself as I do…meanwhile, all the stuff that God wants to heal remain needing His touch.
So, I press on and in…
Lord, why do I turn to food to numb myself when I am hurting? Where did I learn this and can you help me with this so I can be free from this behavior forever? I want NOT to feel the lure of food ever again when I am in pain.
This is a lifetime journey I am on…but in the moment that I recognize what is going on, I can come up for air and choose to take captive my runaway thoughts…reject them…and choose to give this moment to the Lord. Sure, it may mean feeling the pain. Knowing how silly my feelings of rejection are over this candidate thing didn’t magically make those feelings go away, but it sure helped me a lot.
Oh, and our church ended up voting *for* the candidate. YAY! 🙂