Friday, January 13, 2012

battling the discontentment/dieting cycle: you’re not alone


It’s the new year- which means lots of women are on diets and battling with food and their weight {again!}.

Can I tell you something? Food is something that I’ve struggled with at many different points in my adult life- especially after giving birth four times in 5 1/2 years. But it was sometime after high school when I first became worried about my weight and size, and honestly, it’s something I still struggle with off and on today.

Just when I think it’s gone and I’ve forgotten to care any more, it seems Satan will whack me on the head and say, “Look at your hips!! You’ve gained five pounds. You’re so fat.” And I totally fall for his lies, over and over again- so I’ll start to worry about it. He’s still the same master at deceiving women that he was in the garden.

The food vs. appearance has not been an easy battle for me, and I think it just isn’t easy for the vast majority of women. I wanted to share with you some of my struggle with food and size- last summer I wrote this post on examining your heart in diet and fitness, and it kind of describes what I’ve learned about the whole thing.

I used to worry a lot about eating birthday cake or Thanksgiving food. I worried that it would cause me to gain weight, so I wouldn’t really enjoy it if/when I ate it. I still think about it occasionally, but lately I’ve come to learn that I should just enjoy the food.


If it’s something you want to eat, like your son’s birthday cake- partake, enjoy it, and get back on track tomorrow. This life is more than food. It’s about loving others, and if you’re too consumed with thoughts of eating {too much or too little!}, you’re missing the point.

I said something like that back in this post:
It's a delicate balance- one of desiring to honor the body that God has given us, and being thankful and enjoying the food He has given us. It's easier said than done, of course. But God gives us so much grace. Being thin isn't a sin. Being overweight isn't a sin. It's the focus of our hearts- are we letting food control us either way? Pray through this. And don't be afraid to let God take over the stronghold eating and your appearance has in your heart.

On the practical side, are there little daily decisions we could make that would make us healthier for His glory? Sure, I think so- like replacing fake foods with the foods He has provided naturally gives us healthier bodies. Instead of eating processed and preservative-injected chicken nuggets, you can choose to eat a fresh grilled chicken breast. It's just about being thankful and enjoying the naturally-occurring food God has provided for us here on the earth.
It’s not about going too far the other way, either, from what I can tell. Sometimes we can become so obsessed with serving only natural foods and eating right that we are still missing the point. The chicken nuggets aren’t the issue themselves.

It’s about God. He is our focus. He is the one who gives us contentment with our bodies. He is the one who gave us the food and the body in the first place. He is the one that gives us joy. We can’t find our joy in how we look, or in what we eat or don’t.

This is what I’m telling myself too. I love fitness, and I love food. But so many times I screw up and start focusing on those things and myself, and I stop looking to the Lord for my approval.

It’s so wrong.

It’s idolatry.

I feel like Paul does when he says, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” {Romans 7:15}

Do you know what I mean?

It’s awful. And I’m not any good at changing myself. At all.

But I’m so, so glad there’s some very good news.

Reading on, in Romans 8:1, we find the answer to our sinful, weak flesh- the flesh that loves itself, and can’t keep it’s eyes on Jesus no matter how hard it tries.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Did you read it? He’s overcome it!! He put sin to death! He’s condemned it! And He did it on the cross, so we are no longer slaves to sin!

And say what? He’s given us the Spirit too?
Romans 8:26:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 
HE helps us! And we don’t even have to know how to pray the right way! {that’s how imperfect we are!} We cry out, “Abba, Father!” {8:15}, and He intercedes for us! For our good and His glory!

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

Isn’t that the best news you’ve heard all day?

No diet, no certain food, no weight, no size, will ever bring you joy like He can!

So which one will you choose- your way or His?

His?

Joy. Peace. Love. Comfort. Acceptance. Approval. Relief from your heavy burden.

He can give it to you. Right now.

Just cry out to Him.

Thank you, Jesus, for your work on the cross that you extended to us, that goes even as far as our sinfulness in our diet and appearance!! We praise you, Father for your provision!! And thank you Holy Spirit for bringing us comfort and interceding on our behalf!

HE IS SO GOOD! He gives us such wonderful grace because He loves us so very much.

Have a joyful year, my sweet friends. He is faithful!!

