Day 9: Breaking Up with Food

I’ve carried a burden
For too long on my own
I wasn’t created
To bear it alone
I hear Your invitation
To let it all go

As we sang this song at church Sunday, it struck me how deeply this applies to breaking up with food. I’ve tried so hard to fix this myself. I’ve thrown some prayers up to God here and there. But it has bothered me for a long time. I feel ashamed of it, so I don’t ask for prayer, or get the help I need.

I’m done with the hiding
No reason to wait

No more hiding.

I’m breaking up with food, and apparently, I’m doing it quite publicly with the accountability of the internet!

My heart needs a surgeon
My soul needs a friend
So I’ll run to the Father
Again and again and again and again

On 7/13, day 1 of breaking up with food, I wrote in my journal, “I don’t have a food issue – I have a heart issue.”

Your Son for redemption
The price for my heart

One of the Scriptures that compelled me to start this breaking up with food journey is Psalm 86:11b-12a:

“Give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart.”

I need to let Him heal my heart, the heart that He knit together in the first place.

My heart has been in Your sights
Long before my first breath

I am letting go and letting God, as the saying goes.

Thank You, Jesus, for seeing my divided heart thousands of years before I even was born, and dying so that I could not only be freed from my sin, but so that I could praise You with my whole, entire, undivided heart, a heart that was in Your sights long before my first, premature breath that was almost my last. You have been so good to me.

Bible Reading: 1 John 5
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 8: Breaking Up with Food

I wrote out an entry in my journal yesterday with the intention of typing it up for today’s post. Well, I had class tonight, and then someone came at 8 PM to help with our bug infestation. I’m fighting a headache, so I need to keep this short. I’ll save Sunday’s thoughts for another day.

Today is day 8 of #breakingupwithfood, which means with God’s help, I finished a whole week!

I was amazed at the clarity of mind I had this weekend. I went into an important meeting as well as Sunday services prayed up and feeling especially sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

The more I seek You
The more I find You

These lyrics have been on my heart today. The more I sought food and compulsive eating to soothe my heart and ease my hunger, the more I needed to keep running to those things, despite receiving no long-term satisfaction there. But the more I seek God and surrender and desire to know His heart, the more I find Him, and along with Him, joy, gratitude and peace.

Bible Reading: 1 John 1-2 (Sunday), 1 John 3-4 (Today)
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 4: Breaking Up with Food

I have always wanted to experience a “zap” moment in my relationship with food – a moment where Jesus meets me at the altar or in my prayer time and suddenly, I’m completely healed and free! I know exactly how to eat and when to eat and how much to eat, skipping at a healthy weight off into the sunset!

I think I wrote about this in my book 😉

The other extreme from the “zap” moment mentality is complacency or even hopelessness, where you have asked over and over for God’s help, and yet you feel like He has done nothing. So you begin to wonder if this is just how life is going to be? Struggling at this level until heaven?

I know logically that it is a cooperation. I do what I can do and God does what only He can do. I exercise my “no” muscle when it comes to food. I make better choices and use some sort of system (even if it’s hunger and fullness cues – which doesn’t currently work for me, and perhaps I’ll write more about that another time) to keep my food in check. And I consistently ask God to empower me to choose Him instead of food.

“Consistently” is the key word there. I would often ask God for help, of course, but then I needed to follow through and allow Him to change me as I made better choices.

That’s why the book is called “Learning to Walk in Freedom.” Somehow, despite writing an entire book on the topic, I have clearly struggled to put this into practice in the area of breaking up with food!

“Obey God because you are his children; don’t slip back into your old ways—doing evil because you knew no better. 1But be holy now in everything you do, just as the Lord is holy, who invited you to be his child.” 1 Peter 1:14-15

Well, once you know better, you do better, so I’m putting it into practice now! I didn’t sleep well last night (fatigue is another food trigger for me), but still chose well today. I also added worshipping to my checklist, whether it’s along with a recording or on my guitar (I don’t have a piano at home). Today, I sang “My Heart Will Trust” after breaking out in Psalm 23 during prayer time.

Bible Reading: 1 Peter 1 & Psalm 23
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 3: Breaking Up with Food

I ended yesterday with a headache. Having a headache is a trigger for me, food-wise, because I get an upset stomach that is often only calmed with food. I laid down for an hour and woke worse, with a very unhappy tummy. I had already scheduled yesterday’s update to post, and so despite really, really wanting to overeat, I ate a reasonable snack, tracked it, and went about my headache-y business. I am prone to headaches, so I need to continue to look for solutions for settling my stomach that still qualify as breaking up with food.

