…Binge-Eating Couch Potato or Wholesome-Food-Eating Gym Rat?

Those of us who have struggled with food, eating, body issues for much of our lives need to be careful not to allow ourselves to be deceived as we search for an answer to our “problem.” Many of us live at one end or the other of a continuum. At one end, we obsess about food and eating the delectable treats we enjoy with abandon–without caring about what God has to say about the matter, being gluttonous and greedy. Rarely living anywhere between the two extremes, following some moment(s) of huge conviction or an experience where we come face to face with how out of control we are, we fly to the other end of the continuum, and earnestly manipulate and control our food, limiting the quantity in an extreme way (even to the point of denying physical hunger), weighing and measuring, charting and graphing obsessively, exercising compulsively. In this place, we live in fear if life is temporarily too busy or we feel too under the weather to maintain our exercise regimen for a day and need rest, or we worry we will gain ten pounds overnight (literally) if we “give in” to Mom’s home-made chicken soup (how can we, after all, count the calories in home made chicken soup? etc…).

I hope this comes across with intensity: 

For me, in my life, these behaviors have been the same ungodly obsession, but with a different appearance. They may make me appear godly, but it really is just another way of indulging in the same sinful pattern in my life–fixating on my body and on food.

There is nothing wrong with exercising or being aware of what I put into my body, in fact, I believe these are great things! But I have learned over a long period of time that the Lord Jesus wants to break me free from an obsession in ALL it’s forms. No, wait…more than that…He already has. It is up to me, as I call on him for strength in the moment to walk in the victory he has already purchased in the strength he provides by the power of His Holy Spirit.

If fear, in any way, is a part of what motivates me, I must invite God to “search me and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting,” as fear can be an idol. God wants NOTHING but His own presence and Holy Spirit to direct my steps!

Rather than fear being fat, I must hate sin! In *all* its forms!

The diet fanaticism and gym-rat mentality that has characterized me in the past, is out of his will for me:

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, 
why, as though you still belonged to it, 
do you submit to its rules: 
“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 
These are all destined to perish with use, 
because they are based on human commands and teachings. 
Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, 
with their self-imposed worship, 
their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, 
but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
– Colossians 2: 20-22

Because of the tendency I have to get self-righteous, legalistic, prideful and to “just do it,” I know that as soon as I begin to speak of “taking responsibility,” “caring for my body as the temple of God,” “being a good steward of the body He has entrusted to me,” and other Christian “good health” catch-phrases, I have to be especially wary. I can allow a good, godly motive to carry me away into a place that is equally compulsive, sinful, dark, and displeasing to God as when I sit on my rear and binge time and again.

What makes it even more of a challenge, though is:

One approach, our world praises! The other, our world looks upon with disdain.

One approach, leads me (usually) to have a physical appearance that the world admires. The other, often leads me to have a physical appearance that the world rejects.

God isn’t a “factor” in this equation at all, let alone the sole motivator!

The question is, what is God speaking to my heart, today, right now, in this moment? What does He want? To what does He call? What will obedience to my Lord and Savior look like in this moment? In this hour? In this day? In this week?

I hope you will share what God has laid on your heart. I would love to hear from you. I will write more about this in the days ahead.