14 comments:

CJ said...

Mandy - I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for bringing it back to the Cross. I linked you from my blogspot, hope you didn't mind.

Holly said...

Wonderful post!

Mary said...

Amen, sister! I am so convicted about your Paul statement. Seriously. That describes me so well sometimes. Why do I do what I don't want, or know is wrong??? Thank Jesus for the victory that we have in Him when we put our faith and trust in HIM! Awesome, awesome post, friend! :) Right on.

Thank you so much for your boldness in sharing the Gospel! Jesus is not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL men come to repentance! You encourage me so much!
Have a blessed day, Mandy!

amy said...

LOVE this. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. So true. Thank you for this post!!

adctlc95 said...

This has inspired me greatly. Thank you for posting it!

Amber said...

I needed to hear this today! Thank you so much. Before I started trying to lose weight I prayed to God to help me and he has ten fold. I have lost 15 more baby weight pounds (baby is one now). I signed up for My fitness pal (free sight) so I can keep track of what I eat but nothing is off limits, I just need to watch my calorie intake (but I still breast feed so I am allowed a little more calories than suggested. I also starting walking and both of these together along with God's help have worked.I do things in moderation and pray that I don't become a slave to exercise or food. I still eat treats but I strive to make healthy dinners, breakfast and lunches all in moderation. For instance we have switched from ground beef to ground turkey and from french fries to sweet potato fries. I also make treats from scratch, instead of buying store bought cookies I make some (I use real butter too :). Also being active and enjoying God's creations is another great spiritual and healthy way to get fit. I love cooking and baking and praise God for finding joy in it.

Kelly Munger said...

This was so well said! My husband and I have talked about this recently as he was starting to slide towards the obsessed with fitness side of things. It's started a good conversation about priorities. Yes, we are to take care of these bodies God has given us but it's more important to take care of the inside.

I Timothy 4:8 says, "For physical training is of some value, but godliness had value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

If we spent as much time taking care of the inside as we do worrying about the outside, can you imagine the change that would happen in the body of Christ?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

Jen said...

GOD is GOOD. I needed to hear this today.

Ginger said...

Such a good word--enjoying things with wisdom and right priorities

Sunday Burquest said...

Great post - so encouraging! He is all we need!

Meredith said...

This is wonderful.
Thank you for opening up about this - - - helps us to know we are all in this together.

Myackel said...

Thanx 4 sharing that! It is such good WORD and what FOOD for thought and meditation! SOOOO GOOOD.

Madison Pinto said...

Mandy -

Thank you for this post and for the others like this one that speak to the focus of our hearts! I have struggled with my weight and feeling discontent with my body ever since I could remember, and lately, I've noticed that obsessing over food and my appearance has occupied so many of my thoughts. I definitely resonate with your struggle - just when I think I've destroyed these idols, Satan loves to taunt me with insults through the mirror and lure me in and entice me with extra sweets!

God has recently called me to serve college students in Arizona, and I am timidly following Him into a new adventure in this season of my life. It is a truly special time as He is growing me by leaps and bounds by forcing me to depend on Him for everything that I do. He is doing so much to shape me into the image of His Son and to cause my wayward heart to fall even more in love with Him. What a shame it is to waste so much precious time and energy worrying over food and the way I look when kingdom work is happening all around me! I don't want to miss out on greater things because I allow the enemy and my own sin get the best of me!

I want Jesus to be the focus of my heart and the sole owner of my affections. I want to love Him more than food and more than looking pretty. I want to be captivated by Him. As you beautifully (and so enthusiastically!) put it, He has put our sins to death and redeemed us. Because of His sacrifice, we can glorify and enjoy Him forever. It's such great news, indeed!

Thank you again for this post and the reminder of what should bring us joy - not food or beauty - but Him: Jesus Christ our Savior. You have such a lovely spirit and a heart that is incredibly sensitive to the Lord. I see it all over your blog and the words that paint these pages. Let me encourage you with the reminder that those are the things that make you so very beautiful, my friend :-)

Many blessings,

Madison

leah@knitting simply said...

As an emotional-eater-food-obsessing-compulsive dieter who is learning to find peace in Christ alone, I love this! Thank you!

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