Today was better. I even felt a glimmer of joy and hope. Yesterday, I felt really down as my headache grew. Food has been the friend I run to during trying times. I sat outside, praying and realizing for the millionth time that only God can fill that need. He may not always heal the pain, but He is always near if we draw near (as I coincidentally read today in James 4:8).

I’m writing this really late after work because I had a very busy day. I will leave you with a Scripture, all of which I wrote in cursive in my journal after coming across it in my daily Bible reading (I print my own thoughts in my journal and use cursive for God’s Word). It’s long, but please read it. It was both extremely convicting and oddly comforting.

“You are like an unfaithful wife who loves her husband’s enemies. Don’t you realize that making friends with God’s enemies—the evil pleasures of this world—makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy the evil pleasure of the unsaved world, you cannot also be a friend of God. Or what do you think the Scripture means when it says that the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, watches over us with tender jealousy? But he gives us more and more strength to stand against all such evil longings. As the Scripture says, God gives strength to the humble but sets himself against the proud and haughty.

So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him. Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and sincere grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Then when you realize your worthlessness before the Lord, he will lift you up, encourage and help you.” James 4:4-10

Bible Reading: James 3-5
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 2: Breaking Up with Food

Some people tell me I overshare – that I’m too transparent.

This is one of those times I think I agree.

But not because it’s really an accurate assessment.

I like to share about things I have gone through and figured out. Yes, many of them are deeply personal. But I share because look! The problem is now tucked away in a box and tied up with a neat, little bow. I can speak freely of it because I (oh, yeah, with God’s help, of course) solved that problem.

I mentioned I’ve been looking over old journals. I have to see it feels pretty pathetic to see how year after year, I write about the same struggle with food.

That’s why I hesitate to write about all of this – but I’m going to write anyway. Despite the fact that I feel like I should have this figured out already, every day but Sunday, I will share a few (likely) random thoughts about breaking up with food.

I read this in James 2:12-13:

You will be judged on whether or not you are doing what Christ wants you to. So watch what you do and what you think; or there will be no mercy to those who have shown no mercy. But if you have been merciful, then God’s mercy toward you will win out over his judgment against you.

Perhaps that’s not the most encouraging Scripture, but I needed to read it today. I’m grateful for God’s mercy today because I haven’t always been obedient in this area. God wants me to break up with food and the improper place it has held in my life, and so I trudge forward.

Thanks for trudging with me.

Daily Stuff
Bible Reading: James 1-2
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading Read: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 1: Breaking Up with Food

I started my day with a peaceful walk around the neighborhood. I always find that clears the mind. After coming home, my Bible reading for the day began in Hebrews 11.

The people listed in chapter 11 in the book of Hebrews are often called the “heroes of the faith.” I’m not a big fan of that title. It makes the men and women mentioned in the chapter seem almost inaccessible. I noticed in the way the Living Bible paraphrases this chapter, the word “trust” appears 12 times. I’d rather think of the chapter as being about “regular people who chose to trust God – and look what God did.” But that’s kind of long 🙂 So let’s just call it “trusters of God.”

Chapter 12 begins with this verse:

“Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.”

Very appropriate for day 1 of breaking up with food.

Also very appropriate are verses 16-17 of the chapter 12: “Watch out that no one becomes involved in sexual sin or becomes careless about God as Esau did: he traded his rights as the oldest son for a single meal. And afterwards, when he wanted those rights back again, it was too late, even though he wept bitter tears of repentance. So remember, and be careful.” I wrote a poem of sorts and a follow up to this some years ago. And I’m still learning, it seems.

Today, I’m choosing to be a “truster of God” as the folks named in Hebrews 11 were. And perhaps even more so or with a fresh understanding, since I have Jesus helping me.

“And now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he who became the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting agreement between God and you, signed with his blood, produce in you through the power of Christ all that is pleasing to him. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

Daily Stuff
Bible Reading: Hebrews 11-13
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading Read: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

A New Series: Breaking Up with Food

Tomorrow, I try once again for the thousandth or ten thousandth time to try and develop a healthy relationship with food – to “break up” with the hold food has on my life, in my thoughts, and on my body.

