So yesterday morning, I woke with a clear focus and a readiness to change. I realize that an instant change is often not achievable, so I suppose I could say I was ready to learn how to change. One of those half-read books in the stack is James MacDonald’s, I really want to change…so help me God. And I knew that if I could pray and meditate and read this book, I may be able to learn a thing or two.
Now let me preface, that while I have strong hope and trust in God, I was skeptical that anything would come out of yesterday, and out of this book. While I cry out to God daily to “fix me” and “help me” I had a sneaking suspicion that I was a lost cause. I was confused between what God is supposed to do and what I'm supposed to do. What were my duties and what was I meant to leave up to him?
Now food addiction is a curious one and in my opinion not quite as easy to cure as say…smoking cigarettes (which I successfully did 3 years ago). Simply because we can never get away from it. I can take myself out of situations where cigarettes are going to be. But let’s face it, we all have to eat.
Just days ago, in a very sad state, I told Mr. K that I wish I could rewind and go back 4 years. I look at that point in my life, the summer I met him and lived in Wisconsin, as a most happy time. And I cannot remember having any bad emotions about food. I see that what I said hurt Mr. K’s feelings…rewind 4 years and we were not happily married, we hadn’t moved to NC, where our lives truly began together and of most importance, we were not true followers of Jesus. I did not have a personal relationship with my God and Savior 4 years ago. So why would I wish to rewind to that point? That is how difficult my life has become with food addiction. It is a constant battle, spiritually, emotionally, mentally.
Ok, so fast forward to yesterday. I awoke early with good intentions of attending a hot yoga class that was unfortunately cancelled (or should I say fortunately). Because as I was driving home disappointed, I realized this was God’s plan for my day. To wake me up early and ensure that I would have that extra time to spend with him. I retreated home and spent some time in prayer, and reading the Psalms, and finally I picked up James MacDonald’s book and set out on my second attempt to finish a book this summer. (It’s not done yet)
I had already read the chapters about “taking out the garbage” (aka using faulty methods of change). My garbage was the silly restrictions I place on my eating habits. No sugar this week, no gluten next week, quit soda for a month, and for one week only rice and veggies (etc.). When I previously read about taking out the garbage, I realized that these restrictions were not helping. I would survive for the allotted amount of time, then regress by binging on these “forbidden” foods after the stopwatch quit ticking. Restricting my diet doesn’t work for me.My “ah-ha” moment came in Romans 5:20. Paul writes: “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound.” Doesn’t make sense to you? Well it didn’t me either until James MacDonald explained that “Paul’s point was that rules and regulations about how to live don’t help us change, they only make us want to sin more.
So although tempted to continue putting restrictions on my diet, I put my foot down and said NO WAY! But without restrictions and rules, where would that leave me? And that is where I found myself yesterday when I began. I continued reading in the second section of his book about the process of change and James MacDonald took me into Romans chapter 6 for directions. If I can’t lay a rule on it, then what can I do to help myself change? And back to the original question: what is my job? And where does God come in.
For detailed instructions if you are dealing with change, please look at Chapter 6 of Romans, or even pick up your own copy of I really want to change…so help me God. But here is a quick synopsis: I AM DEAD TO SIN! Truly, sin has no power over me. This concept is so vague in words, but once you understand, it makes change seem so possible. Jesus suffered and died on the cross that I may live. That I may be free from the chains of sin. I am not sin’s child, I am God’s child. I am not food’s child, I am God’s child. This reality inside my heart helped me to realize a very important piece of my life that I was leaving out of the puzzle.
Rewind again 4 years ago, and was I really free from the obsession of food? Or have I always been a glutton (ooh, what a hideous word). Sure I can look back 4 years ago and see photos of myself in great shape, happy and smiling. But perhaps that great shape was because of the physical demands of my job and not the ability to portion-control my food. Because if I rewind just a few years further, I possess absolutely no photos of myself. And when I suddenly see a photo of me tagged on facebook from my Sophomore year of college, I remember why I have no pictures. At my highest weight sophomore year, I scaled in at over 150 pounds. (I don’t know the exact amount…I hated the scale!) Some of you may be thinking…big deal, but I am a petite woman (or should be) and 150 pounds was definitely overweight for me.
If I try to think very clearly, I can remember always looking at other women and wishing I could be that. I don’t remember eating too much…but I’m beginning to think it is because I didn’t know better, and not because I didn’t actually eat too much! So why now do I obsess over it and think about it constantly, when actually I’ve always had this food addiction and just didn’t know it?
Enter God…my Savior.
You see, he has already begun a good work in me. He made me aware of my sin where I was oblivious before. The last few weeks I have felt like I just fell off the deep end, and couldn’t swim to the shore through the mucky water. Actually I’ve been in the deep end for quite some time, and now I’m not in the middle anymore…I’m close to the edge, to safety, to freedom! My awareness of the problem is God’s process of Sanctification. He wants me to change, to be a better person, to not be captive to the things of this world.
God has already started his job-by making me aware of a serious sin in my life, and now it is time for me to pick it up and take on the responsibility of my job. This realization is so full of hope, that it inspires me to do my “job” better. Knowing that God is already knee-deep in my “issue” and has been trying to help me for years now, lets me know I am not alone. Here I’ve been thinking that I needed to do something great to make Him want to help me, and really he’s already been there the whole time, scooping the muck out of the pool for me while I continued to flail!
It’s not over yet, though. There is still so much more to it. But now I can face each day with the hope that God cannot fail. That he is beside me through it all. He is holding my hand and pulling me to the shore. Luckily for me, James MacDonald doesn’t end his book here. He talks about the process of change further. And I think that we not only have to accept that we are dead to sin, but it is our job to make Satan know that we are dead to sin, and that he no longer has the power to control us. We have to show him this, or else he won’t know!
So here is the advice I was given in the book when faced with temptation: “Say it in a sentence. For life change to happen, we must apply the power of our identification to Christ at the specific point of temptation.” Say it out loud, James MacDonald tells us. I’M DEAD TO THAT. When that fateful 3 o’clock afternoon hour tortures me with a sense of low blood sugar and a temptation to eat everything in the house…I have to say: I’M DEAD TO THAT. I have to tell Satan that I’M DEAD TO THAT. He no longer controls me. Because I died with Christ and was raised with Him, I now have the power to choose. And I choose to be DEAD TO THAT!
No big deal right? I can do this.
Have you dealt with an addiction or sin in your life that you felt had unstoppable control over you? Please feel free to share with me. You don’t have to tell me what it was, but I would love the opportunity to pray for you. And please continue to pray for me as well. That every day I will make the right choice.