SOURCE: Adapted from an article by Karl Benzio/Stepping Stones/Lighthouse Network
We need God. We won’t enjoy life, be fulfilled in life, or attain our God-given potential without closeness to Him. God desires that for us as well. But, so many factors and forces keep us from this closeness to God, and unfortunately, eating disorders are one of those forces.
Thirty to fifty percent of our society struggles with significant eating issues that disrupt their lives, ranging from binging, chronic overeating and obesity, to anorexia. Coming from a long line of Italian women and good cooking, this really hits home with me.
“Eating Disorder” simply means unhealthy habits like restricting nutritional intake, overeating (yes, this is a large part of our American society), or being obsessed with, being overly focused on, or actually worshipping the elements, rituals, or the results of eating or dieting. It actually becomes a real addiction.
People tend to get so preoccupied with body image and what others think, that they develop a distorted view of themselves. Their over concern or lack of concern about food, diet, body, and weight even begin to affect their health, relationships, and the ability to physically function in day-to-day life.
Like almost every other object in life, God gave us food to use in moderation. Too much isn’t good, but not enough isn’t good either. Our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit to reside in and God wants us to be good stewards of our body and health. But more importantly, we need to look at the psychological and spiritual aspects of our eating habits.
If you are struggling with food or weight, determine not to let your focus on your body or food keep you from closeness with God and with others. Decide how you wish to spend your energy: pursuing the “perfect” image or the comfort that food brings, or focusing on your perfect healer for spiritual growth and your true daily bread and nourishment.
The outside – what man sees, or the inside – what God sees? Society changes its view of what is beautiful … styles come and go. But God’s view of beauty never changes.
Identifying and challenging your distorted thoughts and feelings about your body and food, and keeping God’s view in mind is essential to accepting yourself and your body. We all have feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Don’t let food or your body image become your soothing mechanism. Let God and His grace and love bring you the peace you really are hungry for and crave. He is one buffet where you can eat all you want without consequences! Indulge to your heart’s true content!
As you approach food and eat meals, examine the importance you put on these elements. What do you get out of it? Are food and your eating habits a coping mechanism for you? Are you getting healthier, or are you harming your health? Remember, your value as a person is not based on how you look or what you do. Your value is based on the unchangeable fact that God loves you so much that He gave His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you. Eating issues are about believing lies. Using food as a gift from God, or an idol that adversely impacts you life is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I’ve been pretty confused lately. I’ve been so concerned about food or used it to comfort myself that I’ve ignored You. Relationships with those I care about have suffered as well. Please help me begin thinking more clearly … to see me from Your point of view. I know I need to eat to live, but I don’t want to live to eat or let food and meals distract me from Your peace for me. Help me turn control over to you, instead of being controlled by the next meal I think about. I pray this in the name of the One who loves me as I am, Jesus Christ; – AMEN!
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7