I’ve been reading through old journals lately. I started doing this a few weeks ago, looking for something very specific. I felt God brought to mind a certain scripture verse that I was just positive was mentioned at a conference my then-boyfriend and I attended 20 ½ years ago. I asked my now husband if he remembered, but he simply replied, “Sounds about right.”

And I was right. At that conference, a Scripture was mentioned. I’ll talk about this Scripture later. But it’s not really a common Scripture. The “strange” thing is my pastor mentioned it today – in church! That’s when you know God is trying to get your attention.

I know you want to know what the Scripture is, and I promise I’ll share – later. I’m trying to get to the point of the story here!

First off – I can be quite organized when I want to! You wouldn’t know it by looking at my office, but I found that journal, in the garage, in a box marked “Journals.” I found not only the journal I was looking for but a bunch I’m not sure I wanted to see.

Second off – I am DEFINITELY not where I was. Having had an eating disorder from 1988/1989 into 2002, I’m so grateful for all God has done.

Third off – I’m not where I want to be and more importantly where God wants me to be.

I won’t make this post any longer. I plan to write (almost) daily (probably not Sunday) about what I’m learning while breaking up with food. If you want to join me on this journey, subscribe below. No spam – just my posts in your inbox 🙂


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Empty Shelf Challenge Book #4: “Made to Crave” by Lysa TerKeurst

I finished my 4th book for the #EmptyShelf challenge.

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst

I actually skimmed this book a few years ago and decided I needed to revisit it in this season, this time reading it thoroughly.

I’ve shared here before I struggle with overeating. It’s definitely been worse since the move. It began because I had less control over my food choices, and I became in the habit of both making less healthy choices and also using food to cope with my emotions.

Honestly, despite losing 60 pounds several years ago, I never really got out of the habit of overeating.

I began a “fast” 3 weeks ago with my church. It’s not a traditional “no food” fast, as my formerly near-anorexic body does not respond well to traditional fasting, nor do my emotions. Instead, I chose to follow the Whole30 plan. I hope to get my cravings under control and more importantly once again surrender my relationship with food to God – once again.

Another reason I chose to re-read this book was seeing Lysa TerKeurst speak at a conference several months ago. She was one of the best speakers I had ever seen. She’s a gifted teacher and communicator, and I wanted to hear more from her.

Made to Crave was a timely choice.

The premise of this book is that God created us to crave Him. Yet He is often the last place we run with our longing hearts. Lysa documents her own struggles with overeating and shares with the reader how she (or he) can too be free from the battle with food.

Lysa says this of her struggle: “These are not just little issues. These, for me, are sins – missing the mark of Your best for my life” (pg. 185).

This is something I’ve tried to explain to people. Despite the fact that I am not overweight, this is a real struggle – a struggle that hinders my relationship with God.

I’m comforted to know once again that people throughout the Bible struggled with food. The original sin of mankind occurred by biting into a shiny piece of fruit. The Israelites complained about bread from heaven, pining for the meat they ate while enslaved. Esau sold his birthright for some stew. Satan tempted Jesus with food.

I don’t want to be enslaved to food. God has something so much better for me.

“Everything is permissible for me’-but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”-but I will not be mastered by anything. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”-but God will destroy them both. 1 Corinthians 6:12-13a (NIV1984)

I wrote in Learning to Walk in Freedom, “So if secular TV or sharp cheddar cheese causes you to stumble, you might consider Jesus’ instructions to ‘cut it off and throw it away’ (Matthew 5:30).” (I really wanted to write “cut the cheese and throw it away,” but I restrained myself!). This is what I’m doing with the Whole30 – distancing myself from foods that I struggle to eat reasonably. And finishing up Made to Crave during this time of fasting is exactly what I needed.

really enjoyed this book. You should get a copy. Most libraries have it if buying it is not in the budget right now. As Lysa reminds us, “We must remember we hold a power greater than any craving we face.” Thank You, Jesus! If you are tired of obeying your cravings and desire to walk in obedience to God in your relationship with food, get this book.

My books so far on the #EmptyShelf challenge:

Freedom Friday: Selling My Birthright

Driving to church on Sunday, I heard part of this sermon (Aug. 5th, 2012) based on these verses from Genesis 25:

Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.)

Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright. ”

“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.

So Esau despised his birthright.

red lentils

This dramatic and fairly well-known story describes the dynamics between twin brothers, Esau and Jacob, sons of Isaac and Rebekah. It was a volitile situation even from the womb, the Bible describing how the babies “jostled each other” within Rebekah. Esau was born first, but, not to be outdone, Jacob came out grasping Esau’s heel.

Yet Esau was still the first born.

We don’t have that many parallels today in Western culture as it pertains to birthrights. In Jewish culture, the firstborn child was given certain rights, privileges and inheritance simply based on the fact that he was born first. It is in Genesis and the story of Jacob & Esau where the rights of the firstborn are first talked about.

As believers, we have all been adopted into God’s family, and we are all His favorites. As His children, there are certains rights and privileges that God has given to us, promises He says will be fulfilled if we follow and trust in Him, surrendering our entire lives over to His lordship.

As I listened to the sermon, I couldn’t help but think of my struggle with overeating.

Am I selling my birthright for a plate of food? I wrote a poem that was posted 2 days ago if you missed it.

Alicia Britt Chole dissects the temptation of Jesus in her book, anonymous. You can read a Biblical account here.

Jesus has been fasting for 40 days and was genuinely hungry. Satan tells Him to turn stones into bread.

What would be wrong with that? Eating is not a sin, after all. What would be the harm in having a bite of bread?

From anonymous, pg. 65:

I find it noteworthy that Satan did not suggest that Jesus run into town and steal some food – that would have been a blatant violation of God’s commendments. But eating? Food in itself is not sinful. And here is where Satan’s lures can be deceptive. This layer was not about what Jesus would eat as much as it was about when Jesus would eat. Would he obey Father God even when obedience meant delayed satisfaction of legitimate needs?

In the layer of appetite, we witness Satan’s skillful use of a most effective lure: immediate gratification.

Imagine where we’d all be if Jesus sold His birthright for a plate of food.

Your issue may not be with food. It may be with gossip, crass talk, pornography, stealing, or subtle lying. Those could all be considered “false foods.”

What are you selling your birthright for a plate of? What false food do you run to in order to try and satisfy legitimate needs in illegitimate ways?

It is not likely that Esau was literally going to die of hunger, as he dramatically stated. Yet he was genuinely hungry.

Often when I run to the cabinets, I too am genuinely hungry.

But my hunger is not for food.

I desire comfort, escape. I am tired, lonely, bored, in pain, and am looking for a way to forget, to flee those feelings.

My need is legitimate, but it cannot be meet with food. My need is for God, spiritual strength, companionship, laughter, joy, peace and rest.

Think for a minute.

Are we despising our birthright, as Esau did, because we choose to run to false food instead of Him?

Are we missing out on the fulfillment of God’s promises – His presence, His provision, our inheritance as His child – in favor of more immediate gratification?

Is the pay-off, the “reward” really worth it?

I sold my birthright for a plate of food.

I sold my birthright for a plate of food.

Wandering the pantry, the fridge, the cabinets.
Grazing for just the right thing, the one morsel to satisfy
The craving, the longing, the pain.

But the need was like a monster.
With every bite, the pit of desire grew.
Larger. Deeper. Wider.
Never full. Never satisfied.

I sold my birthright for a plate of food, and I wasn’t even hungry.

I sold my birthright for a pretty picture.
Faces on the screen, looking deep into my eyes,
But never really seeing me.

And I looked and I looked and I looked
Until it wasn’t fun anymore,
Yet I couldn’t turn away.

I sold my birthright for a pretty picture, and I wasn’t even seen.

I run everywhere else first.

The pain of longing comes and overwhelms,
Yet I take it on, allowing it to drown me.
Forgetting Your power, Your provision, Your presence are always there.

Then somehow, when my feet tire and my brain aches from trying to make sense,
I remember.
You are there.
Available, present, ever welcoming.

If I stop.
If I am still and hand the cravings to You.
They are too heavy to carry.
You say, Come. Rest. My burden is easy. My yoke is light.

Sitting with the pain,
Pushing away the longing,
Pressing our desires into Your heart,
None of this comes naturally.

How often I sell myself short,
Ignoring what You declared rightfully mine
In favor of something I deem gratifying.

I’m always wrong.
Still, You are true. Only You can satisfy.

Teach me, Lord, to welcome the uncomfortable,
To sit with the ache,
And rest in Your arms.

All that I have is yours, child, if you will just come to me.

I sold my birthright for a plate of food, and I wasn’t even hungry.

This poem is a response to a sermon I heard a portion of this past Sunday. I hope to share more about overeating and surrender in the coming Freedom Friday.